Dexter "Swim Deep" Review: "Ignorance Is Bliss"

Dexter S7E05: “Swim Deep”

How far is too far? That was the question on Deb’s mind throughout “Swim Deep,” an episode that was probably the weakest of Dexter’s still-young seventh season, but one that still had a number of quality elements within it.

All season long, Deb has been faced with choices. Does she turn Dexter in or not? Does she rationally listen to him? Can she trust him? And after the events of last week’s episode, most notably the dispatching of that monster Speltzer: How far is too far for her? Is she willing to actively support Dexter’s habit, and if so, what does that mean for her? He claimed at the end of “Run” that it means she’s human, but I wondered if Deb would ultimately feel the same way.

To its credit, “Swim Deep” took the long way to answering this big question by having Deb behave in a way that would suggest that she is very willing to actively assist Dexter in meaningful ways, but ultimately she came to the conclusion that, based on last week’s poll and comments, many of you assumed she would come to: She just can’t do this, probably at all. Rehab wasn’t the answer. Honesty hasn’t been that helpful. Using Dexter’s skills to catch killers didn’t quite work out. In this episode, Deb found herself fully roped into one of the big parts of Dexter’s process: covering up tracks. Messing up the Travis crime scene was one thing but here, Deb learned how much of a continual struggle it is to be Dexter, how much it really takes to make sure no one (else) finds out about his secret, even if that means lying to friends and colleagues alike.

This all manifested when LaGuerta’s blood-slide crusade rose to the next level. She’d (somehow) done some real police work and come up with a profile of dead or missing folks who fit the profile of the Bay Harbor Butcher (i.e. generally terrible people) and once Deb caught wind of this and realized that three of the people in the profile were Dexter victims, the fairly substantial breakdown we’ve been waiting for commenced. Deb took charge of the investigation, but not before stepping into the elevator shaking and cursing up a storm (I particularly liked “motherf*cking suckbag”). Dexter’s laissez-faire attitude about these to-him cold cases only exacerbated Deb’s frustration, which was then only compounded further once he told her that oh by the way, he actually did kill Viktor and the suicide scene they discovered last week was indeed faked.

It’s safe to say that Deb received a great amount of terrible news in this episode. But unlike in the past, when she would have drank or sexed or both’d her way to numbness, Deb pulled it together to throw LaGuerta off Dexter’s scent while letting him take care of the ever-dangerous Isaac problem. Of course, she held up her end of the deal by finding and hiding a photograph that could implicate Dexter in a past murder, only to discover that Dexter’s plan to trap Isaac in enemy drug dealer territory had gone terribly awry. On top of that, Deb was forced to lie to Batista when he suggested that the suicide didn’t feel right. Woman can’t catch a break.

And thus, by the end of “Swim Deep,” Deb had simply—but calmly—had enough. She’s grown to see some of the value in Dexter’s process thanks to the terrifying hands-on experience with Spetlzer, but she can’t live with the lies and the constant fear of being caught. So this week, denial was the answer. While Deb won’t be able to stop Dexter, she can stop asking about it. It’s simply too much.

I don’t want to beat a dead horse or anything, but this progression makes a good amount of sense to me. In five weeks, Deb has gone through the whole gamut of emotions, yet also been privy to the full “Dexter Morgan Extracurricular Experience.” She seen him kill, she’s covered it up, she’s been paranoid, she’s lied to friends, she’s been in danger, and she’s destroyed evidence. Those are basically the six steps Dexter is always dealing with, in some order. And while denial might have been a more immature response initially, coming to that conclusion now is measured and complex. Deb loves her brother too much to put him away, knows him well enough to see she can’t stop him, but is ultimately cognizant of her own limitations with handling it all.

This is what she needs to sleep on—at least for now. This story is obviously not over. Deb can be in denial as much as she wants, but she cannot un-know what she knows. And eventually, her knowledge is bound to put her in a sticky spot.

I said at the start of this review that "Swim Deep" was probably the weakest episode of the season so far, and that mostly stems from the rest of the episode not directly involving the still-great Deb and Dexter tension. The other stories developed in a very typical Dexter-like fashion, which isn’t overly problematic, but certainly places this episode on a lower rung of quality than the previous four, which were more focused on the Morgans.

The two primary things I’m referring to are Dexter’s simultaneous cat-and-mouse games with Isaac and Hannah. I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised that he and Isaac started directly engaging with one another so quickly. It’s quite nice when the show doesn’t wait until the eighth or ninth episode to get Dexter and the season’s villain facing off, and Isaac continues to be a formidable—if somewhat bland—foe. The crime-scene reconstruction sequence, with Dexter explaining how Isaac got out of the situation he'd planned cross-cut with Isaac doing those things, worked well. And having Isaac get legitimately and honestly arrested for murder this early expedites the show’s usual rhythms in a way that could be compelling in the future. Still though, Dexter being outsmarted by someone he underestimated and those half-cocked “chase” sequences between he and the villain were not new.

Similarly, the revelation that Hannah actually played an active role in the killing spree with Wayne wasn’t much of a revelation at all; the show wouldn’t have hinted at such an intense attraction between Hannah and Dexter if she were an innocent victim. The predictability of that news didn’t mitigate my enjoyment of those scenes, though. With truth out on the table, there’s a charged, creepy openness to Dexter and Hannah’s conversations that's damn compelling. And again, Yvonne Strahovski and Michael C. Hall are good together. Though I’m beginning to realize that Yvonne has chemistry with everyone and everything on the planet.

Plus, much like the Isaac story, the familiar beats in this episode set up what should be more interesting stuff later, especially considering that Dexter outwardly lied to Deb about Hannah’s role in those old crimes. Uh-oh. The threads are starting to weave together, and as long as the writers don’t forget about the great character work that brought the show back from the brink of pure crap, Dexter will be just fine.



NOTES


– The Koshak crew is trying to pay Quinn off, like they used to. I don’t care. You don’t care.

– Although I think the show is mostly just screwing with us now, Dexter taking his shirt off in the hotel room with Deb made me a little queasy. Didn’t help that Deb followed that up by calling him her hero (past-tense or not).


Comments (49)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
I liked the "f*cking McNugget" definitely the best one.
Reply
Flag
Wow, Deb played it so cool when LaGuerta told her about the blood slide that I wondered if she hadn't put two and two together- that Dex is the Bay Harbor Butcher and that LaGuerta's on to him! However she made up for this coolness by being totally suspicious at the kid's house looking through the pics. Girl needs to learn how to lie better, but I guess that's one of the main differences between her and Dexter.

I'm still not sure if Dexter is saving Hannah for his own vigilante justice, or if he's protecting her because he LIKE likes her.

And I'm honestly liking this new LaGuerta, who's semi-competent and possibly a real threat to Dexter this season! Obvs she'll have to go once she figures it out, but the ride should be fun :D

And, am I the only one who thought Quinn was gonna get whacked this episode? Oh well, maybe the next one.
Reply
Flag
I always thought that Deb was the most annoying character in Dexter.. far beyond LaGuerta.. And now i have a season dedicated to her insane behavior.. mmm... The end is indeed comming.. Dexter isn't as charming as he use to be.. now i wanna see him lose.. maybe that's the point of this season.. that the people want to let go the monster.
Reply
Flag
I'm actually hoping that Dexter and Hannah's cat and mouse game stays purely about the murders and that they don't start having mad sex along the way. She might not be as obviously crazy as Layla, but the "Dexter finds a psycho soulmate and gets it on before he realizes that it's not going to work" thing has been done already. We all know how it ends. It was good at the time but I don't want to watch it again.

Love her character and Yvonne Strahovski though.
Reply
Flag
Loved the episode and look forward to how the season unfolds!
Reply
Flag
I completelyy enjoyed Dexter finding the blood on his boat, finding out it was his former almost-foe, figuring out it was probably Isaac, contacting Isaac directly about it, setting Isaac up at Isaac's enemies' bar, handcuffed Isaac's nod to Deb MORGAN and staring down Dex at the precinct, THEN Dex+Isaac's conversation at jail. You found all this weak?

I also enjoyed Dex's detecting skills figuring out it was probably Hannah that killed the lady, yet not exposing her. Then his internal dialog about how he should take Hannah out because she's a monster he's supposed to kill, yet Dexter is drawn to lady killers that happen to be very hot. Plus she's figuring this out, and how to draw him into her next killing-partner. Pretty decent episode IMO.
Reply
Flag
I disagree with your view that this has been the weakest episode so far. I personally think this was just as strong as the other episodes. It may not have focused as much on Dex and Deb, but it compensated with something going wrong repeatedly, and that I think, just set up the next episodes quite well, as there are only so many problems Dex can handle before he slips up and the shit really hits the fan, as we have seen.
Reply
Flag
Weakest episode so far of S7. Oh and the sexual tension between Hannah and Dexter is too much, they should go out, kill a few people, have mad sex and be done with it.
Reply
Flag
Of course that "Terminator" crime scene reconstruction worked -- at best it paid homage to and at worst it stole from the "Firefight" scene in the Boondock Saints that is perhaps the most epic sequence in the history of cinema!
Reply
Flag
Isaac killed all those Colombians like a true gladiator!
Reply
Flag
I will never forget his stand against the gladiators in "Rome". 13th! 13th!
Reply
Flag
Another great episode, and I felt Dex/Deb interactions were at their best tonight. I'm so glad the writers didn't disappoint with that aspect, which is the core that holds the show together. I have to say, Isaak Sirko (Ray Stevenson) has been this season's biggest surprise. He could of just been another bland foe like Travis, but Ray is really killing it and is making the character more compelling than the writing requires. I'm looking forward to how Dexter handles Hannah and Isaak, and I haven't looked forward to anything like that since the glory days of Trinity.
Reply
Flag
Weak? Weak?? Wow you have a personal vendetta against Dexter...it is very obvious
Reply
Flag
I learned a new word: Fuck nugget.

Thanks, Dexter - Sunday evening's educational program.
Reply
Flag
Deb is priceless.

Some of my favorites:

Fuck my ears both!

Baby Jesus on a fucking cracker!
Reply
Flag
I'm thinking LaGuerta could be a good sense of tension (maybe just background noise to the more impending doom of Isaac). Maybe she gets too close to the situation and ends up in peril... that would just be a bonus seeing as I dislike LaGuerta's character at this point. Judging by Dexter's history (good girl, bad girl, "good" mostly damaged girl) maybe it's time for a bad mostly damaging girl in his life. It'd be a little nice if she were a good thing for him, maybe understand his dark passenger while still caring for him, but it's hard to tell if that's a realistic ideal.
Reply
Flag
Is Isaac really going to stay in jail for the rest of the series? Doesn't seem likely. So is Dexter just going to say that the blood test was inconclusive or something? (That would be as believable as an iPhone app that can turn the touchscreen into a fingerprint scanner).
Reply
Flag
Plus Dexter might not want him in jail at all, think of all the unfortunate secrets he could share with the police!
Reply
Flag
I'm thinking his lawyer is going to get him out on a technicality/someone's going to take the blame somehow/there's going to be an evidence screw-up/legal mumbo-jumbo. The second I saw him walk in in cuffs with his lawyer looking at down at everyone, I thought "yeah, that's not going to last".
Reply
Flag
Don't forget that Dexter already killed a man in the "system". Maybe he can arrange a transport or something ...

Maybe Isaac escapes? Anyhow, I don't think he's going to stay in prison too.
Reply
Flag
We know that Dexter is finishing with season 8 and that the writers have story plans to cover both seasons 7 & 8. And as Micheal Hall said on previous interviews there is no way they can end the show that lets Dexter get away with what he's done.



As Isaac is patient man, maybe the next we see him is the last scene of the last episode in season 8 where gets his revenge on Dexter.
Reply
Flag
Great review! I thought the elevator scene of Deb cursing was hilarious. One thing though, don't they record or at least have some sort of surveillance with visits in jail? I mean, people would start asking questions on why Dex was there, or at least hear the conversation if it's recorded or something. I loved the facial expressions of Isaak and Dexter, Dexter was flinching the whole time, pulling his eyebrow or whatever and Isaak was dead calm.

This episode was needed to let things come together. I think these episodes will be the quiet before the (shit) storm. It was also needed for Deb to realize that she couldn't deal with it. She's great in this season.
Reply
Flag
I was thinking that about jail to, but from what I've seen on TV its unclear. Some shows say that all jail conversations are monitored and other shows say you need a warrant in order to record the conversation. So unless otherwise indicated I guess in DEXTER they would need a warrant.
Reply
Flag
Can Dexter & Deb get together already!
Reply
Flag
I liked this episode a lot, though I agree that it wasn't quite the first four. Everything is starting to shape up. Batista is going to gang up with LaGuerta against the Morgans. Sarah (sorry, Hannah) is clearly evil herself, too, and will begin a dance with Dexter. Deb is stepping back for now from Dex. And Isaac is gearing up for a monster show-down, even from jail.

As for the motel scene with Deb and Dex, I think that every line of dialogue and every action (including the shirt thing) were very intentionally chosen and well done. Bringing together Deb's thoughts from her childhood to the feelings she had during last season to the realizations that have come this season. I love it.
Reply
Flag
I really liked this episode, and I'm not sure if I'd say it was the worst of the season. It very well could be, though, because despite liking this episode a lot, this season has been great so far. As much as I enjoy character work -- and I'm loving the Dex-Deb dynamic -- I also really enjoy plot so I liked how much of it progressed in this episode. There are no secrets between Dex and the danger around him anymore. He and Isaak (spelled with a K, not a C) confronting one another was great, as was Dex basically telling Hannah that he was on to her. He even found out about LaGuerta looking into the BHB. Having multiple threats at the same time, and Dex knowing about all of them, is a fun plot to watch.

My assumption, at the moment, is that eventually two or more of these "dangers" to Dex will connect or confront each other in some way. Maybe Dex will start hanging out with Hannah a little more, and one of Isaak's killers will think they're a couple and try to kill her... and she'll kill him... or something. The good thing about the plot this season is that I'm not sure where it's going, whereas last season, I (and many others) saw the Travis-Gellar twist coming only a few episodes into the season.

"Though I'm beginning to realize that Yvonne has chemistry with everyone and everything on the planet."

I'm interested in this hypothesis and I propose that you use your TV.com credentials to get her to meet me to prove it. If she can have great chemistry with me -- considering I'll probably stammer and sweat and slobber all over her -- she can have great chemistry with anyone or anything.
More+
1
Reply
Flag
I was thinking the same thing, that they would think Hannah and Dex are a couple and try to kill her or something.
Reply
Flag
Even though Dexter is lying to Deb about Hannah he really isn't going back on his word to her about a case. Hannah was given immunity for anything she did with her ex so even if he told Deb about Hannah's part in the murder there's nothing the police can do about it. Even if Dex want's to make her pay for the past (right now) it'll be interesting to see if maybe he sees her later as a kindred murderous spirit and lets her live. Personally I'd like to see Yvonne stick around for awhile.

Reply
Flag
I'm enjoying this season so far, and I think it has to do with how the peripheral characters are being used. In the past, worst times of Dexter, the supporting characters have had too much screen time to go off on their own tangents with boring storylines. This season, though, I'm happy to see that the other characters' arcs are woven into the main storyline. This, in my opinion, makes for a much stronger show.
Reply
Flag
The look of sheer terror in Dex's eyes in his one-on-one scene with Isaac. #Priceless
Reply
Flag
Shouldn't LaGuerta be an option in the poll?
Reply
Flag
she doesn't even deserve to be on any list! no but seriously who likes her.
Reply
Flag
Staff
That's a funny joke.
Reply
Flag
I see. Leaving her off the list was *your* joke. That wasn't really clear until now.

I see your point though. The worst thing in this episode was the scene where Deb suggested that since there were like twenty photos, they shouldn't start looking at them right away...and LaGuerta thought that was a *great* idea. What the hell was that? If she was curious enough to go to that house in the first place, wouldn't she at least be curious enough want to take a quick look just to see if she can recognize someone immediately? No, of course not, because she's LaGuerta, the only fictional person who makes Clancy Wiggum look like a good detective.
Reply
Flag
I think a lot of us are so used to her incompetence that we just expect her to fail.
Reply
Flag
The only thing I disagree with is that it was the weakest episode so far. This episode really got the engine running on all eight cylinders. And Issak is a great villian. Even Quinn's part is somewhat interesting in that his shady character will play an important part in the plot I believe. And it wasn't a fake suicide, it was a coerced suicide, which in this case is really quite irrelevant since both Deb and Dex know it and why. What was Angel hoping to prove? That the missing Victor did it? Too Late Angel, nobody cares and that's precisely what Deb told him which wasn't a lie. Deb will come around by season's end, she's too tough not to. Oh, and Dex doesn't have the hots for Yvonne, he wants to kill her which is quite in character for him. Apparently her irrestible wiles have no effect on the souless. That, or Dex has scruples. What a great ride so far...
Reply
Flag
Staff
I think I just enjoy the Deb-Dexter stuff more than anything else (which I've made clear). This one had more traditional Dexter "plot stuff," which WAS good, but did take away from the part of the show I like best.
Reply
Flag
I completely agree with everyhting in this review. Great insight.

Deb coming to the conclusion to have a "what I don't know won't hurt me" attitude is a natural progression of her character arc this season and it allows the show to breath a little going forward. That being said, Deb's knowledge will always be in the background, lurking, until it is somehow brought to the surface. This allows for all their scenes together in future episodes to have tension (that hotel room scene, there was all different kinds of tension).

Also, this was indeed the weakest episode of the season, but it was still very good. Just goes to show how awesome the season has been so far.

Other thoughts:

I like that Deb brought up that Dex should only be killing those who "slip through the cracks" and that she questioned Dexter's procedure, pointing out that he could have been seen even though he "knows" he wasn't. In my opinion this was the writers realizing their mistakes and acknowleding them. There has been a lot of discussion (on this site and others) about how Dexter never used to stop police investigations and in the last several seasons he has. There has also been discussion about how Dexter used to be so cautious and careful, and in the last several seasons has taken more and more risks and at times been very sloppy. Whether the writers knew that they were changing Dexter's killing procedure or not, they realized what was going on and made it part of the show through Deb. I appreciate the acknowledgment, I just wish the writers were more self aware when the changes were happening (unless of course it was planned, in which case, why?). That all being said, doesn't look like Dexter learned his lesson though, as he did keep Hannah a secret...lol.

Looks like Hannah is a serial killer, very interesting. Has DEXTER explored a female serial killer before? I don't think they have...Yvonne was awesome as usual; she and Hall had good chemistry (Yvonne tho, could have great chemistry with a pylon).

I would like to think Dexter would have been worried that Issack could talk to the cops about him, but Issack is a killer in his own right and as their last scene together indicated, Issack wants to take care of Dexter himself...so no need to tell the cops anything. Looks like Issack and Dexter are going to play a game and I for one am willing to go along for the ride.

Bring on the next episode

O and how cool was the scene where Dexter was describing how Issack killed those guys. Great directing and editing.
More+
Reply
Flag
Jennifer Carpenter is better than i ever thought possible this season! she's on track for an emmy nomination IMO!
Reply
Flag
She should win the whole thing, but the fact that she hasn't been nominated for any of the previous 6 seasons suggests that she won't be. The people choosing the Emmy nominations suck.
Reply
Flag
Yup, same people nominated every year.
Reply
Flag
LaGuerta's the only real threat.
Reply
Flag
I know, LaGuerta is weird, but didn't you think she was especially weird when visiting the witness with Deb? I mean Dokes told LaGuerta about his suspicions towards Dexter, right? Did she agree on Deb taking the pics because she already sat down with THE MOM EARLIER and saw the pictures? She might assume that Debra is in it too, then.
Reply
Flag
That whole scene was weird, and Deb was being super suspicious! If LaGuerta were a fully competent detective she might have been setting Deb up, but it's LaGuerta, so I'm not so sure that's what was happening.
Reply
Flag
BTW, Hannah being revealed is actually not that predictable, because I've seen a lot of people who believed her story about being innocent.
Reply
Flag
Well, Yvonne has chemistry with almost everyone....cough...Brandon Routh...cough.
Reply
Flag
BTW Brandon Routh's wive was on Dexter, season 4.
Reply
Flag
Trinity's daughter!
Reply
Flag
LOL, I was just about to post this.
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook