Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you haven't seen "Dexter" Season 8, Episode 11, titled "Monkey In A Box."
There's only one episode of "Dexter" left and as Showtime's serial killer thriller races to the finish line, a couple of things seem clear: Dexter Morgan is deluding himself if he thinks he's actually going to escape to a happy ending in Argentina, and the show's writing is turning "Dexter" into an unintentional comedy.
Dexter spent the episode closing in on Dr. Vogel's killer, her deranged son Oliver Saxon, aka the Brain Surgeon. With Deb's help, Dexter sedated him after luring him to his apartment, but in the final moments of the episode, with Saxon set up in his own abandoned insane asylum kill room, Dexter decided he didn't need to kill Saxon, choosing his family over avenging Vogel's death. He handed Saxon over to Deb, and told her to call it in to Miami Metro and have Saxon arrested.
For a brief moment, it seemed like Dexter was experiencing some kind of psychological breakthrough, re-assessing his priorities and that thinking everything would turn out just fine. But Dexter is in way too deep to be redeemed by a last-second crisis of conscience. And predictably, things took a turn for the worse, with the help of a poorly written, implausible plot twist that made no sense.
US Marshal Cooper, who had been tracking the Morgans to find Hannah McKay, appeared on the scene, found Saxon tied up and immediately let him go -- without identifying him as the most wanted man in Miami. This despite the fact that Saxon's face had been plastered over the news all night, publicly identifying him as the heinous Brain Surgeon killer. It was laughably absurd that a US Marshal in the area would not have been caught up on that development. The glaring oversight was another example of sloppy writing that has plagued this final "Dexter" season.
The Marshal's incompetence allowed Saxon to grab a knife and stab him in the heart. And then he grabbed his gun, and shot Deb in the stomach, as she shot him in the shoulder. She lay on the floor bleeding as Dexter headed to the airport with Harrison, serving as yet another reminder of how much collateral damage Dexter's lifestyle has caused to the people closest to him. Dexter is on his way to a new life, blissfully unaware that his sister had been shot. But a looming storm -- and not just bad weather that could keep his plane from taking off -- seems likely to prevent him from getting his happy ending.
The US Marshals and Miami Metro are going to be forced to ask some tough questions about the Morgans' connections to Saxon (and Hannah McKay) and how Deb found herself in that room, right? And in that storage locker with LaGuerta last season, maybe? You would think there is some type of reckoning coming, where their colleagues finally learn the truth about the Morgans after all these years. But maybe they won't. Only the show's writers know how this story ends, which at this point is a somewhat frightening proposition. We have only one episode left to find out.
What did you think of this penultimate episode of "Dexter"? Leave your thoughts and theories in the comments.
"Dexter" airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.