This week Hannah’s presence continues to distract Dexter, who makes plans for her to get out of the country and evade detection. Yvonne Strahovski improved as an actor during the run of Chuck, and she’s better here again. In her scenes with Michael C. Hall she’s letting the action flow without forcing the pace; it’s a beguiling performance, and she has an easy chemistry with Hall. In fact, I called the dysfunctional family unit wrongly last week when I suggested that Vogel and Dexter were co-parenting Zach: as this week’s episode makes clear, particularly at the sort-of dinner party, Dex and Hannah are the parents, with Vogel as a grandparent or great-aunt – I liked Zach’s whiny “Are we there yet?” in the back of Dexter’s car.
The major plot arc this week is the follow-up to the death of Cassie: there’s evidence to suggest that Zach has gone off-code and murdered her, so Dex and Hannah track him to a motel in the Keys. He’s able to provide proof that it wasn’t him, though, which suggests that he was framed. By whom? Well, the shock ending would suggest that it might have been Vogel, but I don’t think that it was. Wonder whether we’re ever going to hear more about her husband? Or whether Cassie’s boyfriend is anything more than a red herring?
It’s a pretty good episode, but I was left wanting more, and the subplots aren’t providing it. With only four episodes to go – ever – after this one, Dexter is running out of time if it wants to go out with a bang. This episode, though, was similar to the last two or three: I enjoyed it, but it didn’t bowl me over, and I’m still hoping to be bowled over.
So Hannah (Yvonne Strahovski) is back. This should be a shot of adrenaline for a show which has been jogging along, but in its final season might perhaps be doing a little more. Strangely, though, it actually slows things down a touch, as most of the first half of the episode is devoted to Dexter asking, in voiceover and dialogue, why exactly Hannah has returned to Miami. Despite being an escaped felon she’s hiding in plain sight, admittedly under a new name and with a wealthy and adoring husband in tow, who seems to know – and not care – about her past.
Thing is, Dexter’s still in love with Hannah, and as it turns out she with him, despite Dexter turning her in at the end of season 7. Oh, and her rich, adoring husband is also violent and possessive towards her, and not above hiring a few thugs to give Dexter a going-over. There’s only one place this is leading, and sure enough Mr Hannah’s being dumped overboard before the episode’s out. As it happens I like the Dexter/Hannah dynamic, so on balance I’m glad she’s back, even if Deb isn’t. Deb herself is coping with Elway’s affection for her the only way she knows how – aggressive, ungracious snark – for which she gets called a “fucking bitch” by him. A little misogynist, perhaps, but nonetheless not entirely inaccurate as a summing-up of seven and a half seasons of Deb.
And Dexter and Vogel continue to evolve a kind of uneasy co-parenting arrangement for Zach, Dex’s potential Mini-Me. The boy’s not right, though, and when Dexter’s MILFy neighbour Cassie ends the episode lying in a pool of blood, we’re clearly being invited to conclude that it must have been Zach, which presumably means that it wasn’t. Still jogging along, then.
Season 6 of Dexter was generally acknowledged to have been, at best, something of a let-down, leading to a real feeling that the show itself might have run out of inspiration. The advance word from America on season 7, though, starting in the UK this weekend, is that it represents a startling return to form. Chuck’s Yvonne Strahovski and Jason Gedrick (Murder One, Luck) are bolstering the cast. Depending on other pressures, there may or may not be weekly reviews this time round; the first episode will certainly be covered (tonight, 9pm, FOX UK).
And American TV’s take on the Sherlock Holmes story, Elementary, makes a welcome return to British screens next week. I’m not yet convinced that Lucy Liu is quite working as Watson, but Jonny Lee Miller’s jittery take on Sherlock is endlessly watchable – and, for my money, at least as good as Benedict Cumberbatch’s more languid portrayal in the British equivalent. One of the best procedurals around (Tuesday 26 February, 9pm, Sky Living).