Spoilers for the penultimate "Dexter" of the season coming up just as soon as I have the Showtime promo department killed...
First things first: given that the Showtime promo department, like their counterparts at every other channel at the moment, seem determined to give away all the fun surprises of their episodes, I want to remind people to not talk about anything in the promos for the finale. There was a kerfuffle last week when someone started talking about Lila going to the cabin, and other people complained that they had deliberately turned off the show before the promo aired to avoid stuff like that. Admittedly, this episode spent a good chunk of time preparing us for Lila's trip, what with her stealing the GPS unit, but even so... geez.
I was actually so annoyed to have the episode's climactic moment ruined that I wound up breaking my pledge to watch the final episodes at the same rate as the regular audience, and watched the finale as well. (Hey, I'm using all my willpower to watch "The Wire" as slowly as possible.) I won't say anything about the finale here -- not even whether I liked it -- but that means I'll have to be more delicate, and probably briefer, about "Left Turn Ahead" than I otherwise might. (I promise to go on at greater length about the finale to compensate.)
Sorry for that opening digression. Let's get to the core of the episode, which was the back-and-forth between Doakes and Dexter. We already saw last week that Doakes' approach to Dexter had changed from how he treated him before the Butcher discovery. How much of that was simply him playing his captor and how much was Doakes treating Dexter better because he finally understood him is unclear, but the bonding only deepened this week. It was beautiful -- albeit kind of sad, since you knew Doakes would go back in the cage -- to see them finally team up to take out the two drug soldiers. Even before Doakes talked Dexter into giving himself up, you could see him pushing Dexter closer and closer to that decision. Doakes has been a one-note character at times over the years, but Erik King has done some very nice work these last couple of weeks as Doakes has tried to talk his way out of this deathtrap.
(Also a nice touch to have Dexter thank Doakes for giving him someone to talk to about his work. Harry's been gone a long time, and Rudy died not long after Dexter discovered who he really was. Gotta be hard being a monster with no one to discuss it with.)
And at the same time, did anyone really think Dexter's decision was going to stick? Even without the knowledge that he's the star of the show and therefore has to remain free to kill, we've seen how in flux Dexter's been this season -- "flying without a code" and all that -- and it was only a matter of time before he'd find some excuse to justify his continued freedom. The only real question was whether it would be Rita (my guess) or Deb (the correct answer) who would inadvertently talk him into betraying Doakes.
Unfortunately, I continue to to be unhappy with the Lila storyline. She was a lot more interesting before she became unambiguously crazy and eeevil. The idea of Dexter trying to turn a slightly eccentric woman into his sidekick had a lot of potential; this, on the other hand, is just frustrating. (I was amused, though, after all of Deb's mockery of Lila's skinniness -- really a pot-kettle situation, come to think of it -- that Lila was able to take advantage of that to steal the GPS unit.)
Since I know where this is all going, I'll cut things short here and open it up to you. What do you think? And remember, no talk of the promos, or of the obnoxious finale spoilers floating around the Interwebs; just this episode.