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Rituals are important, as we will learn in this week’s Dexter episode–and not just for sociopaths! Rituals and routines are especially important when trying to convince your toddler to go the hell to sleep at night, and Dexter is embracing that for all he’s worth.
He now feels his best at the end of the day, home alone with Harrison, who loves his daddy without judgment. Dexter loves that he can be himself around his son, and that he can turn some of his recreational experiences into bedtime stories. Healthy! Nothing like a father and son bonding over serial murder.
The chloroform should kick in any second, now.
Harrison has a very advanced speaking pattern for a two year old, and is starting to repeat things like “monster story,” and “daddy’s box.” Hm. Not so sure it’s a good idea to be TOO much “yourself” there, Dexter. Kids tend to repeat the very worst, most embarrasing words their parents accidentally spew out; I have a friend whose son decided the s-bomb was the best choice for his first word, and the time to drop it was during Thanksgiving dinner. That’s bad enough, but I truly doubt Harrison’s preschool nuns would take kindly to the kid screaming “entrails!” or “blood spatter!” during snack time.
Travis and EJO are dragging bags up some steps–well, Travis is dragging them, while EJO stands around looking wrinkled and imposing. Travis informs him that he might be late for his “shift” tomorrow, and this doesn’t go over. EJO says he needs to be able to rely on Travis, that they have to “find another.” Um, eerie? While they trade words, Travis gets all flustered abd drops the bag, spilling a bunch of mannequin parts onto the cobblestones. EJO does him the favor of forgiving his clumsiness, then calls him a good boy. These two have a weird relationship. Which, in the light of their recreational activities, I guess isn’t too shocking.
In a lighter, yet somehow more awkward scene, Quinn finally carries out his ill-advised proposal to Deb. She wakes up to discover him slaving away over a hot griddle, like the good hausfrau he is, and is instantly on guard. Things don’t improve with the whole ring in the fridge trick he pulls, and he basically just shoots him down immediately. She likes things the way they are, she says, but he wants more. He wants to stop playing house and take the next step.
This is one of those things known as an impasse. She doesn’t want to break up, though, so she sort of tells him she’ll think about it, and he fucks up the pancakes. She’d already made a point of informing him she was sure he couldn’t make them as good a her dad’s, which is telling and fucked up. How many other times has Quinn had to be compared to Harry? Deb finally has a cute, successful, age-appropriate guy, who digs her and is not a psychopath, and here she is getting all gunshy. I guess only gets heavily involved with old men and duplicitous serial killers.
No, I will not marry you–your pancakes are for shit.
When she arrives at work, Deb bombards Dexter with the news. He doesn’t approve, but of course doesn’t voice that, since he can’t really go into detail on why he hates Quinn so much. In the station, Masuka is showing everyone the YouTube clip of Deb taking down the shooter in the restaurant last episode. It’s gone viral, and Masuka has even marked the occasion by posting a limerick about her ass (which he won’t admit to, but we know). We learn that the shooter was a disgruntled ex-employee, no mystery, case closed, and Batista says all their efforts need to go into the snake belly case. Turns out, the fruit vendor was a snitch, and Batista thinks the murder was a warning from a drug cartel to other would-be informants. Dexter recognizes it’s something more, of course, but everyone is distracted by the arrival of Brother Sam–otherwise known as “that piece of shit,” apparently. The fruit vendor had worked at Brother Sam’s garage in the past, which is why he’s there for questioning.
Brother Sam is telling the detective of the last time he saw Omar, and Dexter is spying on him through the video feed. He’s one of the ones who got away for Dexter: Sam had been a violent criminal, who ended up killing one of his armed robbery victims. Dexter had been all ready to strike, but Sam was busted for drugs and put into the system before he had the chance. He is now a reformed holy man and insists that Omar was also reformed–to his knowledge, Omar didn’t have the snake treatment coming to him. The last time Sam vouched for a dude, though, the dude was released and killed a girl. To his credit, Sam accepts the responsibility for that and a whole lot more. He knows where his life has led him, but he’s convinced Omar had changed.
A face you can trust.
LaGuerta moves into her captain office, and she and Matthews discuss Batista’s promotion. She’s being very forward, and I can’t tell if she’s being flippant because of the blackmail situation, or if she’s trying to use her charms to get a response from him, but he’s busy watching Deb on YouTube, and is having none of it. When LaGuerta finally leaves, Matthews calls Deb in and waxes on about the olden days and her dad, like she needs to hear about him some more. He then promotes Deb to lieutenant, over LaGuerta’s head. Deb responds typically, if not appropriately: “fuck balls, you’re serious–sir.” This is huge for her, but means Batista is SOL for his own promotion, and also puts her in a tough spot in her relationship, since she will now be her boyfriend’s boss. Which I think is illegal, right? That’s why Batista and LaGuerta got married, if I remember correctly. Guess it’s a good thing Quinn already sprung for the rock, huh? Deb has a hard time processing that she’ll suddenly be everyone else’s boss (including that “little fuck” Masuka). Remember, when the series started, she was still a beat cop, working undercover as a hooker, so this is quite a step up from where we saw her start. She is incredulous and really hesitant to dick over Batista like that, but Matthews insists that she’s the one they need. She’s also not sure she’s ready, and is nervous about surpassing Dead Harry in her career. Hey, he’s dead, he won’t care. Deb really wants the job, but takes the opportunity to sleep on her decision.
Back at home, Dexter worries about Harrison’s growing awareness, which is great and probably valid, considering he’s got a bunch of crime scene photos casually lying about next to the toy train. Harrison keeps referring to daddy’s box, which makes him nervous. Any day now the kid will bust out with “daddy’s bag of murder,” and then where will we be?
Deb arrives and announces her promotion without fanfare, demanding beer. They discuss the issue and their father, and how Deb has always been working toward her goals with Harry as a role model. If she takes the job, she’ll have surpassed him, and will have no litmus test with which to gauge her success. Her phone rings in the middle of all this, and she suddenly remembers she’s supposed to get back to Quinn about the whole marriage thing. She can’t deal with so many decisions, so she chickens out and asks if she can have the couch at Dexter’s. Deb is having quite the day.
Travis enters an apartment silently, and everything looks sinister as he stalks toward the kitchen and touches the arm of…his sister, apparently, who he has no obvious plans to disembowel. Unless she keeps on saying “goddamn,” that is; then there’s just no telling. She makes him stay for dinner, and they talk about how much they miss each other. She wants to see more of him, but he’s very anal about his “work” schedule, to the point where he’s bolting down his dinner and refusing Ben & Jerry’s. That is true blasphemy! She talks him into staying, and he finally relents, but we know EJO will not approve.
Careful not to spill his fresh cup of coffee (that shit is pricey), Dexter dents his own car to have an excuse to take it to Brother Sam’s auto body shop, Good Shepherd Auto Repair, where a bunch of ex-cons are getting a second chance. Sam considers them his flock, obviously, but won’t take any shit off them, either. Dexer is so out of place in that garage it’s not even funny (yes it is). Brother Sam and Dexter have a discussion about the darkness inside a man’s soul, and how Sam deals with it. Apparently he once killed a man and walked on a technicality–his judge dropped dead, and a mistrial was declared. Instead of exploiting that, Sam has taken it upon himself to repent and fight his darkness every day. He sacrificed the bad part of his soul to make up for the pain he’s caused.
“Soul? I don’t follow.”
Back at the station, Masuka is instructing his intern on the finer points the crime lab. She then instructs him on the finer points of her labia folds, as she kneels on a chair in a barely there skirt. Batista catches Masuka drooling and shoots him a warning about staring at his intern’s ass, saying he doesn’t need any lawsuits mucking up his new lieutenant desk. Yeah, about that… Deb approaches Batista then and makes him go for coffee. As they leave, Quinn climbs up Dexter’s ass, asking for help with Deb. Wrong tree, Quinn. Dexter is trying to remain neutral, but his voiceover sounds much more contemptuous, as it says Deb will never choose Quinn over him.
Meanwhile, Batista is insisting on paying for Deb’s coffee, which makes what she has to say sound that much worse. He knows something is up, and she kisses his ass for a moment before she breaks the news about the lieutenant job. She lets him know that she absolutely will not take the job if he doesn’t approve. Batista is nice, though, and gives his blessing, even though we see in his face that it hurts. Aw.
Predictably, LaGuerta is mad as hell about the whole thing, but Batista shuts her down as she tries to make excuses. She says Matthews is promoting Deb to get back at LaGuerta (because everything is clearly about her). She’s burned so many bridges with Matthews that the ashes are blowing onto her loved ones. Batista tells her Deb is a better detective than LaGuerta ever was, and that he resents being the one to pay for LaGuerta’s shitty relationship with Matthews. This makes her sad, but I don’t care.
That night, Dexter follows Sam and catches him running from a house where shots have been fired with a body over his shoulder. He dumps it into his trunk, and Dexter is happy to be back on the chase–as long as Sam did the killing, which he now has to go find out. He follows the body and Sam back to the garage, where Dexter is confronted by an ornery dog. He has a loaded hypo with him, and just as he’s about to jab the dog, Sam appears and Dexter has to lie about needing his garage door opener. Sam has a tire iron, and Dexter is about to go head to head with him, when he goes into the garage and sees that the dead body is very much alive, and smoking a cigarette. Turns out, he’s one of Sam’s workers, who’s been MIA lately, and Sam went there to inquire where the hell he’d been. The guy, who was just holed up getting high, took a shot at Sam, so Sam clocked him one and stuffed him in the trunk. Told you he didn’t take any shit off his flock. That’s an unorthodox method of management, but Sam’s an unorthodox guy, so I’m going to give him a pass on this one.
Before Dexter can really wrap his head around the whole thing, the guy’s homies show up looking for him. Dexter steps in to back up Sam, and when one of the thugs waves a bat at him, Dexter takes the bat away and lays it across the guy’s head before anyone can figure out what the buttoned down white boy is doing there in the first place. Love it. That’s one of the great things about Dexter, and the way Michael C. Hall plays him: he’s just so goddamn vanilla and unassuming 90 percent of the time, and you forget he’s a stone cold serial killer, who’s probably been responsible for more violence and death than everyone else in the room combined. Then he has a moment like that, and you go “oh yeah, I forgot about that! Nice shot, Dex.”
In response to that, the ringleader pulls a gun on Sam, who reassures him he’s not scared of him or death. As Dexter says, no one can tell if Sam is bluffing, crazy, or a true believer. There’s a standoff for a minute or so, and Dexter diffuses the situation by flashing his Miami Metro ID. Ringleader Guy lets them know it’s not over, that he has an undiscovered body count to brag about, and they should fear being added to it. This is all Dexter needs to hear, of course. Sam recognizes that Dexter’s skills surpass that of the average lab geek, and muses that the Lord works in mysterious ways. You ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie, Sammy.
Some old, cobwebby abandoned church seems to be the meeting place/headquarters for EJO and Travis, who sidles in all guilty like for being absent the night before. EJO is tending a hobo fire, laying on the mind games. “You realize she can’t be saved, right?” he asks Travis, referring to Travis’s sister. When Travis says she’s all he has, EJO brands his own arm with a hot metal rod to emphasize what an ungrateful whelp Travis is. “You have me and God,” he says, and the branding seems to hurt Travis more for watching his mentor suffer. That’s some hardcore manipulation, EJO. Travis promises to forsake his own sister, and begs for forgiveness on his knees, while weeping.
You’re just lucky I’m in a good mood.
Meanwhile, Quinn is surrounding Chinese food with tealight candles, which is never a good idea. Quinn, who have you been living with the past year? What about Deb makes you think this will make her do anything apart from running screaming down the street? Sure enough, it does nothing but freak her out, and she immediately puts the no in hell no, re: marriage. She cares about him, but wants things to stay the way they are, while he wants more. There’s really nothing more to say, but when she tries to placate him, he flounces, telling her to not be there when he gets back. I guess it’s another night on Dexter’s couch for her.
Dexter now has a new target in the form of Julio, the thug who held him and Sam at gunpoint. Dead Harry sticks up for Sam, saying he seems to be on the up and up. Dexter is trying to seek out Julio, and Dead Harry keeps yakking about Harrison, and who’s going to be his shepherd. It’s weird how Dead Harry is suddenly acting as a voice of reason, and that’s the point when Dexter starts dividing his attention. Yeah, yeah, baby in the house, good example, blah blah blah. Who’s up for some killin’?
You’re not listening at all, are you?
The next morning, we see that, sure enough, Deb is now staying with him, slobbing up the place. She’s all ready to be promoted, and when she asks him if she’s making the biggest mistake of her life…it’s unclear whether she means taking the promotion or turning down Quinn. Deb and Dexter have a sweet moment, where she transfers her need to make Harry proud onto Dexter. Less creepy, or more? I don’t know. Deb needs therapy.
Masuka has dissected the baby snakes at this point, and concluded they were collected from the wild, not a pet store, which gives him no leads Then the intern sashays up with a lot of toxicology reports and very little clothing. She reports that the snakes had empty bellies, yet heavy metal content in their bodies, which means they came straight from their mother, and the toxins were passed from her environment. She turns to go look up EPA hazard sites, and he makes a total Masuka move, which involves voicing aloud the dirty things in his mind, specifically “I’d rather look up your…”
And she hears him, of course, and turns around to give him an inscrutable look. He stutters, then realizes he has no recourse except to beg her not to sue him. “You like to watch,” says she. “Good to know.” Masuka is left speechless, and probably aroused.
This is a list of activities I’ll be glad to count as extra credit.
Meanwhile, LaGuerta is in the process of ripping Matthews a new asshole over the Deb promotion issue. He’s her boss, though, and doesn’t give a shit what she thinks. He reminds her that all personnel decisions are his alone, then makes LaGuerta preside over the promotion ceremony, because he’s a hilarious asshole. And poor Quinn is taken by surprise as he sees Deb stride on in to listen to the waves of bullshit spewing from LaGuerta’s mouth.
Later on, Dexter gets Julio Saran-wrapped to a chair without incident, almost as an afterthought. He makes quick work of him, then goes home to enjoy Harrison’s bedtime ritual and ponder how to be an effective Dada while remaining a serial killer. White people problems.
However, this is a real issue, as Dexter notes: monsters don’t get to live happily ever after. Maybe The Three Little Pigs is a better choice for Harrison’s bedtime story. Also, he got Harrison a box of his own, to distract him from the slide box. Wolves come in many forms, though, and Harrison can’t see the real Dexter anymore. His wolves should only come from fairy tales. That’s sad…but sort of disturbing that Dexter was so fucking casual about his lifestyle around the kid. Who knows what he’ll remember. Also, his pjs change from cowboy monkeys to monsters. Bad edit.
The last thing we see of Travis is as he bashes in the head of a jogger who stops to help him with a fake bum ankle, and drags him back to EJO, like a good little boy. After the branding incident, I’m sure he’ll be even more of a soul-dead lackey than he started out.
You forgot to pick up Taco Bell?? Goddamn it, I told you to pick up Taco Bell!
Looks like the setup for some hardcore sinister and disturbing stuff. Can’t wait for next week’s episode!