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September 4, 2015

Review: Dexter - Hello, Dexter Morgan

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 7th 2009 8:32AM
(S04E11) "Blood tech, husband, father, serial killer and now, Kyle Butler extortionist? Which one are you?"
"All of them."
- Harry to Dexter

It is always fun to watch Dexter struggle over his various roles and purposes in his life. He's become a juggler learning how to add just one more ball to his act even as he's trying to keep them all up in the air.

This season, he's had more than ever before in a single season. He's a heavily armed Rich Little and adding extortionist to his list was a real smart move until, of course, Arthur gets the better of him.

Now that Dexter knows Arthur is hunting him, Dexter pulls the blackmail card out of his deck demanding $50,000 from him or he'll spill his dirty little secret to everyone he knows, including the police. This leads to another innocent death and Dexter doesn't really seem to dwell on it as much as the kill he made in the "Slack Tide" episode when he kills the wrong suspect. Either the script didn't want to get bogged down in more lamenting self-discovery or Dexter has been seeing such deaths as collateral damage. Could this mean that sweet, lovable Dexter is learning how to become a cold-blooded killer?

Of course, the details we are most interested in is how police are going to get Christina to crack and she holds up pretty well on her own. It gives Debra a unique opportunity to bring a plot line back into play that seems to have gone away for awhile: her investigation into her father's CI affairs. Much like the show's title character, she too has learned to deal and move on with the problems in her life and even though it doesn't help get her what she's after, it does give Christina something to pass through her pretty little head before that final bullet.

Now that Dexter wants Arthur all to himself for his kill table, he needs a fall guy and finds one in a prostitute murdering truck driver (Jeremy Clarkson would call that phrase redundant). The setup seems a little too easy, something even Debra noticed just as her brother was there to steer off the right track again. This might be a ways away, but I've got a feeling Debra is going to learn some even more sordid truths about her brother very, very soon.

Meanwhile Christina finally gets a hold of her father who wants nothing to do with her, which he says in no uncertain terms. She spirals and is ready to confess the whole thing but holds back on revealing the identity of her father, the Trinity Killer, when Debra tells her they have the truck driver on their suspect radar. She just had her soul crushed into a ragged little car cube by her evil prick of a father and instead of turning him in for the evil mass of flesh that he is, she confessed to shooting Debra and killing Lundy and then offs herself right in front of Debra's bloodstained eyes. It had me scratching my head.

But all of this confusion pays off in the end when Arthur is walking through the briefing room and marveling at the photos of his kills like a high school quarterback eying his trophy case was downright creepy and disturbing. Then he finally faces down Kyle and learns his true identity with in that slow, gloating drawl, "Hello, Dexter Morgan."

Next week's season finale episode should, hell, must start at the end of this exact moment.

Other observations:

- I know I've ragged on the Batista/Laguerta relationship a lot, so here goes more of that. They were bound to get caught again by the nosy Captain, so this time, they get married as a political ploy. When Laguerta asks why the Captain is gunning for him, he says it's "for arrogance." Is it just me or is it starting to feel like the only reason these two were put together in the plot was to give the nearly absent Captain something to do on screen?

- Rita finally confesses to Dexter that she kissed the neighbor during Thanksgiving dinner. Dexter seems reserved and almost uncaring about the moment at first, but then confronts and punches the neighbor. A lot of critics and reviewers ragged on Rita for being another distraction, but I've always enjoyed Julie Benz's performance and the plot she provides Dexter since he's always struggling with emotions that he claims he doesn't have.

- Once again, Jennifer Carpenter shined as the still-grieving Debra who hasn't completely gotten over Lundy's murder. The scene where she has to almost throw herself at the dry-erase board to erase Lundy's name from the list of unsolved murders was toned down a bit compared to the breakdown she had just after his murder, but just as heartfelt and genuine.

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there is always the possibility that he runs the cycle by killing one of the kids, deb in the tub and having Rita jump and going after Dexter with the hammer - pretty unlikely but...

December 10 2009 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Susan J

I agree that the Laguerta/Batista thing is getting old and I actually agreed with the Captain - they made a promise and they lied. The quicky wedding was a sham as in an earlier episode they decided they would rather work homicide than continue the relationship and produced the affidavits. So far the whole thing just serves as filler.

Deb needs to have better investigative interview techniques - you never volunteer information (such as the name of a suspect, like she told Christine about Stan). At times, silence is the best technique - people start talking to fill the void and I think Christine would have given up her father at that point.

The postcards - was the repetitive message of "wish you were here" Arthur's way of saying that he wished he was killing Christine? He clearly wasn't sending them out of any affection for her.

One of Dexter's mistakes in this episode was thinking that he is the hunter and Arthur the prey - They are both hunters and prey at this point. In the arcade, Arthur set the trap to draw Dexter out in order to track him home. Dex tends to think of himself as the smartest bear in the woods and hubris can be fatal.

I think the graves of the children are found in the next episode - there was a flash of a basement grave on the trailer.

I don't know if you can have Rita killed off - Dexter as a single father with 3 kids? Deb would have to move in to help out with the kids. Might be interesting but could get old very quickly.

I wouldn't mind seeing Anton and Deb get back together but I don't think she has the ability to commit to anyone her own age without serious therapy. Lundy was a father figure to her subconsciously.

How about Deb and Matsuka? I think he is a lot nicer than he projects.

Was the breaking down the door scene (in the trailer for next week) at Arthur's house? Arthur's son may well wind up offing the old man. And turn into a serial killer himself?

Just one weird thought - are we out of Vera ashes at this point?

Dexter is not sweet and lovable - well, only in a weird way - he is and will remain a cold-blooded killer. His disguise improves as he learns more about emotions but his own rudimentary feelings are still twisted.

December 08 2009 at 3:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Susan J's comment
paranoid android

About the kids: They very conveniently introduced Paul's totally awesome parents as potential babysitters last week, so the kids might stay with them.

December 08 2009 at 4:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wonder if the big twist is Debra catches Dexter about to kill Trinity and figures out what Dexter has been up to all this time. She's about to find out about Laura Moser and maybe that will lead her to digging into Dexters past and learning more about Dexter and his brother. Maybe she will find out the truth about him and be ok with it since he's taking out the ones that fall through the cracks of justice. Maybe she will even be the one to kill Trinity. They said it was the biggest twist yet so you never know.

December 08 2009 at 1:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I bet RITA will be the one who ends up killing Trinity.

Just a guess.

December 07 2009 at 9:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brock Lee

Look for Anton to return and kill Debra. He got himself skinned because of her, then she cheated on him and broke his heart.

Finally Deb and Lundy can be together...in death.

December 07 2009 at 9:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It seems like making Dexter much more vulnerable with more responsibilities has allowed the writers more freedom to do whatever.The plotholes can be explained easily, referencing the multiple parts of his life Dexter has to contend with. Dexter is no longer control of everything, and I'm hoping the writers will find a better balance next season.

Batista/LaGueta and Rita continue to drag the show down, and I would prefer not to see them as much. Review of the episode on my blog.


December 07 2009 at 6:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just feel bad for Deb. At what point is this girl really going to break down? Ever since we've seen her, she's gotten mixed up in some bad relationships, or good relationships that end badly. And then with Christine's last conversation, that's got to be rough.

I also agree that Dexter may not get to Trinity first. He may get pulled over on some traffic violation, or the kid he kidnapped will ID him or something. Or maybe they'll leave his character out there until season 5...you never know.

As always, Dexter is juggling too much, and I have a feeling he'll come very close to danger in the finale. Someone, like Masuka or Deb, or maybe Quinn, will see something they weren't supposed to see.

At this point, if Dexter were to turn Arthur over to the police, would Dexter be implicating himself somehow? I'm trying to think if he's actually done anything against the law, as far as Arthur knows?

December 07 2009 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think trinity will be arrested instead of killed by dexter. i just have a gut feeling on this...

December 07 2009 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to alex's comment

I wouldn't find that twist that bad. We've all been expecting for him to kill him, but it would be sorta nice to have Debra solve the case for Lundy.

December 07 2009 at 3:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

S04 is turning out to be even better than S03, which I thought was nearly impossible.

It would have been relatively easy for the writers to have Dexter kill Trinity, but they have deftly made this into a real thriller.

John Lithgow is amazing. To have him bravely walk into Police HQ was ballsey. Although I have a feeling that Arthur is not going to escape Dexter's grasp, it has made for some great TV.

December 07 2009 at 11:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Last night's episode was the product of lazy writing in some areas. Dexter would never be followed without knowing it. He wouldn't have left the arcade if a child was possibly in trouble either. Batista left the suspect alone with her postcards at one point.
How did Dexter drop off the child? Where did he leave him to be found and in what state?
There is another issue here being left out, and that is the families of all the missing children that Trinity murdered. If it was an issue, Dexter would allow the Police Dept to handle it so they could possibly get the locations of the missing's burial spots. At this stage in Dexter's character metamorphosis, he would be very sympathetic over this type of closure.

December 07 2009 at 10:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Maury's comment

Dexter isn't infallable, he doesn't spend his whole day seeing if he is being followed, especially since he really has no reason to believe he would be. We've seen Dexter screw up many times in the past, especially this season, this is just an instance where Trinity outsmarted him.

How Dexter returned the kid is irrelevant, he could have dropped him at a hospital, or any random place for someone else to find and return him home. It's not lazy writing if its completely inconsequential.

Leaving the arcade was designed to further show that he's having trouble figuring out which side of him takes precedent, at this instance it was the brother side. Which was painfully expositioned right to us via voiceover. Its not like he walked away from a screaming child, he searched the arcade all over and found no trace of Arthur.

As for the missing children, it seems to me that you are projecting this character metamorphosis that you think would require him to notify the police of where all the missing childrens bodies are buried. Just like every other piece of evidence he's withholding, giving that up would immediately lead the cops to Arthur's doorstep and ruin his need to kill Trinity himself.

December 07 2009 at 12:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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