Deb’s disgust for Dexter rises with each new thought. Her unconscious mind got the best of her, she dreamed of being in Rita’s position. She lied a bathtub full of her own blood with Dexter dressed up fancily and uttered the question, “Will you be mine?” When she sees him the next day, she freaks out, thinking that maybe her serial killer of a brother murdered his own wife. His excuse for not telling Deb about Trinity’s true identity was because he knew his family. This may have been a tiny factor, but the real reason was to sate his own curiosity. This man had been killing for thirty years and had not been caught, Dexter had to uncover his secrets.
Deb, still shaky about Dexter’s new identity, partially believes him on this front, but refuses to believe that he ever truly loved Rita. If he did, he never would have put her and her children in this awful situation. She doesn’t understand how a monster like him could love anyone, not his wife, his sister, or his own son. He has to choose between his family or his murderous desires. An infant cannot be raised by a killer, there is no way that Harrison could come out of this situation as a normal boy. But Dexter has everything under control. He can take care of his son and continue his murder spree. The only mistake he made involving Trinity was not killing him instantly. And that will never happen again.
The detectives have no shred of evidence that Ray Spetlzer murdered the women and attacked Deb, so they have to coerce a confession. Angel steps in first, trying to butter him up by insulting Deb and trying to become his friend. When that didn’t work, Deb goes in as the “bad cop” and figures out all of the right buttons to push. By being excessively pushy and bringing his mother’s sex life into the equation, she got him to scream that he should have killed her when he had the chance. Though they got the confession they needed, it wasn’t admissible due to a bad arrest. Dexter is thrilled at the news, he would prefer to take Spetlzer out by himself than let him rot in prison where he would be a top dog.
While Dexter is investigating Speltzer’s RV, he gets caught and knocked unconscious. When he awakes, he finds himself in one of Speltzer’s intricate mazes with a note “Run.” After a mad chase, Dexter manages to get free of the building. But now his cover is blown with Speltzer, so his normal method of murder would no longer fly. When Speltzer shows up at Melanie’s funeral (the girl he murdered), Deb completely loses her cool and tries to attack him. Dexter realizes that this is the perfect opportunity to show Deb that what he does isn’t terrible. Dexter decides to imitate his victim and leaves him a note that just reads “Stay,” which gives him the opportunity to crack a shovel over his head. Dex shoves him and his slides (after one last, long look) into the cremation kiln. When Dexter shows her the smoke from Speltzer’s dead body rising, Deb admits that she’s relieved. Though she thinks that makes her a monster, Dexter assures her that this just makes her human.
Isaak doesn’t quit investigating the murder of Viktor for a very personal reason that none of his crew know: they are father and son. And Isaak will not quit until he avenges the death of his son. He investigates Dexter and determines that he and Louis must have worked together to get payback for the loss of Mike Anderson’s life. While he uncovers the truth about his son’s death, Isaak wants his name to be cleared. He forces one of his employees, Alex the bartender, to kill himself and leave a suicide note taking the blame for Mike’s death. Quinn loves this, it’s such an easy case! But Angel is smarter and more experienced, he doesn’t buy this confession and is going to explore it further. Quinn might just be trying to clear up the case so he doesn’t have to visit the strip club again. When he was there, he was reminded of “old times” where he accepted bribes.
Though Hannah wasn’t a large player in this episode, it looks like she will start playing a big part soon. When she arrives at the police station to help uncover Wayne Randall’s victims, she doesn’t go speak with her lawyer or the detective in charge, instead she approaches Dexter. She reminisces on the days she had with Randall, how amazing it was to be on the road with him. This doesn’t sound like someone who doesn’t want to relive the past, which is what she said in the last episode. I’m sure we will soon see what Ms. McKay is up to.
Dexter is struggling with having Debra on his back all the time. Since he can’t kill anyone, he can only imagine killing them, until that’s not enough. When a prisoner is being uncooperative with a DNA swab, Dexter ends up strangling him. When Deb confronts him, he tells that she can’t suppress his Dark Passenger, it’s not possible. And having her tailing him 24/7 is making it impossible for him to breathe. The only way that this can work is if he controls his murders, just the way that Harry taught him to do, or to at least have some room to think. After a lot of hesitation, Deb agrees to giving him space, but he has to continue being open with her. The moment Dexter gets some freedom, he looks for his next victim. And he finds him in Ray Speltzer, he killed multiple women after going out with them, but it couldn’t be proved.
Since Deb already knows that he’s a serial killer, Dexter wants her to understand how he picks his victims. He wants to prove to her that Harry taught him well and that his targets are well-deserving of their deaths. But even solid proof of Speltzer’s murders aren’t enough for Deb, it’s not his place to “take out the trash,” that is why there is the law. Dexter still insists on showing her proof that he’s a monster and is planning on tossing him into the ocean. Dexter heads to the cemetery where Speltzer works to investigate, but before he had the chance to learn anything, Deb calls him back to work. When he tells her that his lizard brain (the amygdala) is telling him that Speltzer has something hidden away in a mausoleum at the cemetery, she just gets more frustrated. And to push her further, he reminds her that his hunches that have locked up an astounding number of criminals come from the same place. He knows who the killers are because he is one himself.
Deb trusts Dexter’s intuition, so she goes to LaGuerta to try to push a search warrant for his place. Her explanation of her “lizard brain” just made her appear even stupider than she already seemed. LaGuerta responds to Deb as she did to Dexter: they are the cops, they can’t do that kind of thing. But she authorizes a patrol car to watch over his house. When the patrol cops say that Speltzer isn’t up to anything and take off, Deb decides she has to check on him herself. When she gets there, she hears a woman’s screams. She busts down the door and barges in to try to save the woman. By the time Dexter gets the voice mail from Deb letting him know she’s stopping by Speltzer’s place, he already found proof that he has killed before.
Dex rushes back to Speltzer’s house to try to save Deb. But before he gets there, Deb finds the woman and Speltzer finds her. His house is built into a maze with plastic wrap on the furniture. He dresses up in armor and a helmet (and looks a whole lot like the Dovahkiin) and chases down women in his house for sport before killing them. Right before Speltzer is going to take Deb out, Dexter arrives and knocks him out. They didn’t arrive in time to save the woman that Speltzer was toying with and Speltzer managed to make it out in time. He’s in the wind.
After this encounter, Deb finally understands what Dexter does. People like Ray Speltzer need to be taken out, and if the law can’t do it, someone else has to. She doesn’t accept what he does, she thinks it’s vile, but she doesn’t hate him for it. It’s a necessary evil. When she asks Dexter if he enjoys killing, he is brutally honest when he explains that he likes the way that killing makes him feel. She can’t stand to be around him or his trophies, so she asks him to move out. Dexter insists that nothing has to change between them, but Deb is definitely right when she says that everything has changed.
Though Deb and Dexter’s relationship has changed massively, Quinn doesn’t appear to be making any strides away from his old self. Just last season he was reamed for having a relationship with a witness, but he didn’t learn from his mistakes. He asks Nadia the stripper out, to which she gladly accepts. She doesn’t have much choice in the matter, though, Isaak tells her to keep tabs on Quinn and get any information out of him that she can. Luckily for Quinn, he picked someone genuine, so she lets him know of her boss’s plans. He doesn’t care. I don’t think he cares much about his job at this point either. He agrees to share information on Viktor if she shares information on Mike.
We aren’t graced with much of Hannah McKay’s (Yvonne Strahovski, Chuck) presence in this episode. Dexter goes to see her to get a DNA swab while Angel questions her about some souvenirs that Wayne Randall had. She tells them that she doesn’t know much about the murders, she was 15 and just fell in love with the wrong guy. She spent her six years in prison and doesn’t want to relive her terrible past. Dexter drops the DNA swab, which is quite odd since he is so precise when it comes to his work (and just about everything else, for that matter). Maybe it’s because she’s gorgeous or maybe he notices something off about her, or maybe both. They have a bit of a strange exchange regarding how they present themselves. And I’m sure this will be developed further in the coming episodes. Maybe there will even be a relationship brewing between the two.
Dexter thinks he can manage getting rid of his Louis problem without killing him, which ironically ends in Louis’s death. He has the ITK hand sent to Louis at work and asking for a refund, causing Masuka to fire him on the spot. And he anonymously sends the DVD of Louis and a hooker to Jamie, causing her to break up with him. He tries to blame it on Dexter, but this just proves Jamie’s point that he’s crazy. To get his revenge, Louis plans on sinking Dexter’s boat, A Slice of Life. But his timing couldn’t be worse. Isaak tracked Viktor’s GPS signal straight to the marina and to Dexter’s boat. Louis tells Isaak that the boat belongs to Dexter, but still gets a bullet to his head. Will Deb believe Dexter when he says that he didn’t kill Louis? And will the blood shed on his boat haunt him in the near future?
When Deb receives the truth about her brother, she responds just as I expected. She screams and swears through tears. It’s not easy to understand that the brother that she has loved (and thought she knew) for so many years is actually a serial killer. She accuses him of being crazy and yells about his murders in public. But Dexter manages to coax her back inside the house to talk about who he is and what happened. She is pissed that Dexter has been doing this, especially for getting away with it. Even if he only kills bad people, it’s still murder. But they put all of the blame on Harry, he’s the one who trained Dexter. If Harry had tried to suppress his urges, maybe Dexter would have turned into a normal guy. Deb is not going to make that same mistake, she is going to help him get through his terrors.
Once she is back inside, she manages to have a very mature conversation with Dexter with no yelling and less cursing. She agrees not to turn him in, she couldn’t handle having Dexter in prison. But he can’t just go on killing people as he sees fit. He needs to try to control his urges and she will be there for him. He has to be completely honest with her and she is going to keep her eye on him indefinitely. To start off, he will need to stay at her place, they’ll go to work together, watch TV together, and do everything together. Dexter, trying to lighten the mood as he always does responds with, “I hope you have a big shower.” Rather than fume at his belittling of the situation, he actually gets a light chuckle out of Debra. After explaining how the need to kill feels, Deb looks incredibly pale, it’s surprising that she doesn’t pass out on the spot. But after regaining herself, she follows Dexter’s lead and makes a joke out of it, “There have to be families out there that are more fucked up than us. But I sure as hell wouldn’t want to meet them.” But the second he slips out of line, she blows a gasket, back to the Deb we’re used to.
Angel and Quinn are left to investigate Mike and Kaja’s murders, so they return to the strip club on a daily basis until they get some information. In an uncharacteristic moment, Quinn is incredibly gentle with Nadia, one of the strippers, to try to get any information out of her. She concedes that Kaja was dating Tony the bouncer, and he stopped showing up for work around the time of her death. After some pressure, Tony reveals that Kaja was with Viktor (the man that Dexter killed) that night. Isaak, the man from Kiev is also looking for Viktor, because he never made his flight out of the country. When the terrifying mob boss finds out that Tony squealed to the cops, he stabs him in the eye with a screwdriver. That was unnecessary brutal, but it will definitely give everyone else the message: Don’t mess with Isaak.
A serial killer wants to come clean about some of his previous murders and disclose the location of the bodies. After a lot of convincing, Deb lets Dexter onto Wayne Randall’s case. Dexter is incredibly intrigued by the sudden change of heart of a serial killer begins to prod Randall, trying to discover what made him tick. All he had to do was surrender to his conscience, give in to all of his hate. He wanted to make amends for who he used to be. Maybe if Randall could change his ways, he could too. Maybe Deb was right, and he could stop his Dark Passenger from taking over. His vision of Harry tells him otherwise, if there was a way to suppress his urges, he would have done that. But it’s impossible.
If Deb could figure out Dexter’s secret, maybe she wasn’t the only one. Maybe the Ice Truck Killer hand was sent to him by someone who figured out the truth. When he tries to locate it, Masuka tells him that it was taken and Louis was supposed to find it. Due to his prior hate of Louis, he doesn’t seem surprised at the idea that maybe he actually did find and deliver the hand. But there is no chance that Louis actually knows that he is a serial killer. With only one hour for lunch, Dexter heads to Louis’s penthouse to try to discover what he knows. Louis hasn’t figured out that Dexter is a serial killer, but if he got that kind of information, he wouldn’t hesitate to leak it to the public. He is furious with Dexter for “shitting all over” his game, and he will pay. While Dexter is still at his house, Louis shows up, forcing Dexter to threaten him. He needs to back off, quit his job and leave Jamie. Immediately.
Louis gets the hint, there is no doubt about that. Panic is crawling across his face and his voice is shaking. But he doesn’t take it. The next day, he is at Dexter’s apartment when he comes home from work, is on his side of the room, drinking his beer, pats his son’s head, and kisses Jamie. He is taunting Dexter. He can try to scare Louis off, but it’s not going to work. He thinks he is as much of a badass as Dexter and he should be viewed as a real threat. This can’t stand. And if Louis keeps digging, he might find out the truth about him. Dexter will just have to take him out.
Dex injects Deb’s steak with something that will knock her out so he can slip out and take care of Louis. When Louis arrives home, you can hear Dexter’s heart pounding, and see his distress when he sees the blood dripping from the site of the injection. Rather than give into the temptation to kill, Dexter steps outside and calls Deb. He meets Deb at a park with Louis’s body in his trunk, but doesn’t tell her about him. He says that he felt the need to kill, he saw the blood pouring before his eyes and did everything he could to resist. When he insists that he’s a monster that should be put away, Deb just sees this as a sign of strength. If he could stop himself when he felt such a strong desire, he must be more in control of himself than ever before. Dexter starts to think that maybe Debra is right, maybe he can stop himself. He decides to come up with another way to get rid of Louis that doesn’t involve murder. But until then, he leaves him asleep in the park.
Dexter is finally starting to be positive about his situation. He has Deb to take care of him and help him through the times when he has the urge to kill and Randall managed to overcome his murderous lifestyle and repent for his sins. But then everything goes to hell. When he is on scene with Randall, he tells Dexter that all he wishes he could do was make it up to Hannah (Yvonne Strahovski from Chuck), his co-conspirator. That’s the last thing he says before he jumps in front of a truck. He wasn’t really at peace with himself, he hadn’t changed into a better man. He just wanted to have a last ice cream cone and spend his last few days in the sunshine. Dexter’s only hope for losing his Dark Passenger were just slaughtered by a truck. He will never be normal.
Everything that happened in this season premiere of Dexter could have been spread out over a couple of episodes, but the writers decided to cram it all into one episode to add even more suspense. I’m usually not a fan of when writers put too much in one episode (See Castle. After the Storm), but I was actually very pleased with the set-up of this episode. Even with everything that happened, it kept me wanting more.
The episode begins with what appears to be Dexter fleeing the country with Debra after him. Dexter is driving like a maniac, swerving in and out of lanes, to get to a gas station. His cards are declined (Which we are left to assume was Deb’s doing). He jets off to the airport to take a random flight to Budapest. What are we supposed to believe other than that he is trying to flee? Luckily for us, this isn’t the case. This was actually a bit in the future while Dexter was chasing a new victim to kill.
Deb would never turn in her beloved brother if she thought it would bring him real harm. When she realizes that Dexter was the one who was standing above the altar, she dropped her gun but was shaking violently. She couldn’t comprehend that her perfect, sweet, innocent brother would kill someone. She asks him about a dozen questions about why he killed Travis and how it happened, but Dexter seems to have an answer to every one of her questions. He has probably thought about how he would explain this before, but prayed would never have to be done. Deb, not knowing what else to do, tries to call the station. Dexter insists that he’ll be imprisoned, or at the very least thrown into an insane asylum and lose both his job and Harrison. This is enough to stop Deb from calling. All she can say is that the whole situation is “pretty fucking weird,” but has no real ideas to offer up. But Dexter, as always, is prepared with an answer. He decides to make it appear as a suicide, Travis was devastated when the world didn’t end like he predicted. But that’s not enough, he turns it into one final tableau.
When the fire department extinguishes the church, Dexter goes straight to the center of the fire, the altar. He examines Travis’s body nonchalantly and announces everything he knows without doubting himself in the slightest. Deb seems to be freaking out. Not only did Dexter kill somebody, but it doesn’t appear to have fazed him in the slightest. He should at least appear to be a little worried, for Deb’s sake. She tries to get out of press duty, because she knows she can’t keep her cool, but it was her “win.” She was very nervous on camera and definitely didn’t seem like herself. The only thing Dexter has going for him is the fact that he didn’t tell Debra the whole truth. All she knows is that he killed Travis, she knows nothing about the others.
When he gets home, he has to deal with Louis yet again, he was looking through his computer. Though he says he was just checking the scores of the game, he was clearly up to something more mischievous. It turns out that he was actually the one who closed out all of Dexter’s credit cards. I don’t know how much Louis knows, but he clearly suspects something about Dexter. When he tries to convince Jamie that Dexter is a jerk, she resists him and says “The more I get to know you, the weirder and weirder you get.” But this isn’t the good kind of weird. Why can’t Jamie realize how much of a creep Louis is? (I am aware of the irony that I am discussing a normal person’s flaws while praising a serial killer).
In what I think is one of the awesomest coincidences in recent television, Enver Gjokaj plays a character named Viktor. For those of you that don’t understand my excitement: Gjokaj played a character named Victor on a fantastic show called Dollhouse. Anyways, when Viktor’s car got a flat tire, Mike (one of the detectives) noticed and stopped to help. He should have taken Viktor’s advice not to help him, because when Mike popped the trunk of the car, he found a woman’s body. Viktor wasn’t planning on being sent to prison, so he killed Mike. With the AFIS Mobile application (Seriously? There is absolutely no way that this is a real thing, especially at the speed that it ran), they discovered that the victim’s name was Kaja Soroka, a Russian stripper.
While the detectives investigate Kaja’s death by heading to a Russian strip club, Dexter takes matters into his own hands. He knows that now is the worst time for him to be making a kill, but to be in control of his mind, he needs to be in control of his needs. Dexter tracks Viktor to the airport (what we saw at the start of the episode) to make the kill. He doesn’t do so in his usual way with plastic wrap and a slice and dice; rather he clubs him with a fire extinguisher and dumps his body whole.
The manager of the strip club tells the detectives that he had nothing to do with Kaja or Mike’s deaths. But we see him discussing with a friend in Kiev that Viktor is on his way to him and that he’ll deal with the dead cop situation. This, along with LaGuerta trying to discover who the Bay Harbor Butcher really is, appears to be the main storyline of the season. Hopefully this means that there will be a heavy plot buildup around previous seasons!
Everything seemed so clean for Dexter, Deb believed his story and wasn’t going to call it in, they torched the body and it seemed like there was no trace that would lead back to Dexter. But the one thing that Dexter missed was his blood slide. LaGuerta notices the blood slide while they are investigating the scene of Travis’s “suicide” and she starts to dig around it. There’s a good chance that she will start to believe that the Bay Harbor Butcher is still alive. She has always been played off as pretty clueless, though, so maybe she won’t get too close to figuring it out. Somehow, Deb’s policing has grown significantly, though. After bombarding Dexter with countless questions about why he did it, how he did it, how he was so prepared, etc. (which is totally reasonable), she still isn’t pleased with his near-perfect explanations. She recalls the similarities between Dexter’s murder and The Ice Truck Killer’s MOs. But let’s be honest, if Brian hadn’t tied her up, she never would have figured it out based on the similarities alone. Then when she called Dexter’s home, she uncovers that Jamie is often working long hours, therefore Dexter is working long hours. But she knows that he isn’t. Hmm… Then Deb begins to recall her time on Brian’s table. She remembers Dexter being there and telling Brian that he was ready to join him (just not by killing Deb). And then it all clicked for her. This wasn’t Dexter’s first murder.
When Dexter arrives home after his kill, he notices Deb sitting with a stone face on his couch. In front of her is his killing equipment, all of his knives and the blood slides. She looks like she’s going to puke when she asks Dexter if he killed all of these people. When he responds with the truth, she asks him the most important question of all “Are you a serial killer?” All he can do now is tell the truth.
If the underlining didn’t clue you in as to why the title of this episode is brilliant, I’ll elaborate. When I saw this title on my TV guide, it sent plenty of ideas racing through my head. I couldn’t help but wonder if it pertained to the question that could very well end Dexter’s life. But it could be about a dozen others things.
Throughout the episode, Dexter has flashbacks to his youth. Deb got a new puppy from the neighbors, but Harry won’t allow the dog to stay, He knows that Dex won’t be able to restrain himself and end up killing the dog. Dexter tells Deb that it’s his fault that Banjo was taken away, but Harry stops him from telling the truth. He can never tell Deb the truth. she won’t love him if she knew the truth. I don’t think that these flashbacks actually added anything to the story, the message that they sent was already pretty clear. The viewers already know that Dexter can never tell Deb the truth, and we know that Harry would have told that to him as a kid. I hope that this will spark more visions of Harry throughout the season, though. Dexter’s conscious, played through his father, is much more revealing than his voiceovers.
Dexter is definitely back to its roots when it comes to suspense and intrigue. I hope it keeps up for the rest of the season!