‘DEXTER’ REVIEW: Season Four, Episode Eight

Image courtesy of Showtime

Review of “Road Kill” (04:08)

SPOILER ALERT!

With only a few episodes remaining in season four, the drama is intensifying on Dexter, Showtime’s successful serial-killer series.

The Trinity Killer, aka Arthur Mitchell (John Lithgow), is gearing up for a trip to the Tampa area. His family seems relieved that daddy dearest will be out of town for a few days. Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) guesses that the man is up to something nefarious; he wouldn’t take a weekend by himself without a little bloodletting.

After finding a professional conference in Tampa that seems to fit the bill, Dexter convinces both his family and the higher-ups on the job that the weekend event would be worth his while. (Note to readers: Try not to think too hard about these plot points; they begin to fall apart upon closer inspection. The entire premise of having Dexter’s face known to Arthur’s family is sloppy and unbelievable. Having him travel to Tampa with Trinity is doubly so.)

While Dexter buddies up with Arthur and heads up to Tampa, the rest of the homicide division begins zeroing in on potential suspects. One aspect of “Road Kill” that I found nice was Lt. Maria LaGuerta (Lauren Vélez) and Sgt. Angel Batista (David Zayas) trying to scrounge for money in the police budget to cover the costs of the investigation. It’s not a flashy development, but it grounds the show in some needed reality. Overtime pay is a major issue that affects police departments throughout the United States, and too often police procedurals forget to include the background financial issues.

Maria and Angel work so closely together that their relationship becomes quite steamy, and Joey Quinn (Desmond Harrington) begins to suspect Cupid is at work.

In Tampa, Dexter divulges to Arthur that he accidentally killed a man in a hunting accident. Reciprocating, Arthur lets Dexter in on an enormous secret by taking him to his childhood home. Watching Arthur in his old environment, Dexter begins to piece together the motive behind the Trinity killings. This troubled man apparently dispatched his entire family and now, out of guilt, is recreating the scenes in various cities across the nation.

The final two discoveries of the episode are like little presents wrapped with a bow. One: Debra discovers that because of the angle of her gunshot wound, Frank Lundy’s murderer is likely much shorter than Trinity. This mean Arthur may not have shot Debra and Lundy; is he working as a team with someone else?

The final surprise is when Arthur tries to take his own life at a construction site in Tampa. Just as he’s about to jump to his death, Dexter saves the pitiful man. Why? Because everyone’s favorite serial killer wants to kill Trinity in his own way, using his own style. Thankfully, Dexter is a compelling enough character to make this reasoning passable. Although, if Dexter thought about the consequences of his actions, he probably should have let Trinity just fall to his death.

Dexter’s season four has shown the strengths and weaknesses of the series. Interesting characters coupled with thrilling storylines make for exciting television. However, one needs to suspend any form of logic or reason. Too much scrutiny will take the light out of this dark, dark show.

By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com
  • Dexter

  • Showtime

  • Starring Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, John Lithgow, C.S. Lee, Desmond Harrington, Lauren Vélez, Julie Benz and David Zayas

  • Rating: ★★★☆

  • Click here to read a review of Dexter: Season One.

  • Click here to read a review of Dexter: Season Two.

  • Click here to read a review of Dexter: Season Three.

  • Click here to purchase Dexter: Season Four on DVD.

John Soltes

John Soltes is an award-winning journalist. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Earth Island Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, New Jersey Monthly and at Time.com, among other publications. E-mail him at john@hollywoodsoapbox.com

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