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Nov 23, 2012

TV Review: DEXTER: Season 7, Episode 9: Helter Skelter

Michael C. Hall Dexter Helter Skelter

Dexter Season 7 Episode 9 Helter Skelter ReviewDexter: Season 7, Episode 9: Helter Skelter was a disappointment and formula routine. The brightest moment in the episode was the smallest. It was a minute segment involving Capt. Maria LaGuerta (Lauren Vélez) and her continuing, clandestine investigation into the Bay Harbor Butcher killings. She is a dog with a bone and the show benefits from this sub-plot.

From the three seasons before it, I knew the killer Isaak Sirko (Ray Stevenson) would be killed off by the end of the season. That is the formula for this TV show. (Spoiler) I was hoping that chain would be broken this season but it was not. The killer’s death this season must be the stupidest in the show’s history. Sirko gets shot…once…then doesn’t ask to be taken to the hospital. He announces that he is dead because the bullet is still inside him. What does that mean?

Since the gun was invented, there have been tens of millions of cases where a person was shot and had to have surgery to have the bullet removed. Sirko is most-likely ten to fifteen minutes away from a hospital. He can drive there or have Dexter drive him. He can call 911 and an ambulance will be at his location in three to four minutes.

Sirko chooses to do nothing. James Manos Jr. and Karen Campbell, the writers of this episode, couldn’t even come up with a credible reason for Sirko’s defacto suicide, the same conundrum that faced (Spoiler) the writers of Mags Bennett at the end of Season 2 of Justified.

Both suicides make no sense at all.

Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) was at the top of his class at medical school. He could have pulled the bullet out with pliers or dug it out with a knife.

Because of the formula it follows, Dexter jumped the shark a few seasons ago like Turn Blood but I keep holding on for brilliance. The bullet-in plot point in this episode is so stupid that the entire plot line around it crashes and the viewer realizes that it was always a waste of time. That the storyline was always going to end that way: Sirko dead, Dexter alive. At anytime before his excel from the group, Sirko could have brought the brotherhood’s full might down on Dexter. He could have hired the same two killers Dexter and he killed in this episode. He didn’t. The writers of Dexter made it personal for Sirko to negate this possibility from ever occurring.

Perhaps the writers made this choice because they didn’t want the show to expand, were afraid of it. More characters and a organized crime syndicate against Dexter would have cost more money than a individual on a vendetta. There would have been a lot of collateral damage if the brotherhood came to Miami-Dade, possibly Lieutenant Debora Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter). If they couldn’t have Dexter, they might have settled for his sister like the Albanian Mafia would have in The Shield (they kill the family first, the target last).

Dexter‘s writers didn’t want that, they didn’t want this season to be explosive, talked about, electrifying. They didn’t want this season to be different from the others. They didn’t want a high body count on the good guys’ side. Instead, they settled for the formula.

Will the brotherhood come after Dexter for killing Viktor Baskov (Enver Gjokaj), now that Sirko is dead? No. The Brotherhood will completely disappear by next season. Viktor Baskov’s death will stay unavenged.

Detective Quinn (Desmond Harrington) taking Nadia (Katia Winter) out of the strip club will end in deportation if Novikov is smart. Nadia doesn’t have a passport. All Novikov has to do is call immigration, say there is an illegal in the city, and give them Quinn’s address. When they ask for her identification, she has none, and they will take her away for deportation. There will be nothing Quinn can do about it. Neither of them can show that she is gainfully employed. All Novikov has to do is say he has never seen her before and make his girls say the same thing. Will Novikov be that smart, we will have to wait and see.

(Possible spoiler) Right, I almost forgot. A pyromaniac serial killer was cleverly been slide into the show, bearing no motive and causing no suspects to be considered yet. He is a footnote now but following the formula, he’ll be the main killer next season that Dexter tracks down and kills at its end. Pyro will also be given a face by then. No need for one now.

For more Dexter reviews, photos, videos, and information, visit our Dexter Page, subscribe to us by Email, follow us on Twitter or on Facebook.

Source: Imdb

  • http://www.facebook.com/Iron.criterion Ashley Bailey

    “Sirko could have brought the brotherhood’s full might down on Dexter. He could have hired the same two killers Dexter and he killed in this episode. He didn’t.

    Sirko didn’t to make the plot of this season convenient.”

    No, Sirko didn’t because he wanted the pleasure of killing Dexter only for himself. The rest of the Brotherhood didn’t even care about Dexter, only Isaak. And Isaak’s insane vendetta was the reason for his expulsion from the Brotherhood.

    And I haven’t seen the episode yet, but based from his conversation with Dexter in episode 8 I imagine he let himself die because he doen’t have anything to live for. Killing Dexter was all he had, and I’m assuming either due to the course of epi 9 he’ll either change his mind for whatever reason.

  • Chalkino

    Very poor writing here.

    I recognize your name. Did you write for Sherdog? You were regarded as the worst writer within MMA if you’re the person I think you are.

    Time to give it up.

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    Sorry about that.

    What publication do you write for? What website do you write for?

    I think you have me confused with someone else.

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    “And I haven’t seen the episode yet, but based from his conversation with Dexter in episode 8 I imagine he let himself die because he doesn’t have anything to live for.”

    That occurred to me as well but that isn’t what he says.

    “To set up a character like Trinity or Isaak and simply let them walk off into the sunset, is ludicrous.”

    When something happens with them that you don’t expect is when the show shines, like Trinity’s last act. That didn’t happen this time.

    Regarding the other aspects of the episode, you are not far off. You have your finger on the pulse.

    All I am saying is, the season could have been the best one or the most different from the ones that proceeded it if different choices had been made. Imagine it: Dexter vs a mob based in another country. They would have sent the best hitmen money could buy against him. Dexter would have to deal with snipers, ex-military, killers with body counts far in excess of his own. It would have been insane (Dexter, Green-lite). Dexter would be trying to stay alive while ducking police inquiries as to why people keep shooting at him. Questions would be raised, suspicion…never mind.

  • Dan

    What is it with people who spoil endings for shows in reviews of OTHER ones? Did you really have to go and ruin the Justified ending? Couldn’t even give the courtesy of a spoiler alert?

    Glad I’m all caught up with Justified, but other endings have been ruined for me in my experience of reading reviews for different shows. It’s very annoying.

  • Kepiachkz

    Why would a big bad dying 4 episodes before the finale and not by Dexter’s hand be “following the formula” ?

    If I’m not wrong, Isaak dying in episode 12 would be the 5th time it happens in the show since it has been done 4 times before : Brian, Arthur, Jordan, Travis. And I don’t even take into account the Skinner.

    And the big bad dying by Dexter’s hands would be the 6th time it happens, just add Miguel to the previous list ( well, Jordan didn’t die exactly by Dexter’s hands but he’s done 90% of the job )

    Quite predictable doesn’t it ?

    And a bunch of hitmen going after Dexter ? Maybe interesting to watch but this show isn’t Die Hard. The writers would have certainly pushed the suspension of disbelief too far and many of us would certainly complaining about lazy writing, unrealistic plots and “jumping the shark” moments. And THIS, wouldn’t actually be a big change in the formula. On the contrary, Dexter making amend with the big bad and sympathizing withs him IS.

    And honestly like you I’m getting tired of that formula. That’s why the description you made of the episode make me think I’ll appreciate it. By the way, I find the Laguerta’s subplot far more interesting than the koshka’s brotherhood one.

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    Dan, spoiler warnings have now been put into place. Sorry about that. Since that season of Justified ended almost two years ago, I thought everyone would be caught up on it.

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    That a bad guy (or perilous situation) is introduced at the beginning of a season and dies at the end is the formula.

    “If I’m not wrong, Isaak dying in episode 12 would be the 5th time it
    happens in the show since it has been done 4 times before : Brian,
    Arthur, Jordan, Travis. And I don’t even take into account the Skinner.

    And the big bad dying by Dexter’s hands would be the 6th time it
    happens, just add Miguel to the previous list ( well, Jordan didn’t die
    exactly by Dexter’s hands but he’s done 90% of the job )”

    Thank you for the clarification. You have paid far more attention to the show than I have.

    “And a bunch of hitmen going after Dexter ? Maybe interesting to watch
    but this show isn’t Die Hard. The writers would have certainly pushed
    the suspension of disbelief too far and many of us would certainly
    complaining about lazy writing, unrealistic plots and “jumping the
    shark” moments.”

    No one mentioned Die Hard. Bad analogy.

    “suspension of disbelief too far”

    A serial killer works in a police department and only one detective had the perception to see Dexter for what he was. That is “suspension of disbelief”.

    A mob using its people to kill other people isn’t unrealistic. Its a standard practice.

  • Dan

    Well, who is “everyone” supposed to be? It would be counter-intuitive to assume everyone who watches (and wants scoops for) Dexter has taken up on another show.

    If it was a spoiler about Dexter, then it’s the readers’ faults for visiting and lacking due diligence, but it wouldn’t apply to another show…

    Regardless, thanks for actually doing something about it; it’s appreciated. All that aside, provided the narrative points you’re retelling are accurate, the feelings you express would echo mine. This season died after episode 4 for me anyway. Ah well – at least Homeland and Boardwalk Empire are still currently airing. Even American Horror Story has Dexter beat this year… and the two before it.

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    You’re right about the “everyone” comment. Some people have not seen the first season of The Shield yet.

    “at least Homeland and Boardwalk Empire are still currently airing.”

    Thank God for those two shows as well as Arrow, Revolution, Boss, The Borgias, Game of Thrones, and Last Resort.

    Hell yes American Horror Story has Dexter beat this year.

  • Sam

    So does isaac really die in episode 9

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    You will be able to find out for yourself tomorrow.

  • Sam

    Thanks for nothing. Y even reply at all. I don’t get it

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    Yes he dies. Novikov shots him in the stomach.

  • Sam

    Thank you much. Wow had much higher hopes for Isaac

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    Following the formula, he was destined to die.

  • Sam

    That episode was god awful I’m hoping 10 11 and 12 are better then what they just shoved down our throats. I’ll listen to the warning next time. Thanks

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    I wish the episode wasn’t written the way it is.

    This is the season that I will probably never watch again, except for the first episode.

  • L Ashton

    Isaak wasn’t ‘the big bad’ after all. So ‘the big bad’ didn’t die in episode 9 but SHE will in episode 12.

  • http://film-book.com/ Film-Book.com

    We’ll see.