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Dexter And Isaak See Eye To Eye

November 26th, 2012 2:30pm EST

Dexter Morgan (Season 7, episode 9 After such a strong episode last week and highly anticipating this week's installment, I may have unintentionally set myself up for a letdown. It's not that it was a bad episode, it just took a long time to come together, and much of what occurred between Dexter and Debra felt forced and unnatural.

In last week's episode, Debra told Dexter she was in love with him and felt like she pretty much has been her entire life. It was an awkward moment for both of them, and I'm sure at least a handful of viewers. Dexter tried to have a logical, Dexter-style conversation with her about it, but it just wasn't flowing. In fact, it felt so uneasy I found myself fidgeting.

If I had to go out on a firm, unwavering limb, I'd say both actors are uncomfortable with this storyline, and it’s coming through loud and clear on-screen. Here's to a quick end to this silliness!

After the brilliant scene between Dexter and Isaak in the previous episode, it was inevitable they'd become tenuous allies. It starts with Dexter telling Isaak basically to pound salt when he comes to him seeking help. See, there are two really nasty hired hit men in town to send Isaak to the next life, and Isaak needs Dexter's help to get rid of them.

Killers like Isaak, however, don’t take no for an answer and the next time they meet, Isaak has taken Hannah hostage. She's being held by his assistant, Jurg (Andrew Kirsanov). Dexter is now a willing participant, with the requisite promises that if Hannah is harmed in any way, etc., etc., etc.

Dexter confides in Debra what's happening and asks her to remove the 24-hour cop detail following Isaak. She's quite reluctant to do anything that might benefit Isaak, let alone Hannah, but this love she has for her brother just won't let her say no, even to his craziest requests. It makes me wonder if Dexter is going to catch on to her inability to refuse his requests and start using that to his advantage.

Isaak shares everything he knows with Dexter about the two hired guns hunting him in the hope Dexter can sniff them out and remove them from the situation. The first one, Oleg (Karl Herlinger), is a long-range killer, which means specialized sniper rifles. Those are in short supply around Miami, and Dexter quickly tracks him down.

The other, a local by the name of Caffrey (Sherman Augustus), prefers a bit of the up-close-and-personal style of wet-work and will require a little planning to get him out of the way.

While all this is going on, a couple of different bodies are found; burnt to a crisp. It's two separate incidents, but the M.O. is the same. The scenes are fairly gruesome, even for "Dexter," and I'm not certain they were anything more than filler for the episode. Still, they were unique enough to possibly be the work of another skilled and deranged serial killer. We'll have to stay tuned to see what becomes of this potentially new storyline.

Dexter is able to lure Caffrey to the docks, where the Koshka Brotherhood owns a cargo ship. At what can only be considered the last possible moment before Caffrey kills Dexter, Isaak appears and kills the would-be assassin.

For an episode that didn't contain a lot of tension, this particular scene was really good. The docks were kind of eerily silent while Caffrey stalked Dexter, not knowing he was walking into a trap. One of the best parts of the scene comes when Isaak kills Caffrey. He simply pulls his gun and squeezes the trigger a half-dozen times after making eye contact. No chit-chat, no stories, no "Why'd you do it?" questions. Just bang-bang, you're dead. This is the mentality of hired killers and I’m glad the writers treated this scene in exactly this fashion. It added a great deal of legitimacy to an already good scene.

While all this is happening on the ship, Hannah has managed to get into a physical altercation with Jurg after convincing him to go to the garden to pick some green tomatoes so she can fry them up.

Jurg begins to choke when he starts to eat them, and at first my mind wandered to thoughts that she poisoned him. That was illogical, however, because they were in a strange place. She's simply over-peppered them. She reaches for a pitcher of water and smashes him over the head with a violent blow. He manages to stab her in the belly before she finishes him off.

Debra arrives; having located her whereabouts after Dexter gives her a tip about a possible location, and calls for backup and an ambulance.

Back atop the ship, Dexter stays behind to hose down the blood from Caffrey's multiple leaks as Isaak heads down below. I figured one of two things was coming. One, Isaak would go after Dexter, or George (Jason Gedrick) would be waiting for Isaak down below. I felt pretty smart when I saw George standing there, gun pointed at Isaak.

With little fanfare, the way of skilled killers, George shoots him in the belly and leaves. It's definitely one of those kill-shots that you know is going to take a long time to become fatal, or at least until the end of the episode.

Knowing he's a dead man, Isaak has one final request, and I thought it was an excellent bit of writing. He wants Dexter to bury him at sea; in the same spot he dumped Viktor's body. If ever there was an excellent episode bookend, this one was it. Even though it took a few minutes for the finality of the scene to manifest itself, it didn't matter one bit that I knew it was coming. It was a fitting end and a really great way to send actor Ray Stevenson to his next gig.

In the hospital, Hannah tells Debra everything she knows, and is understandably baffled why she saved her life rather than just letting her die with Jurg. Convincingly, Debra tells her she was just doing her job as Dexter steps into the recovery room.

In a wrap to the episode, we know Hannah is either here to stay or is about to be snatched away. Dexter tells her he was the most scared he's ever been since his mother died, and when he's with her he feels safe. I'm betting the writers will creatively remove Hannah from the series, sending Dexter into a serious tailspin as season seven nears its end.

Not a great episode, but not terrible either. There were some shaky scenes, and a couple of weird interjections of random crime scenes, but every scene that included Isaak was top shelf.

Stephanie Caldwell is a Utahn writer for CableTV.com, @CWSteph on Twitter if you likey.

Related: Dexter, Starpulse Exclusives, Recaps, Television, Drama, TV Networks, Showtime

Photo Credits: CBS/Showtime

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