Imagine a child impatiently asking his parents, “Are we there yet?” Now replace the parents with Dexter Morgan (Michael C Hall) and Hannah McKay (Yvonne Starhovsky) and turn that kid into Zach Hamilton (Sam Underwood). What you’ve essentially got is a crucial scene from this week’s episode playing up in your head right down to the “title” becoming a part of the show’s script. This week had more hits than misses and absolutely gathered its dignity off the floor and redeemed itself. Well played, indeed.
Hannah is in town and she’s rousing up all these Valentine red, gooey and mushy feelings in our friendly psychopath and, cue “aww” (or not) they both can’t help themselves. Their sexual tension is palpable but what’s worth wondering is what the love story will lend to the bigger picture? Is miss McKay going to stick around and become missus Morgan? This new Dexter with his feelings for Debra (Jennifer Carpenter), his desire to become a spiritual father to Zach and his newfound everlasting love is a far cry from the character who had to fake desire for women, for Rita (Julie Benz).
When it comes to his mentee, Hamilton supposedly disappointed Dexter with his trigger (read: bludgeon) happy ways. En route to making him pay for his misdeeds, our two love birds share one of the many excessive romantic scenes in the episode, thus establishing them as our killer parents. The duo meet their killer child and figure out he’s being framed for Cassie’s (Bethany Joy Lenz) murder. Hamilton is the star of this episode through and through. His eager-beaver yearning for Dexter’s approval, and desire to fulfill the code and mete out justice is all very endearing. This is remarkable also because of how revolting his petulant behavior was in the last few episodes. He also dishes out comic relief, which is saying a lot, since we rarely come across amusing moments in the Dexter universe. Snappy one-liners and instances where it comes to show that he really is just a kid, made me want to root for this apprenticeship.
Now to the big momma of mentors. Dr Evelyn Vogel (Charlotte Rampling) is now just a content old lady, happy her two protégés are getting along. A dinner scene with our killer club gang, Vogel, Mckay, Hamilton and of course, Dexter is straight out of Bizzaro land . A very ordinary activity like a shared meal is rendered extraordinary by the members at the table, and further still their creepy conversation that shifts from murder to gardening and even “couple talk.”
Debra’s taken a back seat in terms of camera time this week. Her Jacob Elway (Sean Patrick Flanery) connection doesn’t seem to be progressing despite her lukewarm reciprocation. There are other minor bits in the episode that don’t fit in. For instance, Vince Masuka’s (CS Lee) daughter sage-ing up the homicide department’s lab to rid it off its bad juju. If that was intended to be comically ironic, it’s a miss. The Joey Quinn (Desmond Harrington) and Jaime Batista’s (Aimee Garcia) love saga is dancing on everyone’s last nerves. Urgh. Even Harrison’s got one single sassy line.
“Are We There Yet?” starts off slow, steadily picks up momentum and then out of nowhere punches you in the stomach just when you’re ready for more. The end is wail-inducing, one that will scare birds away at some far away tower. But Dexter is back and again reminds us that there’s only four more happy Mondays till we say goodbye forever. Sniff.