Randy Tepper/Showtime
October 18, 2010 at 05:49 AM EDT

Dexter has surprised us time and time again with the emotions and traits he is capable of demonstrating — and fabricating — when put to the test. But tonight, we saw him grapple with a different kind of challenge as he tried to decide how to deal with the innocent torture victim (guest star Julia Stiles) who’d witnessed him exterminating Boyd at the end of last week’s episode.

We opened with Dexter gingerly cleaning the wounds on the unconscious woman’s back. Yet while I’d argue this quiet compassion of Dexter’s is one of his finest traits, it’s oddly enough the one that Harry seems to disapprove of the most. As Dexter tended to girl, Harry posed the tough questions. “What’s your plan here? Nurse her back to health so she can go to the police? If she gives the cops enough to track you down then everything falls apart. Harrison grows up visiting you on death row.” Dexter didn’t have an answer. And he didn’t have time to ponder the issue further because the mystery woman woke up — and (not surprisingly) freaked out. Without an alternative, Dexter drugged her into a deep sleep. Then, the reality of having a very live hostage on his hands struck Dexter, and he began to lose his cool (and his shirt).

Ever the woman with impeccable timing, Deb called wanting help on a case. That’s when Dexter became aware that not only had he lost track of time, but that he’d left his babysitter to pull an all-nighter. His problems were mounting. Luckily, he realized that he could use his hook-up at PD to ID the girl, so he agreed to help Deb.

In less than five minutes at the crime scene — the beheading we saw last week — Dexter figured out the sequence of fatal blows and found cigar ash. These minor developments put the stagnant case back into motion, especially when a partial print was later removed from a cigar butt the team had found in the alley behind the scene of the crime.

Back at home, Dexter’s furious nanny up and quit. And who can blame her? An unexpected 24-hour shift would get underneath anyone’s skin. By the end of the episode, though, she would be back on the job, but I can’t help but maintain my suspicions about her. I don’t think she’s a full-fledged villain, and yet at the same time, I know that Dexter has always been a show that makes sure every character serves a purpose to the story. I feel like this child-care provider will eventually complicate Dexter’s home life in a significant way. (Share your theories and guesses in the comments!)

Over in the land of hang-ups, Quinn continued his quest to solve the mystery of Kyle Butler/Dexter. When his efforts to get a private meeting with the Mitchell family fell through, he decided to take the matter into his own stupid, sausage-fingered hands, tracking down the FBI detective he had been working with to try to locate the Mitchell’s safe house. He later returned and trailed eldest son Jonah to a convenience store. Even though Jonah was escorted by the FBI, Quinn was able to corner him in and show him the picture of Dexter. Cue my sweat glands activating.

NEXT: Is that bar fight subplot actually going anywhere?

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Michael C. Hall plays a serial killer who only murders evildoers in this gruesome drama
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