Dexter ‘Monkey In A Box’ Recap – Episode 08.11

Dexter series finale
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Recap

The episode begins with Dexter cleaning up some of the mess of Vogel’s murder, and deleting all of Vogel’s files on him and his family from her computer. He decides to call his friends at Miami Metro so that they know about her death. He claims that Dr. Vogel had invited him over to her home, but he doesn’t tell them who the killer is, because he wants to try and get Saxon himself.

The next morning, Dexter informs both Hannah and Debra about Saxon murdering Vogel in front of him and he resolves to handle the Saxon situation before leaving with Hannah in two days. Much to his surprise, Saxon arrives at the police station claiming he wants to clear his name for Cassie’s murder. Dexter knows that Saxon’s there just to send a message to him, but he manages to one-up Saxon by getting a DNA swab. This way he proves that Saxon was Vogel’s son, and can steer them into the right direction.

It turns out that there’s a big tropical storm coming right for Miami, and it could very possibly end up being a hurricane. It threatens to ground the flights leaving Miami airport.

Monkey In A BoxMost of the staff at Miami Metro attend Dr. Vogel’s memorial service, and afterwards they visit Angel’s restaurant to welcome back Debra and wish Dexter farewell. During the festivities, Dexter is called by Sil, his old realtor friend, who actually is helping him sell his apartment. She’s been contacted by a buyer who’s willing to come and view the apartment. When Dexter arrives, the buyer turns out to be Saxon. After the two of them are left alone, Saxon offers Dexter a truce. They can either go on with their separate lives and forget about the other, or Dexter can pursue Saxon, who promises to make it very difficult for him. Saxon gives a very veiled threat towards hurting Dexter’s family and loved ones. Dexter says that he agrees to Saxon’s terms of a truce, but he still intends on killing him.

Meanwhile, Marshall Clayton and Elway realize that Debra covering for Dexter by hiding Hannah in her house and try to track her down that way. Elway drops in on Debra’s house and sees enough to deduce that Debra’s definitely hiding something. Hannah and Debra realize that the cops are on to them, so Hannah holes up in a hotel near the airport. They later get a warrant and search her place when she’s not there, and realize that Hannah will probably be flying out tomorrow on AeroSudamerica. Clayton leaves to trail the Morgans, hoping they’ll lead him to Hannah before they actually leave.

Dexter finds Saxon’s kill room by researching the buildings that Saxon has been inspecting for work, and he also finds Saxon’s computer in the kill room, and on the computer is a series of videos. The videos detail every one of the Brain Surgeon’s murders, and they clearly show that Saxon was the Brain Surgeon. Dexter decides to take these videos and release them to the public to encourage Saxon to come after him. He does so right before Debra shows up at his apartment to share one last dinner with her brother before he leaves. Saxon sees his own face on the news and realizes that Dexter has betrayed him. After nightfall, Saxon creeps in on Dexter while he appears to be sleeping. Right before moving in for a killing blow, Deb steps out of the shadows and puts a gun to Saxon’s head while Dexter tranquilizes him. They’ve got him.

Monkey In A BoxDexter takes Saxon back to his kill room and is prepared to kill him, but he realizes that he doesn’t want or need to kill him. He decides to let the justice system take care of him for once, while he and his family fly to Argentina before the tropical storm hits. He calls Debra to have her turn Saxon in for him. The two of them share a final goodbye hug and Dexter runs over to his apartment. Unfortunately, Marshall Clayton has followed Deb to the building, and comes across Saxon inside. He frees him, thinking that he’s some kind of prisoner and Saxon promptly kills him. Debra returns to the kill room and Saxon shoots her with Clayton’s gun. She manages to get off a few shots before she goes down, and it appears that one bullet actually gets him in the side. Deb starts to fade due to the pain and loss of blood, but she manages to call dispatch and get in the “officer down” code.

The episode ends with Dexter picking up Harrison at his apartment before they leave, Elway at the airport looking for Hannah, and Deb laying in a pool of her own blood.

Analysis

Color me both angry and disappointed, because the writing staff of Dexter gave us one extremely poor penultimate episode of the series.

Now before I allow my otherwise intellectual analysis to devolve into an angered fanboy rant, let us first examine the few things about this episode that I actually liked. First, I appreciated all the references to the history of the show. For instance, bringing back Miguel Prado’s realtor wife Sil to help Dexter sell his apartment, the oncoming hurricane being named Laura after Dexter’s birthmother, and the verbal references to why Dexter likes living in the city of Miami. Harrison is still adorable. Darri Ingolfsson portrays Saxon very well. In fact, almost all the actors are competent at their craft.

That’s pretty much all the good stuff from this episode.

My biggest criticism of this episode comes from the absolutely stupid plot twist at the end, when Dexter decides to let the police handle Saxon after all. When I realized that Dexter wasn’t just doing his usual philosophizing, and actually intended to let Saxon live for the moment, I began to scream at my screen. I yelled in anger and frustration at the incredibly bad writing choice, and the lack of true logic to Dexter’s thinking. If he intends for Saxon to die in the electric chair, that only gives Saxon the opportunity to tell the police and the media and anyone else who will listen to him about Dexter. Or it could get even worse! Saxon has already faked his own death and escaped from a mental institution before. Who’s to say he won’t do it again? If and when that happens, he’ll come right after Dexter and kill all his family and loved ones to get back at him. It’s clear that the writers were trying to explore Dexter’s character development, and how he no longer needs to kill, but as always, it’s the execution that angers me. They could have done so in a different way that actually made narrative sense.

The cast did the very best they could with what they were given, and I salute them for that. However, as good an actor as Michael C. Hall is, I don’t think that there’s anyway that he could have sold me that letting Saxon live was a good idea.

It looks like we’ll be given a weak finale after all, and that’s a damn shame. The series is clearly capable of much more.

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About the Author

Jesse Blume
is obsessed with stories. He received a Bachelor of Arts in the field of Mass Communication from Midwestern State University. He enjoys long walks on the beach, cheesecake, yoga, and a tall glass of sweet tea.
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