"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dexter 4.12: Revenges and Recapitulations

Well, Showtime told us the Season 4 finale of Dexter tonight would be stunning, and it was that, and more.

The Trinity killer, who is actually the Quadro killer (because he always kills a fourth, a ten-year old boy, who is kidnapped and presumed just missing), does not get away, as some people thought he might. Rita and the kids almost get away. Rita's two kids do. But Rita and the baby go back home, one last time. I heard once, from someone, that it's bad luck to go back home, once your journey has begun, and that was the case tonight for Rita.

Dexter thinks he has outwitted the Trinity killer, when Dexter springs out of the car that Trinity was using to make good his escape. Dexter will soon make that escape bad, but he doesn't know the half of it. Neither do we.

Trinity's oddly at peace when Dexter kills him. That's because he also has already taken his revenge. He's also managed to, at long last, break his compulsive cycle. A few weeks ago, in television time, he was frustrated by Dexter in his - Trinity's - attempt to kill a 10-year old boy. But he wasn't frustrated by Dexter tonight, as Trinity jumps on killing ahead in his cycle, and slits the artery of a woman in a bathtub. Rita. (I should note that I guess there is a remotely slight chance that the next door neighbor, Elliot, killed Rita - but why would he adopt Trinity's slit throat in the bathtub style?)

So Trinity is oddly, secretly, at peace when Dexter dispatches him. He's free at last. And Dexter is energized, satisfied, as he always is after he kills. He feels more than ever now that he can devote himself to his family, and leave his dark passenger behind.

But now the foundation of his family is gone - murdered by the man Dexter has been unable to kill until it was too late for Rita. Indeed, Dexter had saved Trinity's life, when Trinity was hanging over the ledge of a building.

And Rita and Dexter's baby is sitting in Rita's blood - a horrible scene, and we're especially aware of its significance, as Debra discovers everything, that he was "born in blood" (as Dexter puts it), brother of Rudy/Brian, everything, except that Dexter is a serial killer.

Will Dexter continue with Harry's code? Rita's murder leaves him motivated by revenge even more than Debra's shooting, and look where that got him. I found Rita an annoying character, and in that sense I'm glad she's off the show. But she won't be out of Dexter's life. And whatever Dexter does, Debra will be razor close to discovering it, now that she knows most of the truth of Dexter's life.

This was the best season of Dexter. My only regret is that the next season doesn't start tomorrow.

5-min podcast review of Dexter

See also
Dexter Season 4: Sneak Preview Review ... The Family Man on Dexter 4.5 ... Dexter on the Couch in 4.6 ... Dexter 4.7: 'He Can't Kill Bambi' ... Dexter 4.8: Great Mistakes ... 4.9: Trinity's Surprising Daughter ... 4.10: More than Trinity ... 4.11: The "Soulless, Anti-Family Schmuck"

See also reviews of Season 3: Season's Happy Endings? ... Double Surprise ... Psychotic Law vs. Sociopath Science ... The Bright, Elusive Butterfly of Dexter ... The True Nature of Miguel ... Si Se Puede on Dexter ... and Dexter 3: Sneak Preview Review

Reviews of Season 2: Dexter's Back: A Preview and Dexter Meets Heroes and 6. Dexter and De-Lila-h and 7. Best Line About Dexter - from Lila and 8. How Will Dexter Get Out of This? and The Plot Gets Tighter and Sharper and Dex, Doakes, and Harry and Deb's Belief Saves Dex and All's ... Well

See also about Season 1: First Place to Dexter

The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book

Read the first chapter of The Plot to Save Socrates .... FREE!


dawn said...

Absolutely the best ending. I said to my husband I didn't know why all the spoilers about a shocking show and then I heard Rita's phone ring. what an amazing scene. It leaves so many questions for next year. Does Dexter report it and why would the trinity killer go off path. didn't Laguerta and Batista see Trinity in the police station with Dexter. Also Trinity family with Kyle Butler. Great Great Show

Paul Levinson said...

Good questions - should be a wild ride next season...

In the meantime, we'll have 24, Big Love ... and Lost!

Kevin said...

I thought the scene where Laura "reveals" Dexter's history to him could have been done better. It seemed like a bit of a throwaway, when it could have been climactic.

dawn said...

I think that will be a major plot in next years show. Debra is to smart to let it go

Ian said...

I just think it would be worth pointing out, in the small chance that you will check the comments on this lovely review nearly 1 year on. That when you wrote of Trinitys killing of Rita, you wrote "Throat was cut". This is incorrect, the themeral artery is what was cut, and thats on her right thigh.

Good review though, I especially liked the closing comment. Personally I wish a new episode of Dexter would come out every day.

Paul Levinson said...

Thanks for the correction - I'm amending my review the second I finish entering this comment!