And here we are, folks: after almost an entire season of missed connections and teasers, Dexter and EJO finally come face to face. That doesn’t happen until the end of the episode, though, and first Dexter must hightail it around Miami for a bit, Travis tagging after him, trying to prevent EJO from completing another TABLEAU. Also on the menu this week: Quinn’s dong finally goes too far; Louis is revealed to be a freak; and Deb confirms that this foray into therapeutic counseling was begun about 25 years later than it should have. Are we all just shrieking with anticipation? Let’s dive into this bitch.
Picking up right where last episode left off, Dexter hacks Travis out of his chains, fully expecting the manhunt for EJO to commence posthaste. Not so fast there, Dex—Travis doesn’t actually know where EJO is, and he doesn’t seem to have any idea where to look. EJO has been essentially squatting in the church, and Travis has no theories as to where else he would have gone. He also doesn’t know who the next victim is, which TABLEAU is slated to occur, or anything at all useful to the task at hand. Dexter takes it upon himself to peruse EJO’s collection of psychotic artwork, and notices as the phrase “2LoT” painted into what seems to be the most recent piece. Of course, Travis doesn’t have a clue what it means, so Dexter, patience wearing thin, rifles through the stacks of drawings and papers until he unearths a parking stub from “Miami South University” that has written on it…wait for it…”2LoT!” OK, that was a bit too contrived. Before Dexter can figure out what the connection might be, Travis goes all wobbly and has to sit down. Such a delicate blossom of a boy.
I’m keeping you alive at this point only to further the plot.
Instead of going ahead and killing him for being a waste of space, Dexter herds Travis to a motel, and who should appear but Dead Harry, getting all judgmental. Seems he’s still testy from being left out of the road trip plans. He rightly wonders what the hell Dexter thinks he’s going to accomplish, and Dexter hides behind the “it’s what Brother Sam would have wanted” song and dance. Harry hears the bullshit in that as well as we do—I’m pretty sure Dexter realizes that Brother Sam would not have approved of vigilante murder, yet here we are. Yeah, Brother Sam also wanted you to convert to Christianity, Dexter, but I guess you have to draw the line short of your own inconvenience, huh?
Travis is awfully calm for someone who was recently chained to a floor, branded with hot metal, and found out his former mentor murdered his only remaining family member, but since Dexter doesn’t register normal emotions himself, he barely notices. Instead, he administers first aid to Travis’s burn, and instructs him not to leave the motel room for any reason. He’s wanted for EJO’s crimes, and must therefore keep his happy ass away from the cops and out of jail if he wants to be of any use to Dexter’s cause.
The next morning finds Dexter plugging “2LoT” into the Internets and finding it’s an abbreviation for the Second Law of Thermodynamics—the Law of Increased Entropy, to be exact; the natural tendency of any given situation to descend into to disorder, randomness, and chaos. But what does that have to do with EJO’s nefarious plans? Adding MSU to the 2LoT search yields the bio of MSU professor Trent Casey, a known atheist and author of a book with a title so predictable I refuse to type it again. I’ll give you a hint, though: it rhymes with “poo spot.” My disdain for this type of spoon-feeding by the writers can best be expressed using a phrase that rhymes with “eat me.” No, wait. Not “that rhymes with”—I meant “that is pronounced.”
Anyway, while Dexter forges ahead with his search engine activity, Deb is sobbing in her therapist’s office once again about her emotionally unavailable brother. Have you ever noticed that the word “therapist,” when separated just so, spells “the rapist”? No matter. Anyway, the therapist wonders why Deb expects so much from Dexter all of a sudden, since his withdrawn behavior is not exactly a new development. You wouldn’t expect a chair to become a table, would you, she asks. After all, a chair is a chair, and Dexter is Dexter. Delving deeper into her past, Deb hits the daddy issue nail on the head, acknowledging that she’s felt alone since her mother died. Harry was pretty busy by this point nurturing Dexter’s Dark Passenger, and didn’t exactly have time for talk of girlish emotions or menstrual periods, I guess. Deb starts listing all her inappropriate past lovers, which is, like, all of them, and the therapist just goes ahead and clears her schedule for the month. Probably a good idea.
Dexter runs into her after the session and tries to apologize for blowing her off the night before, when she showed up for some steaks and a chitchat. She’s fresh off the couch, though, and calmly tells him he doesn’t need to be sorry—after all, he’s a chair. Leaving him with that completely incoherent thought, she breezes past him to start her briefing.
Quinn is conspicuously absent from the briefing, after his night out with Masuka ended less than well. Batista covers for him, and Deb moves on to business. The hunt for Travis is on, Chicago Mike confirms, and they have cars posted at his apartment and workplace, as well as his sister’s house. He hasn’t shown up to any of those places in days, though, so they deduce he’s either lying low or skipped town.
And who wouldn’t skip town with this guy on your tail?
According to Gellar’s notebooks, Batista reports, the Bowls of Wrath TABLEAU is next on the list. What are the Bowls of Wrath, you ask? That would be punishment poured onto people—punishment in the form of pestilence, plague, disease, and etc. You know, all the fun stuff EJO’s been yakking about since episode one. Such melodrama. Anyway, speaking of EJO, Louis is right there with some Alienware laptop action, reporting that EJO’s blog has been updated for the first time since the TABLEAUS started popping up. It would have been way more realistic if he’d been checking this shit on a phone or tablet, instead of standing there like an asshole, balancing a laptop on his arm.
You can always tell when non-technical people are responsible for adding technical accents to a scene (or tableau, if you will).
EJO has written thus: “In six days, the End will be marked with a solar eclipse. All those following false prophets are doomed.” Well, that’s judgmental of him. Which false prophet would that be, Dexter wonders—Professor Casey, or Dexter himself? The blog comments section is loaded with the usual mouth breathers, naturally, because evangelical websites are known for attracting the best and brightest. Louis offers to track the “Internet Protocol Address” to determine the location at which the post was made, and Deb approves. Like he wouldn’t have just said “IP Address,” instead of spelling it out. Fucking writers.
Cut to Quinn, passed out on the floor of his apartment, and Batista nearly breaking the door down trying to rouse him. It doesn’t take long for them to discover that Quinn’s phone and gun are missing after he drunkenly nailed a stripper in her car the night before, which is exactly the kind of responsible dedication to safety and decorum we’ve come to expect from old Joey Quinn. He tracks his phone GPS signal to an address halfway across town, and a disgusted Batista berates him all the way out the door.
A man is waiting in Deb’s office, meanwhile, and damned if it isn’t the father of Jessica Morris, the dead call girl from last week. At LaGuerta’s insistence, Deb had closed the case, and Mr. Morris is there to plead with her to reopen it. The cracked sternum doesn’t fit with the cause of death, he says—he knows that someone must have been with her when she died, regardless of whether the medical examiner ruled it an accident. When Deb tries to stonewall him, he appeals to whatever shred of maternal instinct she might have, and since she already had issues with closing the case in the first place, it doesn’t take much for her to crack (like a sternum?). She promises to do what she can. LaGuerta’s gonna be so happy!
Masuka sits down with Louis for a little chat, and learns that Louis is working so hard on his IP address search in order to prove to Batista that he’s got the skillz to date Jamie. Or maybe convince him that he’s too nerdy to have any hope of getting in her pants anyway, which is actually a pretty sound strategy. It’s certainly believable, in his case. Masuka rightly tells Louis that the way to Jamie is not through Batista, but through Jamie herself. Wow, what a concept, huh—women choosing their own suitors in this day and age?? What’s the world coming to? “When it comes to matters of the heart,” sayeth Masuka, “always follow your dick.” Truer words, little man. Of course, Masuka is notorious for his inability to net consensual sex without a routine cash transaction, so maybe he’s not the best source of romantic advice.
Dexter pretends to be a stoner student in order to track down Prof. Casey, then brings Travis food for what seems to be the first time since he left him there, several hours before. He tells Travis about the updated blog, and Travis jumps on that immediately, pulling a laptop out of what I assume to be his asshole, since I don’t remember him bringing one to the room when he checked in. Maybe I missed it. Anyway, Travis takes EJO’s update to heart, recognizing it as an invitation to get back in the Doomsday game. This means the false prophet label applies to Dexter. Travis also confirms that Prof. Casey is definitely on EJO’s shit list, and admits that it’s not a stretch to imagine that he might be the next victim.
I could just grab him by those Rivendell ears and smash his face right down into the table. It might save me some trouble, in the long run.
In keeping with the bipolar nature of his double life, Dexter spends the rest of the morning passing out snacks at Harrison’s preschool, in the company of an uninterested dad who could give a shit whether these brats get fed. He’s grouchy because his wife is one of those liberated, employed women who attend meetings, thereby forcing him to parent his child. Dexter doesn’t get why the guy’s so bitter—he’s there for his son, he says, proudly observing Harrison pass out cookies. So cute.
Across town, Quinn and Batista arrive at the address Quinn’s GPS spit out at them. The door is answered by a blonde girl, who I guess looks whorish enough that Quinn assumes she’s the one he banged. She doesn’t recognize him, however, and after a few moments of confusion, she realizes the Quinn is, in fact, looking for her mom. HA! The look on his face is eclipsed in hilarity only by the look on Batista’s face—especially when a heavyset, weathered-looking older woman appears and jumps on Quinn like he’s made of pancakes. Apparently, she works at the Waffle House across from the strip club, and hooked up with Quinn when he drunkenly stumbled in there and proceeded to get handsy. You see, Quinn? You see what your penis gets up to when you overindulge? It gets up its own neck in Waffle House poontang, that’s what.
Sadly, enough, this exact sequence of events (strip club to Waffle House to shameful encounter) is not at all uncommon in the state of Florida.
After Quinn shakes off enough shame to collect the gun and phone (which boasts some new pictures), they hit the road, only to pull over a short time later when Batista’s midlife crisis car starts emitting smoke. Call the station, Quinn says, and they’ll send a tow. We can’t call the station, Batista snarls, because they don’t know we’re down here in BFE retrieving your service weapon from the goddamn backseat of a stranger’s car. They trade a few barbs, and Batista’s remark that Quinn is too messed up in the head to handle his own balls right now lights the Irish temper. What follows is a diatribe from Quinn about Batista’s two failed marriages, dysfunctional relationship with his kid, and control freak issues with his sister, and how those issues have led to Batista acting like an asshole micromanager in every aspect of his life. When he gets to the part about Batista fucking up his promotion to lieutenant, Batista snaps and tackles him, and they wrassle around in the grass, grunting and cussing and punching each other. It’s all very cathartic, and an appropriate step in their buddy cop bromance. Issues: these two also have them.
Quinn is so enthusiastic, you’d think Batista was a Waffle House waitress.
Dexter shows up at Prof. Casey’s class to warn him, and instead of being specific and saying “hey, I’m from Miami Metro and have reason to believe the Doomsday Killer has you next on his list,” he spews some vague words of doom that the prof easily blows off. As a vocal atheist living in the South, he gets plenty of lunatic threats, and this doesn’t even blip on his radar. He then leaves, and Dexter doesn’t even try to go after him. Not much in the effort department there, Dexter. He cases the building and determines there are two exits, which means he can finally make Travis useful by posting him at one of them that night as they lie in wait for EJO. It doesn’t really help when you consider that Travis is only blocking the way for his own schizoid hallucination, but somehow Dexter hasn’t yet figured this out, so I guess we have to let it slide for now.
Taking a detour to change into his kill shirt, Dexter returns to the church to hang some plastic and chat with Dead Harry. Harry observes that Dexter has become very focused on killing Travis’s Dark Passenger, and muses that he himself would have done anything to kill Dexter’s. Unsurprisingly, Dexter harbors doubts about this, because Alive Harry spent plenty of time nurturing that Passenger and giving it focus, when what he should have done was haul Dexter’s ass into a psychiatrist’s office as soon as he finished sponging his mother’s blood from his rosy toddler cheeks. Skipping over the accusations, Dead Harry asks what Dexter will do with Travis once EJO is no more, and Dexter says he’ll give him the chance to start his life over—the second chance he himself never had.
Maybe I’ll ask the Blue Fairy to make me into a real boy!
That night Dexter and Travis sit in the car outside MSU, waiting for EJO. During their vigil, Travis tells Dexter how EJO made him feel like he was part of something important, chosen by God to be the Two Witnesses: the ones who enact the Book of Revelation and bring about the New World. But why would you want to end this world, Dexter asks? Travis looks at him like he’s insane. “Didn’t you ever want to wipe everything clean and start your whole life over? As Dexter thinks on that, Travis JUST HAPPENS to look in the other direction and spot EJO strolling into the building. AND DEXTER DOESN’T SEE HIM. But it’s time for some action now, finally, as they storm the lecture hall.
Follow me, Travis, and at least try to give the impression that your efforts here are worth a good damn.
Dexter deposits Travis at the foot of the stairs, telling him to stay there and stop EJO if he sees him, while he gives chase via the elevator. I immediately disapprove, thinking it’s a very bad idea for him to take his eyes off Travis, who’s a useless pussy at best and a deranged schizoid killer at worst. And sure enough, Dexter hasn’t been in the elevator for thirty seconds before it shuts down, leaving him stuck between floors. This is where the EJO-is-real option falls all to pieces for me: even given that EJO was in fact in the building and headed for Prof. Casey, did he know Dexter was in the elevator? No, he didn’t. Who knew? Motherfucking Travis knew, and damned if he hasn’t left his staircase post, because there he is, right there on the floor above, forcing open the elevator door and giving Dexter a hand. Of course he hasn’t seen EJO, and of course they arrive at Prof. Casey’s office in time to find a trail of blood and not much else. Dexter looks like he wishes the blood belonged to Travis at this point, and I can’t say I blame him. The guy had one job: guard the stairs so EJO can’t leave. He fucked it up immediately, and there’s no other option than to deposit him back in the motel room.
We can still stop him, though, Dexter says; if Travis returns to EJO under the guise of partnership, he can arrange a meeting that doubles as an ambush. Travis leaves a message on the blog, and they await a response. But it’s too late for Prof. Casey, unfortunately, as the next morning dawns with a call: another TABLEAU has been found, this one right on the stage in the lecture hall. The body has been drained of blood and carved up with the Alpha and Omega symbol. The hands are also missing, and the stomach cavity has been emptied and hollowed out.
Chicago Mike, who is the only one on staff who seems to consistently have his shit together, orders the room swept for trip wires and human remains. But wait, Deb rightly adds, if this is the Bowls of Wrath, where are the bowls? Masuka peels open the stomach cavity, thinking maybe the body is acting as a bowl, but there’s nothing in there. They start to move the body, and Dexter realizes the trap a moment too late.
Hey, what are those bowl-like shapes suspended precariously above our–YAAAAAAAAAH!
Moving Prof. Casey’s arm trips a trigger in the rafters, tipping buckets of blood and entrails onto the group, Carrie-style. Everyone understandably freaks, and Dexter’s own wrath is triggered. Especially because his crisp, masculine, salmon-hued shirt is now ruined.
THEY’RE ALL GONNA LAUGH AT YOU!
Travis awakes with a start, traumatized and probably exhausted from a long night traveling back to the lecture hall, dismembering the corpse, and rigging all those bowls of blood.
Damn subconscious won’t let a man rest, is what.
He goes to drain the lizard and immediately wets his pants instead, for his bathroom looks like THIS:
Someone’s been a busy boy!
Speaking of busy, Deb’s therapist is earning her keep with a discussion about Deb’s horrific taste in men. Harry neglected her for her adopted brother, leading her to seek a daddy in every dysfunctional man she meets, blah blah blah, and the therapist just cuts the shit and tells her she needs to take responsibility for her choices. Her relationships are shitty because she picks shitty men—men who are too old, or too crazy, or otherwise unavailable for healthy commitment. Then, when the relationship falls apart, she can chalk it up to another failure in the string of failures that is her life, instead of acknowledging her own fear of commitment and rejection that keeps her choosing these winners in the first place. She’s not exactly happy to hear the therapist’s take on this, but realizes that the strength she shows in her professional life can be used to achieve success in her personal life. Guys, be nice to your kids, because Daddy Issues seem to be the leading cause of therapy.
Afterward, emotionally drained and incapable of bullshit, Deb is in no mood to deal with LaGuerta’s continuous badgering about the call girl case, and thus unloads on her. If LaGuerta has a problem dealing with Deb doing her job, she can fire her. Otherwise, fuck off. I’m paraphrasing, of course, but the effect is the same. And what do you know—the next thing we see is LaGuerta, getting into a car with that whoremonger Mathews. Who here is surprised that Mathews still sees call girls? Not I. He’s the one who was there when the girl died; he’s the one who performed the chest compressions, essentially leading to the investigation in the first place. LaGuerta reminds him that she specifically recommended he not promote this tenacious, nosybody of a lieutenant. What she doesn’t say, but what is easy enough to fill in, is that if Mathews had hired Batista instead, there would be no issue, because he’s completely whipped, does whatever LaGuerta says, and would have dropped the case without question. Mathews glares and tells her to make the issue go away, and LaGuerta tells him not to worry. Uh Oh.
Travis is frantically scrubbing the blood from his walls when Dexter calls to tell him of Prof. Casey’s demise, and guess who’s suddenly rife with information about EJO’s messages? The missing hand, Travis says, symbolizes the passage from the Bible: “and the fingers of a human hand appeared, and wrote out: ‘your days are numbered.’” Oh, you knew all that, but you couldn’t guess earlier which TABLEAU was going to come next? Ai yi yi. He then tells Dexter that he’s not sure what message is being sent, but EJO contacted him through the blog and wants to meet him at the church that night. What he doesn’t tell him is anything that may or may not have occurred in his motel that would have led to bloody messages and dismembered hands showing up in the bathroom. Whose side are you on, Travis?
When Dexter hangs up, Deb appears to pick up the lab work on Casey’s blood, and Dexter tried to have a belated emotional moment with her. He offers to be her chair, and she tells him she wants a table, which only confuses him further. He can’t understand what the hell she’s talking about, but does actually seem concerned about their relationship. It’s too little too late as far as she’s concerned, though, and she has bigger fish to fry anyway—Louis has located the IP address. Deb grabs Louis and Chicago Mike and heads out.
I said I’ll be your chair, for christsakes, what more do you want?
The address turns out to lead to a snack bar with an unsecured wireless signal. The proprietor doesn’t recognize EJO or Travis, and Louis points out that anyone could just drive up with a laptop, park, update a blog, and leave; the use of the signal doesn’t indicate the presence of a permanent residence anywhere nearby. Deb wants to canvass the area anyway, which could turn out to be the right call, considering the last thing we see in the panning shot is the steeple of EJO’s abandoned church.
Fresh off his triumph at the station, Louis girds his loins and invites Jamie over to his extremely expensive, decidedly showy bachelor pad, which is crammed full of art and collectible figures. This dude seems more and more nerdy and desperate by the minute, but Jamie just wants to know why he blew her off. Louis explains about Batista, and Jamie, true to Masuka’s prediction, gives not a fuck about her brother, but melts in the sweet awkwardness of Louis’s honesty. He proceeds to nail her in his really expensive bed, and as the camera pulls back, we are treated to a view of THE FUCKING ICE TRUCK KILLER PROSTHETIC HAND!!! Louis is a freak, people. I said it last week, when I observed he was a little too into Dexter’s work, and this confirms it. Best of luck, Jamie! See if you can get some nice jewelry out of him before he strangles you with his designer belt.
Hopefully it’s Quinn or Mike and not your brother who finds your dismembered remains crammed in a Styrofoam cooler in a dumpster behind a taco truck.
Meanwhile, who the fuck is watching Harrison? Because while Jamie gets some nerd dick, Dexter is crouched in the bushes with Travis outside the church, preparing to make the colossal mistake of letting that fucking guy out of his sight again. Travis enters the church, finding EJO calmly waiting for him. God is very kind, he says, since Travis has been allowed back into the church without spontaneously combusting. God doesn’t want to hurt me, Travis says; don’t fucking tell me what God wants, EJO snarls in return. Travis persists with his perspective, saying he doesn’t believe in a God of violence, but EJO just tells him to read his Bible, because God has promised that the devious tongue will be cut out and the sinner torn limb from limb and destroyed. Repent, he tells Travis, or burn for eternity. Travis has only tried to do what is right, but EJO isn’t interested in what Travis thinks—the only thing that matters is what God thinks. But He must love Travis, because He’s giving him one more chance. Travis approaches EJO’s embrace.
Gimmie some sugar, baby.
Dead Harry continues to harsh Dexter’s mellow, harping on him about the Dark Passenger thing and why Dexter is taking a risk for Travis. What will you get out of this, he asks. A chance is what Dexter wants—a chance to control his own Dark Passenger, which might mean a chance to be better. No, not a better person, he snarls, as Harry scoffs; he wants to be a better father. A better father than Harry was to him. And that’s the Daddy Issue episode boiled down to its bare bones, right there. Harry, who has always been placed on a pedestal by both his children (especially Deb, but Dexter has done his share of idolizing), desperately elevated in their memories beyond the reality of his life, was actually a pretty shitty dad. Only now are both of them starting to realize this, because to admit it earlier, especially when they’d already lost their mother, was just impossible.
I asked for a basketball for Christmas, and you got me a football. You’re an asshole.
But no time for that sentimental shit now, because there’s work to be done! Dexter stalks through the church, seeking EJO, and instead finds Travis, knocked unconscious near the altar. He’s breathing, but not responding, and Dexter immediately goes on guard. He notices a trap door in the floor of the altar, underneath a table leg, and for some completely unknown and illogical reason, decided EJO might be down there? And pulled the table leg back over the door once he was down there, I guess? Whatever, this is getting ridiculous. It gives Dexter an excuse to descend into the basement, though, and as soon as I see that freezer chest, the conversation in my living room went a little something like this:
Blue Canary: “Oh fuck! Oh fuck! That thing!”
Mr. Canary: “What? What thing?”
BC: “Freezer! Freeeeezzzzzzzer!”
Mr. C: “You think he’s in the freezer, don’t you?”
BC: “Someone is always in the freezer! If you ever see a freezer like that at someone’s house, get the hell out! Don’t even say goodbye, just go!”
And sure enough, Dexter the serial killer knows there’s only one purpose to a big, deep, body-sized freezer chest.
Otter Pops! Or corpses!
No one who’s been following these recaps or paying attention to the show is the least bit surprised, and even less so when we see Travis jump up from his fake faint and grab the ancient iron blade they’ve been toting around all season. I’m hoping he’ll rush Dexter and we’ll get to see a rumble, but the episode ends here. Next episode, we see Travis is no less insane, still thinking EJO is right there. Dexter escapes and starts the chase, but Travis appears at Holly’s door. What I want to know is if there’s another twist in store, or if that ultra-clear, spoon-fed, EJO is fake “reveal” is really all they could muster up. I, the eternal optimist, am holding out hope for something nobody saw coming. Bring it, Dexter!
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