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Dexter recap: Witness for the Execution

In ‘Practically Perfect,’ Dexter attempts to return to his old ways, but new complications arise

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Dexter Michael Hall
Cliff Lipson/Showtime


TV Show
Current Status:
On Hiatus
Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Keith Carradine, Erik King, Jamie Murray
Showtime Networks Inc.

Dexter Morgan hasn’t been doing his job this season — and we all know I’m not only referring to his work as a blood-spatter analyst. In two episodes, we’ve seen him kill one man, and that was anything but a Code kill. It was Dexter’s messiest work to date. In fact, as some of you pointed out last week, he’s been sloppy in many regards — from touching surfaces sans gloves to having trouble talking his way out of situations. And this week, we saw just what can happen when you try to go back to work before you’re ready. Perhaps Dexter should have waited until he returned to his day job before jumping back into his night one. Because now we have a problem. A problem in the form of Julia Stiles.

We opened the hour rather hilariously, with Deb giving someone the third degree. That someone, we learned, was a candidate in the running to be Harrison’s nanny. “You might have [done drugs]? What the f— does that even mean? You did or you didn’t. You can’t kinda do blow!” she said as she interrogated one girl while Dexter sat to the side. Using a montage of bad nanny candidates for laughs is an old bit, but Dexter-ized, it all felt somehow new. My favorite obvious reject was the cheese lady.

Now admittedly, I’ve never been the biggest fan of Deb. In the past, I found her character to be a strange and jarring combination of tough-minded and needy. It didn’t fit. But this season has brought out the best in Deb. This maternal role she’s taken on toward Harrison is appealing, and gives her some much-needed dimension. Deb is no longer one-note; in fact, she’s playing a lovely tune.

Speaking of music, an Irish lady’s answers to Deb’s questions were downright melodic to Dexter’s ears. Sonia was a recently laid-off nurse with childcare experience. Win! Deb didn’t seem as sold, but told Dexter to go ahead anyhow. Sonya worked out well for the most part, except for a communication snafu that sent Dexter tearing through the house in panic. He thought Harrison had been kidnapped, but Sonya had merely taken him to get fresh air. Sonya seems nice enough — and yet she’s peculiar. As with every character on this show, I’m sure there’s more to Mary O’Poppins than our first impressions.

This week, we also picked up with two pending cases: The Santa Muerte killer and Boyd Formaldehyde Fowler. We’ll start with Santa Muerte (“Saint Death, not Saint S—.”) because, if I’m being honest, it’s nowhere near as interesting as Fowler.

Deb and the rest of the team went out and canvassed the Venezuelan neighborhood where the murder took place, but didn’t make much headway. The neighborhood’s reaction to said probing made the team reconsider its murder-suicide theory. “If the killer is already dead, what are they afraid of?” Deb asked after they struck out. Deb also had a new take on an ATM security tape they had unearthed earlier in the episode. The suspect had appeared frantic and paranoid, which is what you’d expect, perhaps, from a man who’d just killed his wife. But after their findings, a new theory emerged: He was being watched.

NEXT: Dude totally lost his head.