19
Oct
2009
Dexter: Season 4, Episode 4
Dex Takes a Holiday
Jordan
Dexter tends to lag at the early points of its seasons (at least the last two) as it pulls the pieces of the season long arc together and sets the tension to boil. As "Dex Takes a Holiday" suggests, this season may have more to offer than the first three episodes allowed us to see. For one thing, the show went back to its roots a bit this week, as Dexter was out to prove that a criminal walked free so that he could satisfy his endless urge. The episode also gains major points for letting Dexter go solo like back in the old days, and yet proving why that system just isn't enough anymore.

This week's victim to be is Zoe, a cop that killed her family and blamed it on a gang member. Thanks to a cousin's wedding, Rita and the kids are all out of town for a few days, so Dexter uses his free time to work out the mounting tension in his life. Watching Dexter stalk a victim and exercise his stringent code provide for plenty of fun, but this episode rackets up the tension as his victim realizes he's onto her and engages him in a game of cat and mouse that could be disastrous for both parties involved. There was never any real doubt that Zoe would end up under Dexter's blade, but the interplay between the characters made for added suspense the show has been lacking all season. Additionally, Zoe served as a thematic foil to Dexter. Having a family proved too much for her and she killed them to regain her freedom. Dexter has always known he would never result to killing his family, but tonight he finally realized, "I'd rather risk them knowing the truth than lose them."

This is an interesting step as the show seems to have discovered a character development for Dexter that doesn't change his nature. He can care deeply, even vitally for his family without losing the urge to kill. His family can be adopted as a part of his code, as one of the lines he draws to pen in the monster inside of him. Michael C. Hall plays this revelation for all of its earth-shattering effect"”Dexter is literally stopped in his tracks when he realizes how far he would go to protect his own.

Lundy makes real progress this week, both on the trail of Trinity and in his pursuit of Deb. He follows the evidence to a building now at the site of a former Trinity killing, and actually comes face to face with the killer himself. Instead of using this moment for dramatic irony, as the show has done in seasons past, Lundy picks up on the oddities of the man and makes a note of several identifying features. Unfortunately, due to Quinn's reporter, Trinity also knows who Lundy is, and this set up could easily lead to an excellent, season spanning game of cat and mouse.
Unfortunately, the show seems determined to avoid its most interesting routes, as Lundy and Deb take bullets from an unknown assailant in the episode's closing scene. In the cliché to end all clichés, the moment comes right after the two romantically reunite, and this likely means we can say goodbye to Frank Lundy. Killing off Lundy would be a profoundly stupid move, especially this early in the game. While the idea of Lundy dying has always been inevitable since his return, I hoped he might last further into the season as he is such a compelling character. For now, however, his fate still hangs in the balance and makes for a nice episode ending twist. If Lundy lives, that cliff hanger will avoid its clichéd outcome and may make the resulting consequences all the more riveting to witness. For now we are left wondering whether the Vacation Murderer plotline has finally found resonance, or whether Trinity got one over on Lundy and shot Deb in the process. My bet is on the former, since the show loves to make everything tie together, even if it has to result to contrivance, but I hope for the latter. If Trinity is gunning for Lundy and Lundy lives to fight another day, we are in for some excellent Dexter in the future. If not, at least "Dex Takes a Holiday" played with some interesting ideas and created the most riveting hour of the show yet this season.

Grade: B+

Notes:

-The other storylines still fall flat, though Dexter's accidental good advice to La Guerta and angel is sort of funny.

-DON'T KILL LUNDY!

-"What is it with you and rape? No one is raping anyone!"
Tags: Dexter
comments powered by Disqus