Review: Dexter - Dexter Takes a Holiday
by Danny Gallagher, posted Oct 20th 2009 3:51AM
(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.]