Dexter delivers a surprisingly humourous episode that anticipates one possible series finale outcome. But it’s all just a deception to catch us off-guard with a killer twist.
Let’s bitch it out…I’ll admit that I didn’t realize how much I was enjoying ‘Are We There Yet?’ until I looked back over the best lines. There’s a lot of funny in what feels like a pretty ho-hum effort…at least for the initial opening third of the episode.
I’ll admit that I’ve been hard on this middle section of episodes of the final season. Perhaps if it weren’t the last season it would be easier to forgive some misguided steps, but with so few episodes remaining, there simply isn’t time left to squander. So the opening scenes of the episode, which focus on the death of Cassie and Dexter’s (Michael C. Hall) attempts to cover for Zach (Sam Underwood) until he can murder him, all feel very unnecessary. Even the Hannah (Yvonne Strahovski) scenes feel like they’re treading water; we don’t need to hear Hannah ask Dex twenty questions about the Code and what his nickname for her is.
And then suddenly Zach and Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) appear at the hotel and the tone of the episode noticeably lightens. It’s a dysfunctional comedy with Dex and Hannah as the bemused parents of Zach, the inept teenager who forgets gloves and looks for praise for a makeshift kill room. Dr. Vogel (Charlotte Rampling) fuels this over a dinner that’s like an awkward psycho-edition of Meet The Parents. The ‘family’ even takes time after dinner to examine crime scene photos together!
All of this black humour serves to lower our guard, enabling the final scene – with Zach sitting dead in Dexter’s apartment minus the back half of his head – to take us by surprise. It’s a great bait and switch that ups the ante going into the final episodes, even as we realize we’ll have to contend with Hannah sticking around and Elway (Sean Patrick Flannery) zeroing in on the huge pay-day that follows in her wake.
If Dexter can keep the “protecting Hannah” stuff to a minimum, the remaining four episodes could still pull this final season out of the depths, but it will depend on how the series wants to play things out.
- ‘Are We There Yet?’ provides one possible ending for the series: Hannah and Dex escape and live happily in Argentina (Dex suggests the destination when she claims she’s uncertain where she’ll run). Tie this into Ghost Harry’s (James Remar) not-so-subtle statement that Dex’s love for Hannah may be stronger than his urge to kill and the happier ever after practically writes itself
- Maybe it’s just the tinted windows in Dex’s SUV and the darkness in Deb’s house, but did we just skip over the entire overnight portion of the trip to the Keys? It’s night when Dex and Hannah are driving and Deb calls, but then suddenly it’s daytime and the pair is eating on the beach. Perhaps I misunderstood, but the timeline for this portion feels off – as though the writers knew that they didn’t want to address the obvious sexual tension until later (with the big sex scene) so they just pass over the sleeping arrangements the couple would have had to of made
- RIP Zach. Just when you were starting to grow on me, too. Oh well. Sam Underwood has a bright future; he’s due to pop up on S3 of Homeland next
- So should we reopen the suggestion that Vogel is the Brain Surgeon? After all, she was meant to drive Zach home and yet he ended up in Dex’s apartment missing part of his noggin’
- Quinn (Desmond Harrington) is inching closer to discovering the truth. He’s still obsessed with Zach and if Cassie’s lover can remember Zach at Dex’s place, Quinn will be one step nearer. This has all got to be leading somewhere – it’s got Deb S6 and LaGuerta S7 written all over it
- Take anything Masuka (C.S. Lee) or Angel (David Zayas) and just throw it away. Why are we still dedicating screen time to this stuff?
- She’s not often given much to do than plant relationship traps for Quinn or look after Harrison, but I am kind of impressed with Aimee Garcia’s take on Jaimie’s grief. As Dex observes, it’s easy to forget how regular people react to murder, but Jaimie does a good job of reminding us
- Finally, hello sex scene. Is this the most graphic nudity we’ve seen on the show? That is a lot Michael C. Hall bum. I will say though, Hall and Strahovski are pretty ridiculously good-looking, but nothing kills the sexiness of a simulated hump session quite like a naked man with his socks on. Take off the kill socks, Dex!
- Hannah (to Dexter, referring to a missed spot of blood): “I was so glad to see it because it reminded me of you” Psycho foreplay?
- Deb (wondering where Hannah is): “Are you on top of it, or on top of her?” I love how Jennifer Carpenter can barely deliver this line without smirking
- Matthews (when Masuka suggests Nikki is cleansing the lab): “Does she realize that this is a department founded on bad murder ju-ju?” Joss Whedon, you’ve been plagiarized!
- Zach (surveying the kill room): “What’d you think of the room? Wait, did you do something to it?”
- Dex (to Zach): “Do not ‘dude’ me”
Do you agree that the episode was much funnier than you expected? Did it leave you unprepared for the twist ending? Are you happy that Hannah is sticking around? How far will Elway take the case? Who is the Brain Surgeon? Is the planting evidence thing part of the killer’s M.O. or is Quinn going for the frame-job? Speculate away below
Dexter airs Sundays at 9pm EST on Showtime