Dexter Review: “Monkey In A Box” (Season 8, Episode 11)


Seeing how I’ve never written a script in my life, chances are it’s insanely difficult to write for a TV show. You have to be able to keep every event from the series in the back of your mind, and the characters have to act organically through premeditated stories. After eight seasons, however, you’d think the minds behind Dexter would have a better grasp on what to do with their characters.

We’ve reached the penultimate episode of the series, in which events should be set into motion that bring everything full circle. Instead, we’re mourning characters we just met this season and wondering why Dexter and Saxon are both so idiotic. Most of the tension created comes from everyone’s inability to act rationally, making it hard to raise the stakes when everybody is asking for trouble. The shining moment of idiocy? Dexter refusing Saxon’s agreement to just walk away. Make it a combo though, because he then releases videos of Saxon murdering his victims to the news while setting a trap that assumes Saxon will attack him first. Not any of the family members he threatened, but Dexter himself.

Of course, this is exactly how it works out, but why should it be? Why isn’t Saxon smarter than that? It’s hard enough to care about a character we’ve known for a few weeks, let alone a villain who isn’t intelligent enough to escape such an obvious ploy. Dexter’s unwillingness to leave Miami without killing Saxon is causing more trouble than it should, which disproves his huge revelation at the end of the episode.

With Saxon finally on his table, at his mercy, Dexter instead calls Deb and tells her to come arrest him. He’s finally released himself of his Dark Passenger, realizing his love for his family overcomes any urges he has to kill. Now this is all sweet and dandy, but look at it this way: Dexter has just spent the past few days trying to hunt down and murder Saxon, putting the safety of those he loves on the line. And now that he can ensure they will be safe for good, he realizes he’s a different man and leaves his fate to Deb? It makes sense that Dexter would have such a change of heart, but never at a time like this. Why would he even leave Saxon alone in the first place?

Needless to say, since Dexter chose to forsake his predator side, Marshal Clayton is a corpse and Deb is lying in a pool of her own blood, courtesy of a bullet from Saxon. Not that Deb hasn’t been in this situation before, mind you. It’s just more dramatic since it’s the last time it will ever happen.

Dexter also gets a nice sendoff from Miami Metro, but I never felt like he was a huge part of the team. I mean, sure, he was the donut guy for the longest time, but that’s about it. The little heart to heart he has with Batista felt a little forced, but I will admit that I’ll miss the pudgy

It looks like a tropical storm is also heading for Miami, because the writers took the phrase “a storm is coming” all too literally. Elway is joining in the hunt for Hannah, and after a cursory look through Deb’s house, he has more than enough evidence to prove she’s been there.