Dutifully Dissecting Dexter: “Monkey In A Box” Review

Dexter: "Monkey in a Box" (Photo: Showtime)
Dexter: "Monkey in a Box" (Photo: Showtime)

Warning: If you read this, you’re going to know what happened last night on the eleventh episode of Dexter. If you don’t want to know what happened, you should probably check out one of our other stories instead.

With the penultimate episode of Dexter now in the books, the stage has been set for what should be (fingers crossed) a riveting finale next weekend.

This week’s episode was all about the set-up – lining up the problems and predicaments that will be resolved when Showtime’s hit show about a forensic blood spatter analysis and good guy serial killer comes to a close.

One Last Kill… Or Not

With Oliver Saxon/Daniel Vogel/The Brain Surgeon having thrown down the gauntlet for a mano-a-mano showdown with Dexter at the close of last week’s episode by slitting his mother’s throat, Dexter spends a great deal of the next-to-last episode wrestling with whether to pursue Saxon and finish things or simply jump on a plane with Hannah and Harrison to begin their lives in Buenos Aires.

Overly confident, Saxon unknowingly puts himself in danger by showing up at the police station under the auspice of clearing his name in Cassie’s murder. Quinn gets Dexter to collect a DNA sample, which – as Dexter and Debra discuss at her new desk back in the Homicide department – will identify Saxon as Vogel’s presumed dead son.

As Dexter preps to jet off to Argentina, he enlists the real estate services of Syl Prado, the wife of Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits), Dexter’s friend-turned-foe-turned-victim from Season 3, to help sell his place. It’s a weird re-introduction for anyone that (a) hasn’t watched every season up to this point or (b) doesn’t have the same kind of strange, Rain Man-like memory for obscure television show characters like I do.


A last minute potential buyer wants a look at Dexter’s place, and wouldn’t you know it – Saxon’s the interested party. He asks Syl to let Dexter show him around, and when the two are alone, Saxon offers Dexter a truce – both sides walk away, get on with their lives, and no one gets killed. In trying to sell the idea to our soon-to-be-gone star by reminding him that he has plenty at stake – Hannah, Harrison, Deb, Astor and Cody (his poor stepkids that got bounced from the show ages ago) – Saxon actually makes Dexter’s decision for him.

They’ll be no truce.

Dexter sets about setting a trap for Saxon, emailing some of his kill videos to the local news, which plasters his picture all over the television.

On the night he’s hoping to lure Saxon to his house to finish things, Deb drops by demanding one final dinner with her big brother. Dexter acquiesces before trying to usher Debra out of his house so he can take care of Saxon, who later arrives, quietly lets himself into Dexter’s apartment, and gets caught on the end of Dexter’s needle when Deb steps out from behind the bedroom door, gun drawn as her brother pops out of his fake slumber to send him off into a temporary sleep.

From there, Dexter takes Saxon back to his own kill room, straps him in the chair where he killed so many of his victims, but as it gets around to being that time, Dexter’s urge to be with Hannah outweighs his desire to slip his blade into Saxon’s chest. He’s in love, and the life he’s planning to live in Argentina prompts him to pass on notching one last kill.

And this is where we press pause on this part for a minute so I can bring the other storyline that intersects with this one into focus.

The Hunt for Hannah McKay

Remember Deputy Marshall Clayton? Yeah, that guy doesn’t quit.

After the nurse at the hospital ID’ed Hannah when she brought in Harrison, Clayton is back on the Hunt for Ms. McKay.

He swings through Miami Metro to ask Deb about Harrison’s visit to the hospital and the blonde woman who brought him in for his stitches, but world-class liar Debra plays it cool, saying she was the one that brought Harrison in and the nurse needed better glasses.

This convinces Clayton that they’ve been suspicious of the wrong Morgan this whole time, and he re-enlists Elway to help him check out Deb. Under the guise of dropping off some personal belongings she left at the office, Elway barges into Deb’s, scoping the place out for signs of Hannah McKay.

Once he’s cleared out, Deb alerts both Hannah and Dexter, and our female serial killer shuffles off to a hotel until she, Dexter, and Harrison can jump on their plane to a brand new life in Buenos Aires.

When Dexter has his “I’d rather be with Hannah” epiphany with Saxon strapped into his “kill chair,” he calls Deb, who shows up at the location, where Dexter hands her a gift-wrapped major arrest. Dexter explains he just wants to be with Hannah, telling Deb he doesn’t even want her to send him the knives that he’s left behind in the room.

They say their goodbyes, and while Debra calls for back-up, Deputy Marshall Clayton enters the kill room to find Saxon. With no idea who he is, Clayton starts unstrapping Saxon, who promptly grabs one of Dexter’s knives and buries it in the US Marshall’s chest. Deb bursts in gun drawn, but Saxon draws as well, getting off a shot before Debra can react.

She’s hit, but catches Saxon in the shoulder as she’s going down. Laying on the ground, a gunshot wound in her abdomen, she calls for assistance as blood pools under her.

Before we fade to black and the credits roll, Dexter delivers one of his signature voiceovers as Jamie says goodbye to Harrison at packed up apartment, and Hannah checks on their flight at the airport.

But right as Hannah drops out of the shot, in walks Elway… and scene!

NEXT: Spencer’s thoughts on how Dexter could be brought to a close…

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E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and dog. In addition to his work here, he writes about sports for Complex Canada and covers the UFC for various outlets. His mom also still tells him what to do on a regular basis, even though he’s nearly 40. He tweets from @spencerkyte.

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