Dexter: Monkey in a Box Review -

Dexter Review

Mania Grade: B-

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  • Episode: Monkey in a Box (Season 8 Episode 11)
  • Starring: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Desmond Harrington
  • Written By: James Manos Jr. (developer), Jeff Lindsay (novel)
  • Directed By: Ernest R. Dickerson
  • Studio: Showtime Networks
  • Network: Showtime
  • Series:

Dexter: Monkey in a Box Review

The next-to-last episode!

By Jarrett Kruse     September 17, 2013


It may have been an eleventh episode but it had the feel of a finale from the get go. In fact I would much rather the finale been a two-part episode rather leave me hanging for another week. That being said next week better be a killer finale or I am really going to be disappointed with the fate of Dexter. 

The next-to-last episode of Showtime's stalwart killer with a heart has come a long way since its first season way back in 2006. If ever there was an episode to showcase that it was Sunday's episode. When last we saw Dexter, Oliver Saxon was forcing his mother Dr. Vogel to choose and she chose very poorly leaving the good doctor a bloodied mess. The episode opens with Dexter doing his best to save Vogel but it is too late. Plus Saxon got away so it was lose-lose. Dexter's next chore was to clean any evidence that he or Harry had anything to do with Vogel. By the time Miami Metro shows up Dexter has a plausible story of just why he happened to be at the Vogel residence that evening. As he regaled the tale to Angel & Quinn, it just felt so rehearsed and too easy for seasoned detectives to buy. Dexter has been in way too many “coincidences” over the years for this to pass muster. But as per usual when it comes to his workmates, they have no idea what they have had right in front of them all this time. And it certainly would not look good for a defense attorney to attack a blood spatter analyst being the first to arrive at a murder scene.

As Dexter plots his next move and getting Hannah and Harrison down to Argentina, the world he has worked so hard to preserve is crumbling around him despite being in hopeful spirits about his future. Saxon manages to get the high ground on Dexter by turning himself over for questioning regarding Cassie's death (Dex's neighbor) from a few weeks back. He answered the inquiries like a pro but just when you thought that he was going to be let go scot-free, Dex swoops in for a cheek swab DNA test that proves that he is a maternal match for Dr. Evelyn Vogel. While Deb knew all of this, she sells it well on her first day back at Miami Metro to her on-again romance Quinn. But the vise is tightening on Dexter's world particularly the overzealous U.S. Marshal Clayton and Elway, Deb's former employer in private security. 

In a misdirect that was easy to see coming, Saxon poses as a potential buyer of Dexter's apartment and calls a truce. Or at least as much of a truce as two psychopath's can make but Dex has no plan to follow through on his end. Instead he anonymously emails the news the grisly videos of some of Saxon's kills. Ironically Dexter signs the email “Concerned Citizen,” lol. Even when Dexter has some kind of spiritual awakening that he is now turning the cheek and leaving Saxon on his own table right before a kill. Usually this was his favorite part of his ritual but now he feels somewhat empty and needing Hannah and Harrison. Dex leaves the situation in Deb's capable hands but as the best bad guys always do Oliver gets away after putting rounds in both the Marshal AND Deb who is down for the count with a slug in her belly. Yikes, brother of the year again Dexter. 

As the weather gets worse and worse and a tropical storm threatens to ground all of the flights leaving Miami, Hannah is nervous that Dexter will not make it. And she is smart to think so as Elway is closing in on the poisonous femme fetale. It is all a lot to take in in the next to last episode and I really was not in the mood to wait another week to see the fate of Dexter and his world. The thing is that once it found its footing, the episode did a nice job of redeeming itself. I am still a little puzzled at Dexter suddenly becoming “the new Dexter” and Harry disappearing in a crucial scene. It warranted me to rewind and watch the scene a few times to get the gist of Dexter's rationalization or should I say revelation. It looks like he does not need Harry anymore; he has shown his son everything he can I guess. I will say that I am hopeful for the series finale as I did overall enjoy this episode. But it is high time that the series says its goodbyes in proper fashion. Maybe they will pull it off next week, maybe not. 


Showing items 1 - 6 of 6
alexspencer 9/17/2013 9:51:11 AM

Has anyone mentioned, over the past few weeks, anything about the complete lack of any attempt to alter Hannah's appearance? Dye your hair! Anything!

blankczech 9/17/2013 10:09:17 AM

 So the mental problems that have plagued Dexter since childhood have been cured by the power of love....Oh, brother

I still expect a very ambiguous ending...(plenty for us to talk about come this time next week)

Like many of you Maniacs...I don't have a tremendous amount of  time to devote to television viewing...hence, I pick the television shows that I watch very carefully.  I've watched every episode of Dexter.  For the most part I've found it to be very entertaining.  Can't say I'm sad to see it end as in my opinion it's grown a bit tired and repititive (as one might expect) after all these years...but I will say...Thanks for memories

fft5305 9/17/2013 12:15:08 PM

@alexspencer - You're not the only one. I do find it a bit odd that Dexter, who is normally so brilliant at anticipating every move and figuring out every angle, hasn't thought to suggest that Hanna get a haircut and dye job. Maybe wear a fake baby belly. Something....

wish 9/17/2013 2:49:40 PM

Overall this has been a bad season, little to like, lots to groan about, not the ending I wanted for this magnificent series.  No matter what I don't think they can redeem themselves, the writers are just out of gas.  I love the characters and I love the premise, I'll watch the ending but this series ended at Harrison's b-day party at the end of season 6 as far as I'm concerned, it just didn't need to go on anymore.

SmokingFrog77 9/18/2013 8:36:25 PM

I think this season has been good. Probably not as good as last season, but it's been intriguing and interesting. They dropped the ball a bit with the "Deb Plot" this season, but I think it's coming together well. I don't think Dex has been cured by the power of love at all, Dex has been changing since season 1, and he'd been a serial killer for years before we met him. The 'revelation' and changes have been the result of years of change - being hunted for the first time, having his first real friend he could share with, getting married, having Harrison, RITA'S DEATH, meeting Lumen and being accepted as a killer for the first time, meeting Brother Sam and finding a sense of peace in being who he is - even if it didn't involve 'embracing the light', and then Deb finding out, meeting Isaac Sirko and the questions he raised, and finally after all that, meeting and falling in love with Hannah. There is nothing sudden about  this change, it's been coming for years - 8 years to be exact.

As for Dex once again managing to hide his involvement in a death from Miami Homicide, yes it stretches reality for the sake of the story, but the show has ALWAYS DONE THAT. Dex has yet to set of a burglar alarm while breaking into a house, and he has broken into a LOT of houses in the last 8 years. He's also yet to be spotted by a witness or cctv camera, unless it was a specific plot point like the cuban kid who thought he was Jesus, or the marina surveillance video he erased in season 2.


kinetoscope 9/20/2013 8:09:47 AM

 I have enjoyed the wrap up season. I liked the Dr V character. I liked bringing Hannah back. My wife and I held off until 2 weeks ago and have watched the season in the last 12 days. I think watching one a night was a great way to "go out" with Dexter. I am excited for the last two shows. So many shows drop a turd when it comes to the end, but I have confidence in Team Dexter. I'm not sure if I want him caught, dead, or in South Amercia... 

Not changing Hannah's look has made me mad a few times. I've told my wife, that if Hannah walked into any hotel, ER, gas station, she would have guys eyes glued to her and someone would have to say, "That's the hot chick who kills people." It was a bad call not to do something about that. But... I would not be happy if she had short black hair and a baby bump (which... I hope she might have for real before the season ends), ruining her apperence would have been a bad choice... Long live DEXTER!!



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