Dexter Season 8 Review “Monkey in a Box”

“What happened to the old Dexter?”

Great question, Harry!

So, uh, here we are again! Another episode of Dexter, and another 52 minutes of rather underwhelming television with a complete lack of urgency. I was hoping that when Showtime didn’t let the press see the last three episodes ahead of time that they would be stepping on the gas in a big way, but last week’s episode ended up being pretty uneventful except for Vogel’s death. Now here we are with only TWO episodes left, and “Monkey in a Box” still feels very much like business as usual.

As I mentioned in my last review, I was very frustrated with Dexter about how he reacted to Vogel’s murder. He didn’t go chasing after Saxon, and he just smeared Vogel’s blood all over him while not even looking behind him to see if Saxon was sneaking up on him. His odd behavior continued tonight, when Dexter actually called in Vogel’s murder. His feeble excuse was that he didn’t want to be seen leaving the scene of the crime. Um, when have you ever been concerned about that in the past? You’ve skulked in and out of crime scenes your whole life, Dexter! Why are you just now calling the cops?! Maybe you should have called in the cops to help you track down Trinity before he killed your wife! Or maybe tip them off to the Doomsday Killer before he kidnapped your kid and forced you to kill him while Deb watched! It was complete BS that Harry was telling Dexter that “This isn’t the Dexter I know” when Dex talked about involving the cops. Isn’t Harry always the one that tries to convince Dexter to alert the authorities? Also, the whole “standing in a pool of my mother’s blood” thing is just lame. I just never felt like Vogel and Dexter had a very tight bond, let alone a mother/son thing.

It was nice, if a little weird, to finally see Valerie Cruz back as Sylvia Prado. I appreciated that she just offhandedly mentioned Miguel, without launching into an exposition of what happened way back in season three. I always like it when they give the viewers the credit that we’ll remember these details, but for me it just reminded me of the fact that Rita was such good friends with Sylvia back in season three, but then Miguel died and Rita completely dropped their friendship. Good times…

Deb and Quinn have also progressed from a head-scratching attraction to the sickening cuddling and giggling stage of their relationship. I do hope that Deb still gets somewhat of a happy ending, despite the scary final scene (which we’ll get to later). Oh, and Masuka and Niki are still doing the whole father/daughter thing. Because that’s what we want to see with only one episode left. Masuka.

Anyway, the back and forth between Saxon and Dexter was actually pretty fun for the most part. We’re so used to seeing Dexter track down all of his victims with detective work and secrecy, so it was a neat change of pace to have the victim be hiding in plain sight. Strolling right into the police station, and casually showing up at Dexter’s apartment, Saxon was turning out to be quite the confident and formidable foe. It’s pretty unfortunate that this guy was shoehorned into the final season of the series, when we really don’t want to see just another “big bad”. However, for all of his confidence and bravado, he was remarkably easy to catch. Dexter pulled the same “Sleeping Dexter” trick that he used to catch The Ice Truck Killer way back in season one! Do you think this was intended as a little piece of symmetry? With Dexter’s first and last big bad being caught the same way? Or were they just running out of ideas?

So just like last week, the last few minutes of the episode were the only ones that really mattered. I haven’t watched the “Next time on Dexter” scenes, but you know that Deb isn’t going to die. They aren’t going to kill her off by a random bullet. Also, with the whole Hannah and Saxon situations to resolve, it seems like a foregone conclusion that the rest of the cast members aren’t going to discover Dexter’s secret. I mean, Dexter has been killing people for eight seasons right under everybody’s nose. I want to see everyone’s reaction! I deserve that payoff, don’t I? What is Batista going to say when he finds out Dex is partly responsible for Maria’s death? What will Quinn say when he finds out that Dex killed Liddy? What will Masuka think when he finds out he’s been working right next to a serial killer? Or how will Jamie react to the news that her employer is the indirect reason Cassie died? Even if these people find out about him, there’s not going to be enough time for these revelations to breathe!

So we only have one episode to go, everyone. How are we feeling? Can Dexter possibly right the ship with only one hour left? What do you think’s going to happen? Sound off in the comments section below!

Random Thoughts:

– I know it’s unfair to compare two totally different shows like this, but it does not do any favors to Dexter to be airing at the same time as Breaking Bad. Maybe it would have been wise for Showtime to keep Dexter for September like they have in the past. As disappointed as I’ve been of this last season, it’s still a bummer to see this long-running series being completely overshadowed.

– Now that Saxon is actually talking a lot now, I’m finding his accent more and more distracting. Saxon is supposed to have a half English/half American accent, but the actor is Icelandic, and you can still definitely tell that he’s fighting to sound as American as possible. I mean, would it have been too hard to find a young handsome English actor? I can name a dozen right now.

– I loved that Saxon mentioned the low murder solve rate being so low in Miami being a great reason for living there. You’d think the ineptitude of Miami Metro would be a huge draw for all kinds of serial killers!