TV Recap: 'Dexter' Episode 709 - 'Helter Skelter'



Dexter Episode 709
“Helter Skelter”
Written By: Tim Schlattmann
Directed By: Steve Shill
Original Airdate: 25 November 2012

In This Episode...

The Kashka Brotherhood has sent two hitmen for Isaak. They are very good at what they do - Isaak has hired them on a number of occasions, so he has reason to worry. He goes to Dexter to ask for his help: kill the hitmen, and I stop hunting you. Dexter declines. So Isaak does the only sensible thing: he kidnaps Hannah and tells Dexter that if he helps him, he will leave Miami and he won’t kill Hannah. As much as Dexter hates making a deal with the devil, he can’t stand the thought of losing Hannah. He agrees.

Dexter visits Deb. Earlier, at a crime scene, they had talked through this whole “I’m in love with you” problem. Dexter handled the situation beautifully. He wasn’t judgmental, he wasn’t skeeved out. He told her that he loves her too, but not in the way that she thinks she is with him. Since childhood, they have always been the only two constants in each other’s lives. They endure together. Dexter finds it perfectly logical, and he and Deb seem to have a stronger relationship after that talk. So anyway, Dexter visits Deb to ask her to pull the police tail from Isaak. She thinks he just wants the hitmen to do the dirty work, but Dexter admits that it is because Isaak is holding Hannah hostage. She does not like the idea of saving Hannah, so she makes it a point to tell Dexter that she is doing it for him.

Dexter finds the first hitman at a firing range. He kills him, quickly and efficiently, when the hitman lays down to practice sniper fire. Dexter comes up behind him and stabs him straight through with a knife, right there in the open. Dexter reports back to Isaak, who is pleased with Dexter’s results, and rewards him with a FaceTime chat with Hannah. He snaps a screen shot and sends it to himself in the hopes of studying it later and figuring out where Hannah is. If he can find her, he can kill Isaak without worry. Isaak is strangely offended that Dexter isn’t more emotive with Hannah on the phone. When she says she misses him, he just says “Likewise.” Isaak misses Viktor, his reason for living, and it gets Dexter to really start thinking about what he may feel for Hannah.

In his lab, examining the screen shot, Dexter sees an autographed soccer ball in the background. The signature comes from a Columbian player, and it all makes sense: Hannah is being held in the home of one of the three Columbians that Isaak killed. Deb helps by running addresses, and finds that two lived with their families - only one lived alone. She has misgivings, but agrees to go check on Hannah, and only after she makes Dexter think about what is truly bothering her about Dexter’s relationship: he will never be safe with her.

Dexter is being used as bait. At his most recent crime scene, the remaining hitman was watching him from a distance. He followed Dexter as Dex drove to a shipping yard, where the Kashkas have a cargo ship. Dexter walks onto the ship, and walks, slowly and steadily, to the bow. The hitman follows. True to his word, Isaak is there, hiding on an upper deck. He appears, and neatly shoots the second hitman. Together, Isaak and Dexter throw the body overboard, then as a sign of good faith, they throw their respective weapons overboard as well. Dexter stays behind to wash off the blood; Isaak heads to the dock. George is waiting for him, and wastes no time shooting Isaak in the gut. George hears Dexter shuffling on one of the other decks and chooses to leave instead of landing the kill shot. Dexter finds Isaak and his first thought is to rush him to the hospital. Isaak knows it is a lost cause, and has only one request, which Dexter is happy to fulfill: he wants to be buried at sea in the same place Dexter left Viktor. As he takes the dying man out on the Slice of Life, Dexter admits he is afraid to face his feelings for Hannah because it would mean giving up control. Isaak assures him that he was the same way, until he met Viktor. Despite everything they went through, it was all worth it. Isaak dies, and Dexter just sits beside him for awhile. 

Meanwhile, Hannah the hostage is cooking up an escape plan - literally. Sick of cornflakes for every meal, she offers to make fried green tomatoes if Jurg goes to the garden to pick some. He agrees, she cooks, and they sit to eat. One bit in and Jurg is choking. It is not clear if Hannah actually poisoned him or if she just heavily over-spiced the dish to get his reaction, but she hits him over the head with a blender and the two wrestle. Jurg gets out his knife and stabs her in the gut before she knocks him out cold with a lamp. She is bleeding badly and passes out before she can unshackle herself. Deb arrives and finds Jurg dead, and Hannah unconscious. She calls for backup, and as much as she doesn’t want to, an ambulance for Hannah. At the hospital, Deb angrily questions Hannah, who insists she has no idea why she was kidnapped, only that she killed Jurg in self defense. Deb can scarcely hide her disgust for Hannah. Deb could have easily left Hannah there to die, and Hannah wants to know if Deb saved her for Dexter. “I did it for myself,” Deb promises. “I can’t be responsible for someone’s death. That’s not who I am.” Dexter shows up, and Deb takes her leave, assuring her brother that she is fine - and I truly think she is. Dex sits on the bed beside Hannah and admits he has only been truly terrified twice in his life: when he was three and his mother was being murdered, and the last few days while he was trying to rescue Hannah. She finds it sweet, but then he lays down and nuzzles her and says he feels safe with her. This seems to trouble Hannah.

The subplots in tonight’s episode were almost forgettable, but I figure they will come up in the next couple episodes, so I will lay them out: Jamie took the kids back to Orlando. Quinn goes to the club to see Nadia, who is scared and ashamed. She tells him that George made her have sex with him (clearly to get back at Quinn) so Quinn storms into his office, throws him through the glass partition and onto the dance floor, then beats him soundly. Laguerta goes to Tom (the former police captain) and says she thinks the Bay Harbor Butcher is still on the loose and is just following up on the leads. Tom is one of those leads, because he had a marina slip at the same time, in the same place. Tom is offended and furious and insults Laguerta right off his boat. Later he finds her at a cafe and tells her he knows dirt on every Miami PD official on that print out, but he will only help her if she helps him get back onto the force so he can get his full pension. She agrees. And there seems to be a serial arsonist on the loose. The first victim, killed in his car, is deemed a suicide by the arson investigator; but a second death with the same accelerant turns this into a murder, and Dexter thinks they have a name, it was etched onto the wall: Bobby.

Dig It or Bury It?

I really liked this episode. It was highly emotional - something I do not normally enjoy (or handle well) but it brought new layers to all the characters. Isaak, who had always been one of those dashing villains you are rooting for, became even more human tonight. It was actually sad to see him die. With Deb’s emotional outburst last week, and Dexter’s skillful way of handling it, Deb and Dexter have somehow managed to get to a whole new level in their relationship, one that actually makes it stronger. At the same time, Deb seems to have a newfound strength and confidence in herself. This has truly been a transformative season for the characters, and very well done.


“Holy fillet of fuck!” Thanks Deb. That is working its way into my regular rotation.

Racially Insensitive Fun

Tom to Laguerta: “Get off my boat. The only help you will get from me is a ride back to Cuba.”

Masuka (upon discovering that the “suicide” burn victim was Asian): “What is it with my people? First in math, first to check out.”


Hannah’s abusive father shows up; the Phantom Arsonist strikes again; and Dexter’s perfect relationship is starting to crack. Hannah doesn’t understand his Dark Passenger, and doesn’t understand that with Dexter, killing is a way of life, not a “choice.”