Dexter season 8 episode 6 review: A Little Reflection

Dexter's final season reaches the midway point but is yet to reveal the overall direction in which it's heading...

This review contains spoilers.

8.6 A Little Reflection

It’s an hour since I watched the sixth episode of this season’s Dexter, and I’ve still not quite shrugged off a degree of incredulity about what happened in its story.¬†Given how front-and-centre the whole Debs disintegration was at the outset, it now seems like a distant memory. She’s now the most level-headed and rational person on the show, which is a big hurdle I’m having trouble getting over.

But then, any episodic show is going to have a distinctly cyclical nature, and Dexter is no exception. A Little Reflection was in many respects a time-out of sorts, in which things are allowed to stabilise somewhat before they presumably go entirely to hell in the latter part of the season.

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To that end was the presentation of a potential replacement for Dexter in the youthful guise of Sam Underwood as Zach Hamilton, psycho teenager. Underwood’s acting in the shared scenes between Zach and Dexter isn’t very subtle, but then they’re both playing someone presenting a fake persona, so it’s not meant to be entirely believable. What I did buy was Dexter’s incredulity when confronting Vogel about the boy. Though how rapidly these concerns vanished once he was in the kill room was a far greater leap. Surely, the whole point about Dexter is that Harry got to him before he’d killed an innocent, which is not the case here? This detail gets rapidly overlooked, as Dexter suddenly starts wanting to be a mentor. Really? This is yet another incident that makes me question Vogel’s motives, because surely the most efficient way to bury her experiments is to get younger killers who can then retire the likes of Dexter? At some point the student becomes the master, accompanied by light sabre waving or substantial blood splatter.

Alongside that subplot, we have the remarkably dense Joey Quinn, who, on his ability to comprehend what Dexter was really doing wasn’t really the best choice for those stripes, or even the detective rank he already has. Given his and Dexter’s previous history, and Debs confession, one wonders what actually needs to happen to make Joey’s synapses actually fire sequentially? Though his lack of forethought did play a part in the oddly dark humour of the beach party, where every conversation and character interaction went horribly wrong. The fact that Vince did entirely the inappropriate thing wasn’t a big surprise, and neither was the very painful interaction between Dexter and his neighbour. It was a comedy of the unsaid, almost a homage to The Office. While I’ve enjoyed Vince getting some screen time, each time that C.S. Lee appears, I’m left wondering why they left it eight seasons to give him greater character breadth? He always had potential that remained mostly untapped.

It’s now becoming obvious that Jacob Elway is a darker character than we’ve been presented so far, though not obvious is how this fits into the later stories. He has a passion for Debs, but there’s more to this than a crush on her.

As if to signal that the relative rest of this story was done, the writers decided to throw the return of Hannah McKay in right at the conclusion. While Yvonne Strahovski is a marvellous actress, I’m not yet sure that the chaos her character is likely to bring is needed right now. It will be interesting to see where her reappearance takes the story next week, because she’s likely to be an element that Vogel can’t easily manipulate. Her arrival hints that if and when Dexter’s undoing comes at the end of the show, it’s likely that it will be not because of those he killed, but those he didn’t, ironically.

In retrospect, I neither loved nor hated this story, as it was more of a bridge between two phases that moved us ever closer to the end game. I’m hoping in the next story that where we’re going becomes clearer. Because it’s difficult to get excited by things like Hannah’s reappearance, that aren’t signposted even in a very subtle or veiled way.Keen viewers of the show would have known she was returning, but she appeared like a prize in one of those sad game shows, from behind door number 10b!

I expected better, though it’s probably more critical what she does next, now she’s back.

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Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, This Little Piggy, here.

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