This review contains spoilers.
8.10 Goodbye Miami
By the end of this story I gave up entirely the notion that the writers had something clever to offer us by way of the Dexter goodbye, or even wave a fond adieu! Before I come to the horribly mechanical ending and its consequences though, I’d like to first comment on the identity of Oliver/Daniel that so fired my interest last week. Whatever I noticed, this episode entirely ignored, and drove the Oliver equals Daniel bus as if there was no issue with him being ten years too young. So unless that’s a final reveal, I’m forced to put that plot-hole down with Debra’s second gun and the car with no airbags from the earlier episode, as just exceptionally sloppy production work.
From all the promos run ahead of the tenth episode it was painted in ten foot high letters that a major character was about to die, and the entire episode quickly degenerated into the visual equivalent of Russian roulette. Who would it be? Each threat was presented and then dismissed, and some even came back after they’d been resolved.
By far the silliest of these was the Harrison subplot, which began with him being warned about the treadmill. What is it with writers and young children, that the only things they can imagine to do with them involve them ignoring warnings? The writers’ defence, if it is one, is that in this week just about every character did something monumentally stupid, some at a level that made Harrison’s lack of imagination seem modest.
The opening scene where Vogel has breakfast with Daniel outlines just how much she’s lost the plot in appreciating how dangerous he is. Thankfully she’s given a quick reminder that he’s a sociopath whose previous means of communication was to scoop out people’s brains and send them gift-wrapped, which she then entirely ignores.
Meanwhile back at Debra’s beach apartment, Hannah is trying that unique disguise technique of not changing anything about her appearance, and living in a building with plenty of windows located somewhere many people pass each day. She’s not entirely at fault though, because Dexter is talking about Argentina, like there’s a world-renowned retirement home for serial killers in that place, and he can just walk away from the utter chaos he and she have created in Miami. There was always something childlike about Dexter’s persona, and it’s this bit that seems to be firmly in the driving seat now.
It’s a shame about that US Marshall, the one Dexter can’t be bothered to pay attention to, and whom he didn’t check had left the area. Then again we all knew he wasn’t leaving after one episode, because they hired a known actor to play him. When you combine him with Vogel’s inability to lie convincingly to anyone important, you’ve left with a recipe that doesn’t get served in Argentina or even south of Key West. Actually, on that last point she’s convincing enough to lie to Dexter on numerous occasions, but confronted by Daniel or Tom, she’s abysmal. Why?
Debra isn’t any help either. Sending Harrison alone back to the house was a huge hint that there was someone else waiting there for him when the Marshall turned up. She’s confused by the dumbest character in the show, Joey, and expected Elway to give her a hug when she resigned! These things are annoying and distracting, but my largest complaint isn’t any of this, it’s how weak Daniel/Oliver is as Dexter‘s final Nemesis. Let’s be frank, he’s not even Doakes-dangerous on the example he’s presented so far. Compared with some of the other killers he’s come up against, he wouldn’t last ten seconds against them, and his existence in this show has to be bolstered by Dexter’s inability to find him.
Which brings me neatly to the head-slapping moment of the week, when Dexter uses Vogel’s laptop to look at Daniel’s computer, because ‘that’s how it works’ in TV land. This was moronic on so many levels, not least that monitoring Trojans aren’t reversible in the real world. But the information onscreen provides an IP, which you could use to find his physical location. Hey, if he could operate ‘Saxon-Macbook-Pro’ as we see him do remotely, then surely he could turn on the camera and see the location, or list the WiFi access points within range? He does none of those things, and even seems to have forgotten he can pick locks and doesn’t need a key to get in.
I could talk about the interactions between Joey, Debra and Jamie, but I’d rather eat salt. It’s detritus that clogged up the season with meaningless conversations, to go along with Vince and his stoned daughter and Batista doing entirely nothing. There’s a revenge context being sprung here for Joey if something happens to Debra, but I’m almost beyond caring any longer.
Mostly, I don’t care because the end of this episode outlines what a complete and utter waste getting Charlotte Rampling on this show was, because the exit of Vogel in the final scene eliminated once and for all any of the myriad of possibilities her character offered. Yes Vogel offered so much, but never delivered on any of it. When she first appeared I wondered what Vogel’s real motives where, and how she figured Dexter into her complex plans. But she didn’t have a plan, or – face it – a clue what she was doing, and entirely blinded by her regrets of poor parenthood, she basically let her psychopathic son kill her passively! And, because he slashed her throat she didn’t even get a final line of dialogue. It was a low point of the entire series for this writer.
Clearly this was a cyclic event designed to take Dexter back to the point where he lost his birth mother and reignite the fury that made him the killer he became. Rampling and Hall had some great scenes over the season, but even between them they couldn’t put any flesh on what turned out to be a two-sentence character description for Vogel, who in the end never amounted to any more than that.
From the positioning over the past ten stories, and even before, it’s patently obvious that Debra won’t make it alive to the closing credits. The only question I have is if Dexter will die too, and Jamie will take Harrison to live in Atlanta with her?
There are still two more episodes to go, but after this one I’ve all but accepted that this might be the worst Dexter season of them all.
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