Here we sit on the eve of Dexter’s final days, watching events unfold in horrible, vicious, blood-thirsty ways…yet in the penultimate episode “Monkey in a Box” everything was a lot calmer than what this reviewer ‘thought’ would be happening. No doubt the deck is stacked against Dexter, and the layers of irony continue to flow as free as blood can. All the goodbyes were said and salutes given as Dexter tries to put Miami, and his life of kills behind him. Like many shows in the past, Dexter (the show’s namesake) plays the root of goodbye as a both a change in environment and a change internally. As Dexter finds more about his inner machinations, his final rival is right there to thwart his path. Is there really an endgame here? Let’s slash into it.
(EPISODE FULL RECAP)
We open on Dexter washing Vogel’s blood off his hands. With little time to mourn, he scours Vogel’s house and erases all evidence of any files, notes, or footage that references Dexter in any way. Once finished, he calls in the murder and waits for Metro to arrive. Once they arrive, Angel tells Dex that he can’t help with the scene as he was there with the body. Quinn confirms that a neighbor witnessed a man in his 40’s leave the house.
In the morning, Dex goes to Deb’s house and tells her that Saxon killed Vogel. Hhe thinks Harrison should be with Jaime for the time being while he goes after Saxon. He tells Hannah the same news and tells her he has to take care of Saxon before they can leave.
At Dexter’s condo, Sylvia Prado (Miguel Prado’s wife) is helping Dex with selling his place. Jaime is emotional with Harrison and Dex leaving. Dex asks Jaime to spend the day with Harrison. She agrees. Dex also shows his boat to a buyer who doesn’t seem very interested in it.
At the lab, Misuka tells Dex that there are no prints at Vogel’s place. Dex checks Saxon’s work schedule and finds a work permit to demolish an old hospital. Nikki directs Dex to an interrogation room where he finds Quinn with Saxon, who is there to clear his name with Cassie’s murder. Dex swabs Saxon’s mouth and leaves. He tells Deb that Saxon is there and that the swab of DNA can prove his relationship to Vogel as his son. Deb is surprised that Dex would let Metro take Saxon in. Dex explains that he just wants the situation take care of. As Deb grabs some stationary items from Quinn’s desk, she notices that Quinn kept the engagement ring, originally meant for Deb. Quinn shows up and remarks that he kept it and Deb leaves smiling.
At night, Dex searches the old hospital and finds Saxon’s kill room. Harry shows up and wonders if Saxon will be back. Dex feels he doesn’t have time to wait for him and that he just wants him dead by anyone’s hand. Harry says that’s not the old Dex and Dex thinks he may not be the old Dex anymore. He searches further and finds Saxon’s laptop with all his video footage saved of his murders.
At Miami Metro, Quinn asks Deb if she’s going to Vogel’s memorial. She’ll attend. When Quinn leaves, Marshall Clayton appears and asks Deb about the nurse who identified a blonde woman bringing in Dexter’s son to get his chin looked at. Deb says it was her who brought him in. Clayton tells her that the nurse verified the photo of Hannah, but Deb sticks to her story that it was her.
In the morning, the Metro crew leave Vogel’s memorial and drink at a local cafe. Quinn and Dex chat about Deb and that Dex is okay with her and Quinn rekindling their relationship. Dex wants Deb to be happy. Angel then chats with Deb, recounting their first case together before he makes a short speech to the crew about Dex and his departure. They have a drink salute. Dex gets a call from Sylvia who says there’s a buyer who wants to see him about the condo and has cash.
Dex arrives at his condo to see that the buyer is Saxon. They talk privately and Saxon tells Dex that he has one of two choices: to either let them go their separate ways or to go after him. Saxon warns Dex that he had plenty of people who matter to him and to not make a poor choice. Dex feigns agreement with letting Saxon go on his own.
At Elways, Clayton asks Elway to go to Deb’s and see if there’s any connection to Hannah. Elway is concerned that Deb won’t talk to him, but Clayton reminds him of the reward.
As Hannah is making lunch, Deb converses with her shortly before Elway shows up at the door. Hannah hides as Deb answers. Elway says he has some left over items from the office and then barges in and notices a pair of expensive shoes nearby. Deb makes him leave but tells Hannah that Elway is onto them and that Clayton won’t be far behind. Hannah then calls Dex and tells him about the incident.
When Dex arrives, Hannah says she’ll go to a hotel, but they need to leave before the storm arrives. (The storm’s name is Laura) Dex says he needs to take out Saxon first and then he’ll be at the hotel.
Dex decides to send all the footage of Saxon’s kills to the news. Harry says Dex won’t accept Saxon’s offer and that he’s starting to sound like the old Dex again. Dex thinks the kill is now personal. He also says that his need to kill has lessened and that he “needs” Hannah. Harry asks what will happen when they reach Argentina. Dex doesn’t know.
At Metro, Nikki hands the DNA results to Quinn and Deb. Quinn reads it and realizes that Saxon is related to Vogel and wonders if Saxon killed both Cassie and Vogel. Deb pretends she doesn’t already know all this.
Deb arrives at Dex’s empty condo and tell him that there’s a warrant out for Saxon’s arrest and she wants to eat dinner with Dex. Dex stresses that she needs to leave, but she refuses.
At Deb’s house, the FBI are ransacking the place but find no evidence of Hannah there. Elway tells Clayton that he found a website of an airline and says he can view their manifests and compare passport pictures. Clayton says he’ll follow the Morgan’s to see if they lead them to Hannah.
As they eat together, Deb and Dex reflect on their natures and Dex says Deb always had a compass to follow that he never had and that if she continues to follow it that she won’t need him. Deb tells him that the code isn’t what mad him a good brother, that there’s a human being inside of him. They notice on the news that the footage of Saxon’s murders have gone live. Deb is surprised by this and Dex once more asks Deb to leave as Saxon will no doubt hunt for him soon.
At a gas station, Saxon sees his profile appear on a news station and realizes what Dex has done. He drives to Dex’s condo and quietely breaks in. He spots Dex in the bedroom and goes to kill him, only to be apprehended by both Deb and Dex, who had been waiting for him.
Saxon wakes up in his own kill room with Dex. Together, they talk about Miami and their lives. Saxon isn’t afraid and Dex realizes that he doesn’t need to kill him, he feels a stronger pull toward Hannah. He then gags Saxon and calls Deb.
Deb arrives and Clayton is scene showing up at the hospital out of sight. Dex gives Deb a plan that allows her to save the day with Saxon’s capture. He and Deb hug. Harry then appears and tells Dex that with him leaving, he doesn’t need him anymore. Dex realizes this and leaves with a clear conscience.
While Deb was outside, Clayton finds Saxon releases him. Saxon stabs him just as Deb enters the room. Saxon steals Clayton’s gun and fire, hitting Deb on the side of her gut. Deb falls but is able to call the paramedics. Saxon escapes.
A short montage is shown with Dex packing his bags and leaving with Harrison. Hannah is at the airport with Elway closing in. Dex leaves the condo with Harrison. Screen goes to black with the looming thunder of “Laura” on its way.
With Vogel’s death on the tail end of last week’s episode, I thought there would be one more big death to top it off before the finale, but that wasn’t the case. That doesn’t mean there still won’t be a major death but I’m less and less likely to believe Deb will be that character. My knee-jerk reaction from his episode was that we, the audience, have been given a rival that is a complete moron. Okay, maybe not complete but certainly not able to think three steps ahead. I honestly thought Saxon was well on his way with kidnapping Harrison or killing Jaime, or something else, not…gassing up his car seeing the news for the first time and reacting by doing exactly what Dex knew he would do. That felt extremely forced and easy to tackle. I was more surprised by how Saxon played into it than I was with how Saxon escaped later.
I like the idea of a storm coming in to bottleneck our main characters, forcing them into a final showdown. Storms are appropriate for these kind of occasions and I hope they go all out with this last episode. It’s been eight long years and there needs to be deluge of epic proportions, my thoughts anyway. This episode was clearly meant for the all the heartfelt, character-growth, and saluting moments our characters need to have both sending off Dexter the person and us the TV show. It’s ceremonial and I’m glad we got it out of the way now so we can concentrate on what’s to come. It seems to me that the writers want a bowtie on this series one way or another. No cliffhangers, no Shakespeare ending, just something that can reflect and give us all the end we want…or think we want. I don’t want Dex or Deb to die, and I don’t think they will…but if I had to choose…nope, not gonna say it.
Quinn’s engagement ring in the desk was a nice touch of his lasting feelings for her and Deb recognized that as we did. It was a touching moment, more so than Angel’s strong-will salute at the cafe-bar. Some of the heartfelt scenery was too forced for me to truly take a lasting moment and breathe it in, in many ways Angel’s role has always been the supportive one and over the last few seasons I’ve come to admire his growth, but it was never meant for him to exceed into Dex’s troubles, and I’m more or less okay with that in the end…not withstanding the sheer chaos that’s to come.
Overall, the episode played well with those who need to see the goodbyes appear through characters and scenes, but I don’t feel the last few minutes really gave me fear that Deb will die or that Dex will lose himself all over again to kill Saxon once and for all. I don’t now what’s going to happen, but I’m not that worried at the same time. It will be more poetic if somehow Dex has to turn himself in to save Deb from a life of prison, but there’s a lot of poetry to be sung in Dexter’s world. The siblings have shown they’ve grown too close to ever let anything truly separate them. They each respect their new choices in life and even though Deb has suffered a gunshot wound, it won’t be her last moments. She’ll pull through, or Dex will lose his mind.
And bring Harry back for one last scene, James Remar is great!
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