After prematurely reaching the conclusion of the Brain Surgeon storyline on last week’s Dexter, this week spends little time latching on and running with a new angle, but I use the term new loosely. It is season eight, after all, and since season five it has become increasingly apparent that sometimes this show can struggle to find new ground to break. What we usually get are old ideas dressed up in new formalities, and that’s exactly what this latest episode is offering us. It’s a typical Dexter move, and just as the episode started to leave a bad taste in my mouth, something also typical of Dexter happened; they left us with an epic cliffhanger.
I was very disappointed last week to see the main storyline that had been brewing come to an early close, and I’m even sadder to see the new direction that they’re heading in with Dexter and Zach. We’ve seen plenty of Dexter sidekicks in the show’s run and it’s no longer exciting to watch Dexter team up with another would-be psycho. Just because Dexter is going to teach Zach the code doesn’t make the idea any less stale. The only redeeming aspect of this pairing in the show was watching Charlotte Rampling’s Dr. Vogel argue with Dexter for Zach’s life. Her presence is adding quite the effect this season if only because she’s one of the few actors skilled enough to demand attention on this show. The biggest letdown for this episode was spending the entire time pretending that Dexter was actually ever going to kill Zach, I mean, from the moment Vogel brought up the idea that Zach should be taught the code it was a foregone conclusion that that was going to happen.
So we spent an episode basically just setting up expository information about Zach as a character, but in season eight, and especially half way through, I am just not interested in new characters, and why should I be? I want suitable endings for all characters and storylines, I don’t want to waste time meeting new characters that will only be used as plot devices to make the ending interesting. Speaking of plot devices, Harrison’s bloody stuffed animal popping back up this episode was a not so subtly hint that maybe that fluffy pup could come back to bite Dexter in the near future. It’s a lot like Breaking Bad’s Walt Whitman moment, but much more heavy handed and obvious.
Well, I guess we can talk about the cliffhanger now. I’m starting to get used to saving a final paragraph just to talk about the final two minutes because it seems that all the show is really interested in doing is sucking you into watching next week. Should I even keep getting excited for these little twist endings knowing that they’re probably just going to botch it or only half utilize the potential that they create? Hannah McKay pops back up, like we all knew she would, to knock Dexter and Debra out. Maybe she’ll get life changing revenge on Dexter! But most likely he’ll just be fine in two weeks, sitting in his kitchen, having beers and steaks with his sister, because nothing ever changes Dexter Morgan’s life, or what we have left of it.
Score: 2 out 5