Dexter season finale recap: Justice For All
In the final episode of the season, Dexter and Lumen fight to take down Jordan for good -- before Deb gets to him first
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We always knew that Jordan Chase was going to come to an end this season — big baddies always do — but the anticipation of his demise didn’t make it any easier to say goodbye to such a fascinating and terrifying character. Of course, if we’re being completely honest, Dexter creates and develops villains better than most — if not all — shows on TV. Period.
I wish I could laud Dexter’s literal partner in crime Lumen in a similar manner. But, what can I say, she never quite grew on me. (I invite you to respectfully disagree.) So when she left Dexter in this week’s finale episode, I cried not. Especially since she left on her own accord. That’s right, she wasn’t murdered, she didn’t commit suicide, nothing. She just…left, and we’re left to wonder how her leaving Dexter — for now anyway — and his loss of Rita last year will affect Dexter’s ability to open himself up in the coming season. Two lost loves in a row (and yes, I would call them both love — even if they were on two different levels) would no doubt leave any man scarred. And Dexter is not “any man,” he’s a man that has trouble forming connection at the deepest level. Maybe that will help him get over it quicker. Or maybe he will give up trying to be human at all. Who knows!?
Oh, dear. I’ve clearly jumped ahead of myself here. Lets back up in a major way and dig into “The Big One.”
We picked up with a panicked Dexter gathering his kill tools to go find Jordan before the psycho could harm Lumen. He theorized that Jordan was probably keeping Lumen at the place he had kept all the torture victims — a place the PD had thus far been unable to locate. As Dexter frantically tried to gather his things and head out on his manhunt, Harry appeared and tried to get Dexter to slow down before he made a grave mistake. He reminded him that the last time he chased a killer before thinking it through, Rita ended up dead. Despite the warning, Dexter refused to let up. Lumen meant too much, he told Harry. “She hasn’t turned away from me. She hasn’t turned against me. She’s someone I can share my life with, I will not let her die,” he said. Upon reflection, his dedication to her makes the end result all the more heartbreaking.
Luckily, Dexter’s family seems to be the constant in his life, the ever-present consumer of his affection. This week, they showed up to the apartment to surprise Dexter as he was heading out to find Lumen — it was as if they had purposely waited for their watches to hit “inconvenient time.” They had decided to have Harrison’s party in Miami and also came with an announcement: They wanted to stay for the summer! (Note: I hope next season picks up after summer. Like the amount of blood I keep in a vial around my neck, I like the kiddos in small doses.)
Dexter started his search by making a rather emotional call to Jordan. He tried not to sound panicked, but Jordan picked up on his efforts immediately, telling Dexter that hiding his affection for Lumen was futile. She was going to die, he said. Dexter offered himself in exchange, but Jordan made it clear that it wasn’t about Dexter. It was Lumen he wanted, and he had her. End of story. The one clue Jordan accidentally let slip was that Lumen was still alive, so Dexter knew it wasn’t game over yet.
NEXT: Paging, Emmy!
Meanwhile, Jordan’s clean escape to his destination (the camp that he and the other men involved in the rapes had attended as kids, fittingly named the River Jordan Camp) was ruined by a side-of-the-road fruit seller. (Fun fact: He was played by my friend Michael Escamilla, who actually speaks perfect English — which would have been very helpful to Deb later in the episode. Ha.) The fruta man had heard Lumen kicking in the trunk of Jordan’s car, and later called in the strange encounter, which would help Deb locate the camp.
Back at the station, Dexter swiped Jordan’s real estate holdings from Deb’s desk (She was too busy reviewing the torture tapes to notice), but was disheartened when they all proved unhelpful. The buildings listed were too out in the open and not the type of place a ring of rapes could take place without being noticed. With Harry’s help, Dexter realized that he should check to see if Jordan had purchased any properties using his original name, Eugene Greer. Bingo.
But before he learned that, the station received word that Liddy had been murdered, and the team was being dispatched to deal with the situation. The small nugget in this scene was the look on both Dexter and Quinn’s faces as they pooped bricks over the announcement, while Masuka ate happily from a bag of popcorn. Only on Dexter.
The tension on the boat to the crime scene was thick. Dexter wanted to find Lumen (she’d been gone 12 hours), Quinn knew he’d been the last person in contact with Liddy (and was deleting the voicemails in anticipation of crap hitting the fan), and Quinn had a feeling Dexter had something to do with the murder.
It wasn’t long before LaGuerta got word about Quinn’s connection, and she pulled him aside to ask him about the calls Liddy had made to him. He lied, telling her that Liddy had demons and had simply needed a friend. Um, a friend who didn’t answer the phone. That’s when LaGuerta (and her freakishly keen vision) spotted the drop of blood on Quinn’s shoe. The look on Deb’s face as Quinn’s shoes were bagged and he was escorted to the station said it all: She felt betrayed again. Not only by Quinn, but simply by a man she’d grown to love. Rudy 2.0.
Nearby, Dexter stole a car to head to the address he’d just received from the county records man who’d just told him about Eugene Greer’s sole property — the camp, where Jordan had just arrived with Lumen.
The next scene consisted of material Emmys are earned with. Jordan grabbed Lumen out of the trunk of his BMW, and she clawed ferociously at everything in her grasp in attempt to escape his. Her efforts went unsuccessful, and she was taken to the basement where she had been tortured previously and tied to a post. As Jordan stood above her, he told her darkly that she knew what was coming next. “What choice have you left me — the two of you,” he said (as bile rose in my throat).
The emotion-absent look on Jordan’s face was daunting, even more-so when he told Lumen that he’d “motivated” Dexter into coming for her. He believed his own B.S. on a very deep level. He cracked a smile only when he told Lumen that he was sure Dexter would come for her. He was looking forward to their reunion.
NEXT: Dexter’s rescue attempt hits a snag.
Sinking to his knees, Jordan put his face close to Lumen’s and looked in to her eyes. “You’ve changed since the last time, you know that?” he said. And whatever had happened, he liked it. He liked the fight in her — all the more fun for him to take it out of her. Then he sniffed her and opened his mouth predatorily, like a beast trying to see if his dinner could be consumed in a single bite. WTF, readers. W. T. F.
The entire interaction was probably one of the best of the season. Every detail was on point, from Jordan’s disgusting mannerisms to Lumen’s terrified reactions.
Lumen tried to reason with him, “I thought you just liked to watch.” Jordan simply licked his lips and replied: “Maybe I’ve changed — just like you.” His distraction gave Lumen a small enough window to get a quick kick into his gut and run off. All she found, however, was a door that was barred on the outside. Escape = foiled.
Also foiled was Dexter’s rescue attempt. On the way to the camp, Harry cautioned Dexter and told him that he should be prepared for anything Jordan was planning. Despite Dexter’s assurances, he wasn’t ready, and suddenly his car clipped the side of an industrial loader and flipped twice, landing upside down.
Unscathed by the crash — at least, considering the destruction of the car — Dexter climbed out the side window, tools in-hand, only to end up at the feet of gun-toting Jordan Chase. “Surprise,” he said.
Back at the station, LaGuerta continued to redeem herself for more than half a season of bitchery, by offering words of comfort to Deb. The bitter person in me thinks she knew Batista was watching, but the other, smaller part of me thinks she had seen the previous error of her ways. Regardless, it was nice of her and enough to make Batista willing to propose a fresh start to their marriage. The day also took a turn for the better when an officer walked in with the fruit vendor’s sighting report, which would lead Deb to the camp, where at that moment, Dexter was being thrown down the stairs of the basement by Jordan.
When battered Dexter looked up, he saw Lumen (still untouched) had been strung to the roof by her hands, completely vulnerable.
With his adversaries appropriately subdued, Jordan reveled in his assumed victory with exposition that surprisingly captured much of Dexter’s approach to Lumen. “I’m sure you actually have something, maybe even love,” he told Dexter. “You lost your wife, Rita. You blamed yourself, sure. You thought — what? You could make up for that by helping her?” It was almost exactly what Dexter had told Astor — he had claimed Lumen needed his help.
Before Jordan’s diatribe could continue much longer, Dexter quietly cut himself free of his hand ropes with a knife he’d swiped from his tools (WHEN?!*) and stuck Jordan in the foot. He took advantage of Jordan’s immobility and suffocated him into unconsciousness with his massive arm. (Michael C. Hall, sick? I would never, ever have guessed. Bravo, sir.)
When Jordan awoke, he was strapped to a table but still smugly unfazed. At least, he seemed to be until Dexter pressed his thumbs into his eyes. (I thought for sure we were going to have a Xander-Caleb circa Buffy season 7 moment here.) When Jordan composed himself once again, he laughed manically when Dexter offered Lumen the kill.
NEXT: Farewell, Jordan
The entire killing scene was eerie, thanks mostly to Jordan’s complete pride in what he’d become since his days as Eugene Greer. “I’m transformed,” he said, almost with the same pride with which people state their allegiances to countries — or sports teams. And he took credit for Lumen’s “transformation” as well, telling her that he was the reason for her change, like he’d done her a favor. “You wouldn’t have had it in you if it weren’t for me,” he taunted. “I wouldn’t have had it in me if it weren’t for you,” she retorted.
“Well, now you do,” he growled with so much strain that the veins in his neck popped out. Fantastic. Purely fantastic.
Moments later, Lumen stuck the knife in Jordan’s chest. Dexter looked invigorated by the act, which is ironic because he didn’t kill anyone, and it was a messy, un-Dexter-like crime scene. There was no plastic, no victim photos, no method. Yet, it was almost as if watching someone get revenge was as good (in his eyes) as him getting it for them.
Unfortunately, they wouldn’t have time to deal with the mess because shortly after, Deb arrived, gun drawn. As she made her way into the basement, I was convinced there would be an unspoken time lapse or maybe they had fled upon hearing her car pull up. Neither happened.
She made her way into the basement and found Jordan’s body and the two of them cleaning the tools behind a plastic tarp that had been there before they arrived. She was face-to-face with them…only not really. Deb was 10 feet away from busting Dexter for good. And after the clues that were dropped this season (the ones that sort of indicated she was on the path to doing so), I thought 100 percent that this was it. This was the cliffhanger.
But before our eyes, Deb underwent the biggest transformation we’ve probably ever seen her make as a character: She let them go. “In an hour this place will be swarming with police. If I were you, I’d be gone by then,” she said, holding back tears.
Was she disappointed in herself? Was it just the emotion of the moment getting to her? Who knows. But it was Deb as we’ve never seen her. The black and white world of right and wrong had turned gray for the detective, and she had acted accordingly. (Jennifer Carpenter has been a surprising highlight for me this season, and this was the punctuation on a great season for her.)
Deb touched on the event back at PD when she went to visit Quinn, without getting too specific. “You know how LaGuerta keeps saying everything is complicated? I’m starting to believe her,” she said before promising to be there for Quinn no matter what was going to happen or had happened. I would have liked to test that statement, but she never found out what really happened. In a surprise move, Dexter cleared Quinn using the blood on the shoe. He’d done it for Deb, he later claimed in his voiceover.
Over on the boat, Dexter and Lumen threw Jordan’s remains into the sea, bringing a close to their journey — and Lumen’s dark passenger. The lightness she experienced from its loss showed on her face while they rode the boat home. In fact, I’m so accustomed to not having happy endings on this show, that I believed something terrible was going to happen when we saw her pulling a Kate Winslet at the front of the Slice of Life. I thought he was going to jump or something. But she didn’t.
NEXT: Lost that killer feeling.
Instead, it was a symbolic moment, an ode to her sudden freedom from the darkness and from her dark passenger. But this freedom also meant she had no connection to Dexter. At least, no connection that wasn’t rooted in a dark past. So back at the house the next morning, she told him that she couldn’t stay. “When I saw Jordan Chase’s body disappearing into the ocean, something happened,” she said. “I don’t feel it anymore — the need.” He reacted by throwing plates and sinking to the floor. “Don’t go,” he asked her, shaky voiced.
But the end was nigh, she said, because he had to continue killing — it’s who he is. He knew that to be true and said she didn’t need to apologize for leaving. “Don’t be sorry your darkness is gone. I’ll carry if for you — always. I’ll keep it with mine,” he said.
At Harrison’s big party, everything wrapped up with a tiny bow on top. Batista and LaGuerta were going for a clean slate, Masuka wooed a woman, and Deb arrived with a freshly acquitted Quinn — despite Dexter’s feelings.
Deb: You don’t like Quinn much.
Dexter: I don’t like him at all.
Dexter: But I want you to be happy.
But what about Dexter? Does he not deserve happiness? (Maybe he doesn’t.) Not that I wanted him to end up in a killing duo with Lumen, but it’s hard not to feel sorry for him after he was used by her. It wasn’t intentional, of course, but she did. She used him for closure, and meanwhile, he developed feelings. Real ones…I think. Then Dexter stood alone. Truly alone this time — not even a wedding ring (which he finally removed).
So, readers, what do you make of all this? Was this the best possible ending to Jordan and Lumen’s chapter in our Dexter story? Before I get into more questions, a note:
* Several answers to some burning questions you might have about the finale can be found over at EW’s Inside TV blog, where Dan Snierson will post more from his chat with executive producer Sara Colleton. UPDATE: Read it here!
That said, what else is left churning in your mind? What’s your final grade for Lumen? How about for the Trinity-follow up villain Jordan Chase? (Um, A+++++?) Were you glad that Deb ended up happy with Quinn? Were you surprised the nanny was totally innocent? Did you think this was going to be the episode where Deb caught Dexter? What was your favorite/least favorite part of the episode? And what effect will Lumen’s departure have on Dexter?
On a final note, thanks for watching with me this season and reading through the (admittedly) sometimes painstakingly detailed recaps of one of the best darn shows on TV. Thanks for your thoughts, theories, and hilarious observations that provided hours of post-Dex entertainment. Truly a smart bunch. Follow me on Twitter (@EWSandraG) for more until next time!
Michael C. Hall plays a serial killer who only murders evildoers in this gruesome drama