Tuesday, 10 September 2013

DEXTER, 8.10 – 'Goodbye Miami'

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

written by Scott Reynolds | directed by Steve Shill

The final three episodes begin, but with a mild pop instead of an explosion. I simply don't buy into the idea Dexter (Michael C. Hall) would elope with Hannah (Yvonne Strahovski) and his son, leaving his sister behind, because their relationship doesn't feel as strong as it once did. It's tried to undo some of the knots the Dexter/Hannah situation had tied itself up in last season (he can't trust her, she hates his sister), but it hasn't been handled effectively enough. It just feels like the show needs Dexter to start making a life-changing decision like leaving Miami because, well, it's the end of the series soon and they need a big event.

I'm also disappointed in the Dr Vogel (Charlotte Rampling) storyline's conclusion, because although it avoided the obvious twist of turning her into this season's Big Bad, she's spent too long looking like a fool in recent weeks. Throughout this episode she came across like a dotty grandmother Dexter's having to mollycoddle, instead of the calm, methodical and intelligent therapist she was introduced as. A lifetime spent dealing with serial killers and she's a nervous wreck around her son Daniel (Darri Ingolfsson), and her insistence he's not beyond therapeutic help just made her look foolish. At least the issue wasn't dragged out until the very end; as Vogel didn't side with her son in a pact to help him kill Dexter (which some fans expected), and within the hour came to understand she's mothered a remorseless psycho who needs to be slain.

The episode's big climax with Dexter failing to to save Evelyn Vogel before she had her throat cut open by her own son was a surprisingly flat moment, too. I think this was a combination of the character only being in the show for ten episodes (compared to the shock death of Dexter's wife Rita occurring after four seasons), the fact we've been reticent to embrace Vogel because she's always been written suspiciously, and the fact she spent recent episodes being an idealistic idiot. When Dexter embraced her on the floor in a pool of blood, it was clearly intended to be a scene where a "mother" was dying in the arms of her "son" (an echo of the incident that shaped Dexter's psyche when his birth mother was murdered in front of him), but it just didn't work as intended. I was just relieved we won't have to watch Charlotte Rampling breathily intone the show's arch dialogue ever again.

It also annoys me that a US Marshall has been thrown into the mix so late, as a poor man's Stan Liddy from season 5, to try and ascertain where Hannah McKay's hiding. "Goodbye Miami" went through a ridiculous plot contortion to make this sub-plot work; involving a 'Chekhov's treadmill', Harrison have a hilarious accident where he gashes his chin (edited together like a workplace health and safety video), Hannah taking him to the hospital for treatment, an observant reception recognising fugitive Hannah in the waiting area, and the Marshall eventually piecing everything together. You'd think Hannah would have the presence of mind to give Harrison a different name at the hospital, but now it seems the Marshall's going to prevent the Argentinian happy ending we all knew was doomed from the start anyway.

Elsewhere, it seems the big ending for Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) is rekindling her romance with Quinn (Desmond Harrington) now he's dumped babysitter Jamie, and getting her job back at Miami Metro. In other words, a step backwards to how things were ages ago.

So here we are. Two more episodes left to go, and it seems everything's coming down to love-birds Dexter and Hannah having to evade the pesky US Marshall, while trying to simultaneously kill Daniel Vogel. Why can't Dexter slip the cops the video file he has of Daniel cutting Zach's skull open, and let them deal with catching the real Brain Surgeon? Even if they catch Daniel and he starts blathering about Dexter being a serial killer working for Dr Vogel, who's going to believe the rantings of a sociopath who just killed his mother?

Regardless, none of this is building to the ending I had in my mind's eye back when Dexter began. It's a real shame the season hasn't spent serious time making the threat of Dexter's exposure and capture more central, as the one thing everyone wants to see is Dexter outed as a vigilante to his friends and work colleagues. Imagine the looks on their faces and the anger when people realise LaGuerta was right about Dexter all along! Are they going to hit that button next week, or wait for the finale

Could they risk uproar and end the series with Dexter Morgan's secret intact and a happy ending in Argentina, leaving the door open for telemovies when Michael C. Hall needs some cash? Oh, the horror...

  • Dexter's going to see Astor and Cody before he leaves for Argentina, and I was reminded about his step children's existence for the first time in ages. Shame they never found a rational way to integrate them into the show after the mother was murdered, but it was a problem no writer could square without a problematic time-jump to turn them into teenagers.
  • In an alternate universe where Dexter retained its sense of bold risk-taking, Debra got her throat cut in this episode and the internet went nuts. I want to live in that universe. Mind you, in the same universe Breaking Bad's probably fizzling out, so maybe not.
Showtime | 8 September 2013