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Review: Dexter - Dexter Takes a Holiday

by Danny Gallagher, posted Oct 20th 2009 3:51AM
Dexter Takes a Holiday
(S04E04) - "You're the one who wanted a challenge ... and now you've batted the beehive." - Harry to Dexter

That quote sums up this season in a blood spattered nutshell and really all of good television, for that matter. How do you reinvent a show that works without completely reinventing the wheel on which it got there?

In Dexter's case, it's giving America's most squeezably soft serial killer an opponent truly worthy of his skills and talent without boring the audience or completely overpowering or outing him. In other words, keep the shark in the cage so you don't even have the inkling of an opportunity to jump over it.

Last week's face off with a real, first-class scumbag managed to do just that, but it brought it right back to the "Jump the Shark" moment with its shocker ending. The show managed to drive their parents' Aston Martin DB9 home from the high school prom without speeding, crashing or scratching the thing, only to accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake as they pull up to the house and crash the damn thing right through the living room.

Dexter's hunt for the killer police officer was pure bloody fun. Zoey Kruger is someone that only a person without any heart, both figuratively and physically, couldn't hurt. She kills her whole family and blames the mess on a drug dealer killed in a separate incident because her killer instincts conflicted with being a mother. Kruger, played in a cold and alluring style by Christina Cox, gives Dexter a great opportunity to reevaluate his own position in life as a father and realizes the true benefit of killing her isn't just filling the hole left by his Dark Passenger's Kirstie Alley-sized appetite for destruction. He learns his true feelings about his wife and kids and that he's willing to be a good father over being a better killer. And if the rules of television physics are true (e.g. any object that remains in motion will eventually collide with another oncoming object to keep the plot moving), his devotion will be put to the ultimate test.

From the looks of things, Dexter's life could somehow collide with the Trinity Killer since he seems to be getting closer to hitting for his personal cycle of twisted death. His scenes continue to leave bread crumbs to the true nature of violent tendencies, and the pacing is good enough that just about anything could happen. The Trinity Killer could become some kind of weird space alien, sent to Earth to study the malleability of human flesh for a giant supercollider that needs a giant skin tarp. Prove me wrong at this point.

Then all this warm television goodness comes to a screeching halt with what could be the show's official "Jumping the Shark" moment or "Nuking the Fridge" moment or "Picking up According to Jim" moment or whatever the official phrase is for a show that has reached its point of no return. Debra and Lundy's mysterious shooting was jarring and had me aching to know the trigger man, but what happens then? How can a show get better without killing off the entire cast Dynasty style?

[Watch clips of Dexter on SlashControl.]

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You are undoubtedly the worst writer I have ever read anywhere in any medium. Can you please stick to America's Got Herpes or some other fare? Does anyone run this website? Is there an editor? Can you please give little Danny his intern points and show him the door or assign him back to coffee duty?

October 23 2009 at 6:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I too loved the pseudo psychology comments. It all makes sense. But I still think Rita is the season-ending's casualty.

But while there is still time to comment on Keith Carradine's talent, are you aware that his song 'I'm Easy' was an oscar winner in 1975. Him singing this song at bedtime would really win Debra over hands down.

October 23 2009 at 11:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love Katie's pseudo-psychology; that was an awesome idea about Trinity and his family. Can't wait for the next episode!

October 22 2009 at 3:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Katie M.

I agree with the rest of the comments about the review-- the Kirstie Alley joke was totally unnecessary as were the clunky metaphors and the jump the shark comments. I like the way each season has dealt with Dexter's quest to have a normal life while indulging in his "Dark Passenger" every once in a while. This season is not a reinvention, it's simply a natural evolution of Dexter's drive to be close to people despite his darkness-- after all, in this episode he tells Harry, "You didn't raise me to be a loner." It's this drive to be close that makes Dexter different from all the people he's connected to through death and darkness: his brother, Lyla, and Miguel. They don't have what Dexter has, the ability to keep trying to connect, to indulge his killer instinct without letting it take him over (which is what season 2 was all about).

This show is so well-written I doubt the shooting will play out in a cookie-cutter way. I think it would make a lot of sense if the shooter turned out to be the Vacation Murderers (like a previous comment said-- this story-line seems like it's superfluous and if it turns out they did it, it would help tie them in to the rest of the season), but it could have been Trinity mimicking their MO to get rid of Lundy without bludgeoning Lundy to death as the last kill in his cycle. I really loved Keith Carradine's Lundy and think he was better for Deb than Anton-- Lundy and Deb had a real simpatico that was so much fun to watch and it's a shame that it looks like he's not going to make it. Poor Deb can never have a happy, healthy relationship!

As for why Trinity was acting the way he was outside the bar, I have a theory: I think (even though this has more to do with pseudo-psychology than actual psychology) that all of Trinity's kills represent a former family member of his. The woman in the bathtub represents his sister who suicided; the jumper represents his mother who killed herself after her daughter did; and the bludgeoning represents his father who became an alcoholic after the deaths of his daughter and wife and maybe said the wrong thing to a guy in a bar and got himself killed for it. Trinity is reenacting the deaths of his sister, mother, and father because of the traumatic effect each had on his childhood/adolescence. If you notice, he only left the ashes (ostensibly from his mother) at the jumper scene, and when he pours the glass of liquor in his room, he clinks the glass with his own (which only has water-- as the son of an alcoholic, he probably never touches the stuff) and says, "you're next." He couldn't have added, "Dad" or else they would have given Trinity's motivation away too early-- they want to keep us guessing, "who is this guy?" "Why is he killing in this way?" Since this season seems to be shaping up to be all about family, I think Trinity's story will be the dark side of family-- how only your family can mess you up so much that you become a serial killer. On the lighter side (ironically) is Dexter's family: they keep his "Dark Passenger" in check and make Dexter more of a whole person. In his own way, Dexter loves them, and reveals rather astoundingly in this episode, he would rather them find out about his secret than hurt them like Zoey Kruger did hers (although, I think finding out would hurt Rita, Deb, Astor, and Cody quite a bit).

--P.S. Sorry this was so long! :-)

October 22 2009 at 5:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Another thing that I'd like to hear more comments on is this: Why did Trinity go to that bar and provoke that one guy, after passing over the first guy with the wife? Then why did he say, "It's all your fault, it's all your fault?" What was that all about. I know in his trinity of killings, he was supposed to bludgeon an older man in Murphy's bar, or something like that, but there was no bludgeoning here, just provoking. And I know from Lundy's description into his tape recorder that Murphy's Bar is now that large hotel he saw Trinity outside of. It seemed like Trinity wanted to get beaten up by the guy outside the bar, but why?

October 21 2009 at 5:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I didn't like the review either, and I find the comments to be a lot more interesting.

I agree that Trinity did not shoot Deb and Lundy. Isn't he supposed to leave a fingerprint line of ashes at the scene like he did with his last victim, the jumping lady named Tarla? Also, I thought it was interesting that Lundy saw the shooter first. You see his expression--could it be recognition? And the fact that Deb wasn't killed, as far as we know. So I think that Anton is a good bet, as well as the Vacation murderers. Will Deb have anything to add if she lives?

I loved Dexter killing Zoey Kruger. That was just awesome. Zoey reminded of not only Linda Hamilton from T2 but at times she had the cold, robotic look of the bad terminator, the cop, in T2 as well. That was awesome. I love it when the writers mix it up like that. And I thought it was great when he said at her death bed, "What's with you and rape? Nobody is raping anybody here..." Funny moment.

This is the best Dexter episode that I've seen since Season 2. Very exciting.

October 21 2009 at 5:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought the review was boring and the comments more interesting.
I've read that the Rita character has announced she did some reading with the Trinity killer in preparation of filming some upcoming episodes. This is a major leak and I expect she'll be bumped off for this. Dexter is becoming a family man and Trinity will destroy this for him by killing Rita.
As for the current cliffhanger it removes the Debra love triangle story aspect which was dumb - an old white guy against a healthy colored guy...just let's get on with the main business and lets see more sleuthing from Debra because she's fun to watch at work.

October 21 2009 at 5:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What's with everyone thinking the killer was Trinity? Trinity isn't just a murderer he's a psychopath, everything he does has to fill a pattern. The obvious killers are the Vacation Murderers, who up until this moment have been a major undercurrent without a point, this was the point of them. It was in a crappy motel (well the parking lot) just like the other murders, and they took his wallet. Anyone who disagrees, im taking bets.

October 20 2009 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to FNB's comment

The review sucked, but it was a damn good episode.

Beyond all the details, its always a good sign of a show when the kill off great characters. That indicates there are no sacred cows and anyone could be offed. Hate to see Lundy go, because Keith Carradine was awesome in this role.

BTW, the triggerman is Anton. Jealous BF.

October 20 2009 at 12:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eric H

And Nuking the Fridge, that a movie term, not a TV term, snark correctly if you are gonna snark at all.

October 20 2009 at 8:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Eric H's comment

Very strange review. Please just say what you mean. What is with the strange Kirstie Alley "fat joke" in the middle of a Dexter review.
As far as 'Jumping the shark" This show is about as far away from that as you can get! It was a great episode that drove the story forward and the big AH HA momentt was not the cliffhanger at the end, but Dex realizing that he actually has some real human feelings for his family! A great scene, acted perfectly!
I am sorry to see Lundy go too (if he really is dead?)

October 20 2009 at 10:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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