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Review: Dexter - Lost Boys

by Danny Gallagher, posted Nov 30th 2009 2:32AM
Dexter: Lost Boys
(S04E10) "No one's ever going to hurt you again ... especially me." - Dexter to his infant son, Harrison

Every season, Dexter manages to learn something from every one of his various victims and kills: the origins of his "Dark Passenger," the need for humanity to have a silent hero, why you shouldn't share your serial killing secrets with your best friend.

This season's big lesson seems to be the deepest and most important of all: his family. Dexter kept Arthur Mitchell, the Trinity Killer (although after tonight, he should be redubbed the Trinity Plus One Killer since we learned that Lundy missed a crucial piece of his serial killings), on a long leash hoping to learn how to juggle his family mask and his private hobby, something Arthur has managed to do for more than 30 years. Unfortunately, the lesson he learned was a harsh one: your family is either a family or a mask and can be both. That and don't follow Arthur Mitchell's advice, ever.

Once again, Dexter finds himself learning from his mistakes in the previous episode by moving his kill prep room to a shipping container, a nice short homage to the first season. Cody, Dexter's stepson, fell through the skylight of the shed where he kept all of his kill tools and blood slides, so he decided to move his whole operation "off campus." But just like all the good episodes, it immediately kicks into high gear without bothering to go through those wimpy first, second or third gears by unveiling a surprise: Trinity does not kill in threes.

It seems when Arthur patterned his kills after his family, Agent Lundy and Dexter forgot to include one important person: Arthur Mitchell. Dexter thinks that Trinity is tracking another woman to start his killing of threes all over again but soon learns he's actually tracking the young boy. The whole opening scene of Arthur abducting the young boy and attempting to play with him as himself in a fallout shelter has great pacing that builds a great deal of suspense all the way to the end. It also makes for a much better and more believable surprise than, say, the Christine-daughter connection. It doesn't come out of nowhere and feels like it belongs with the character.

Speaking of which, Christine finally has a longer face-to-face with her "father" and not only reveals that she knows her father is a killer, but that she shot and killed Lundy and shot Debra in order to throw both of them off his tail. It has its pros and cons. Making Christine an accomplice gave Debra and Batista some obstacles to work around, both with Christine and her boyfriend, Quinn. But it stills feels tacked on and more unnecessarily shocking than a bug zapper hooked up to a car battery. It would have worked a hell of a lot better if it happened earlier in the season.

However, now that the two are related and Christine has officially been fingered as the shooter by Miami Metro (or so we're led to believe by the final scene, I wouldn't put anything past this show as far as I can throw), it once again sets up an interesting race between Dexter and Debra to get to the true treasure first. The connection between Arthur and Christine might seem more than a little coincidental, but it has set in motion a nice ticking clock scenario.

But before all that comes crashing to an end, Dexter has a very touching scene with his infant son Harrison who helps him realize just how much his family means to him, maybe enough to give up his second life as a serial killer forever. Of course, not before Arthur is 100 feet below sea level in a double wrapped garbage bag, I hope.

Other observations:

- Masuka tried to tell Dexter about the canoodling he saw his neighbor having with his wife almost the entire episode. He's clearly a much more caring and friendly character than his fake-male-macho persona may hope he leads others to believe. I'm also glad he didn't spring it on him in the very next episode. It's better to let the lovey-dovey subplot lines stew than get in the way of the more interesting ones. And speaking of useless lovey-dovey plotlines...

- Batista and Laguerta continue their closed door love-fest but make a reference to it in this episode. I still don't get what this is about or is leading to, and I really don't care. If I want plotlines about office romances that go horribly out of control, I'll watch the Lifetime Network, which is to say, never.

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I'm curious--if trinity goes missing, won't his family be able to make a connection to Dexter? True, they know him by a fictitious name, but it's not hard to imagine them being able to describe him to the police, who can put two and two together. Plus, Dexter's DNA is all over their house. It just seems sloppy that Dexter would get so close to the potential family of his victims.

And you can argue that Trinity's family won't mind, but in the Thanksgiving episode, when they thought he was in danger, they all rallied around Arthur. It stands to reason this is a loos end that Dexter can't afford.

December 04 2009 at 8:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan Vado

I have to admit I was not impressed with this season until the last couple of episodes. I think a fitting end to the season might be having Dexter "let" his sister nab Trinity (Grand Slam?). It would, in essence, show that Dexter is in charge of his dark passenger and truly focused as a family man. They have already done the serial killer vs serial killer bit, so why not have it play out this way?

Although, gotta say, that scene in the previous episode where Dexter hovers over Arthur and grits through his teeth "I should have killed you when I had the chance" gave me shivers.

November 30 2009 at 12:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Dan Vado's comment

That scen was one of my favorites too. Clearly the Dark Passenger has taken over the driving!

Reminds me of when he slammed Doakes against the cargo containers in Season One!

November 30 2009 at 11:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It would be interesting to see Trinity get nabbed by the police department, instead of Dexter killing him. We've been waiting so long already for Dex to just get rid of Trinity, so this would be a fun twist. How many episodes are left?

December 02 2009 at 6:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

With respect to the supposed lesson for Dexter, your family can be a "mask" as long as you don't abuse them and treat them like your victims. Foolish consistency....

Dexter has no reason to worry about that kid who said dexter left during the camping trip. He said the right thing - yeah he did leave once, to go to the bathroom in the woods. Big deal.

It was nice to see that annoying bitchslutwhore reporter-killer get arrested.

On another note, I think they should try to make some minimal attempt at explaining why dexter's "dark passenger" not only has no desire to kill children, but actively tries to protect them. Practically speaking, for most people Dexter would be an impossible character to watch, let alone like, if he killed children (even the bad ones). I know Harry's code focused Dexter's desires on bad people, but there are some really evil kids out there. As I always say, there is no hatred more pure than that of a child. Of course, if Dexter really wanted to save that kid he could have called the police and turned in Arthur Mitchell - but then he'd have a lot of explaining to do, as well as lose the chance to kill Mitchell. But at the same time, Dexter was more concerned with saving that kidnapped child than killing Arthur Mitchell (which we saw at the end - Dexter let Mitchell escape in order to save the drowning kid).

November 30 2009 at 4:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bruce's comment

He protects children because of what he went through. No child should have to go through what happened in the shipping crate. Also,Dexter was an evil child. He killed animals and was turning into a murderer at a young age. Look at what he has become when given a chance and Harry's tutelage. He has a "normal" life and helps the world out (in his mind) by killing murderers.

November 30 2009 at 10:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Susan J

I enjoy the show thoroughly but have a couple of random thoughts that could make interesting plot twists and challenges for Dexter. Was Christine's toothbrush legally obtained evidence? If the case gets tossed for that, will Dexter need to have a father-daughter kill fest?
Second, if Dexter cares about Trinity's family - wouldn't it be better for him to stage an accidental (visible) death for Arthur? My reason - if Trinity just disappears into the Gulf Stream, no body equals no proof of death equals no life insurance for the family. Am I correct in believing Trinity's wife is a stay-at-home Mom? Heaven knows, nobody is buying property in south Florida at the moment if the family has to downsize for lack of income. Not to mention all the expenses they will incur for psych counseling after the years of abuse. Actually, wouldn't it be worse for the family worrying that he will return some day if he just disappears without a trace? I doubt Dexter's awakening humanity will think of this. It would also challenge his rituals for the killings.

November 30 2009 at 3:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to Susan J's comment

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