7
Dec
2009
Dexter: Season 4, Episode 11
Hello, Dexter Morgan
Jordan
To begin, I would like to point out some things about this season of Dexter that have been troubling me, but I have yet to highlight in my reviews. For starters, up to this point in the series, Dexter was a man who did the clean up work for the police. When they messed up, broke chain of custody, or otherwise allowed a killer to go free, Dexter Morgan was there to pick up the pieces and protect the people of Miami. This allowed the show to occasionally become a sort of morality play about how far we are willing to go to ensure safety. the idea of a serial killer who only kills other killers is something that doesn't particularly bother a lot of people, and portraying that up on the screen allowed the show to examine what kind of monster that desire in humanity might create. This season, however, Dexter has seemingly lost this portion of his code as he actively works against the police so that he might kill Trinity himself. I understand the idea that he feels the need to bag the greatest serial killer ever himself, but framing someone, planting DNA evidence and actively working against the police in their pursuit of justice seems a little anti-Dexter in my view.

Another thing about this season that occasionally bothers me is just how shitty Dexter has been at his job of late. He is always out of the office, barely coming up with excuses and falling behind on all of his blood spatter. This all works with the theme of Dexter's life spinning out of his control as he tries to juggle the many different sides of his personality (a theme that was drawn on pretty heavily tonight), but it feels a little odd to me that no one seems to notice or case that the blood spatter analyst barely comes to work anymore. If this is all leading somewhere, like to QUinn's suspicions being aroused (as was hinted at tonight) or to someone else starting to catch on to Dexter's suspicious activity, I'll be willing to let it slide, but at the moment it just seems like the writer's got bored writing crime scenes and so Dexter doesn't work anymore. The only crime scenes he really goes to this season are ones directly related to the master plot.

Griping aside, however, there was some pretty solid stuff in this episode. I don't particularly care that Angel and LaGuerta are married, or that reporter is dead (in fact, I've sort of been hoping for the latter for about ten episodes now). The show has done a decent job of building the tension between Dexter and Trinity though, and this episode kept ratcheting it up. The downside of this is that all of the climax must come in the finale, where the best seasons of Dexter have rocketed through the second half, but that doesn't change the fact that I am excited for next week's episode. Deb had a great moment tonight as she struggled to erase Lundy's name from the board, tying up a plotline that has given us a lot of insight into her pain and grief, and generally been done better than most other Dexter subplots. There was a moment between Dexter and Rita in their kitchen after Dexter punched Elliot that was actually cute, a rare feat in their relationship, and something the show would do well to give us more of. And there was the excellent moment where we realized Arthur's trip to the arcade was just a ruse to draw out Dexter so he could follow him. The "killer knows who Dexter is" plotline has been done in literally every season (Ice Truck knew he was Dexter's brother from the get go, Lila knew Dexter was a serial killer, and Miguel worked alongside Dexter as a killer) but it is a reliable well of tension to draw from, and John Lithgow plays the moment with the perfect amount of reserved menace. It has been a pretty rocky road getting to this point, but Dexter can make it all seem a lot more worth it if next week's finale knocks it out of the park.

Grade: B

Notes:

-"I'm sorry you were ever born!" A surprisingly cold thing to say, played with such hatred by Lithgow it actually shocked me a bit.

-Dear Dexter, Please don't end this season like every other season with you killing Trinity and everyone going off to be boring for the next 9 months until another serial killer appears in Miami. Thanks!
Tags: Dexter
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