‘Dexter’ Season Finale Review: “Surprise, Motherf—er!”
‘Dexter’ season 7 comes to a bloody end with its twelfth and final episode of the season, “Surprise, Motherf---er,” as Dexter comes to a difficult decision how to end his conflict with LaGuerta, while Deb struggles with a difficult decision of her own, and Hannah makes a mysterious play from within police custody.
Last week’s ‘Dexter’ episode “Do You See What I See” saw Dexter given an opportunity to kill one of the men who murdered his mother, while Deb found deadly consequences in pursuit of a lead that could put Hannah (Yvonne Strahovski) away, and LaGuerta stepped up her investigation of the Bay Harbor Butcher. So how does “Surprise, Motherf---er” close out the seventh season?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Dexter’ season 7 finale, “Surprise, Motherf---er!”
Dexter visits Hannah in prison, partly to explain his actions, and partly to express how much he misses her. Hannah admits to attempting to poison Deb, given that she’d never have allowed them to be together, but insists she’ll still keep Dexter’s secret. Hannah puts forth that they could still run away together, if Sal Price’s pen were to disappear, but he asserts that they could never fully trust one another. The two share a kiss, Hannah drawing blood from Dexter’s lip, and part ways. Immediately after however, she places a call to Arlene Schram, and asks for a favor.
Over at Dexter’s apartment a knock at the door interrupts playtime with Harrison, revealing LaGuerta flanked by a number of officers. Charging him with the murder of Hector Estrada, LaGuerta takes Dexter into custody, and leads him back to the station. The other officers, Deb included, all express their outrage at LaGuerta’s actions.
During the interrogation, LaGuerta reveals that she has photographs of Dexter disposing of Hector’s body, dumping trash bags that contain a bloody shirt and Estrada’s wallet. Still denying everything, Dexter chides LaGuerta for her inability to see that Doakes was the Bay Harbor Butcher, when Masuka enters with news. Not only was the bloody shirt part of missing evidence collected from an arrest years prior, but the wallet had only one fingerprint: LaGuerta’s. In spite of LaGuerta’s protests, Dexter is released.
Admitting defeat, LaGuerta confronts Dexter alone in the elevator, and the mention of James sends Dexter into a flashback of his days with Doakes. Doakes requests Dexter’s analysis of a recent murder, until being called away by LaGuerta. LaGuerta hands back a key to his apartment, as Dexter watches. Back in the present, Angel pulls LaGuerta aside to tell her how bad her actions have made her look, especially pushing for Hector Estrada’s release in the first place.
Later that night, Deb pays Dexter a visit to discuss his actions setting up LaGuerta, as well as Hannah’s upcoming trial. Dexter insists that Hannah won’t turn him in given their relationship. Once Deb leaves, Ghost Harry reminds Dexter that he still needs to take care of Estrada before he gets caught.
The next day, Dexter pays a visit to Estrada’s wife, still loyal after many years, who denies having seen him. The encounter sends Dexter into another memory of he and Doakes at a crime scene, where his enthusiasm for describing the kill first clued Doakes in that something was off about him. Back in the present, Dexter waits as Estrada’s wife leaves her apartment and drives off.
Tom pays LaGuerta a visit, reminding her of how bad the situation with Dexter looks. She asks for his help to keep her job, positing that she simply got carried away with her work, and Tom agrees to see what he can do.
Elsewhere, Deb confronts Hannah before the hearing, and Hannah wryly intimates how much of a hypocrite Deb has become for putting her away, but not her brother. During the actual trial, Hannah enters her plea of not guilty, and the judge demands she be held without bail. Arlene Schram breaks down in the audience, and embraces Hannah as she’s led away, covertly slipping something into her hand.
Back at the station, Angel advises LaGuerta to come to his retirement/New Years party and make a public showing of apology to Dexter. She agrees reluctantly, and continues opening neglected past mail. Meanwhile, Hannah begins convulsing in her prisoner transport, and ends up rushed to the hospital.
LaGuerta calls Deb in to issue an apology, but also to clarify some points about Travis Marshall’s murder, and the subsequent church fire. Deb explains that she wasn’t present for Dexter’s final sweep of the church, until LaGuerta reveals surveillance footage mailed to her by Mike Anderson’s widow. The footage clearly shows Deb at a gas station near to the church filling up several cans, shortly before the fire began. Deb quickly fumbles through excuses, but LaGuerta agrees to table the matter for the moment.
Meanwhile, having followed Estrada’s wife to the park, Dexter watches as Estrada arrives to pick up some supplies, and pays some kids to get Estrada out in the open enough to be drugged, and shoved into his car. Before he can complete the act, Deb calls a meeting to bring him up to speed on the LaGuerta situation, and he assures her he’ll find a way to fix it. Meanwhile at the hospital, the doctors who treated Hannah return to her bed to find she’s escaped.
Searching through LaGuerta’s home, Dex finds warrants for phone GPS records that would definitively place him and Deb at the site of the church burning. Ghost Harry argues that he should flee with Deb and Harrison, but Dexter has grown too comfortable in his “fake” life to leave it behind. Harry objects to the idea of killing an innocent like LaGuerta, sending Dexter into another memory of Doakes. Dexter remembers how Doakes once saw right through his false, happy persona, realizing it was a mistake to pretend to be human.
Dexter has a bound Estrada call LaGuerta back to the shipping container under duress, before preparing to make the kill. In spite of Estrada’s pleas that he only killed Dexter’s mother to save himself, Dexter plunges a knife in his chest, noting how the upcoming murder of LaGuerta will make him no better.
At Batista’s party, Jamie gets somewhat flirty with Quinn, as Deb realizes that neither her brother nor LaGuerta have shown up as intended. She calls dispatch to find LaGuerta’s car, learning its location en route to the shipping yard. Meanwhile outside Dexter’s apartment, Hannah leaves a potted flower by the door.
Laguerta shows up to the shipping yard to find Estrada’s body, before Dexter knocks her out. He explains to Harry his plot to have it appear that LaGuerta and Estrada killed one another in a gunfight, when Deb pulls up to the scene. Hearing a first gunshot, Deb enters the crate to see Dexter preparing to shoot LaGuerta, but he relents. LaGuerta wakes long enough to beg Deb to shoot her brother, and even Dexter seems ready to accept his fate, but instead Deb shoots LaGuerta through the chest. Deb cries hysterically over LaGuerta's body, as Dexter looks on.
Later, Dexter and Deb arrive to Batista’s party, fireworks for the new year reigning overhead, as Dexter wonders who Deb has become.
And so, it has come to this. Rather than Dexter taking the plunge into darkness with an unjustified kill, Deb instead takes the leap to protect her brother. We can't say that "Surprise, Motherf---er" proved as explosive as last year's finale, but it did create an intriguing dynamic for the final season next September. Deb's murder of LaGuerta will surely have some huge emotional ramifications, but it didn't seem very climactic, nor did it justify some of the weaker points of the season. At the very least, Yvonne Strahovski's Hannah McKay will likely return in some capacity, as we await news of how the final season will unfold.
What about you? Did you get your fill of darkly dangerous ‘Dexter’ drama? What did you think about the finale? Join us next season for more all-new ‘Dexter’ episode recaps, and stay tuned for more coverage on the finale in the coming days!