Dexter season 4 episode 8 review

Billy finds the latest Dexter is light on action but heavy on mental illness.

4.8 Road Kill

Have you every watched Mythbusters? It’s a fun show, and the part I really love is where they have some object that should break or explode under certain circumstances, and they pile on the pressure until it ultimately happens.

The similarities between those scenarios and Dexter are striking, because it’s been obvious that the tension gauge has been reading in the danger zone for a few episodes now, and yet the pressure continues to climb. It’s not a matter of if all hell will break loose, but when. If I was a betting man I’d guess at some point in episode 10, but the unpredictable nature of the show could mean we’re only minutes of viewing time away from dramatic Armageddon.

I’m going to talk in detail about what happens in Road Kill now, so those people with a spoiler aversion, I’d go take your web experience somewhere else now.

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Much of this story revolves around Dexter’s plan to kill Arthur, and how he carefully constructs a reason for being out of town and even establishes alibis along the way. While he’s doing this, Debra finds out, with the help of Vince, that her shooter wasn’t tall enough to be Trinity, and Rita discovers that she’s got an attractive neighbour. I’ll come to these points later, because the show is called ‘Dexter’.

And anyway, those are really side dishes to the main course, Arthur’s new house building project and the associated fatalities that usually happen in the vicinity. Dexter begs to be taken along, something Arthur isn’t keen on, and Arthur only relents when he’s given a form of confession as emotional currency.

From the point where Dexter tells him that he’s killed an innocent man, Arthur goes quite weird, I mean Dr. Emilio Lizardo bonkers.

Seemingly wishing to unburden himself in similar fashion, he takes Dexter to a house, now occupied by an Asian couple, which was his familial home. They go to the bathroom, past the stunned house owners, where he lays out the whole sequence of events that lead to his sister’s, mother’s and father’s deaths. This is some of the best acting yet we’ve seen from Lithgow. He’s on fire here, and living every moment of the past.

Except is it real? It wouldn’t surprise me that in a very Joker’s scars type way we’re to be presented with multiple versions of these events, and even locations, to convince us just how loopy Arthur really is. Or it’s like he said, it could go either way.

If that didn’t convince us that his elevator didn’t go to the top floor, he then accosts a nice family having lunch, wanting to talk about taking his friend to the bathroom where his sister died. Unsurprisingly, they’re terrified, which also rather mucks up a carefully constructed alibi that Dexter just made for himself. Undeterred, Dexter decides to dispatch Arthur that very night, except he’s not in bed when Dexter arrives for that special early call.

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Arthur has taken himself to the building project with the intention of throwing himself off a high point, or that’s what it looks like. And by a very curious quirk of fate, instead of killing him off, Dexter actually ends up saving him!

While Arthur hasn’t revealed his hand so far, I find it impossible to believe he’s not got the measure of Dexter so far, and that we’re heading for a revelation where we find out just how our hero is being played and for what purpose.

I didn’t really buy the notion that he’d run out of his sister’s ashes so it was time for Arthur to kill himself. A least one of Arthur’s personalities has an entirely different agenda, I’m sure. There’s a big piece of this jigsaw that the writers have kept to themselves, I hope, and when it lands I predict the klunk will audible.

I’m not at all sure where they’re going with Rita’s wine fuelled arousal, but wherever it takes her, it’s the least of Dexter’s problems now. What’s much more interesting is the reveal about Debra and Lundy’s shooter.

Anton is out of the frame now, he’s just too tall, and even this show isn’t crazy enough to make the man who is the same height as Masuka, actually be Vince. The only other diminutive cast character is ace-reporter and Joey’s pal, Christine Hill. Did she shoot Debra and Lundy to fill column inches? Surely not.

I think the strength of this show is that in action terms not much happened in this story, yet I’ve managed to talk about it for over 700 words without much trouble.

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What’s very clever is that most of the action really takes place beneath the surface, with only small hints of the turmoil below. That’s gutsy, and I like it.

In some respects, a better title for this story might have been ‘Slack Tide’, because I think we’re on the edge of a major change of direction, as the parts carefully constructed so far start to fall into place.

I hope so, because I want the last four stories to be just as insane as those in the end of season 3. Here’s hoping.

Read Billy’s take on episode 7 here.