Dexter - 8.05: This Little Piggy

Well, in last week's pulse-pounding Dexter review, I wondered whether we were headed towards some kind of mid-season wrap-up, which ended the current storylines and freed us up for new stuff in the final weeks. Turns out, I might've read the bloody tea leaves right, as that is more or less what we get here.

So, who was The Brain Surgeon? Can Dex repair his fractured pseudo-family? SPOILERS: None of these answers are difficult.


Dexter - Slowing To A Halt

At the end of that last review, I also mused that the final season of Dexter isn't exciting me in the way I'd hoped. I was anticipating a pedal-down dash towards the finale, and instead they've taken one of the slowest, least tense starts to a season in a few years. This episode, then, is either totally symptomatic of the problem, or the big step in turning it around, and I probably won't know which one for a few weeks.

Because the happy ending in this episode is... almost painfully unchallenging. We get multiple lines of dialogue about how easily it came about, how perfect everything seems - The Brain Surgeon turns out to be the most obvious candidate, he is easily beaten, Dex and his "family" get a final scene on a boat, new love interest on the horizon, Deb seems cured and making quips about "the family that kills together"... surely the down-side must be coming? We're seven episodes before the end of the show, our hero seems to have genuinely hit glorious acceptance and happiness - surely this is where his perfect life falls apart and he has to face justice?

If not, and we are now faced with seven episodes of family bliss and an ending where he completely gets away with it, that will be terrible, but I genuinely don't think they're going there. They surely can't spend seven years building to the moment where Dexter is outed to his friends and family and then not go through with it?

We Want Disaster And We Want It Now

So I still have faith that we'll see that tension, thrill and horror. They've taken our anti-hero to the highest peak possible, and now it's time for everything to go wrong. But even if I'm right and the rest of the season is a well executed fall from grace, I must admit, the five episodes we've taken to get here did drag a little. If they'd made the final showdown with The Brain Surgeon amazingly tense, can't-look-away TV, or at least had his secret identity be something besides just some guy, it might've worked better, but the whole thing felt so cursory as a resolution to the main plot of half the season, I still felt let down.

In short, both Deb's guilt-cure and The Brain Surgeon wrap-up were so weirdly quick (they probably haven't really finished), they weren't that compelling viewing. Which means it was Miami Metro's chance to shine! I had so little else to watch this week, I was genuinely curious about Masuka's kid! Will Quinn make sergeant despite his need to kick against authority and piss people off? (Probably not initially, maybe later.)

We're at a tipping point here, then. This is clearly the end of the first "half" of the season, a major break point with the next part, which seems to involve the creepy rich kid introduced here. Will Dexter's happy ending last long? How late in the game will things start to go properly off the rails? Because they surely eventually must? In the meantime, this was perhaps a slightly humdrum episode, due to the weirdly bland machinations needed to get the happy non-ending in place. Hopefully the wires will get pulled taut again for next week.

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