Dexter: 8.10 - Goodbye Miami
After taking a week off to rethink their lives, Dexter is back for the final three weeks of its final season ever! Well, unless they pull out a last-minute season nine renewal, or make one of the spin-offs I suggested last week, but let's not even go there yet.
For now, the question remains: will they manage a decent ending? With only a few weeks to go, after some fairly scathing reviews from me in recent weeks, could they finally pull it together? At the very least, give us some action? Spoilers below...
Stop playing with your knifey friends Dex, it's time to grow up!Well, the good news is that at long last, Dexter seems to have realised it needs a dramatic conclusion in three weeks' time. After unveiling Saxon as our big villain last time, he gets several scenes to be menacing and starey. Thankfully, actor Darri Ingolfsson pulls off the childish/dangerous combination well, has a few genuinely creepy exchanges with Vogel and, yes, at last we have a menace in the house.
The emergence of a worrying murderous lunatic leaves Dexter himself with a big dilemma, seemingly the crux of this entire ending: does he run away to pursue his life of bliss with Hannah, or stay to indulge in his favourite hobby of cat-and-mouse games with serial killers? Even though his decision to play this drawn-out game with Trinity in season 4 led directly to Rita being killed, Dex can't seem to help himself.
Well, okay. I mean, it's not the amazing show-ending apocalypse I hoped for (was really thinking someone would at least suspect Dexter of being a serial killer by now), but at least it takes us back to the show's roots, I suppose. Our hero is once again caught between his "real" self as a slasher and his "fake" life as a normal person - but this time, does he really want to choose the fake? They even take him back to a killsite from early in the very first episode, to really try and hammer home that this is a proper ending that ties everything together.
LOVE VS BLOODSo now I've praised a few of the ideas, let's move on to criticising most of the execution - in particular, the ongoing lack of momentum. For a man three episodes away from his series finale, Dexter spends a lot of time chilling out on his sofa. There's the slight threat of Hannah being caught but that never gets played as genuinely terrifying, as she too spends all her time lounging around Debra's house without a care - all the real action is centred around Vogel, and even Dex's dilemma of LOVE VS BLOOD doesn't get particularly imperative until the very last scenes, when the pace finally picks up. This episode may finally give the ending some shape, but it still goes about it rather slowly and laboriously much of the time.
Said last scene features Saxon killing Vogel, and all because Dexter talked her into this set-up. Whether they'll get into the more complex issue of Dexter's responsibility for this mess or go straight into his furious rage for vegeance, I don't know, but as ever, I hope it leads to more excitement down the line. At least I liked the Vogel character enough to feel more sorrow when she died than I did with Zach.
They really are only killing the season eight characters so far, aren't they? Surely the appeal of a final season is that you can just tear everything apart, but this show seems very timid about destroying its longstanding players. All the cops are still there, doing what they always have - even Deb is back working at Miami Metro. Pretty much the only major status quo change since Rita's death was probably LaGuerta dying last year. Once again, the worry sparks once more that this is all to keep spin-off hopes alive.
All that aside, I have finally had my request for some action granted, although only after a patchy episode where a lot of people ummed, erred and postured about many of the same things they had in previous weeks. If we can get a crazy off-the-wall bloody stare-out serial killer war between Saxon and Dexter in the last two episodes, that'd be something. Let's do that!