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Dexter: The Getaway

Trinity: "If I were you, I'd give up vigilantism. You're not very good at it."

What a shocker. I was expecting something big, but not this.

The death of innocent bystanders has been a big theme this season, along with the homily that Dexter cannot have it all. And it's true: in trying to have it all, Dexter just lost everything. Lifting baby Harrison out of a pool of his mother's blood was a clear message that the darkness will never be over for Dexter. (Let's hope Harrison is too young to be traumatized the way three-year-old Dexter was.)

Rita was the symbol of Dexter's desire for normalcy. All the changes Dexter has made, all the ways he has tried to become a real human being, were tied to his relationship with her. I honestly believe he truly loved her, and she in return loved the good man that she saw at Dexter's core. He told her more truths about his darkness, and even reached the point (in that scene in the jail cell, appropriately) where he was talking with "Harry" about giving up killing, leaving his dark passenger behind. Rita believed in him and told him he could conquer it. I always thought this was the ultimate goal of the series: Dexter's recovery and redemption. Was I wrong? Will Dexter go the other way, now?

That final scene with Trinity in the bomb shelter was all about the subtext. Trinity was resigned; he had prayed for God to stop him, after all. At the same time, Trinity was acting superior, like he knew Dexter better than Dexter knew himself. And of course, he knew he'd gotten the last laugh, so to speak. He even got Dexter to give him the trains and the music so that he could pretend he was still innocent, ten-year-old Arthur as he died. When Dexter went back into his own house and found Rita, he tripped over a broken train set on the floor. Dexter spent the entire season telling Harry that he wasn't like Trinity. But he is, isn't he?

Nearly all of the season's story threads were pulled together beautifully. Dexter refusing to give up his old apartment so that Trinity went to the wrong place made Rita's death even more of a shocker. The coffin Trinity made and never used was briefly Dexter's hiding place (and definitely a candidate for Most Obvious Symbolism).

And Deb did find out about Dexter's biological family, after all. Instead of driving a wedge between them, the gentle way she told him, and her admission that his love and support meant everything to her, might serve to bring them closer. I hope. Dexter just lost his wife, but he still has his sister. (Who is also his wife, but never mind.) The gentle way he told Deb in return that Brian must have been after him, not her, was such a kind thing for Dexter to do. Well, it was the truth.

I assume Dexter won't try to cover up Rita's murder. How could he? But Rita doesn't fit Trinity's profile. What if Angel remembers seeing Trinity talking to Dexter? I'm sure Dexter doesn't have an alibi. And the Mitchells know Dexter's face. Will any of this spill over into the next season, or will it magically go away?

Bits and pieces:

-- The title of the episode, "The Getaway" (movie title) made me expect that someone would leave town. I really did think at one point that Trinity was going to get away.

-- Yes, I didn't see it coming, but I get why it was Rita. She had evolved from a terrified nonentity to a fulfilled wife and mother. The only big character development left for her would be if Dexter got caught and she found out about him, and it doesn't look like they're going that way.

-- Dexter always has a plan. The panicked way he just ran out of Miami Metro after Trinity was shocking.

-- When Deb told Dexter about his biological family, the two of them were wearing pink shirts. A little color cue that she was on his side, that nothing would change between them. And she took off her cop gear, too, the gear that Dexter "forgot."

-- Another candidate for Most Obvious Symbolism was Trinity's Mustang still having wet paint. Unfinished business. Gee, it was a good thing the car broke down in a deserted area instead of in the middle of Miami, huh?

-- Ten-year-old near victim Scott Smith gave Miami Metro the info that led to Trinity. I still wonder how Dexter returned Scott, and if it could have implicated Dexter in anything.

-- Apparently, Matthews knew all along about Dexter's relationship to the Ice Truck Killer, and kept it quiet out of respect for Harry. Matthews is usually portrayed as such a jerk, so that was a nice bit.


Cop: "It's your lucky day."
Dexter: "Yeah. It feels like it."

Dexter: "How is it that I can kill people and feel no regret, but disappointing Rita makes me feel like the scum of the earth?"

Rita: "You think I'm upset because you're like Paul?"
Dexter: "I'm worse."

Dexter: "Astor and Cody. Disneyworld awaits. They'll be safe there with Mickey, Minnie, and their goofy grandparents." Permanently, I assume.

Trinity: "You think you're better than I am."
Dexter: "No. But I want to be."

They did everything right this season. Four out of four stars,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. Poor Rita. Long after this episode finished, I kept having visions of Trinity choking Rita to death in a blood filled bath tub. Thank God they didn't show us how she died. I don't think I could've coped. There's so much death in Dexter... sometimes we even revel in... but Rita's murder left me with a hollow ache inside. She was so innocent and lovely (a total contrast to the mental Darla). I wish Dexter could kill Trinity again. More slowly this time.

    After this episode aired, people online were in denial. Some were saying Rita wasn't dead. That it was all in Dexter's head (as was the earlier vision of Rita and family being taken away by the police). And in my heart I want that to be true. But that would weaken the story incredibly and cheapen what's been an emotionally exhausting run of episodes.

    I really do feel quite down about this. But how the show has shone this season. It's been simply spectacular.

  2. Dexter finale ratings hit an all time high.


  3. Poor Julie Benz. It seems that all she ever does is die. She died on Buffy (no great loss there) and on Angel (heartbreaking) and now on Dexter. Is she ever going to be happy (and is Summer Glau ever going to get to play a normal well adjusted character)? When Dexter walked into his house, I had a sinking feeling that all was not going to be right. When Dexter called her phone and the phone rang, I involuntarily shouted NO at the TV. When I saw Harrison in the pool of blood, I cringed but at the same time I thought what a nice piece of writing. I cannot even imagine where they will go next season - Rita was such an integral, if sometime peripheral, presense in Dexter's journey that next season will just have to be so different, much more than the differences in the first four seasons.

  4. I wish someone could explain to me the timeline of how Rita's death occurred. It just doesn't make sense to me - when did Trinity have time to kill her and how did he Find her house? Thoughts anyone?

    I'm pretty gutted about Rita's death, especially since I bet my friend (who I always watch the end of the season of Dexter with) that she would die while he thought it would be Maria or Angel. I don't like being right in this case.

    I thought that season 5 would see Dexter finally embracing his marriage wholeheartedly and overcoming his dark passenger. But no, that's not going to happen now. Will Dex have one kid or 3 to look after? I guess he'll be back in his old apartment? Where will his journey go from here? How could he ever give up killing and live a normal life when Rita, the catalyst for his positive change is murdered? I don't like this :-(

  5. When the cast and staff started saying that the ending was shocking, I thought Harrison would die. It just couldn't cross my mind that the show can exist without Rita. And when Masuka was opening the bag where trinity buried the child, I thought for a second it would be Cody.

  6. I wonder whether they'll keep Rita on the show as a replacement for Harry. Or in addition to him, though that might be a bit too starwarsy. That way she could keep working as a catalyst.

  7. Wow.
    What a horrible, horrible, spectacular way to end this outstanding season.
    Poor, poor, Rita. All that was running through my head was - how much and what did Trinity tell her about Dexter? I keep seeing the scene of her murder again and again in my mind and every time it gets worse and worse.
    But how was it for Dexter? I really couldn't "read" him. Was he sad or just in shock? Was he happy it was Rita and not Harryson?
    I understand why Rita had to go and, honestly, I won't really miss her. Her character has never really done it for me, she's been the least interesting of them all in my opinion - which in no way should reflect onto Julie Benz who has played her perfectly.
    Again - wow. I'm numbed and muted by this. Can't wait to see where they go with this. Dexter can't possibly keep Astor and Cody - can he? He'll at least have to go into therapy - by order if nothing else, right?

  8. Forgot this - there are a couple of talks between John Lithgow and Michael Hall on the tube that shine some (very little) light on things. The first is found here:

  9. Sorry, just one more thing:

    From now on, I'm officially renaming John Lithgow to John Lith-wow.


  10. I love Michael Emmerson as I would a father... well, maybe a distant uncle, but I love him, nonetheless. However, Lith-wow really deserves this golden globe. He delivered a perfect performance.

  11. Damn. Even though I've known how this season would end since before I started watching Dexter (due to the miracle of DVDs, not ESP), I was still shocked. And amazed. And shocked again.

  12. I also knew how this season was going to end before I started watching but was still left shaken by that harrowing final scene. This has been Dexter’s best season so far and while the whole cast was great as always the undisputed star was John Lithgow. In Arthur Mitchell, the Trinity Killer, he created a truly unforgettable monster, one that really got under your skin and made sure I’d never be able to look at Harry and the Hendersons in the same way again.

  13. I hate how you can only watch something like this for the first time once. I'll never forget sitting in the dark after the finale aired, just not able to really move. I think I had to watch a comedy or something to clear my head afterward because I was so creeped out. That ending was SO harrowing and dark and horrible. All I kept thinking about was how Dexter couldn't really get closure/revenge by killing Trinity because he didn't know Rita was dead when he killed him. As much as I wasn't a huge Rita fan, she didn't deserve to die like that. And every time I re-watch I just dread that final scene and keep hoping that Dexter will meet up with Rita in the Keys and live happily ever after.

    I never really thought about it before, but as an earlier commenter said did Trinity tell Rita about Dexter? Were her final moments the horrifying realization that her husband was in some ways SO much worse than Paul, because he was a serial killer, and so much BETTER than Paul because he wasn't an abusive a-hole? I definitely think season 4 was the best season of Dexter, possibly the best season of any show!


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