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TV REVIEW: FTN reviews Dexter SO8EO9 Make Your Own Kind Of Music

August 28th, 2013 by Andrew McCarroll 3 Comments

Last week, I had formed the opinion that the episode was so bad that the only way the show could go was up. This week’s episode spectacularly blew that theory out of the water by delivering what I think is the single worst episode of Dexter I have ever seen. I am struggling to recall an episode when I felt both bored and insulted by what I was watching, again the show felt like it was written by someone who has never seen the show and has no idea how these characters should be acting. The show is almost unrecognizable from its gripping and exciting heyday, and now bears more resemblance to “Days of Our Lives” than the psychological thriller it began as. There is not one of the 7979 plot threads that are in anyway interesting; Dexter has not acted in anyway like himself in weeks. Deb has gone from suffering PTSD to cokehead to murderer to detective, to confessing to her crimes and now has seemingly landed back on detective again – changing her character traits on a whim every week. Either the writers are throwing a dice to decide who Deb will be this week or she is going through Dr. Who-esqe regeneration at the end of every episode that I am missing. Either way, it has become a slog to sit through week after week of sub par episodes, and to be honest it’s a little sad. It is somewhat ironic that the episode was prefixed with a news story about Mike Tyson as this show has started to remind me of his final few fights, watching someone who was once so exciting and unmissable become a sad shuffling shadow of their former self.

The episode opened with Dexter and Hannah declaring their love for each other and deciding that they would retrieve Hannah’s money, that she has stashed away, to run off to Argentina together. But first Dexter has to take care of The Brain Surgeon killer and visits the recently deceased Zach’s studio in order to try and find out who is responsible. During his search, he finds a clump of the killer’s hair and takes it off for examination. On analysis, he learns that the hairs were a familial match to Vogel. When he confronts her with this Vogel says the only family she had was her two sons, however her oldest son Daniel drowned his brother in a pool when he was 14. Daniel was sent to a mental health facility in England and was killed in a fire shortly after. Dexter then suggests that the 14 year old boy burned down the hospital and faked his own death before going on the run for 30 years and showing back up in Miami to taunt his mother and her new murderous surrogate son. Of course this later turns out to be exactly what happened, but I am getting ahead of myself. How we reach this conclusion is probably one of the most unintentionally hilarious scenes I have ever seen. Dexter, armed with a picture of Vogel’s 14 year old son, fires up photoshop and stretches the image before changing the hair to blonde and adding stubble for no reason whatsoever. He then runs facial recognition software and the computer returns with an image of Cassie’s boyfriend Saxon in the exact same pose!!! Complete with crazy eyed stare!!!. At this point I threw my arms up and gave my best John McEnroe impression yelling, “you cannot be serious” at my TV. Sadly, this is what we are resorting to. If the show has no intention of operating within even a modicum of reality at least go all out with it and have the killer be Keyser Soze or the aliens from The X-Files. But no, Dexter effectively sat at his PC and used magic to tie the plot threads together.

While this is going on, Elway is still trying to track down Hannah McKay and turns to a Marshal played by The Shield’s Kenny Johnson for help. Johnson now looks like Marv from Sin City, which made the scene somewhat enjoyable as it looked like we had bended time and 80’s Mickey Rourke was chatting with 2005 Mickey Rourke. Marshal agrees to look into the case and promises Elway he will get his reward when he finds Hannah. His first port of call is to go to Hannah’s friend Arlene, who has been hiding Hannah’s money for her. Unfortunately, Dexter and Hannah are at the house when he calls and Dexter has to improvise and pretend to be Arlene’s boyfriend in order to throw Lemonhead off the scent. It was pointed out to me by a reader (Chlojack) last week that Yvonne Strahovski is not a bad actress, and that the material on the show has let her down. I was reminded of this when I watched Johnson, who I know to be a good actor in both The Shield and Sons of Anarchy, comically wave a file in Dexter and Arlene’s faces randomly throwing open pages without looking before saying “well it says right here that you work in a diner.” He had the look of a man who had never used his arms before and it has started to make me think that the cast was taking some of Hannah’s potions before the cameras start rolling.

Dexter visits Vogel to tell her that her son is still alive and she suddenly remembers that the song, which was playing when she received the jar with Zach’s brain, was not some random song but was in fact the most important song in her and her son’s life and represents their entire relationship. Dexter then works out that Saxon/Daniel must have access to Vogel’s computer files and decides that they will use this to make contact with Daniel by saying that Vogel will be at a cafe later that day. Neither one seems to remember that Daniel not only knows where Dexter and Vogel live but he has been at her house less than 2 days ago. If he wanted to make contact he could have done so very easily. Dexter then pulls the old ‘Wedding Crashers’ trick of putting eye drops in Vogel’s tea and goes off to catch Daniel himself. He decides that the best way to hunt his prey is to stand pressed against the window of the diner in a shirt that can be seen from space, while Daniel plays the same song over and over again – I’m surprised Dexter could hear the music over the loudness of his shirt. He then follows Daniel to his car who surprisingly enough has picked up on Dexter following him and has slashed his tires and makes his escape.

The episode concludes with Dexter visiting Vogel to apologize for deceiving her, she says she no longer trusts him and she wants to try to deal with Daniel in her own way. As Dexter leaves we see that Daniel is in the house and he and his mother sit down for breakfast.

Strap it to the table: The Photoshop scene was beyond ridiculous and completely took me out of the episode, he also is nowhere near 45 years old as it is suggested, Harrison somehow knowing to lie about who his drawing was of was another nonsensical effort at creating tension.

Worth a donut: Honestly I can not think of one positive or entertaining moment in the whole episode it was nice to see Kenny Johnson again and his appearance made me think of The Shield for a few minutes which is something I suppose

1 out of 5 Nerds


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Andrew McCarroll never quite built on the dizzying career heights that he hit at 6 years old, when as a member of the “Ghostbusters” he would charge his neighbours to remove any unwanted spectres. Now retired from slaying spooks, he spends his time obsessing over superheroes (especially Batman) and devouring shows like Dexter, Game of Thrones and Archer in a manner that would make Galactus proud. You can follow his rants on twitter @andymc1983

  • Wayne Talbot

    I couldn’t agree more with regards the down turn in quality this show has taken over the last few seasons. I have managed to make through this utterly terrible season by playing episodes of Dexter Season 4 in my head while watching this. In my humble opinion that was Dexter at its best. Lithgow chewing up the sets, scenery and any actor that got in his way and Dexter following him around like a puppy with aspergers. There was a day that I didn’t want this series to end, now I want to cover it in plastic wrap and stab it through its hollow heart.

    • Anonymous

      Harsh.But we’re feeling you, mate. Come on Dexter! Get the finger out!

    • Andrew McCarroll

      I honestly cannot recall a show taking such a nose dive, Most shows tend to drop in quality the longer they go on but I have never seen the pendulum swing quite so far from one extreme to another. I had really hoped that the final season would be more in keeping with season 4, Lithgow was unbelievable, the season itself was great to watch it ramped up the tension with every episode and storylines reached logical conclusions and character arcs and traits didn’t completely change from week to week and the payoff to that season was stunning.
      I think they are just going to throw in something for shock value at the end of the season (Deb dying, Sharknado etc) but it won’t have the impact of season 4 finale because they have given us noting in the build up to have any sort of satisfying resolution. I am with you 100% if everyone on the show was killed off next week I wouldn’t mind. Speaking of wrapping people in plastic and stabbing them through the heart, have they forgotten that is what Dexter does? He has had one person on the table this season and he let them go!!!

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