Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What I’m Watching: Dexter (Season Finale)

Dexter: Season 4, Episode 12 “The Getaway” (B+)

There’s been something about the last two season finales of this show that has seemed to wrap everything up a bit too neatly and quickly, making Dexter’s season-long pursuit of his nemesis end much too easily. For a moment, this seemed like it might follow suit, but it diverged in a fascinating way. We’ve never actually seen Dexter lose his temper with those he’s not about to kill before, and his two aggressive acts of assault was particularly surprising (I’m not counting his hilarious head-butting of Doakes since that’s a different story). This was a good episode for Harry lectures, and the season-long parallel of Dexter and Arthur as family men was played out in this episode to fascinating and devastating effect. Deb’s discovery of the identity of Dexter’s mother had me worried that she was going to put the pieces together and catch Dexter, but then I remembered that she’s really not that bright and that her recent realizations were exceptions to the rule. Dexter’s capture of Trinity was a particularly strong and haunting way to send the character to his death, but the horrific consequences of Arthur escaping while Dexter was arrested weren’t realized until the very last moments of the episode. It almost didn’t, and still doesn’t seem real, since Dexter didn’t even think to check to see if Rita was in the house when he first walked in because he didn’t expect her to be there, and his gruesome discovery of his son sitting in a pool of blood just like him looked a lot like the humorous posters made for this season of the show. Dexter hardly even said anything, and it’s hard to imagine what he’ll do now. I’m wary of theories speculating that Arthur wasn’t the murderer, and that it might have been either Dexter’s neighbor or Quinn. This is Arthur’s last murder and act of revenge for Dexter ruining his tranquil family life. It’s just like another famous season finale where the villain was apprehended, and only after that did the main character realize that the traitor had done some devastating last-minute destruction (I won’t mention what it is for fear of spoiling it, but if you’ve seen it, you know what I’m referring to). In summation, this has been easily the best season of this show since the first, and John Lithgow has been an extraordinary guest star, in addition to the always spectacular Michael C. Hall. They both deserve the Golden Globe nominations they earned yesterday. I can’t wait for season five, premiering sometime in 2010, but I’m still reeling from the end of this episode.

Season grade: A-
Season MVP: John Lithgow

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