4.11 Hello, Dexter Morgan
As with all my Dexter reviews, it’s impossible to talk about this show without spoilers, so if you’ve not watched this, I’d stop here.
The last episode got me in such a spin that I got the name of the actress who plays Christine wrong (since corrected, thankfully). So much happened in episode ten that by the time it was over I’d forgotten who I was, never mind who played who.
It seems fitting, therefore, that the penultimate story gives some space for contemplation before the finale, and, to a degree, that’s what’s on offer here.
I’m almost running out of superlatives for how well season four has gone. There’s always a tension with statements like that, the potential for defeat to be snatched from the jaws of victory. That would be a fiasco, given episodes one to ten, but then not for one moment did I think Dexter would drop that particular ball.
The first half of Hello, Dexter Morgan calms things down slightly from the insanity of the previous week. Christine Hill is stonewalling the police. Dexter is trying to keep them away from Arthur, who, in turn, is trying to find the imaginary Kyle Butler. He does this in the same way Sarah Connor is eliminated sequentially by the phone book in the first Terminator movie. The question here is how long it takes him to work out that Dexter isn’t Kyle Butler, although Arthur doesn’t find it necessary to kill them all.
That’s one dimension to the show, but most of what transpires pivots around how Dexter compartmentalises his multiple identities: father, brother, worker, killer. And, how trying to be all of them all of the time is beyond even the amazing Dexter Morgan. This is a theme that’s been covered in previous seasons, and we’re back to it once more.
One thing that Arthur and Dexter share is the belief that they’re smarter than everyone else, but Dexter might have underestimated Arthur from the outset.
He makes just one mistake and it leads Arthur back to the police department, and his first meeting with Dexter on home ground. The tension of that scene is something to behold, and it’s kept to the very last seconds of the show. Before then, we get to see Arthur admiring the detectives’ hard work that’s got them entirely the wrong suspect, following an evidence trail that Dexter’s carefully constructed for them.
But I’ve passed over tons of great stuff before then, specifically some marvellous acting by both Courtney Ford as Christine and Jennifer Carpenter as Debra. How Christine is ultimately cornered by the postcards Arthur sent her, and the realisation that she loves a man, Arthur, who is actually incapable of returning that affection, is a contemporary Greek tragedy. The only bit I didn’t really accept was that they’d let Debra be the only witness to her ultimate confession, which, should the case come to court, could easily be made inadmissible. This isn’t an issue in the story because after telling Debra that she’d shot her and Lundy, Christine pulls a gun and blows her brains out.
The setup for the final Dexter of this season is complete. What chaos that will unleash is difficult to imagine, but Arthur is obviously the most dangerous foe Dexter’s encountered.
I’ve got a bad feeling that the penance Dexter must forfeit for not killing him a while back isn’t done, and maybe some other major character must pay the price. One of our star-crossed lovers, Angel and Maria? I hope not, but I just can’t see that the only person not to survive next week’s show will be Arthur, or am I assuming too much there?
The masterstroke of this season was the casting of John Lithgow as Arthur. Next week is the big pay-off to that investment, and, personally, I can’t wait.
We’re on the edge of the big drop, time to put your hands high in the air and just scream.
Read Billy’s take on episode 10 here.