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It took forever for tonight's episode of Dexter to get there, but it did eventually get there. "Monkey in the Box," the series' penultimate episode, left us with a proper cliffhanger as the series finale looms closer. If you haven't seen the episode yet, consider yourself spoiler-warned from this point forward!
About 80% of the episode felt like set-up for those final moments. After seasons of Dexter intentionally thwarting Miami Metro, concealing evidence in an effort to save the worst kinds of bad guys for himself, he turned it all around tonight, feeding both the police and the press information about Oliver Saxon, making sure Vogel's killer was exposed good and proper before baiting him for what was planned to be his last kill. Well, maybe not last ever, but all signs point to Dexter setting aside this particular addition and starting anew with Hannah and Harrison in Argentina.
I really wished I saw the connection Dexter has with Hannah, to be honest. I feel like most of it has been told to us, rather than demonstrated. I just don't feel like enough has happened between these two for them to have the kind of bond that would break Dexter of his need to kill. What has Hannah done to change Dexter so drastically? What bond does she have with him that Deb never did? Obviously a physical one, but I don't think that's supposed to be it. In a nutshell, I still don't get it. But it's what we're being given here, and tonight's episode was a demonstration of the effect Hannah's had on Dexter. As he was faced with the opportunity to make the kill and instead opted to let the police have him. I guess it's like throwing away that last cigarette in the pack before quitting rather than sitting back and enjoying it.
Of course, Dexter wasn't counting on Marshal Clayton tailing Deb. After Dexter left Deb to deal with Oliver, Clayton showed up and untied Oliver, who played like he was restrained against his will and then used one of Dexter's knives to stab the Marshal. Then he shot Deb. Was that his gun or the Marshal's? It doesn't matter. Deb's been shot in the abdomen or her side. Somewhere in that area and the last we saw of her, she was bleeding all over the floor and calling for help. Oliver Saxon is loose and who knows where he's going.
Meanwhile, Dexter's on the way to the airport, but there's a storm coming in, which might ground the flights and keep him from escaping.
Vague spoiler alert: Those who've seen the preview for the last few episodes know a hospital and an airport serve as the setting for what's ahead. That seems like an inevitability though, since the last we saw of Dexter, he was at the airport, and it seems highly unlikely that he'll take off for Argentina without knowing what's happened to his sister.
What else is left to be resolved?
Quinn and Deb's relationship, assuming Deb walks aware from this gunshot wound. Deb found the engagement ring Quinn tried to give her, which seemed like a hint that their future will be addressed, or at the very least, that they're both thinking about marriage.
Masuka and his daughter. Is there anything to resolve there? Tonight's episode seemed to suggest that they were still just trying to find their footing. That may very well have been the final resolution to that arc, and I'm kind of ok with that. I sort of like Masuka's story leaving off with him trying to figure out his relationship with the daughter he never knew he had.
And obviously, there's the Saxon situation, but I'm about as invested in that story as I was in Vogel. In short, he seems like little more than some conflict to drive the series to its end. I'm more interested in seeing how this series wraps up. Will Dexter survive the finale? Will he sail off into the sunset on the Slice of Life? Or will Saxon get the best of him in the end? We'll find out next Sunday night!