Dexter season 4 episode 10 review

Billy has gnawed his fingers down to just below the elbow watching this week’s Dexter...

Dexter: Lost Boys

10. Lost Boys

I’d like to flag a spoiler alert from the outset, as the nuances of this story can’t really be discussed without revealing some major plot points. If you’ve not watched it, turn back now!

Don’t take this as a complaint, but this story has a markedly different tone than the previous nine in this season. A noticeably darker and more urgent persona, that sees Dexter genuinely massively stressed out by discovering an entirely different and scary facet to Arthur Mitchell’s psychosis.

Something it made me realise is how much more season four has made Dexter sympathetic than the previous ones, where simplistically he was a serial killer who just didn’t want to get caught. Now he’s actually trying to stop Arthur before he spills more blood and I’ve found myself genuinely rooting for him in this quest.

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Perhaps Harry was right, and Dexter should have killed Arthur much earlier, but now things have taken a distinct left turn. It would be helpful if Dexter could involve the police, but when Arthur abducts a ten-year-old boy, he’s got to make a choice between leaving the child at Arthur’s mercy or finding him on his own.

It’s all gripping stuff, and then when the plot thread that puts Debra on the scent of less than mild mannered reporter Christine Hill, I was reaching for the liquid tranquilisers.

Courtney Ford who plays Christine, is an excellent actress, and I’m not just saying that because she’s very attractive, as her abilities run much deeper. She has a couple of great early scenes: the interview with Debra and then her trying to find out from Joey just how much trouble she’s really in. With Vince handed a toothbrush she’s used for a DNA test, I’d say that she’s up to her pretty little neck. Her panic is palpable, as she’s not a cold and calculating killer.

But Lithgow, again, trumps everyone in acting chops, and they even found a gifted young actor to play the child he takes. Their scenes together are quite chilling, especially when dessert is suddenly on the menu. I defy anyone with children not to be entirely transfixed as this part of the story plays out.

But the ‘shoe drop moment’ is the return of Christine’s DNA result, which, as I’d guessed (and hopefully so has everyone watching the show), reveals her genetic connection to the Trinity killer.

But Dexter is closing in on Arthur and his hiding place…will he be in time?

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My nerves at this point in the story actually made me pause the live show, because I was almost emotionally drained. The writing by Charles H. Eglee and Tim Schlattmann is brilliant, and a master class in delivering total viewer involvement.

Then Christine resets the play-clock when she tells Arthur she knows he’s a killer, and that she shot Lundy to stop him catching up with her dad. Watching this, and understanding more about Arthur than Christine does, I immediately got concerned that she’s suddenly become a huge liability, and Arthur’s announcement that he’d be dropping by later didn’t make me worry less. His reaction when out of earshot reinforced those concerns, but it’s time for Dexter and Arthur to meet again when our hero finally works out what fate befalls the boy.

At the end of the fight there is almost a homage to the original Halloween, where Dexter saves the boy only to turn around and find his nemesis supernaturally gone. Arthur’s got a thick skull, it seems. Next time Dexter needs to bring something much more permanent than an old spade.

Christine gets her late night visit. It’s isn’t papa this time, but the entire homicide team. Not the shock we got last week, but a suitable junction for Dexter to pause.

Phew. I’m not sure how much of this I can take. The fact that there are only two shows left is both a curse and yet a relief. The trailer for the penultimate show doesn’t look remotely like next week will get any easier, maybe much worse. I think I’ll just start behind the sofa, and avoid having to go there when things really kick off.

In tension cranking this season has left all the previous ones in the dust, and frankly, embarrassed almost all the other drama shows currently running. What worries me is that the peak is yet ahead, and I’m not sure I can handle that altitude without oxygen.

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Amazing TV and probably better made drama than most big budget movies can muster.

Read Billy’s take on episode 9 here.