Dexter season 4 episode 4 review

Big spoilers ahead, as Billy savours the latest episode of Dexter...

4. Dex Takes A Holiday

Having just finished watching Dex Takes A Holiday, it’s like the first three stories were a slow climb up a steep gradient, where here we crested the hill and start to make a rapid descent. Oh…hang on, its Dead Man’s Curve up a head. Get those body bags ready!

There are a number of major spoilers in this piece, so if you haven’t seen it yet I’d hold off reading my review until you have, because this episode is pivotal for some characters.

The irony of the holiday that Dexter takes is that he’s not the one on vacation, it’s Rita and the children, and his holiday is to remain at home for three days. Time to kill is the expression people use, but for Dexter the meaning is more literal.

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He’s been cultivating a project for exactly this opportunity. She’s called Zoey Kruger, and she’s a police officer who gunned down her own family to get more personal time. Dexter doesn’t believe her version of events, where blood evidence from the assailant is only in one part of her home, and decides to go to the house under the pretence of house hunting to see what evidence he can find.

I’ve always liked the due diligence that Dexter does on his victims; it’s methodical and generally avoids unwarranted collateral damage.

In Zoey’s waste disposal unit he finds a fragment of the rubber glove she used when she shot her family before turning the gun on herself to complete her tableau.

But Officer Kruger isn’t stupid, and soon realises that a blood splatter expert turning up at her home can only mean one thing, and it’s something she’s not going to let happen. Her mistake is that she doesn’t recognise Dexter as being like her until it’s far too late, but then there are plenty of trash bags littering the sea floor in that area containing those who underestimated mild-mannered Dexter.

Leaving that plot for a moment, the theme that’s running through this entire story is the choice people make in relationships, a threshold where they’re forced to jump one way or another. Various couples are in a launch phase, with mission control demanding to know if it’s ‘go’ or ‘no-go’. We’ve got Angel and Maria, Joey and journalist Christine Hill, and the triple chaos of Debra, Anton and Frank Lundy.

Frank and Debra are getting closer together, and it’s starting to annoy Anton, unsurprisingly. Yet they’re actually getting somewhere with the Trinty case, as they’ve worked out where the next killing will be.

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While Frank is scouting the location, Arthur ‘Trinty’ Mitchell is also there, trying to work out where to kill the person on a site that’s been massively redeveloped since he despatched someone there 30 years previously.

Arthur identified Lundy from his picture in the paper, and they have a contrived meeting, which Lundy recognises as such. He tries to get hold of Debra to tell her this, but doesn’t get the opportunity that day.

A little before this there’s a very strange scene where Arthur waits down the back alley of a bar for a drunk to come along and then verbally abuses him before being beaten. It hints that maybe Arthur has a multiple personality disorder, as he blames an invisible person for what happens to him. Is only one of Arthur’s personas a killer, or is it more complicated than that?

But back to Dexter. Zoey is zeroing in on him and pulls over his car in her capacity as a cop to explain she knows who he is (except, trust me, she doesn’t). Dex is on the verge of letting this opportunity go, but something is driving him on, maybe the challenge. So he decides to ‘bat the beehive‘ as Harry describes it one more time and see if he can get her to come at him by asking for more case files relating to her family’s death.

It works a treat. First she accosts him in the toilet of a gas station, and then she comes for him at home, where he’s waiting for her. She sees him coming in the reflection of a family photo, but she’s not prepared for the real Dexter Morgan.

Her end comes in much the same way as most of Dexter’s victims, pinned to a table by many feet of plastic wrapping, but the conversation they have is truly enlightening. He gets her to admit she killed her family, and she tells him that he’ll kill his when he’s forced to choose between them and himself.

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At this point Dexter has a minor (or major, depending how you look at it) epiphany, where he realises that he’d rather chance this family knowing the truth than not have his family! This isn’t exactly classic sociopath credentials, as he’s starting to empathise with people!

As joyful a revelation as this is, it doesn’t actually stop him killing Zoey, but then she’d crossed a line even Dexter refuses to go beyond.

Dexter goes home and sorts out the mess left by the fight in his house with Zoey, just finishing as his family comes through the door, completing a happy family scene.

At this point, I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed, because while the friction between Dex and Zoey was good, there was something missing from this story. Little did I know that in the few minutes left that element would make such a dramatic entrance, and with such drastic consequences.

Debra has rekindled her relationship with Frank Lundy, they’re walking arm in arm to the harbour’s side, talking about how this changes everything. I got nervous at this point because I couldn’t see that running into Anton would make for excellent timing at this point. Who exactly they do run into isn’t clear, but he seems to be alone and wearing gloves.

His first shot hits Debra around the hip area, and she goes down immediately. Two more shots ring out, and Frank hits the ground directly in her line of sight, except he was already dead before he even hit the parking lot. A man steps over him and removes his wallet and watch before leaving. Debra looks into Frank’s open eyes and passes out.

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Wow, talk about unexpected twists. Having missed his family, how is Dexter going to react to his sister being shot? Not well, I’d suggest. The title of the next story is Dirty Harry, which, depending how you interpret that, could be more revelations about Dexter’s step-father or his investment in a Magnum 44.

This episode is exactly why I watch this show, because it can take your breath away in an instant. It’s sad to see Keith Carradine bow out as Frank Lundy, as he’s been sterling entertainment. I’m hoping that by way of recompense we’ll get to see more John Lithgow from this point onwards.

Dexter is by far the best show I’m currently watching, and Dex Takes A Holiday just underlined that in big read marker pen!

Read Billy’s take on episode 3 here.