To title an episode “Helter Skelter” is to pack a heck of a lot of significance and general creepery into an episode without doing much. There’s a lot of loaded meaning in the phrase—hello, Charles Manson!—but perhaps only the stage was set for such a coup. Will serial killers take over? Are secrets really that? What’s scarier—love or fear? All these questions (and more!) are presented in tonight’s new episode of Dexter.
Fear and love make you do crazy things, Dexter muses, and it’s true. So many of our characters’ actions tonight were influenced by both fear and love—sometimes even because of a fear OF love. Dexter is afraid he might love Hannah. Deb is afraid of her love for Dexter. Joey Quinn is afraid of what the Koshkas will make him do since they own the woman he loves. And Isaak Sirko? He’s fearful of his imminent death, but not so afraid of love (it’s arguably the one thing about him that makes sense). But does using the nonsensical nature of love excuse some of the nonsense we saw tonight? Only time will tell, but let’s discuss in the meantime.
Isaak is in hiding from the Koshka Brotherhood, who now want him dead—they’re fearful of him and his uncontrollable blood lust for the life of Dexter Morgan. Vengeance is a dirty business when intertwined with human emotions. Oh, how the times have turned! Isaak sets up a plan with a contract killer—but for what? We never find out during this episode, but something tells us that even though Isaak doesn’t end up killing Dexter Morgan, he hasn’t given up his quest for vengeance all that easy. Isaak needs to stay alive for now, though, so he comes to Dexter’s apartment to convince Dex to kill the men out to get him. Isaak is fearful; he will keep Dexter alive in return for killing the two men the Koshkas sent to snuff him out. But when Isaak cannot convince Dexter based on the welfare of his own life to comply, he brings Hannah into the fold: game, on.
When it comes to sibling relations, the Morgans are more f**ked up than the kids from Flowers in the Attic. Deb’s clearly been avoiding Dexter; though we’re not totally sure for how long. Apparently, Dexter thought Deb might have felt that way for awhile? (Say what?) And he thinks it’s OK and makes sense (that she might be in love with him)? It’s logical? Dexter. C’mon now. He compares Deb’s love of him to his love of M&Ms. (Oh Dexy: you’re so overly-logical, it’s offensive.) But now, thanks to Hannah McKay and Isaak Sirko, he almost has a slight understanding of human emotions—at least a little bit. “You and I…we endure,” he explains to Deb, attempting to quell her apprehensions over her confession. “Maybe that’s what love is: endurance. Of course you think you’re in love with me. … It’s logical. … You’re not crazy.” Yeah, coming from a serial killer, though? Those words hold slightly less weight.
Now that the tables have turned and Isaak Sirko is working with Dexter rather than against him, we finally get to see a few dead bodies. It feels like we haven’t seen one of those in awhile (even though that’s not true)! But it seems like what Isaak really wants is to understand, is the realDexter Morgan—which, is no small feat considering the man barely has a grasp on that himself.
While Hannah is doing her best impression of Black Snake Moan, Dexter is getting the nth degree from Isaak: “Why are you a killer?” Dexter cooly responds to Isaak’s inquiries regarding why he kills (it’s not a badge of honor with him) with a very logical statement: “my needs are different.” Want more than that? Don’t worry, Isaak, because if anything happens to Hannah McKay, you’ll be the first to find out. Otherwise, you can just forget it. The man is an emotional iron curtain.
So now that Dexter is working with Isaak Sirko, the two hitmen out to get him are obviously toast. Never cross a serial killer’s path, my dudes: this is your already-probably-pretty-obvious fair warning. Taking out the first hitman (Mickic) at the shooting range, and luring Caffrey to a Koshka boat for his death sentence, the kills in this episode were decidedly very un-Dexter—as these things have recently become over the past few episodes. Gone are the days of plastic wrap and body dismemberment. Dexter’s killing this go-around is all about leaving evidence—evidence that will keep him (or rather, the Bay Harbor Butcher?) from being attached to the crime scenes. It’s a pretty scary game you’re playing, Dexter.
…Which is a great way to segue to LaGuerta’s investigation into the Bay Harbor Butcher, and her theories that he’s still alive. She meets up with former police Captain Tom Matthews to prove what she already (at least subconciously) knows: her list of suspects should be a heck of a lot shorter. At first, Matthews is all “ha ha, that’s cute. I’m not helping you with anything!” but seeing an opportunity to bolster his campaign to get his 40-years-in-the-making pension back, he later agrees to help LaGuerta out. “That little list of yours? You’d be surprised about what i know about some of the names on it,” Matthews explains. Oh snap, does he know that Dexter is a killer? Or is everyone at Miami Metro just a generally horrible person hiding all sorts of sordid secrets? Is that the big secret twist of this show? We’ll have to wait and see! But seriously, LaGuerta knows that Dexter is the Bay Harbor Butcher. It’s just a matter of time before this all explodes. It just sucks that we have to wait so long!
Ultimately, the episode wraps itself up quite neatly—tooneatly, if you ask me, but who is?—because Hannah ends up escaping Jurg’s clutches: thanks to Deb’s snooping at the behest of Dexter. Quinn lives to outrun the Koshkas another day. Deb has kept Dexter’s love and his secret alive and well. And LaGuerta has signed herself up for help from Matthews.
The biggest shocker of them all though? The death of Isaak Sirko. Yep, that’s right! After all that—all the hitmen, all the treachery, all the work: for naught. George, shortly after Caffrey is killed, shows up on the boat and kills Isaak himself. (Never send an amateur to do a real man’s job!) And instead of asking Dexter for medical help, he asks for the one thing that Dexter can give him that no one else can: a chance to rest in peace alongside his lover, Viktor. Dexter obliges in what was probably the nicest thing he’s ever done. Wow, maybe these human emotions arehaving an effect on Dex.
The relationship between Isaak and Dexter has arguably been one of the most enriching and expounding ones we’ve seen in the series. Finally, we see Dexter being pushed in a more human direction—Isaak was always insistent on asking the questions that other people wouldn’t. “Death has always calmed me. … It’s predictable,” Dexter explains when asked why he kills. “I feel like I don’t have any control, and I don’t know if I want to move on,” Isaak explains when Dexter questions him right back. “Was it worth it? those feelings for him that cost you everything?” Dex inquires. Of course, Isaak explains: “I never had to hide. I was finally…” “…alive.” Isaak, in a glimmering moment of possibility for our serial killer, says what others have long only dreamed of: “There’s hope for you yet.” If anyone’s taught him anything, it’s not Hannah McKay or Deb, it’s Isaak Sirko. The two really were peas in a pod. It’ll be interesting to see what Dexter does with his lifetime’s worth of realizations now that Isaak is gone.
“Maybe you can be fine with being the cause of someone else’s death but I can’t,” Deb declares. “That’s not who I am.” She is, of course, talking to Hannah McKay in a moment that was probably supposed to show a shift in Deb (her whole “I’m going to do things for myself rather than Dexter” schpeal was just not at all believable). The biggest emotional revelation? Dexter’s acceptance of the chaos over logic when it comes to human emotions. While visiting a recovering Hannah, he snuggles in close (yes, Dexter actually SNUGGLED another human being) and says “…maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be. Out of my control” he says. “All I know is that when I’m with you I feel…safe.” Only a serial killer could find solace and safety in another serial killer!
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let us know in the comments!
[Photo Credit: Showtime]
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