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Dexter

Dexter Review: Rule Number One

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It's a good thing I don't mind a little solitude. I have a feeling I'll find myself more than a little alone when I say that Dexter season 8, so far, is not my favorite. In fact, it's kind of disappointing, save for a few shining moments in each episode. 

The shining moments from "A Little Reflection" were perhaps more abundant than last week, but too many competing stories detract from what should be the focus of Dexter's final season: Dexter himself.

Dexter on the Prowl

At least I know I'm not alone when I say that I'm not sure I can possibly care any less if Masuka has a daughter or Quinn gets promoted to Sargeant. There's barely iota of interest in either of those storylines for me. Yet.

Maybe there will be something, particularly with Quinn, but Masuka and the product of his college paycheck? No, I just can't care about that. Masuka was never meant to be more than comic relief for such a dark and heavy series. Attempting to give him a more prominent story now is just a waste of airtime.

Quinn's story is tolerable only in that in his pursuit of a promotion, he's going to foil Dexter's plan to indoctrinate young Zach Hamilton into the cult of Harry's Code. Quinn has been close to discovering Dexter's secret before and only pushed that instinct aside when Dexter covered for him. Now he'll uncover the secret of the Bay Harbor Butcher on accident and then he'll have a quandary on his hands:

Get the promotion or protect Debra. 

My gut says he'll choose the latter, but not knowing for sure is the thing that at least makes his quest to take down Zach Hamilton sort of relevant.

Dexter's choice not to kill Zach Hamilton while he had the chance was predictable. The minute Vogel suggested they teach Hamilton the code, there was no other choice Dexter would make despite knowing that teaching another killer Harry's Code puts himself at great personal risk. 

Or maybe he can't see the myriad ways that teaching Zach puts him at risk. Maybe he remembers Lumen too fondly. Maybe Vogel is just that good at manipulating him. (A little too good, I think.)

Vogel may have reunited the siblings has too much power over Debra and Dexter. Over Dexter especially. He used to be this smart, savvy killer and as the seasons have progressed he's made silly mistakes in the name of...I'm not exactly sure what. Vogel's addition to the voices inside Dexter's head hasn't helped him be a better serial killer, and how Dexter can't see he's being manipulated is sort of disappointing. 

Despite any complaints I may have with tonight's episode, and really my complaints are with the season as a whole, there were several stand-out moments.

Dexter and Harrison's interactions are always a bright spot. His desire to separate the dark part of his life from his son while knowing that at some point he will be caught in his lies is a real human conflict. Harrison, Dexter being a father, has always humanized the character.

There is also something about Dexter having Hamilton on the table that was energizing. Dexter is never, ever better than when he has a victim on his table. Michael C. Hall absolutely transforms into something else when that side of Dexter comes out to play. 

Watching him in action with Hamilton, determined to kill him after first understanding the young man's motives, and then identifying with him, Dexter was Dexter. It's in those moments when he is simultaneously the absolute best and the absolute worst parts of himself.

And then he decided to listen to Vogel instead of his inner psychopath. Rule number one: Don't get caught.

Letting Zach live will be part of his undoing just like letting Hannah off of his table alive.

Hannah's return tonight, while not unexpected, left "A Little Reflection" with quite the ending. Is Debra dead? Did Hannah also poison Dexter? Just what does the tow-haired vixen want?

I suppose we'll have to wait until next week to find out.

What did you think of "A Little Reflection"? Now that we're roughly halfway through Dexter season 8, the final season, what are your thoughts? How do you predict it will all end?

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (42 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Miranda-wicker

I don't think the brain surgeon story is done. Something tells me that was all too easy.

Strawberry-fields

I can't believe it's almost the end. "Dexter" is at the top of my list of favourite shows of all time and I can't imagine my life without it at this point. I'm loving this season. Vogel is a very interesting character, that woman creeps me out. It was a little weird that they wrapped up the brain surgeon story so quickly, but now we have Zach who seems a million times better. Deb is absolutely amazing, Jennifer Carpenter kills every scene she's in. Dex and Deb have the most incredible relationship I've ever seen on TV. They are both completely incapable to let each other go. It would make so much more sense for Deb to free herself from this toxic thing she's in and for Dex to keep everyone safer by staying away from Deb, but they both just can't do it. I'm kind of hoping against all hope that Dex, Deb and Harrison will end up sailing off to the sunset... How tragic of me... Oh, and btw, fingers crossed that Deb will be the one to kill Hannah.

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You're not alone. The side stories really are taking away from what should be the true focus of these final episodes- Dexter! This is why I was hoping for one more season. If we had to watch Dexter analyzing himself even more this season (this time w/ the input of Deb,) so be it. But let season 9 be where things fall apart and he is on the run. Imagine a final season where Dexter is known from the start and has to outsmart everyone for his and Harrison's survival. That would be intense. Introducing Dexter's neighbor after a full 7 seasons just so (it would seem)Zach could kill her is lame.

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I was a Dexter fan from the very first episode. I've followed this series through its great and its not so great moments. But I have to say, after season six and seven, which werent that great imo, season eight is absolutely superb in every way imaginable! Not only is the main arc in this season very compelling, but the sub-plots are as well. I especially loved this and the last episode, for giving us major insight into all the characters relationships and storylines. It's all about family and friendships, which I always had the feeling were missed by the past seasons in some kind of way, but this one gives Dexter a sense of family that he and also we could have never imagined was possible. I really love this season and the first time after the phenomenal season 4 I feel compelled to watch every single episode asap. Rock on!

Miranda-wicker

@Emily--I wrote this review after watching a screener Showtime provides to the media. As such, there were no previews.

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Debra isn't dead...she's in next weeks previews

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