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Showtime (ended 2013)

Dexter S0809: "Make Your Own Kind of Music"

Everybody on this show is really interested in going back in time. Not, like, DeLorean-style—it's more like most of these characters want to revisit their past lives. Maybe they're looking to escape a relationship or city they're no longer interested in to reconnect with old flames, or hoping to make amends for past mistakes. But to move on, they want to go backward. 

This isn't an abnormal vibe to get from a series at the tail-end of its run; an easy way to do closure on TV is to show that characters' lives are continuing, but that they're somehow changed. And the Dexter gang seems desperate for change. Unfortunately, unless the final three episodes of the series are going to be as boring as this season's most boring moments, that change isn't going to be what Dexter, Deb, Hannah and the rest actually want. 

"Make Your Own Kind of Music" isn't the episode I thought we'd see after the end of last week's "Are We There Yet?". By this point, my pontificating about where this season is headed is embarrassingly off, but after making it seem like Vogel was directly involved in the brain surgeon murders, the show did a lot of legwork to throw us off the scent. In fact, Dexter himself barely considered that Vogel could've killed Zach. I'd write about how dense Dexter could be, but A.) It's been eight years, he ain't changing, and B.) Did you see that pink dress Hannah was wearing? I'd be distracted, too.

Although Zach's killer was on Dexter's mind, his lovey-dovey haze dominated much of the proceedings this week. Once he discovered that Deb's prying had brought a U.S. Marshal to town, Dexter and Hannah did their damnedest to slip the feds and start planning their new life together. Whenever the world starts crashing down on Dexter, he often considers making a run for it, and it's always B.S. It's probably B.S. this time, too, but by now, I'm almost convinced that Dexter's creative team thinks he deserves a happy ending with the woman he apparently loves. Argentina's on the docket, there's money in the bank, and even Harrison wants the three of them to be a family. And what's more, it doesn't seem like their big obstacles are even that difficult to overcome. If Vogel and/or her newfound son are the ultimate villains of the season, that's not much for a couple of pros.

Meanwhile, Deb spent another episode thinking about moving on from all the recent drama... by running back to the awful job that brought her to such a dark place. But unlike Dexter, Deb seemed as if she was a little more clear-headed about her conflicted feelings. She knows that returning to the force is probably stupid, and that she'll almost immediately be miserable, but she's also miserable in her current state, so maybe it's worth it (it's probably not worth it). Making matters worse is the possibility of a rekindled relationship with Quinn, who also appears to be hoping he can turn back the clock to a happier time. The chemistry between Deb and Quinn (and between Jennifer Carpenter and Desmond Harrington) is kind of weird, but honestly, I don't hate it. While I pity my poor domestic goddess Jamie, if Dexter is going to give Quinn something to do in the final few episodes, it might as well be this. 

Even Vogel got in on the backwards-looking action. Whether it's yet another misdirect or just part of some slightly different, long-simmering story about just how evil Vogel really is, it seems as though her long-lost son killed Cassie and now it's time for the two of them to reconnect. The reason Vogel's been interested in Dexter is that he shows more empathy than any of the sociopaths she's studied; her son, we're told, is the exact opposite. But when you want things to be like they were before, only better, you bury your head in the sand. Like Dexter and Hannah, and even like Quinn, that seems to be what Vogel did here. 

it's all well and good, but I'm wondering: Should we really care? Dexter has already done this a couple of times this season, building up moments where it seems like everybody's content, or where happiness is right around the corner, only for those best-laid plans to get blown up. Sure, that's all TV in some regard, but doesn't it feel like that's all that has been going on?

Even if you're a big fan of the Dexter-Hannah relationship, we know they aren't getting out, and it's not like they deserve to be happy anyway. We know that something awful is going to happen to Deb, and we know that Quinn is still a moron. The Vogel family reunion wasn't nearly as compelling as it could have been, mostly because Darri Ingolfsson didn't have much to play with in this episode, and it's hard to care about the relationship between Vogel and her son when the show has lost the thread with Vogel and her metaphorical son Dexter.

Ultimately, what's weird about this season is that amid all the starts and stops, it just keeps building, only I have no clue to where or to what it's building to. I could guess, but that's gone very poorly thus far, and it's not even like there's mystery in the air. I've never experienced a final season that's so weirdly paced, simultaneously content to wait out the clock and to throw a slew of half-baked but interesting ideas at the audience. It's not even frustrating, it's mostly fascinating, or something.


– Even Batista was hoping to relive the past, noting that Deb coming back means the family is back together. Literally the worst family, though.

– This was the episode where I realized that the story with Masuka's daughter is probably over. What an arc that was! She doesn't know who Deb is, the hilarity! 

– You don't hire Kenny Johnson to do one episode; the Marshal sticks around.

– Dexter's taking a week off for Labor Day. See you on September 8!

How are you feeling about the show going into the season's final episodes? 

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 9/22/2013

Season 8 : Episode 12

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