‘DEXTER’ REVIEW: Season Four, Episode Nine

Image courtesy of Showtime

Review of “Hungry Man” (04:09)

SPOILER ALERT!

In episode nine of Dexter’s fourth season, the far-fetched plot involving the Trinity Killer and his family begins to become ludicrous. Not only does Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) introduce himself to Arthur Mitchell (aka Trinity, played by John Lithgow), but now he also makes himself known to Arthur’s family. It’s true that he assumes an alias (Kyle Butler), but still the risk seems too unlike Dexter. Will he have to kill the entire family to close up any loose ends?

In “Hungry Man,” Dexter squeezes himself into the Mitchell household by buddying up with Jonah Mitchell (Brando Eaton), Arthur’s son. We learn that Jonah is frequently abused by his father, so much so that the teenager needs to take out his aggression with a baseball bat on the family car.

While Dexter works his magic in the Mitchell household, Rita (Julie Benz) gets Thanksgiving ready for her children and their special guests, including Debra (Jennifer Carpenter), Vince (C.S. Lee) and Elliot (Rick Peters), the neighbor.

At the Mitchell’s dinner table, one can hear a pin drop. Apparently, Arthur is not exactly the ‘Dad of the Year.’ He ridicules his wife to her face; he locks his daughter up like a princess in a castle; and he continues to physically harm his son, including breaking his finger while watching football. The going gets rough when Jonah breaks Arthur’s sacred urn, which holds the ashes of his deceased sister and serves as the impetus of his murderous ways. Arthur, in return, attacks his son, but not before Dexter steps in with a knife and nearly ends Trinity’s life.

Back home, Vince stumbles upon a secret he wished he never saw: The forensics specialist catches Rita kissing Elliot in the kitchen of the neighbor’s house. Uh-oh.

The parallel storylines of two Thanksgiving dinners works well for the series. It stresses the season’s obvious theme that Dexter and Trinity are very much alike: two family men with dark secrets. It’s still a mystery to me how Dexter can reveal his face to Arthur’s family; he even pulls out a knife in front of Trinity’s wife and son. If any one of them had an ounce of courage (which admittedly may be difficult with Arthur living under the same roof), Dexter would be I.D.’d in a second.

For a show that values its realistic, albeit exaggerated, plot points, “Hungry Man” stands as a farcical episode that doesn’t meet the basic threshold of believability. It’s always thrilling to see how Dexter will wiggle his way out of his many predicaments, but the writers of the show seem to have written their main character into a corner.

On a final note, the continuing relationship between Sgt. Angel Batista (David Zayas) and Lt. Maria LaGuerta (Lauren Vélez) is starting to feel a little more organic. When Angel and Maria visit a victim in the hospital during “Hungry Man,” the resulting scene is actually touching, which is saying a lot about a show that is anything but touching.

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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