Dexter: Season 4, Episode 12
The Getaway
There are no two ways about it: "The Getaway" is a game changer. After a season of middling episodes, plagued by stupid plots and water-treading, this finale single handedly changed everything Dexter as a series will be about, and also forever altered Dexter as a character. The show has previously dealt with the metaphor of Dexter's dark passenger as an addiction, but never before has our hero considered trying to break free of the drug. Before tonight, Dexter was content to keep his dark side hidden from the world, but now he wants to be rid of it once and for all.

Much of the episode is standard finale fair, as Dexter stays just a step ahead of Miami Metro in his quest to bring Arthur Mitchell to his table and rid the world of the Trinity killer, who has destroyed many more lives than just those of his victims. Watching Dexter actually get arrested, seeing him barely avoid being caught at Trinity's house before the police, and hearing that glorious comeback to last week's ending when he said, "hello Arthur Mitchell" was all the stuff of a great Dexter episode. but beyond that, just beneath the surface, was Dexter's burgeoning realization that life is what we make of it, and that he can change the man he is. I always worried the series would get too soft, and leave us with a happy, perfectly adjusted Dexter at the end, and while it seems we're headed toward a less murderous man (as this season has, in retrospect, subtly hinted at throughout with the lack of killing) I can't say we'll get there with a happy Dexter in tow.

The table scene was easily the most meaningful and intriguing we've seen since Dexter killed his own brother in Season One, as Arthur and Dexter discussed free will versus determinism, and Arthur's belief that they, as killers, are part of God's plan, doomed to follow his will while in turn being barred form heaven because of it. Dexter does not think this way; he hopes now that he can change the person he is. There is a tragedy to viewing the scene straight on, as Dexter sympathetically turns on the toy train and Arthur's favorite record before dispatching him, but even moreso once the show reveals what Arthur knew all along: he had already killed Rita, Dexter's chance at perfect happiness and adjustment, and left Dexter's infant son sitting in a puddle of his mother's blood.

Dexter now exists as a single father to three children who are doomed to be fucked up, even as he struggles against the serial killer living within him, and tries to be a better man in a world that constantly throw temptation at him, fueling the fire inside him even as he tries to put it out. Having Dexter struggle against the hand that "fate" has dealt him, and try to be better than the world ever wants him to be is about as fascinating a development as this show could have taken in this episode. Not only did it create a twist that bowled me over, the episode also set up the direction that this series wil ltake in seasons to come, and made me very, very excited for the show that Dexter will be when it returns next year.

Grade: A


-"I have to be the one to kill him!" Dexter sounded more like an addict tonight than ever before, but I think the show has been subtly setting the pieces up for this move for over a season now. I feel I haven't been giving Dexter enough credit, and perhaps a subsequent viewing will make me see this plan has been at play for a while.

-What sort of cell phones do they have on this show? Are they for people going blind? The lettering is so huge, and the text messages pop up automatically...they are insane!

-"I prayed to be changed, to be made different." "That's not trying, that's waiting for change." Dexter taking the other route and actually working towards change has created an even more fascinating protagonist than the series already had. If the show pulls off the road its headed down, he may stand the test of time as one of the great characters in the history of the medium.

-"Nothing is inevitable."

-"Life doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be lived."
Tags: Dexter
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