Dexter recap: The Heartbreak Kids
Dexter says goodbye to Cody and Astor -- and possibly his last chance at normalcy.
The post-Rita unease continued this week both on Dexter and with Dexter, as the serial killer attempted to resurrect even the smallest sense of normal for the sake of his family. But Dexter learned this week that — like his family’s matriarch — all things normal might now exist only in memories.
We opened the episode with swimming Dexter pondering the stages of grief. “I suppose killing someone with my bare hands in a men’s room was my way of working through the anger stage,” he quipped (as I chuckled inappropriately). Anger was out of the way, but Dexter was less certain about how he’d get through the other stages; after all, he was now a full-time dad. And he learned very quickly just how hard a job that was, especially when he and the kids crammed into Deb’s apartment.
The tight quarters made for tension. Astor was complaining about everything from their living situation to the clothes Dexter retrieved for her from the house. Yes, her mother was just brutally killed, but as the scene unfolded, my sympathies went to Dexter. He was trying his best to keep his family — and himself — afloat.
Naturally, our protagonist took care of his own needs the best way he knew how: finding a kill. He stumbled upon one while picking out a moving truck, choosing to rent the one with what he knew to be a blood stain in the back. In the cover of night, he snuck outside (with Harrison in tow) to investigate further, thinking momentarily the stain might be the result of a moving accident or maybe animal blood, since the previous renter was a Department of Sanitation worker who was in the sector responsible for disposing of animals carcasses. But that theory didn’t pan out. The blood was human, leaving Dexter determined to find out more. He needed to find out more.
“It’s like when you get on a plane, they tell you if the oxygen masks come down, to put yours on first before taking care of the kids. I need to take care of my own needs, too. Otherwise, I’ll be spinning out of control. That’s not good for any one,” Dexter told Harry as he examined the blood stain. But Harry stressed the importance of Dexter’s connection with the children: “They’re not only your responsibility, but your salvation.” By the end of the episode, though, we were left wondering: What happens if Dexter doesn’t have the kids?
After a series of fights — and one ditched day of school — Astor told Dexter that she wanted to go live with her grandparents in Orlando, expressing again how she blames him for much of their turmoil. “…You come along and become a part of the family and we thought everything was going to be good forever. You made us think that! And it’s not true; things got worse,” she told him as she and Cody stood in the bathroom where their mother was murdered.
NEXT: Accentuating the sleep in sleepover.
In the past, I’ve found Cody and Astor to be insufferable (this season, particularly Astor). But it was hard not to recognize the good these kids were doing Dexter. As Dexter said, “Cody and Astor showed me that I could still care about something.” Now that he’s without that influence, will he begin to doubt his humanity more than ever? How will that reflect in his actions? Dexter still has Harrison to keep him grounded, but what does it say that he’s also carting the little tyke around to places he shouldn’t be? The jury is out, but it certainly was a little unnerving watching Harrison become so fascinated by the glowing blood in the back of the truck, no?
One case that got wrapped up this week — relatively speaking — involved Dexter’s role in Rita’s death. The FBI interview was finally conducted, and Dexter was removed from suspicion (for now) because he was at Arthur Mitchell’s house with the rest of the team at the time of Rita’s death, a fact that I had completely forgotten about. Still, sketches of Kyle Butler were rendered, and Quinn was getting eerily close to combining them in a way they would resemble Dexter.
Speaking of Quinn, he and Deb were having sleepovers, since Deb’s apartment was filled to the brim with unhappy children and their grandparents. But the sleepovers were quite literally sleepovers — no sex. Deb was happy pretending the rendezvous they had last week never happened. She finally came around, much to Quinn’s happiness.
As much as I had previously grown to dislike Quinn, his desperation to develop a relationship with Deb has made him grow on me. Perhaps this is the writers’ valiant attempt to prevent him from becoming Doakes 2.0? If Quinn finds happiness with Deb, and vice versa, wouldn’t that affect his quest for the truth? If so, do you like the idea of Quinn and Deb together?
In the actually a couple file, Batista and LaGuerta experienced what will probably be just one of many lovers’ spats after Batista discovered his wife’s bountiful — and up to this point secret — savings. A sum to the tune of $268,000 — her retirement fund, she claimed. The plot really went nowhere. Yes, Batista got into a bar fight with a guy who said sexist things about LaGuerta, proving his dedication as a husband. But we knew he liked her. I want to see something deeper happening with two of my former favorite characters. I hope I don’t have to wait long.
NEXT: The best lines from this week’s episode!
I also hope we see a continuation to the plot that was left hanging this week: the killer Dexter was tracking. By episode’s end, Dexter had done his recon and found the man to be worthy of killing. (Yes, typing the words “worthy of killing” is still disturbing, but also fantastic.) It turned out that the killer had been stuffing his victim’s bodies in large drums and disposing of them out in the boonies, but not before taking a lock of their hair as a keepsake. After Dexter opened that first drum (this week’s squirm-worthy scene winner!), the camera panned out to reveal several more drums floating in the water around it. Terrifying! But Dexter wasn’t so enthusiastic. “Normally, having a target would make me feel good, give me direction, a sense of purpose. But now it means nothing. And I don’t know what’s going to make me feel better.”
Exhausted? Me too. Thanks, Dexter. Now it’s your turn, readers.
What did you think of the episode? Did anyone else think Dexter was going to stab neighbor Le Douche when he was packing the house? Did you think it was sweet how Dexter told Cody to stick by Astor like he and Deb stuck by each other? Do you like the new direction the season is going? Or should they have tried to top last season? Would that have been even possible? Comment below.
“Boys are easier.” –Dexter, after Astor stormed out of the room
“He’s CSIing me.” –Dexter, regarding the over-analyzing sanitation worker/serial killer
“Nothing on ‘Mommy bled out in a bathtub.'” –Dexter, after reading a list of grief counseling subjects
“I came here to sleep, not to have your fat little sausage fingers all over me.” –Deb to Quinn
“There’s no room for me at my own place unless I want to curl up inside a f—ing toaster oven.” –Deb at Quinn’s
“Masuka said he hopes he gets more assignments like it.” –Deb to Batista, after Masuka expressed hating blood
For more Dexter ponderings: @EWSandraG
DON’T MISS: Embedded below, listen to the first edition of EW.com’s TV Insiders podcast. Dalton Ross, Michael Slezak, Annie Barrett, Michael Ausiello (who also gives his picks for best and worst new show of the new season), and Jeff “Doc” Jensen break down the week in television and present it to you in an easily digestible audio format. Or click here to download TV Insiders to your MP3 player!