‘Dexter’ Review: “Helter Skelter”
‘Dexter’ season 7 forms an uneasy alliance with its ninth episode of the season, as Isaak (Ray Stevenson) kidnaps Hannah to enlist Dexter's help in fending off Koshka assasins, while Deb wrestles with helping her brother, LaGuerta enlists a familiar face in her investigation, and Quinn's tension with George (Jason Gedrick) erupts.
Last week’s ‘Dexter’ episode “Argentina” saw Dexter’s attempt to sway Deb from targeting Hannah McKay revealing a shocking confession, while Isaak plotted his revenge on Dexter, only to find himself a target as well. So how does “Helter Skelter” deal with Deb's shocking confession?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Dexter’ season 7 episode 9, “Helter Skelter!”
Musing on the similarities of fear and love, Dexter takes an uncomfortable Hannah out on his boat, who professes not to be fond of the water after her father threw her in a lake to teach her to swim. She asks Dexter if he’d ever felt such fear, but the conversation is interrupted by a call from work. Elsewhere, Isaak learns that two trained killers Oleg and Caffrey are on his case, and won’t relent despite their past loyalty to him.
At his apartment, Dexter finds himself visited by Isaak looking for help in overcoming the two killers, but Dexter declines the offer even if it settles their vendetta. Unsure of what to do with the prospect, Dexter heads to the crime scene of a strange car arson, trading barbs with the off-putting arson investigator who believes the death to be a suicide. Dexter also tries to comfort Deb over her confession, assuring her that her feelings are completely logical and understandable, though he ruins the moment by answering a text from Hannah.
Expecting to find Hannah, Dexter returns home to find Isaak waiting for him, claiming that he’s had Jurg take Hannah into custody to secure Dexter’s help. Dexter bluffs at first, brandishing a knife to Isaak’s throat, but ultimately agrees to help rather than risk hurting Hannah. Isaak preps him that Oleg tends to favor kills with a sniper rifle, one he usually tests locally first, while the other Caffrey usually goes in for up close kills. Surprised at how calmly Dexter adapts to the situation, Isaak wonders aloud what type of killer Dexter really is.
At her apartment, Dexter begs his sister to call off the patrols on Isaak, explaining that they’re working together to save both his and Hannah’s lives. Deb reminds Dexter that he doesn’t have to save her, reluctantly agreeing to pull the patrols and help track down Jurg. Deb laments that their relationship used to be much simpler, but stresses that her brother shouldn’t expect her to be okay with the requests.
Elsewhere, LaGuerta pays a visit to a retired Tom Matthews (Geoff Pierce), who scoffs at her request for aid in investigating the Bay Harbor Butcher resurgence. Much more pressing is Dexter’s visit to a firing range alongside the killer Oleg, who finds a knife covertly shoved into his sternum in between firing rounds. Dexter informs Isaak of his success, adding that Caffrey will likely track him down, and offering himself up as bait. Dexter next meets with Deb for an update on Jurg’s whereabouts, as Deb gently presses as his sister that he’ll never be entirely safe with a killer like Hannah.
Back at Isaak’s Dexter chats with Hannah one more time over face-chat, covertly snapping a picture of her surroundings and mailing it to himself. Dexter’s flat reaction to Hannah’s “I miss you” arouses Isaak’s curiosity, questioning his attachment to her after the call. Incensed by Dexter’s reply, Isaak puts a gun to Dexter, as Dexter muses that Isaak secretly blames himself for Viktor’s death by putting his lover in harm’s way. Shaken by the thought, Isaak backs down and sheds a tear.
While across town George decides to vent his frustration over Quinn by taking advantage of Nadia, Dexter wonders with Ghost Harry if his own feelings for Hannah make him just as unstable as Isaak. As Dexter notes a Colombian player-signed soccer ball in the background of his conversation with Hannah, he realizes that Jurg must have her holed up in one of the dead Colombian shoot-out victim's homes. Before he can follow up, Batista interrupts with news of another arson killing.
Dexter observes Caffrey watching him at the parking lot elevator scene, while the bizarre arson investigator rules the scene not to have been a suicide. Noticing a footprint, Dexter closes himself in the elevator with the investigator, observing burn-free marks on the door where the perpetrator must have stood with a fire-proof suit. Also spying the name “Bobby” scrawled in the ash, Dexter leaves the scene to Masuka, and departs with Caffrey in pursuit.
Caffrey calls in to George that Dexter appears to be heading toward a shipyard, when Quinn shows up at the club to see Nadia. Learning of George’s actions, Quinn confronts the man, throwing him through a window and beating him mercilessly, before departing with Nadia. Meanwhile, Hannah convinces Jurg to pick some nearby tomatoes, so that they might have some proper food.
With Deb having picked up Jurg’s location, Dexter leads Caffrey onto the boat, allowing Isaak to get the drop on him and shoot the assassin. Impressed by Isaak’s adherence to his word, they dispose of the body and their weapons, but George appears on the scene and shoots Isaak in the stomach before fleeing. George believes he won’t survive the wound, and asks a favor of Dexter.
Tom Matthews finds LaGuerta, and agrees to share his knowledge of the names on her Miami Metro investigation list, in exchange for reinstatement long enough to claim his pension. Elsewhere, Jurg doubles over from Hannah’s overly spicy tomatoes, allowing her to get the drop on him long enough to knock him out. Hannah sustains a minor stab wound in the scuffle, causing her to pass out shy of reaching the key to free herself. Shortly after, Deb finds the scene, and reluctantly calls it in rather than let an unconscious Hannah die.
Out in the middle of the ocean where Dexter had dropped Viktor, Isaak lies on the boat slowly bleeding out. He encourages Dexter to embrace his feelings for Hannah, in spite of his reservations, much the way Isaak’s relationship with Viktor made him feel more alive than he’d ever been. Believing there to be hope for Dexter yet, Isaak finally dies, and Dexter resolves to make sure Isaak has his vengeance.
Over at the hospital, Deb and Hannah taunt one another over the circumstances of her rescue, Deb admitting not to want responsibility for anyone else’s death. Dexter shows up, assuring his sister the Isaak business has been taken care of, and admitting to Hannah he’d been truly scared twice in his life: first with her mother’s death, and second with the thought of losing her. Dexter curls up beside her, admitting his uncertainty over their relationship, and professing to feel safe with her, though the expression on Hannah’s face seems more worried than comforted.
Well, that certainly throws a wrench into the remainder of the season, doesn't it? We admitted last week to our uncertainty that the Hannah and Isaak threads could successfully dovetail, but now that Isaak himself is out of the picture, what are we left with? Will the "Phantom Arsonist" turn out to be an imposing villain? Will Dexter next take on George, or even LaGuerta? Don't get us wrong, 'Dexter' has definitely earned back some credit over the season, but the episodes after "Helter Skelter" will have us very nervous.
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 “The Dark...Whatever” on Showtime!