It's always a drag when an hour is filled with this long-time serial killer engaging in some profound self-examination, especially when the surrounding plot is so contrived and transparent.
The Phantom Arsonist case seemed random when it was introduced a couple weeks ago, and now we know the reason why: it was simply shoved in there as a way for Dexter to arrive at a conclusion about himself.
There's no such thing as a Dark Passenger. Dexter has been hiding behind that persona for years as a way to shift the blame for his murderous side on to another entity.
This might seem like a major revelation, if not for the fact that Dexter has never really treated his two sides like actual two sides. The Dark Passenger nickname has been played as more of a joke than any kind of real split personality. Hasn't Dexter always grappled with fitting in? Always admitted he wasn't a typical member of the human species?
It's not as though this is someone who's been in denial over the dark rages that exist within himself. He's always understood that Dexter Morgan, not some alternate version of him, is responsible for all those murders. That's why he's been so drawn to Hannah and why their relationship is actually so sweet and believable: she accepts him for who he is, and that includes his need to kill.
When Dexter leaped up on his soap box while hovering a knife over the arsonist's chest, preaching about accepting responsibility and not hiding behind one's childhood experiences, I just rolled my eyes. I always hate it when a series - be it investigative or medical - includes a Case of the Week that so closely mirrors whatever is going on in a character's personal life.
Elsewhere, Hannah's father arrived. But even the presence of Jim Beaver (Supernatural) couldn't save this storyline from its predictability.
Did anyone actually think he had turned his life around and wouldn't turn on his daughter before the installment ended?
It was at least interesting to note Dexter lying to Hannah for the first time. I can see that whole I-killed-your-father thing coming back to haunt this relationship before the season is over.
So this was the first Season 7 dud, but it did conclude on two intriguing notes: Deb is going full steam after Hannah, while Matthews and La Guerta are closing in on the real Bay Harbor Butcher.
Those are planted seeds I'm curious to see grow as we move toward the finale. But for the bulk of this episode itself, nothing of major interest blossomed.