Dexter – Episode 5-5 Review

What makes Dexter fascinating as both a show and a character is the struggle between Harry’s Code and the glimpses of conscience we see from Dexter now and then. Without these other attributes – his relationship with his sister, the way he cares about children, the fact that he nursed Lumen back to health – the show would be cold and one-note. Because Dexter’s life would be a hell of a lot easier right now if he’d killed Lumen. Instead he nursed her back to health, counseled her, bought her a plane ticket home and told her his real name. And he’s hunting down people on her behalf. He’s getting sloppy.

This week Dexter learned that Lumen has set up a slightly psychotic thought-map in her hotel room so she can try to figure out who was involved in her multiple rapes and beatings. On the one hand, can you blame the girl? I’d want them dead too. But on the other hand, she’s an amateur. She isn’t basing her findings on solid proof. She can’t pull off a kill. She’s not Dexter.

Dexter decided to help Lumen and went to Boyd’s house, but she had already been there. She ransacked the place, leaving behind more than a trace of blood and a smudged fingerprint. I guess she never watched CSI. Dexter went to her motel room to find all the proof of crazy he needed (aforementioned thought map, a bed made up in the closet), and found she was targeting Boyd’s former cellmate as a suspect. Despite his efforts to discourage her from tracking down the dangerous men instead, Dexter knew Lumen would try and kill the man and he had to beat her to it.

Dexter found the guy under Tuttle Bridge, the one place sex offenders could “live”. (Sidenote: I listened to a fascinating This American Life podcast once on how very strict limitations on where sex offenders can live often drive them all to the one area where they can legally reside, like under bridges or on a farm, and having lots of sex offenders living in one area often creates an even bigger problem. Food for thought.) Dexter hung out with the guy for a bit, then drugged him and took him to the kill room he’d originally set up for Boyd. After some urging from Harry – “THINK!” – Dexter realized that as a registered sex offender the guy would be wearing a mandatory ankle bracelet tracking his location – so he wasn’t one of Lumen’s attackers. He almost killed the wrong guy.

And Lumen almost did too. Dexter finally tracked her down at Tuttle Bridge, her shaky hands clasping a gun pointed at her suspect. Oops. Dexter convinced her she had the wrong man, and finally convinced her the best thing for her would be to go home. The scenes between Dexter and Lumen, where she sobs that she just wants to feel better and he tells her his real name at the airport, were impeccably acted and very touching.

Then the twist – Lumen didn’t get on the plane. After she suffered through being patted down by a female security guard after setting off the metal detector, I was sure Lumen would head back to Minnesota, at least for a while. But no, she hailed a cab back into the city. So what’s next for this girl and her relationship with Dexter?

The subplots this episode were hit and miss. The hits were Dexter’s concern over the possibility that Harrison scratched another kid during a Mommy and Me session, and the continuation of the Santa Muerta murders. I hardly ever cover my eyes during Dexter, but I could not stand to look at the maggot-infested bodies that Deb and Officer Manzon discovered. Deb also got a lead on the killers – an image the throat-slashing victim from last week had described as a tattoo was actually a stamp from a nightclub. I’m looking forward to where this plot will go.

I haven’t been a fan of the LaGuerta and Batista storyline, and this week was no different. Batista thought LaGuerta was cheating on him with the guy from Internal Affairs, but she was actually helping him orchestrate a sting in exchange for making Batista’s pesky IA case go away. In true Dexter form though, the storyline was made a bit more interesting when it tied in with another – Quinn has hired the cop LaGuerta busted to investigate Dexter on the sly. I’m still not 100% sold on the Quinn stuff, but his deepening relationship with Deb and the way he noticed gloves in Dexter’s back pocket make me uneasy enough to stay interested.

What did you think of the episode? Do you think Dexter will end up killing Lumen? Will Quinn’s investigation of Dexter turn anything up, or will his relationship with Deb get in the way? And most importantly, did you have more nightmares about the maggot-covered dead bodies, or the sight of Masuka’s leopard-print underwear and dragon tattoo?