All in all, at least one good thing came of “The Dark… Whatever,” that being Dexter finally accepting his Dark Passenger for what it really is, nothing more than an embodiment of his personal urge to kill.
That being said, the manner in which this revelation came about was wonky. To have a second big baddie enter the fray with four episodes remaining, only for Dexter to figure out his identity and turn him over to Miami Metro one episode later, but not before he has his second consecutive kill table therapy session, is anticlimactic at best.
The Phantom, despite his cheesy name, was built up to be a real threat, maybe one that would carry over into the final season, yet he became nothing more than a major disappointment.
We got the requisite attention paid to the arson investigator possibly being the one behind it all, including copious moments of him trying his hardest to look guilty. I mean, sniffing a body like it’s a bouquet of roses? Dexter’s plausible explanation aside, that’s still a bit much.
Then Masuka found a miraculous fingerprint at the scene, Dexter sneakily got access to the necessary records, and minutes later the mystery of his identity was solved thanks to a juvenile record that might as well have been replaced with the words “I’m the Phantom” in bold print.
Has a killer as prolific as the Phantom was fast becoming ever made it so easy on Dexter? For that matter, based upon my rudimentary understanding of fingerprints, wouldn’t the massive fireball have compromised those fingerprints, if only slightly? Because even CSI rarely has fingerprints that perfect to work with.
Oh, plus I found it a little bit of a stretch that Dexter’s search would take mere seconds. Give the viewers some suspense. Have the woman come back from her break early because she forgot her cigarettes or something. You do that sort of thing all the time on this show, so why not this time?
Could it be due to the Phantom being nothing but a tool you clumsily used in order to get that last-minute swerve that made exactly no sense at all? He can’t stand to take responsibility for the death of a man who’s known to have murdered somewhere around a half dozen people, including a small child (AKA, Dexter’s kryptonite); however, he can bring himself to kill his girlfriend’s father and then lie to (or, at the very least, mislead) her about it?
Our explanation? He wanted to kill Hannah’s dad. Wait, didn’t he, moments before, want to kill the Phantom, as well? Because I could’ve sworn he did, hence the plastic wrap and theatrics.
He must not have wanted it too badly, calling in an anonymous tip just as Harry had suggested he do in the first place. Did I mention the writers took that opportunity to trick viewers into feeling suspense, making them think Deb and the rest of Miami Metro had somehow arrived there on their own and that Dexter was at risk of being caught?
But I should’ve known better, since nobody ever gets caught doing anything on this show. They may often tease it, but it actually happening is quite the rarity. Look at this episode’s Detective Quinn misadventure. He dumbly shoots and kills George, then the writers gift him something like a minute, enough time for Nadia to wrestle with whether or not to do as Quinn says, before Batista barges in.
It’s a joke at this point how easily people in the Dexter universe avoid getting caught, as well as suspicion altogether. Likewise, it’s hilarious how easy everything unravels for those same people when someone actually puts a modicum of effort into their investigation.
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