Dexter: “Go Your Own Way” (Episode 310)

TV Reviews

Another deliberately structured episode this week, as Miguel and Dexter’s relationship has devolved into a nasty rivalry more quickly than anticipated. It’s a treat and a relief for the show to revert back to the mode it’s in now, a breakneck, almost giddy series of suspense cues and constricting subplots that surged through the entire episode.

That said, curiously, and little disappointingly, the show’s elevated tensions have meant very different things for the stars. On one hand, Michael C. Hall remains fantastic, dryly evocative of Dexter’s highs and lows and now capable of playing the part with only his eyes. But Jimmy Smits, whose always welcome presence helped keep his character tolerable even when his arc felt listless, has taken the sudden shift in tone without his signature grace and calculation. Miguel has become a caricature of a public official drunk on power and self-preservation, and with Smits’s wide-eyed acqusience to the simplicity of the material, his performance is at risk of becoming one too.

That isn’t to say he doesn’t serve his purpose, which is to provide Dexter the latest foil that he must take down every season. The show in the past has afforded higher personal stakes to these often overblown Faustian struggles, but with nuptials and a baby on the way, perhaps a more escapist bent suits us better this time around.

And yet, even though this week’s episode was taut and easily the most fun of the season, the real question is if the show manages to bring together the disparate elements of this often uneven season into a clear vision for what’s to come. With two more years guaranteed on the way, our hope is that Dexter finds more sure footing in the next several episodes, not to mention the sense that the progression of this story is headed somewhere real in the future.

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