Dexter has become a relationship free-for-all for everyone at Miami Metro, with Dexter and Quinn finding their own form of companionship, while Debra becomes friendly with crime writer Sal Price. But in this week's episode, "Chemistry", all of those relationships collide, resulting in Dexter having to defend himself on all fronts. Is Dexter becoming sloppy with his decisions? And who exactly is the real "Big Bad" of season 7?
Dexter's decision to make love to Hannah, instead of killing her, certainly isn't the best one he's ever made. And after Sal catches him dropping her off after their murderous tryst, this fact becomes even truer – especially for his Dark Passenger. But as Dexter attempts to understand his attraction towards Hannah, the organized world around him continues to slowly unravel, bringing Dexter face-to-face with a newly released Isaak, while LaGuerta continues to investigate the Bay Harbor Butcher, and Hannah's poisonous tendencies get out of control.
Unlike in past seasons, the relationships on Dexter in season 7 are more refined in their use. Instead of simply exploring the emotional side of all of the characters involved – which provides for more singular character moments (and development) - all of the relationships this season are relativity unstable in their given form and are used to help progress Dexter's overall storyline. Everything is connected, and Dexter is at the center of it all. Not exactly a good place to be if you're an undercover serial killer.
As Isaak's plan to be released from prison is executed (thanks to Quinn stealing evidence), Dexter comes face-to-face with Sirko, revealing (in detail) how he killed Viktor, prompting Isaak to warn Dexter that vengeance is coming. Up until now, Isaak has been a relatively low-key Big Bad, spending most of his time behind bars. And even though Dexter and Isaak have come face-to-face previously, revealing the calm, calculated enemy Dexter has made, this is the first time we've seen his true intent to harm Dexter, and what all he will do to make that happen. Though not receiving as much of the spotlight as the Trinity Killer in season 5, Isaak is just as nuanced a character – and equally as deadly. Unfortunately, Isaak isn't the only thing Dexter has to worry about.
With Sal and Debra continuing to investigate the Wayne Randall case, Hannah's involvement in it is put front and center. Though Hannah started off as a (somewhat) innocent character, the manner in which she's able to cover up her tracks, feign emotions and sooth the killer Dexter, she's much more dangerous than anyone – including Dexter – had previously thought. But what can Dexter do when emotions get in the way of Harry's rules?
As Debra continues to investigate Hannah, her true threat to Dexter cannot be made any clearer. While murder-turned-sexual encounter has its appeal, Dexter is slowly beginning to make decisions he normally wouldn't, continuously put himself in situations that threaten to reveal his secret to the world – or worse. But has Hannah finally stepped over the line in killing Sal? Since both Debra and Dexter know that she kills using poison, can Hannah still continue to roam free - especially now that Debra knows Dexter has an affinity for "catching" killers?
For the majority of this season, Dexter has been playing it fast and loose with his confidence in people. Largely stepping away from everything Harry has taught him, Dexter has allowed his emotions to take control, and now he's in the middle of a three-way battle: Isaak, Hannah and LaGuerta (unbeknownst to him). But who is truly more of a danger to Dexter?
Considering it's (very) likely that LaGuerta's Bay Harbor Butcher storyline will continue until the very end of the series, it's up to Isaak and Hannah to battle it out as the true Big Bad of the season. Isaak's intent in killing Dexter, though emotional, is more calculated and planned. Because Isaak exists in a world of heavy weaponry and thug intimidation, Dexter's nimble movements should make it difficult for any attack on him to be successful.
Hannah, however, is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. By attaching herself to Dexter emotionally, he loses the upper hand that he craves and must now defeat his own emotions before even thinking about being able to defeat her. Even with Debra pushing Dexter to kill her, he's still going to need to be able to make sense of his emotions before making any move. This, of course, is what Hannah is waiting for – and thrives on.
No matter who rises to the top, Dexter has certainly made more than few mistakes this season and will likely have have to pay for them. Who will make him pay? Like most things, we'll just have to wait and see.
Dexter continues next Sunday with "Argentina" @10pm on Showtime. You can check out a preview of next week's episode below: