Dexter Review: “Run” (Season 7, Episode 4)
Dexter, for as long as it’s been on the air, has always been concerned with asking of its viewers certain questions starting with the one raised by its very concept, whether Dexter is The Bay Harbor Butcher or The Dark Defender. The next most obvious one is how will Dexter be able to escape in any given season or episode before that carefully built facade of his crumbles to pieces in front of him? Then that leaves the ones that shows with devoted followings all receive, viewers asking and trying to predict what will happen on any given week.
Usually Dexter stays limited to those three lines of questioning, but not lately, especially not with this season. The past few years, Dexter has been harangued with questions levied at its writers about moments in the series that some viewers believe don’t ring true. Just last week I was curious about how it could’ve taken Dexter so long to simply step outside and contact Deb after he realized there was no cell reception inside the mausoleum.
With each passing season, it seems as if these concerns have grown exponentially in number, though they have quieted down to an extent with what is believed to be, and partly is, a return to form with the current season. Dexter was never the most tightly scripted show, always having its weak spots. It’s just now it has fewer strengths to compensate for those problem areas.
Prior to recent seasons, watching the show week to week still made for a somewhat frustrating experience. The difference is, back then it regularly made up for that with satisfying payoffs such as Dexter going at Trinity in the man’s own kitchen. Despite the consensus saying that’s when the show was at its best, with season four and the Trinity Killer, even it could be a study in imperfection at times. I’ll go one further and say it was more up-and-down than any of the previous seasons.
Yet the highs, of which that season has many, make one forget about the lows. Whereas, lately, all Dexter‘s once-devoted following could seem to think about were those lows which, as with the concerns, were growing in number. Now there were entire plot lines dragging the show down, LaGuerta and Batista’s relationship being one example.
Worse still, the highs were becoming lower and lower in altitude as the series progressed past its peak in season four. Anymore, there was little positive left to latch onto besides Michael C. Hall‘s routinely fantastic portrayal of the show’s titular character, and this lead to viewers asking unwanted questions, some general, like had the show become a lost cause, and others specific, like when would they finally stop teasing and have Deb find out Dexter’s secret.
In last season’s finale, the writers answered at least one of those questions, having Deb not just discover who Dexter truly is, but also walking in on him in the act. Not of sex, though she’s done that too, but of murder. It felt at the time like a cheap ploy, a last-ditch effort by the writers to drum up interest for a show which had long been hemorrhaging the goodwill it’d once had in spades.
However, if that did actually happen to be the case, it worked because it got people talking about the show again. Positively, that is, since it’d been getting its share of negative press. It also brought fans like myself back around, getting us to stick with the show for at least one more season. Without it, I was treading dangerously near giving up on what was once my second favorite show, which goes to show just how precipitous its fall really was in season six (and, to a much smaller extent, in season five).
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