Seriable’s Aria Mohtadi reviews Dexter 7.01 “Are You..?”
The inevitable comes to pass…Debra saw what she couldn’t make sense of; her decent, reserved brother committing a ritualistic murder in the most unimaginable way. All the years of going by the code, of preservation, turned to waste as Dexter became too shattered to make things go back to the way they used to be.
Where were we again?
- Dexter’s quest of spirituality came to an abrupt end when he witnessed the disaster brought upon by the dark side of Brother Sam’s teachings; one that justified murder and destruction in the name of devotion…he came to wonder if the Code he followed stemmed from the same mindset.
- Debra, now the head of Miami metro, through therapy realized she had repressed feelings for her step-brother. She was struggling whether to express or repress them.
- Dexter used Travis’ final tableau to his own advantage; ironically the world Dexter had gotten used to, came crashing down on himself as Debra caught him in the act.
- Louis, the mysterious intern admirer/stalker sent the infamous ITK mannequin hand to Dexter.
- The Quinn + Batista duo worked past their issues and are back on the track…of… well, the same tremendous amount of crime-solving they tend to!
Simple human nature
“What if your whole life is a secret?”…it seems Harry’s code fails when Dexter’s trapped in an impossible situation, not being able to remove the incriminating obstacle, his most intimate soul-mate, Debra. We’d discussed the possibility of Figment-Harry (and not Brian Moser!) being Dexter’s true dark passenger throughout the years before. As much as the code has saved Dexter from dire scenarios, it has rendered him emotionless towards everything that affects the people around him. The code has been a constant excuse-generator for all the horrible things he’s done in the name of preservation and for the sake of satisfying his inner Monster.
“Exposing the truth could destroy everything you are.” – the truth would pop the moralistic cap the code has put on his conscience and reason. Lumen, Trinity, Brian and Miguel Prado were each exposed to Dexter’s dark secret to some extent while in worst case scenario they would have blown his cover or wounded his pride. But with Deb, the revelation would destroy Dexter’s self-image. After all, apart from Harrison, his love for Debra is the only thing keeping his darker murderous instincts (the ones witnessed in Nebraska) at bay. Or else, what’s there to keep him from becoming another ITK?
So when Deb finds him standing on the altar of retribution, Dex desperately tries to keep her illusion of the good brother from shattering: “Deb it’s me!” – Having listened to her therapist’s advice, Deb was on her way to the church to express her true feelings for her brother. Tragically, her honest intention is hit back with a gruesome demonstration. Harry had warned him: “Dex, she loves who she thinks you are. If she ever saw the real you, she’d never get over it.” - The throw-in-flashback seems to stress the fact that a major application of Harry’s code was to keep Debra from ever discovering the true nature of her brother.
Debra senses something not adding up; this is the work of a professional, not a rushed act of self-defense: “How did he end up wrapped in plastic on the altar?” – It’s as if Dexter’s standing bare in the altar of god, where no lies would prevent Deb from seeing his true nature. “I snapped” – Dexter’s been snapping in an out of the meticulous monster he used to be for the past two seasons. It was only a matter of time before he was exposed. He makes up half-baked excuses, blaming the murder on the anger he’s felt over Rita’s death. While we know that Dex has only got a superficial perception of what grief “feels” like.
Dex reassures Deb: “Physically, I’m ok.” trying to convince Debra that he’s emotionally hurt by this desperate act. It’s another lie, because we know he’s emotionally neutral , and it’s when his instincts are threatened that he may experience glimmers of emotions. He doesn’t care how this revelation might affect Debra, but instead he’s thinking “How do I handle the Deb situation? How do I make things go back to the way they used to be?” – Remember that Harry’s suicide was a result of him witnessing the monster he’d created in Dexter.
When emotionally in a more stable state, Deb starts to make sense of the event she witnessed in the church, and finds flaws in Dex’s story. The setting, the tools, the plastic wrap etc. All these years she believed Dexter saved her from the ITK, but what if he was complicit in the act right until the last moment? Was it ‘human nature’ that urged Dexter to save Debra? Or is the nature responsible for the darkness? Both Dex and Deb have tried to hide their intentions from each other; Debra lies about the real reason she went to the church that night. Dex, hopelessly demands Deb to just let things go, “Deb it’s not gonna make sense.” That leads to Deb finally making sense of it after scavenging Dexter’s side of the apartment. Dexter justifies the situation on the way: “None of us want to be fully revealed.”, not realizing that it’s not merely a secret, it’s the damage he’s brought over others’ lives.
So in a moment of mutual bewilderment, Dex admits he’s a serial killer. It’s interesting to see whether or not the moment of revelation looked anything like how Dexter had imagined it back in season 2. Yes, it happened in the apartment!