Dexter Season 4, Episode 9: "Hungry Man" - Review

A few hours before I watched "Hungry Man" I was actually thinking about the creepy, perverse nature of Dexter and how it had gotten a bit diluted over time. That's not to say that the series hasn't remained a top notch show, but as the character of Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) has made emotional strides to become more "proto-human," the series has evolved with him and made different things the focus of his interest. Family. Children. The dream life. If you look back to Season 1 and how outlandishly morose it was and how it had a real nasty bleeding heart at the core of it, you might begin to wonder if that type of horrific glee could ever be re-captured. Low and behold, as soon as Arthur Mitchell's (John Lithgow) wife, Sally, said, "Do you think Rebecca could come out now?" I knew this episode as going to spiral into a whirlpool of dysfunctional hate and warped traditions.

It was fascinating to watch Arthur's family and how each of them have been horribly scarred their own way by his monstrous mania. Here, all along, we thought that he was the perfect husband when really he's been a foul creature that's been torturing his family for years - keeping them in a perpetual state of torment. It might feel like the show's flipped around a bit, or that things might have been presented in a misleading manner for us, but you have to remember that most of Dexter is presented to us through the eyes of Dexter. We're used to taking his narrative and his voice-overs as the status quo. If he saw, at a cursory glance, Arthur to be a loving husband and a dedicated family man then that's what we saw. Arthur's bi-polar trek over the past few weeks finally stabilized in this episode, and now with a new lease on life he seems more determined to hold his family at a noose's length more than ever.

It was great to hear Jonah (Brando Eaton) speak out with such bile against his dad. There were many people out there that suspected him as the Lundy shooter, perhaps as a way of honoring his father - sort of a mini-Trinity in the making. Having Jonah be the victim of brutal physical abuse was key here because it gave Jonah enough fear to allow Dexter to hop in and play human shield during the Mitchell's Thanksgiving feast of misery. He's there to protect Jonah, but Arthur is so cruel and confident in his ascendancy over his family that he breaks Jonah's damn finger as soon as Dexter leaves the room. What a moment of abject terror. It was just breath-taking. Watching poor Jonah actually cover his mouth so that he wouldn't let out a scream. To see him voluntarily make no noise.

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