DEXTER part 9: Questions with Questions.

We’re studying the explosive climax from DEXTER Season 7 Episode 7 – ‘Chemistry’.

This post will look at the way the writers use the technique of answering questions with questions and how questions form part of the power play between characters.

Read the scene.

So, let’s look at the way questions are used:

Dexter, angry that Hannah’s latest victim died in his apartment, asks Hannah how she killed him.

DEXTER

How did you do it?

HANNAH

Is it really important?

DEXTER

Is life in prison important?

Hannah bats Dexter’s question away. But Dexter counters with force.

3 questions in a row.

Note the way the number of syllables increase: 5, 7, 8. As the tension increases, so do the number of syllables.

Now this is really interesting: when Hannah finally answers, she tells the truth.

HANNAH

I’m never going to prison.

Price liked to chew on his pens.

The last one had a little something on it…completely undetectable.

Another section of the script where Dexter responds to a question with a question is the break between Beat 2 and Beat 3.

Hannah attempts to make Dexter aware they have a ‘spiritual connection’, to draw him in:

HANNAH

I could feel you watching me while I was being interrogated.

You saw the whole thing didn’t you?

But Dexter refuses to go with her, still needing more information before he commits to this spiritual partnership, to this bond Hannah is convinced they share. Dexter responds to her question with a completely unrelated question – a question that pierces deep:

DEXTER

Is it true about your husband?

Did you kill him because you didn’t want a family?

Hannah answers this question, telling the truth. It’s as though she knows what Dexter needs, and she’s willing to make herself vulnerable to him, to allow herself to be known. She’ll do anything to draw him in to her world, even tell him the truth.

HANNAH

It was the opposite.

I wanted a family and he didn’t. 

He threatened to leave me unless I got an abortion.

Hannah also answers Dexter’s next question directly:

DEXTER

What happened to the baby?

HANNAH

It was a miscarriage.

Sometimes life subtracts, sometimes it adds…

So what do we see here? Hannah answers truthfully when she believes doing so will draw Dexter towards her.

And when Dexter refuses to be drawn in, refuses to give up power, he bats the question away with a question of his own.

Questions are part of the power play between characters.

Hannah’s next and final question is a rhetorical one, which she answers herself, not giving Dexter the chance to bat it away, she answers for him in order to draw him in to their spiritual bond:

HANNAH

Do you see what just happened? We were looking out for each other…

Dexter + Hannah

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