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Dexter: “Monkey in the Box” Review

Posted on September 15, 2013 at 8:47 pm by Jeff Mueller

Dexter Season 8

Well, here we are. The penultimate episode of Dexter!

I am going to write this review as if I didn’t see the last two minutes of the episode because, as has been the nature of the show for the last few weeks, tonight’s ending unzipped and urinated all over what I had been writing about up until that point.

So we start right off where last week ended, with Vogel’s blood still on Dexter’s hands. I have to say I am pretty dissatisfied with the end of the “Psychopath Whisperer” saga. In a lot of ways the problems with this story arc illustrate one of the major problems with the show as a whole; we get shown a premise with tons of potential, that introduces lots of intriguing angles, but then abandons them for a lackluster resolution that feels flat. Now, many times, this is more common with sub-plots and/or minor characters (I am looking directly at you and your shady past Quinn) but when it happens with a plot that is essentially driving the entire season it can be a little infuriating.

Speaking of infuriating… Saxon turns up at Miami Metro to submit to more questioning surrounding Cassie’s murder? Really? At this point I am done with the distractions the “Brain Surgeon” brings to the proceedings. This entire Vogel arc withered and died on the vine; it didn’t pay off with any real insights into why Dexter is who he is (which was the only interesting possibility her introduction brought to the season) and now all I care about is how this odyssey comes to an end. Live or die, happy or sad, I just want to see how all of the characters I have been watching for 8 years end up. The cast is big enough as it is, so no matter how interesting these new characters might be I just am not invested in them enough after several episodes to care at this point.

“It’s been personal for a long time” – Dexter

That being said, even though I knew it was going to be Saxon who made that cash-offer on his place I enjoyed the face off between them both there and, even more so, the inter-play between them as he laid on Dexter’s kill table. Something about that conversation felt so real. The way they both seemed to embrace the inevitability of situation, and darkness of the humor that crept into this very serious moment. I will say this though, I immediately questioned the decision to let Saxon live and to turn him into the police… he knows too much and obviously would start blabbing about Dexter. While I get that they needed to show this sort of turning point in Dexter’s character I just think it’s a shame that it feels so poorly thought out.

Dexter - Monkey in the Box

Before I get to the other major plot points of tonight’s episode I wanted to take a minute and point out how interesting it was to see how the rest of Miami Metro is reacting to Dexter’s impending departure. We spend so much time seeing things from Dexter’s POV that we never really understand how all those around him actually see him. Does he really come off as socially awkward to his co-workers as he does to us, the audience? It’s just something I never really have thought about much since Season 2. It was nice to know that his co-workers are going to miss him, this small moments of humanizing him exactly why we have spent 8 seasons cheering for a serial killer.

“There’s a human being in there, there always has been.” – Deborah

This brings us to the other major storyline the Dexter-Hannah escape and the Dexter-Deborah relationship.

First let’s talk about everyone’s favorite foul-mouthed hellion, Deborah Morgan. How great was it being able to watch what amounts to a pretty mundane act; a brother and sister sitting down for a meal together? I have continually said that the interplay between Deb and Dex is what I really enjoy about the show, so it was nice to see what is probably the final brother-sister moment. In addition to that, we get a moment a lot of people have been waiting for a long time… the two of them working together to take someone down. No tension between them, no quarreling over what should befall said bad-guy. Just perfectly executed teamwork capped off with one of Jennifer Carpenter’s charming smiles.This was something that needed to happen, and I am glad it played out the way it did (even if I wished it happened 2-3 episodes ago.)

While Deborah was perfect in her scenes with Dexter, Quinn and the U.S. Marshall I have a major bone to pick with how she interacted with Hannah. Now, it was nice to see her ire towards her continue to soften but WHY DO PEOPLE KEEP DRIVING HANNAH AROUND IN PLAIN VIEW?!?! In a world of cops and private investigators not a single person seems to be concerned that they might be under surveillance? Or that something as simple as being stopped for a traffic violation could bring the world crashing down? Come on.

So as the tropical storm looms closer, and Dexter turns a new leaf we can look forward to the final hour of Dexter to be solely focused on how he, Hannah and Harrison deal with evading detection as they leave the country and how aiding and abetting multiple murderers/fugitives is going to work out for Deb, right? Well if you turned the TV off before the last two minutes of the show you might think so, but if you watched the whole way through you probably said the same thing I did.


That definitely throws another monkey-wrench into the mix, and I still can’t figure out what in the hell is going to happen.

My Score: A-

Despite my grumbling over some things I really felt were glossed over I think I am going to look back on the last couple of hours of Dexter fondly. I am predicting that we will see the final two (maybe three if you want to push it) episodes as a great end to the the series despite the season as a whole being mediocre.

So is it just me or are the visions of Harry mildly irritating the past few episodes, as if they’ve ceased to offer anything useful? Is the U.S. Marshal getting stabbed a little too convenient? Did anyone else have to take a moment to figure out it was Miguel Prado’s widow acting as Dexter’s real estate agent? Who is going to live and who is going to die? Give us your theories in the comments below!

Make sure to follow @themightyjerd on Twitter to commiserate on the ending of this show!

Dexter: Season 8, Episode 11 “Monkey in the Box” aired August 25, 2013 on Showtime.

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