Vogel’s overbearing and monotone sessions take a mild backseat with season 8’s seventh episode which call on a suitable return, a classy cameo, and a bar that makes Hooters look like Farrells. Dex tries, as always, to balance his relationship between Deb, Zach, and now a returning Hannah. There are some poignant moments that maneuver the show’s two top themes into a few scenes that set up and throw down on one very sharp question that may be the show’s skeletal framework for the finale. And that question is “Is Zach a lego-maniac?” No, not really, but it’s very Zach related. Let’s dive in.
In “Dress Code” Dex wakes up on the other side of town and gets a call from Vogel, followed by Deb. He realizes Hannah (obviously) is behind his abduction but it glad Deb is okay. Far from okay, really, but Deb guesses it’s Hannah who drugged them. Dex gets an idea to check the video surveillance for Hannah’s vehicle while Deb reflects that she doesn’t want to deal with Hannah after finally getting herself back on track.
At night, Zach appears at Dex’s house and is warned not to show up at the apt. ever. Zach spoke to Vogel about Dexter’s way of killing and they spot Cassie and her “date” going for a night swim. Dex suggests to Zach that he find a cover in life to start.
At Elway’s, Deb is looking at Hannah’s when Elway snoops in and sees it. Deb reacts angrily and complains about her space and his flirting. Elway reiterates, also poorly, that he was nice in giving her a job and not asking a lot of questions and calls her names before he leaves.
Dex reviews the security footage and discovers Hannah’a van and calls the rental company. Using his keen subterfuge skills (and shady voice talent) Dex gets the name and number of who rented the van, a Maggie Cassner (Kasner, Casner, there’s a lot of variations here) Harry returns to offer Dex his psychological caution and concern over Deb’s fragile state. Dex simply tells Harry that Hannah doesn’t scare him. Meanwhile, Jaime asks Quinn to think about moving in with her to a new place and Nikki apologizes to Misuka for presuming he just wanted to give her money to get rid of her. She tells him to show up at a sports bar “Lucky Pete’s” after her shift ends.
Dex wanders the Marina and discovers Hannah, elegantly dressed with a man (JULIAN WARLOCK SANDS) and they leave in a rich car. Dex follows them to the “Red Coral Club” but is unable to get in because of that pesky “Dress Code” Harry warns Dex to call it a night but Dex wants in. He calls Zach and uses his family’s connection with the club to gain entry. Along with Zach, they spot Hannah alone at the bar and Dex tells him to text if the man returns. Dex confronts Hannah, but she is quick to say her name’s Maggie and won’t divulge why she’s in town and why she drugged Dex and Deb. Dex ignores Zach’s text and Hannah’s husband, Miles, and quickly identified Dexter as the man who betrayed Hannah. Miles and Hannah leave and Zach wonders what he and Dex will do now.
The next morning, Deb shows up at Dex’s house where he reveals that Miles owns international casinos and that he and Hannah are married. Deb thinks Dex is still in love with Hannah, which Dex is quick to deny. Once more, Deb pleads that Hannah needs to be removed from their lives.
Misuka shows up early at Lucky Pete’s and discovers it’s a topless bar and Nikki runs into him while still on shift. Nikki fine with her choice to work there while Misuka awkwardly tries to handle the situation as a bothered father. Nikki thinks its sweet and offers to have dinner with him later.
At Vogel’s house, Deb discusses Hannah with Vogel, who warns her to consider all her options before taking things into her own hands. Vogel trusted Dex to take care of the “Brain Surgeon” but Deb isn’t so sure she can trust Dex to do the same thing.
At Miami Metro, Dex sees Zach and a lawyer enter Angel’s office where the lawyer shows photographs of Quinn following him. Quinn is told to “back down” and Matthews is there to ensure that Quinn will leave Zach alone. Quinn leaves the office, but not before telling Angel that he and Jaime are moving in together. Caught off-guard, Angel pursues only to run into Misuka who requests they get a part-time assistant to help him. Distracted by Quinn’s comment, Angel agrees.
Outside the building, Dex tells Zach about “How not to do it” in reference to kills, and adds timing and urge-control are vital. Zach says he can’t wait, Dex says, he can. (I’m thinking he can’t, but that’s me)
Dex is then at a gas station where Miles drives up and mentions he saw him with his son (Does he think it’s Zach or did he actually see him with Harrison?) Miles threatens Dex with calling people to ruin his life. At this point Dex thinks Hannah is in danger and texts her. She replies to meet him at her old greenhouse.
At the greenhouse, Dex finds Hannah among a room full of dead plants. Hannah finally reveals that she wanted Dex to kill Miles because he’s possessive and controlling, but she changed her mind. She also tells him that he was “it” and there wouldn’t be anyone else who would ever understand her like Dex does. Dex says the same for her but she leaves when he tries to kiss her.
Impatience is very much the thick of the theme in this episode. Miles refers to it and Zach is the living embodiment of it. Every character shows a piece of such as Misuka showing up at Lucky Pete’s early, Elway poking at Deb’s computer, Deb’s outbursts at Elway, Jaime trying not to rush Quinn’s decision but Quinn making the decision to push back at Angel. Most of all we see Dexter’s impatience around Hannah’s situation that he’s neglecting his “responsibility” as Vogel describes it to him, in regards to Zach’s teachings. Those consequences are’a’comin, you can rest assured.
Hannah’s return was an appropriate insert to the plot, but I hesitate to believe if she’ll resonate all the way to the end. Will Dexter get one more love scene before light’s out? It’s a shame that after all Deb and Dex have been through, that Hannah will once more play the split between these inseparable siblings. It’s not a tired routine, but it is literally a rehash of last season’s arc. It’s tough to determine which is the subplot; Zach’s upbringing, or Hannah’s resurgence.
As much as I find Zach an enthusiastic and fair-weather-loyal friend, I really don’t want the series to continue with him. It won’t, I’m really certain it won’t, but still. Sometimes shows do that. They test the waters with new characters and it’s our jobs as fans to push back and say, NO! Let the story play out organically and we’ll be fine.
The themes I mentioned earlier I thought played nicely. When Dexter explains his methods and teaching to Zach, we get the ominous play and I feel there’s a really good sense of how season one brought us to this point, this very honest approach why Dexter is still the best serial killer he knows. The final theme is more of a regular insert, but how it is brought up felt more basic and foreboding, because even though Dexter is “mostly” sure about what’s to come, we know “exactly” what happened and what’s to come.
I’m relieved that Nikki and Misuka are maintaining their efforts. Situational irony works in special cases and for Misuka, his is perfect considering how he’s acted for the last seven seasons. I want their relationship to stay well far from the rising plot and for the love of Pete…..’s bar, keep Zach away from Nikki at all costs. Do not set up a scene with those two, I mean it!
Overall, the episode was a tried and true method that helped reestablish an old rival-love interest, and placed her in a very twisting plot that doesn’t necessarily need the star-power. I enjoy cameo’s of Julian Sands and though his character is extremely one-dimensional in this episode, he still brought that accent and flair we’re used to seeing him perform at. Some of the setup was predictable, but good story telling is both the build-up and the release and “Dress Code” gave us a solid grasp with how anyone and everyone deals with impatience, from rich international tycoons, to up-and-coming killers, who need guidance, badly. In any case, welcome back Hannah, I hope you last to the finale.
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