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There was something about this week’s episode of Dexter - perhaps due to the smart writing and artful direction of the season’s first 8 episodes – that seemed off. Not that Dexter has always been a pinnacle of realistic storytelling or strayed away from melodrama, but there were more than a few moments in “Make Your Own Kind Of Music” that veered uncomfortably close to a soap opera ( One Life To Take, maybe? ‘Cause As The Knife Drops or All My Victims just seem a bit clunky, don’t they?)
Perhaps this is a bit of a knee-jerk reaction, as, like I mentioned, one wouldn’t call the first 8 seasons a docudrama by any means. It has always been filled with happenstance meetings and coincidences that are something near Shakespearean. Take the Rudy Cooper/Brian Moser plot from the first season or all the times Dex has narrowly escaped from death? And except for a few truly shocking deaths (Rita! LaGuarta! And Zach! Oh my!) you can usually tell who will end up on Dex’s table with fairly good accuracy. But then here comes episode 9 and what once felt like artistic license and coincidence has a whiff of overindulgent, lazy plotting.
The soapiest development in “Make Your Own Music” came from the identity of Cassie’s killer. After finding some of the killer’s blood and DNA at the crime scene, Dex finds out that the murderer is related, biologically, to Vogel. Now Dr. V has been acting shady for some time and many have speculated that she herself was the killer. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise that a psychopath specialist has some, well, personal interest in the matter. But, as it turns out, it isn’t Vogel who is the killer after all but her son Daniel. When he was a kid, Vogel’s son, also a psychopath, murdered his brother and was sent off to a mental hospital in London where, according to his mother, he died in a fire. But it turned out he survived and assumed the identity of…Oliver Saxon. Remember him? The creepy boyfriend of the recently deceased Cassie?
It seems Miami PD also had a hunch about Mr. Saxon as well and soon he ends up in Quinn’s interrogation room. Although Quinn is suspicious, he lets Saxon go, who immediately leaves his apartment (and Dexter) behind. While Dex pleads with Vogel to kill him, Vogel, instincts rearing their ugly head, tells him not to. As the episode ends, he has escaped Dexter’s table (for now) and is enjoying a quiet dinner with his mom.
Meanwhile, Dexter is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to his love life. In Hannah he sees the perfect mate, and one who has proven herself to be surprisingly loyal and faithful. But their relationship is troubled by Debra who has been weary of Hannah since the beginning since she is, you know, a wanted serial killer. On a jealous whim, which she later regretted, Deb turned her sleazy private-eye boss on to Hannah’s whereabouts in Maimi. In “Music,” another PI is on Hannah’s trail and even tracks her down to a friend’s house where Hannah and Dexter are. But Dex persuades the PI she’s out of his life and gone, which the PI somehow buys.
In the last few scenes, Hannah persuades Dexter to move to Argentina together where they can both live happily ever after. Dex agrees and the two plan to take Harrison (who has recently turned into a cute towheaded 6-year-old with the worse line readings this side of Modern Family’s Lily). Could this really be the way Dexter ends after 8 seasons? Our murderous anti-hero flying into the sunset with a beautiful woman by his side? Doesn’t that seem a little cheap?
Well, who knows with Dexter. There’s no way of knowing where exactly the last three episodes will take us. Yes, this episode had its fair share of soapiness (even the Mama Cass song of the episode’s title, a favorite of Daniel’s as a kid, seemed somehow shoehorned) but I can’t help but think the writers can’t be taking such an easy plotting route when dealing with Dexter’s grand finale.
Dexter will return on Sunday, September 8 at 9 p.m.
image: Wikimedia Commons