A major character takes a hit as 'Dexter' unveils its penultimate episode
Credit: Showtime
S8 E11
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This is very nearly IT. The penultimate Dexter. And yes, stuff happened. One death. One potentially fatal wound. Two big therapeutic breakthroughs for Dex. It was a major episode, though it lacked tension for its first half and there were a few big plot holes for nitpickers to jeer at.

We start with Dexter at Vogel’s place, washing up after Saxon killed her last week and trashing evidence of his dad’s sessions with her. “I never imagined the last homicide I’d work would be one that I’m a part of,” he says, which is odd because he’s been secretly involved in so many of the cases he’s worked. Then he adds: “I have to call this in. I can’t be seen leaving the scene of the crime.” What. What? What?! Nobody ever spots Dex leaving any crime scene! The man kidnaps people in broad daylight, and he’s now worried about leaving a house in the middle of the night?

So we get a scene with Batista and Quinn interviewing Dex about finding the body while he’s in his slasher outfit. Batista rejects the notion of Dex working the case: “The defense attorney would have a field day with a forensic tech who found and knew the victim working it.” Which is what everybody was pointing out when Dex worked Cassie’s murder a few episodes back, but okay.

Later, Dex goes home and he reiterates his bullet-proof plan of telling everybody close to him that he’s going to kill Saxon and take Hannah to Argentina. Part of this plan, it seems, involves selling his condo and his boat within 24 hours (we learn the Slice of Life has a fish finder, which is something Dex probably didn’t need because he was constantly dumping bodies overboard — the fish find him). Also, Astor is going to inherit his SUV, so let’s hope Dex doesn’t get busted, or she’s never going to feel comfortable driving a vehicle that’s had dozens of kidnap victims in its trunk. Cody gets squat.

We also get a beat with Harrison, home from the hospital. “You put monkey in a box!” he says. “Daddy, I combed my hair!” Oh Harrison, how hard did you hit your head on that treadmill last week?

NEXT: Dex’s farewell party; ever used ‘monkey’ as a password?

Back at the office, Deb has re-joined the force. Dex does a DNA swab on Oliver Saxon, who’s come in to try and clear his name in the Cassie killing. Dex insists he isn’t trying to kill Saxon himself. “I just want him taken care of.”

But then Dex goes to a creepy abandoned mental hospital to find Saxon’s kill room. In the voice-over he says Zach died there. So apparently Saxon merely kidnapped Zach at the photo studio, then took him to the abandoned hospital, then he killed him, and then took the body to Dexter’s apartment. Oooooooooookay. Then Dex finds Saxon’s laptop, which has all the evidence of his crimes. Bonus: It’s not even password-protected.

Tangent: Did you know the most common non-numeric online password that people use after “password” and “qwerty” is … “monkey”? Why “monkey,” do you think? It’s weird, because I’ve used it too and I have no idea why. I don’t even like monkeys. Just popped in my head when I was asked for a password one day.

Anyway: That Deputy U.S. Marshall is getting closer to catching Hannah, all because she didn’t want to spend a few of her half million bucks on some hair dye and sunglasses this season. Deb lies to him and says she was the one who brought Harrison to the hospital last week, not Hannah. Thankfully, this hospital must not have security cameras.

So we’re at Papa’s Cafe for Dex’s unofficial going away party. It’s a pretty low key affair that includes a seemingly random exchange between Masuka and his daughter about pot. Batista still hasn’t gotten around to going through those boxes of evidence LaGuerta left him and it looks like he’s not going to. He tells Dex the door is always open for him to return. Dex’s goodbye speech is very Dex: “Um, I’ll miss you guys too.”

Saxon shows up to see Dexter’s apartment with the real estate agent in tow. He privately offers Dex a truce. “Choose poorly, like mom, and you will lose,” he says, while admitting that the way he killed Vogel last week was “a little over the top.” Dex says he accepts but privately fumes: “He wants me to walk away when he just reminded me why I can’t.”

The Marshall gets Elway to go over to Deb’s house and scope out the place for signs of Hannah. He could have gone there himself, but all right. Dex decides to move Hannah to a hotel, thinking it’s no longer safe for her at Deb’s place.

Dex sends Saxon’s incriminating video files to a local TV station, so now everybody thinks Ryan Gosling is a serial killer. Deb comes by and insists on having one last dinner in Miami with her brother despite the danger from Saxon. I say: “His stuff is packed up and there’s a serial killer after you — go to a restaurant!” But they don’t listen. At the same time, police are tearing apart Deb’s apartment looking for Hannah. I guess they don’t think to send somebody over to check Dexter’s place too.

NEXT: Harry’s ghost calls it quits; shots are fired

Saxon shows up and Deb and Dex get the drop on him. Dex takes him to the hospital kill room, but has second thoughts. “This is usually my favorite moment … now I don’t even want to be here. I’m feeling a much stronger pull. I don’t need to kill you.” Which is great, and a big moment for Dex psychologically, but of course he should still kill him. Saxon knows Dex is a serial killer, for starters. Is this the same guy who fretted about being seen leaving Vogel’s house earlier this episode? But no: He calls Deb and has her come over to arrest Saxon instead.

Outside, he gives Deb a goodbye hug. “It’s just for right now, it’s not forever,” he says, and you know something is coming.

Dex then has a second big breakthrough: Ghost Harry says Dex doesn’t need him to be around anymore. Hey, that’s how we’ve felt for the last four seasons! Who wanted Obi-Wan Kenobi to appear next to him and wave goodbye too?

Suddenly the Marshall bursts into the kill room where Saxon is tied up. Wait, what? What’s he doing there? He said he was going to start tracking Deb, okay, but why is he going in with his gun drawn? I guess he didn’t see her outside because she was out back? Saxon’s image is everywhere but the the one cop on the show who seems like he knows what he’s doing doesn’t recognize him?

The Marshall releases Saxon, who kills him. Then Deb comes in and Saxon shoots her. She’s gravely wounded as Saxon escapes. There’s a crack of thunder warning us a storm is coming, and that’s it for now.

Okay. Well. First off, the character of the Marshall basically should have been played by Quinn or Batista. Or at least Elway. I’m unsure why a show with all these cops felt the need to add in a brand new cop a few episodes before the finale to chase Hannah and get killed by the Big Bad when any one of these characters could have done that.

Second, some of you noticed that a potential huge spoiler description of the final episode leaked on Reddit a couple weeks ago. With this turn of events, it’s looking like that might be correct since it meshes up nicely with the events from this week.

Third, so … the key to solving Dexter’s homicidal impulses was, apparently, the love of a good woman. Or, if not a good woman, at least a really hot one who poisons people.

Here’s what I’m finding: Dexter this season is more fun when you just watch it and don’t think about it. Some readers get annoyed when EW or other sites that have been critical about the final season point out things that don’t make much sense. When you write about the show, you have to think it through. And when you try to explain what’s happening to readers, you realize the puzzle pieces don’t quite fit together. So you’re typing and thinking: “So Dex did that because … because … ah damn it, these words don’t work!”

So what did you think?

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Michael C. Hall plays a serial killer who only murders evildoers in this gruesome drama

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