"Surprise Motherfucker." Tonight's Dexter finale had to be one of the most stressful hours of scripted television I've experienced in a long time. After a season of mounting tension and suspense, we're once again left to wonder where things can possibly go from here. It's at this point that you want to stop reading if you haven't watched the Season 7 finale of Dexter.
There were too many questions. Too many possible scenarios to consider as the episode played out tonight. Would Hannah rat Dexter out? Would LaGuerta finally manage to successfully prove Dexter is the Bay Harbor Butcher? Would Deb's guilt cause her to turn her brother in? Did Hannah really try to kill Deb? Would Hannah escape custody? And if so, would she try to exact revenge on Deb or Dexter? Would everyone make it through the episode alive? Would Batista really retire? Will Harrison ever talk?
All of these questions were answered. In order: No. No. No. Yes. Yes. No/No. No. Yes. Yes.
"Sometimes it only takes a moment to reveal who we really are."
Doakes returned tonight in flashbacks that, in addition to showing us why Doakes was always so creeped out by Dexter, also reminded us of how different everyone's hair was back when Doakes was still around. Doakes caught a whiff of Dexter's Dark Passenger when Dexter showed a bit too much enthusiasm while reenacting the death of a woman, and later when he repeated a phrase used by someone he presumably killed, who was also a suspect in a case Doakes was working on. Just a few little slip-ups, but apparently they were enough for Doakes to see the cracks in Dexter's mask. And after that, he treated Dexter like the creep he always believed he was.
In Season 2, Doakes derailed his career pursuing Dexter and got himself suspended and eventually killed while trying to prove Dexter was the Bay Harbor Butcher. LaGuerta followed in her ex-partner/boyfriend's footsteps in a remarkably similar fashion, right to the end. The episode started with her arresting Dexter for the murder of Hector Estrada. Since we knew Dexter didn't kill Estrada at the end of last week's episode - having figured out at the very last minute that he was being set up - we were left to wonder if Dexter killed Estrada between episodes (seemed unlikely given that he's the guy who killed Dexter's mother, so he's kind of a big deal), or if LaGuerta was mistaken or jumping to conclusions. Turns out, neither... kind of.
Since LaGuerta got Estrada released from prison so that he'd be bait for her to catch Dexter in the act, Dexter turned the tables on her by tricking her into thinking he killed Estrada and using a wallet with her (planted?) fingerprint on it and a forty-year-old piece of evidence (a shirt with Estrada's blood on it) as the evidence LaGuerta would try to use against him. Of course, when Masuka discovered LaGuerta's print on the wallet and the decades-old blood, it only looked like LaGuerta was trying to frame Dexter.
A genius move on Dexter's part. LaGuerta really only had one shot to make this accusation publicly and when she did it, she was being set up to fail and have her credibility go up in smoke by the man she was trying to hunt. Just as Doakes was suspended for his overzealous attempts to prove Dexter was the BHB, it was looking like LaGuerta was headed in that direction.
LaGuerta was down, but she wasn't out. She rallied a bit of support from Tom to keep her job, and she had a warrant for the GPS on Dexter and Deb's phones to prove that they were at the church the night Travis was killed. She also had security footage of Deb filling up a gas can at a station two blocks from the church, courtesy of deceased-Mike, whose widow conveniently sent that over to LaGuerta. I don't love how randomly that video turned up, but we'll let it slide. When you consider that the blood slide found at the scene of Travis' death was what started LaGuerta on this hunt to begin with, it seems only fitting that it should all come back to Travis' murder.
Things going around and coming around has been a theme all season. And what it all came down to tonight was a choice. Well, there was more than one choice. Dexter made a choice to kill LaGuerta, not just to save himself, but to save Deb. When he found the warrants in LaGuerta's house, he knew that not only would she soon have evidence that Dexter was at the church the night Travis died, but also that Deb was with him. If he got caught, she would be caught too. I like to think that Dexter's motives were fueled more by that and that he wasn't just using Deb's future as an excuse to kill LaGuerta. Either way, a line was crossed there. He was going to kill her. That was the plan.