10/15/2012 12:48 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

'Dexter' Recap: 'Buck The System' Makes The Case For Vigilantism

dexter recap 703

Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you haven't seen Season 7, Episode 3 of "Dexter," titled "Buck The System."

Dex-Deb Drama:

After Deb spent most of last episode trying to convince herself she could rehabilitate the serial killer out of Dexter, she came close to seeing his side of things in "Buck The System." As Dexter pushed back against her no-killing-through-smothering-sisterly-love edict, he shoved Harry's code in her face, trying to prove to her that his meticulous methods separate him from the riff-raff of serial killers who don't exclusively kill other serial killers.

Dexter started his sales push by tricking Deb into following him to a bar where his most recent target -- terrifying new villain Ray Speltzer -- was cruising for his next victim, one of the waitresses at the bar. There, he presented her with his theory that Speltzer was about to kill again, and pretty much asked for her blessing to kill him before he could do more damage. His sales pitch was simple, but effective: "I thought if I let you in on my process, you'd see there was some value to what I do."

Lobbying for her support, he took aim at the inefficiency of the criminal justice system, a code of laws and procedures Deb has invested her career and total faith in. Dexter argued his case succinctly: "If [the system] worked as well as you think it does, I wouldn't be so busy," he needled.

Deb was immediately revolted by seeing Dexter in full-stalk mode, but Dexter was relentlessly manipulative, and got in her head. "All the murderers I've helped you catch ... My lizard brain has been your secret weapon all along -- you just didn't know it," he said.

Before long, she was going to LaGuerta on Dexter's hunch, playing the by-the-book side of the Morgan crime-fighting duo. But when LaGuerta rejected her warrant request, Deb channeled Dexter and staked out Speltzer's place herself, where she found him about to kill the waitress in an abandoned house that he'd turned into a perverse maze, complete with flashing lights and blaring music, and a demonic-looking horn helmet.

The episode took a heart-pounding turn as Deb searched the dark, frightening house with her gun drawn, in a scene reminiscent of "Silence of the Lambs." And things looked horrifying when Speltzer grabbed her legs through a hole in the wall and almost pulled her into his grasp. In a nightmare-worthy scenario, she dropped her gun into a crevice filled with barb-wire, and stared death in the face before Dexter saved the day, knocking Speltzer out with a whack to the head.

As Dexter rescued Deb and realized he was too late to save the waitress, Speltzer regained consciousness and got away. Briefly, as Deb dejectedly realized that Speltzer was "in the wind," she came close to acknowledging the perverse logic of Dexter's extra-legal approach, which would have kept the waitress alive. "You were right," she told him. "I get it. I hate it, but I get it ... I understand that it might be -- might be -- a necessary evil."

But Deb's too stubborn and devoted to her career as a homicide lieutenant to ever fully cross that threshold and go tag-team vigilante with her brother. In the episode's final moments, she made it celar that she'll give him the space to do his thing, but he won't ever be able to win her approval. "Everything has changed," she said, as she finally gave up on her rehab charade and accepted Dexter's twisted morality for what it is.

Kill Of The Week:

Last week, we wondered how Dexter would deal with Louis Greene, since it was clear his bizarre infatuation had crossed a line, but he still fell short of qualifying for kill-able under the code. Well, Dexter managed to get Greene fired and Jamie to break up with him, after he sent Masuka the Ice Truck Killer mannequin hand and Jamie the tape of Greene with a hooker. But the show's writers decided to have the Ukranian mobsters -- and not Dexter -- kill Louis off instead.

In a plot development that seemed pretty implausible -- would the now-drowned GPS device really have been accurate enough to pinpoint a specific boat in a marina? -- the mobsters found Dexter's boat as Greene was trying to sabotage it. After he gave them Dexter's identity, they shot him dead in the forehead. So now Dexter has his dead rival's blood splattered on his boat and the Koshka brotherhood on his trail.

Theory Of The Week:

So how long do we think it will take for Dexter and Yvonne Strahovski's Hannah McKay character to hook up? They seemed to develop some chemistry when he stopped by her nursery with Batista to swab her cheek, and with her history of idolizing serial killers, it seems like she's being set up as a Lumen-esque love interest with accomplice potential.

Dexter Season 7 Photos