‘Dexter’ Review: “Buck The System”
'Dexter’ season 7 wants you to accept its third episode of the season, as Dexter tries to show his sister the value of his murders when an accused killer lines up his next victim, while Isaak (Ray Stevenson)'s investigation into his associate's death leads him straight to the increasingly unhinged Louis.
Last week’s ‘Dexter’ episode “Sunshine and Frosty Swirl” saw Dexter attempting to navigate his distraught sister through the full extent of his serial killer ways, while Miami Metro continued investigating Detective Mike and a stripper’s death, and Louis worked to make life hell for his one-time idol, so how does “Buck the System” adjust to the new status quo? Will the show be able to survive now that Deb knows (and possibly condones) the truth about Dexter?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Dexter’ season 7 episode 3, “Buck the System”!
Dexter waits in line at the post office, ruminating how trapped he’s felt since Deb began keeping him under constant watch, and fantasizes about slitting the clerk’s throat for closing his line. When Dexter snaps out of it, he mails his package (the hand!) and heads with Deb to the station. There, he has a similar fantasy of killing Masuka for being too chatty.
It all comes to a head when a stubborn crook refuses to cooperate and give Dexter a DNA sample, leading the killer to launch himself across the room and throttle him! Not imagining things this time, Dexter backs off when Deb breaks it up and escorts him outside. He protests that his sister is trying to suppress his murderous instincts rather than control them, which could lead to outbursts like the one she interrupted. Deb agrees to give him more space, but begs Dexter to think to what qualities he might be exposing his son.
Seeking an outlet, Dexter begins investigating an accused killer named Ray Speltzer, believing the man to be close to starting his killing ritual again. Dexter follows him to his gym, observing him with a full head of hair different from his file, while Deb tails her brother to investigate his actions. Back at the station, Quinn returns to his desk to find Nadya (Katia Winter) waiting, inquiring about a bracelet Kaja Soroka would have been wearing at the time of her death. Quinn has no record of the bracelet, though he does manage to score a date with Nadya, who returns to the club to tell George and Isaak that the police don’t know anything. Still, the bracelet contained a GPS chip they might be able to track.
Dexter continues eying Louis at work, when a package arrives for the forensics department. Masuka opens it to find the Ice Truck Killer hand, with a note addressed to Louis saying he sold it online, which causes Masuka to fire him on the spot. Dexter smirks at his victory, while Louis sullenly leaves the station. On the other side of the room, Wayne Randall’s mother arrives to drop off some of Wayne’s personal effects, hoping they might lead to other bodies her son buried 15 years ago.
Dexter pours over the items with Batista, finding nothing of real value, when Quinn announces that their previous Kaja Soroka suspect Tony Rush was found dead. Dexter announces to Deb that he’ll be hitting the gym again that night rather than go home, as Louis arrives at his apartment to find Jamie watching the tape of him with a hooker. He tries to blame Dexter for attempting to ruin his life, but Jamie refuses to believe it and storms out, breaking up with him.
Deb follows Dexter to a bar, believing he lied to her, when Dexter calls her in explaining he’d known she tailed him. Dexter shows her the Speltzer file, and points out the newly-shorn killer chatting up the bartender, believing the shaved head to be preparation for killing. Deb balks at the idea that Dexter would try to get her to accept his murderous ways, but Dexter protests that he takes out the trash where the legal system fails. Dexter believes he can accomplish all that the law would, without letting an additional girl die to charge him with, but Deb insists he not act on his investigation.
Of course, Dexter follows him to his job at the graveyard anyway, observing his apparent lair in an abandoned mausoleum, but gets called away before he can enter. Meanwhile at the Foxhole, Isaak’s IT man traces the locations of Viktor’s bracelet to eight miles offshore, leading Isaak to realize he must have been killed. Elsewhere, Dexter arrives back at the station, admitting his daytime errand to Deb, and extolling the virtues of his “lizard brain” hunches that have been helping Deb for years. Still unwilling to take Dexter’s illegal route, she pours busywork on him while launching an investigation of her own.
On their way to collect a DNA sample from Wayne Randall’s former accomplice Hannah McKay, Dexter and Batista drop by the Foxhole. While Batista questions George about Tony Rush, Dexter finds himself in smalltalk with Isaak himself, both musing that neither are there for the alcohol or the women. Afterward, the pair pay a visit to Hannah McKay (Yvonne Strahovski)’s nursery, who doesn’t wish to aid in their investigation but consents to a DNA sample. Seemingly struck by the woman’s beauty, Dexter fumbles with his cheek swab, and exchanges a bit of guarded flirty banter before departing.
Deb pays a visit to LaGuerta hoping to gain a search warrant on Speltzer’s mausoleum, but lacks the evidence for anything official. LaGuerta only consents to an off-the-books patrol car, despite Deb’s “lizard brain” impulse. Elsewhere, Isaak and George trace the bracelet to Dexter’s boat, only to find Louis aboard looking to sink it. When Isaak threatens to drill out Louis’ eyes, Louis admits to not being Dexter or knowing anything about Viktor’s murder, but gets shot in the head for his trouble anyway. So long, wasted plot-thread.
While Dexter returns to the cemetery, and Deb’s patrol car turns up nothing, Quinn has dinner at Nadya’s house. Before things get to close, Nadya admits that her bosses pressured her to get information out of Quinn, but rather than back away Quinn proposes that they share mutual information with one another for the time being. At the cemetery, Dexter finds proof of Speltzer’s guilt in one of the previous victim’s earrings, but a lack of reception prevents him from sending the image to Deb. By the same token, Dexter doesn’t get Deb’s message that she plans to visit Speltzer’s house herself out of paranoia!
Meanwhile at Speltzer's, the killer makes a drink for his bartender victim, shrugging off the boarded-up nature of his home. Things take a creepy turn rather quickly, as Speltzer jumps on top of the woman, while outside Deb decides to investigate the strobe lights and loud music coming from the house. Dexter finally gets her message, and rushes to protect his sister, while Deb enters the premises to find the bartender being chased through a disturbing maze on the second floor. Investigating with her gun drawn, Deb finds herself attacked by Speltzer, dressed in a minotaur costume, and is nearly killed before the timely intervention of her brother. They find the bartender’s dead body, though Speltzer manages to escape in the confusion.
After calling in the crime scene, the next day Deb stands on the beach lost in thought. She returns to the house, explaining to her brother that his instincts were right, and while she doesn’t condone his murderous lifestyle, she does understand the purpose it serves. What she does question is how Dexter’s blood slides are any different from Speltzer’s earrings, a sign that they enjoy the killing regardless. Both agree that neither of them can change who they are, but for the moment it would be best if Dexter moved back out.
Freed from his cage, Dexter muses that freedom still comes with a cost.
Deb's knowledge of Dexter's dark side once again proves to be a saving grace for the series, charging their interactions with plenty of new life, and asking the deeper moral questions the series has largely skirted around for years. Similarly, "Buck the System" also did away with the weakest plot thread from last season in disposing of Louis, which should open up the story with the Russian crime syndicate plenty. And though she didn't have much to do here, how great was it to see Yvonne Strahovski again? Bring on the next episode!
What about you? Did you get your fill of darkly dangerous ‘Dexter’ drama? What did you think about the episode? Join us next week for another all-new ‘Dexter’ episode recap of “Run” on Showtime!