TV Recap: 'Dexter' Episode 710 - 'The Dark... Whatever'



Dexter Episode 710
“The Dark... Whatever”
Written By: Lauren Gussis & Jace Richdale and Scott Reynolds
Directed By: Michael Lehmann
Original Airdate: 2 December 2012

In This Episode...

Dexter suspects that the arson investigator, Phillip Basso, is the Phantom Arsonist. He vets him, and quickly discovers that he is not - he’s just weird. He spent that weekend at a Civil War reenactment, and has pictures to prove it.

The arsonist has struck at least seven times in ten days. Most recently, he started his fire on the back of a bus, and this time he wrote “It’s Bobby” instead of just “Bobby,” which signaled to Dexter and Deb that he might be immature or referencing childhood trauma. The bus had a security camera, but it didn’t catch the arsonist’s face - but it did show he grabbed onto one of the bus poles with his bare hands. They got a clean print, but found no matches. Following up on his and Deb’s child hunch, Dexter sneaks into the juvenile records office at City Hall, runs the print, and gets a match: Joseph Jensen. As a teen, he set his school on fire, was sent to a mental institution, and released only a month ago. Dexter promised his sister that he wouldn’t take any more cases from the police, which is okay, because he has other things to worry about.

Hannah’s dad, Clint, has popped up. Recently released from his latest stint in prison for check fraud, Hannah is not happy to see her dad. He coaxes her into coffee, and it goes well enough that they continue into dinner, with Dexter. Clint is promising that he is turning his life around, going legit, and plans to open a crawfish farm in Louisiana. Hannah is ready to renew her relationship with Clint, but then he starts asking for money to buy the farm - $20,000. Hannah doesn’t have it; Clint pushes her to take it out of the business; she refuses; he gets mad and storms out. When Hannah returns home from the flower mart, she discovers a drunken Clint arrived first, driving his truck right into Hannah’s greenhouse. Hannah is thoroughly upset, reverting to the scared little girl who was nearly drowned by him. Dexter becomes aggressively protective and warns Clint away.

Clint returns, this time to Dexter’s house as Jamie and Harrison are getting ready to go for a swim. He ogles Jamie uncomfortably, and refers to Harrison’s water wings as “coddling.” Clint is there to get his money from Dexter.If Dexter doesn’t pay up, he will go to the police and direct them to Hannah’s halfway house roommate, the only witness to her poisoning of their counselor. Clint also reveals that Sal Price had been paying him for juicy tidbits about Hannah. Dexter throws Clint out and goes straight to Hannah, who confirms that there was a witness. Spooked, Hannah sets about getting the money together for her dad.

Dexter is wound tight, and mad that Clint doesn’t fit his code. Jensen, however, does. Dexter goes to Jensen’s house and puts him on his table. He admits that Bobby was a childhood friend who set the fire, but died, leaving him to take the fall. Now it is Bobby telling him to set these fires. Yes, Jensen is a wee bit schizophrenic. Dexter is preaching to Jensen that he can’t blame childhood trauma on his actions as an adult - and realizes he is doing the exact same thing with his Dark Passenger (we will go into this later.) So instead of killing Jensen, he leaves him semi-conscious on the floor, chemicals open everywhere, and calls in an anonymous tip to the police. Deb and her crew come in and arrest Jensen without incident. When asked, Dexter confirms that he called in the tip, that he was going to kill Jensen, but didn’t. Deb thanks Dexter for this, but tells him that she isn’t going to lay off Hannah because of it. Dexter understands.

Dexter still has that urge to kill. He calls Clint and meets him in a parking garage, claiming to have his money for him. Instead, he drugs Clint and the two end up on the Slice of Life, Clint wrapped in plastic (but still clothed - he is his girlfriend’s dad, after all.) Clint begs for his life. Dexter stabs him and rolls him overboard. When he goes back to Hannah, she is expecting her dad to come and collect his money. He assures her that her dad will never bother her again. They exchange “I love yous” (well, she says “I love you;” he thinks about it and says, “I think I love you, too.”) But it was too little, too late: Clint had already called Deb and tipped her off to the roommate.

But wait! There’s more! Quinn gets a call from Nadia - George is selling her to a Bahrain sex club. She leaves the next day. Batista insists on going with him to confront George. Quinn storms the office, where George is dragging around Nadia by the hair. He hits her a few times and Quinn loses it - he shoots him dead with a single shot. Realizing the clusterfuck he just created for himself, he puts George’s gun in his hand and has Nadia squeeze the trigger, hitting Quinn in the arm. Batista rushes in, and the cops are on the scene a short time later. Quinn pleads with Batista to not keep her as a witness. She takes her passport and some cash and leaves. Deb takes Quinn’s statement, but doesn’t really push for too many details. Batista, however, thinks something is fishy. Quinn stands by his story, and Batista agrees to drop it.

Also: Laguerta and Matthews are discussing the Bay Harbor Butcher case. Everyone on Laguerta’s list is a dead end, except for Dexter, who changed his boat slip around the time of the Butcher case. Matthews is certain Dexter isn’t mixed up in this and instead says they should look into Doakes’s final days. They visit the site where the cabin where Doakes died used to stand. The land owner is living there on a trailer. He didn’t even know that Doakes was there - he had rented the place to Santos Jimenez. Over lunch, Matthews says that Jimenez was one of the three men who murdered Dexter’s mom in front of him and his brother, Brian. Laguerta puts the pieces together (apparently she had no clue about Dexter’s background) and immediately decides that Dexter is the Bay Harbor Butcher. And Deb is taking Xanax, which seems a long time coming.

Dig It or Bury It?

I am totally fascinated by the psychological shift going on here. Dexter realizing that the Dark Passenger is something he made up as a coping mechanism changes him; it’s like he’s off the leash. I don’t believe that he will throw out his code entirely; he has too much respect for Harry to do that. With Dexter admitting that he “thinks he loves Hannah, too” right to her face, that pretty much discounts him as a sociopath. Does that mean that next season Dexter is going to somehow feel remorse?  

Things are definitely coming to a showdown between Deb and Hannah, and Dexter is going to be forced to choose sides. I would like to believe that he is going to choose Deb, but with next season likely being the final season, I wouldn’t discount any possibility. Geez, I cannot even fathom an end to this show. It’s too upsetting, and there are too many possibilities. But I am jumping the gun.

What the hell, by the way, is going on with Laguerta and Matthews’s new investigation? Does Matthews know about Dexter? He has known him since he was a kid, and he seems to be pushing Laguerta away from questioning him (by the way, how the hell did Laguerta not know about Dexter’s history?) Did Matthews and Harry discuss Dexter? Was there an understanding? Did Matthews help craft the code?

Flashback to the Future

Harry’s appearance in this episode is very significant. Dexter had finally told Hannah about his Dark Passenger, the feeling he gets when he needs to kill. Hannah kind of mocked him, which made Dexter question himself. “It does sound kind of silly when you say it out loud,” he admits. When Harry shows up, he asks Dexter where he got the idea to call it his “Dark Passenger.” Dexter thought he got it from Harry, but Harry only gave him the code. He says that Dexter started using the term when he was 12, and Harry let it go because he felt that at that age, Dexter didn’t need to be saddled with any extra guilt. This rocks Dexter to the very core. “If it’s just me, then I am responsible for all of it,” he realizes. 


Matthews warns Dexter that Laguerta is looking into the Bay Harbor Butcher case again. Deb is involved in a serious car accident, and Dexter starts to suspect that Hannah may have drugged Deb into a car accident (though my money is on Deb taking too much Xanax.)