In 'Beauty and the Beast,' Dexter finds that the conclusion to one problem leads to several more

By Sandra Gonzalez
October 18, 2010 at 05:49 AM EDT
Randy Tepper/Showtime
S5 E4
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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?

Jonah’s ghostly expression hinted that he recognized the man in the photo, but when prompted for a positive ID by Quinn, Jonah said nothing, and was saved from further interrogation when Quinn was arrested by Jonah’s FBI escort.

It all played out exactly how some of you readers had predicted it would. Jonah likely protected Dexter’s identity because of what “Kyle Butler” had done for the family. He saved them, so why throw him under the bus? This delivered a major blow to Quinn’s operation of one, and it wouldn’t be his only setback, either.

By the end of the episode, Quinn would be on unpaid suspension for the stunt and for disobeying LaGuerta’s orders to let the matter be. But it’s obvious that Quinn believes he’s on the right track, and that in the not so distant future, he’ll ignore his superiors once again. That aside, is there any significant difference between this guy and any of the other characters who’ve tried to bring down Dexter through the years? At this point, I’d say no, and that’s hindering me from getting pulled in to Quinn’s story arc. Agree?

Also lacking steam is the plotline involving Batista, LaGuerta, and the bar fight. This week, Batista was told by his assault victim that no charges would be filed, even though it’s clear the man plans on getting his own revenge. On the official side, the investigation is far from over, too. The agent from Internal Affairs showed his creep side when questioning LaGuerta, but was anyone else struck by the triteness of the “woman in power gets threatened by piggish man” plot? Frankly, I expect more from Dexter‘s writing staff.

Still, I’m trying to be patient by holding out hope that we’re moving toward a place where some of these disparate plot threads will get tied together. Remember when Deb’s boyfriend turned out to be the Ice Truck Killer? That was a great moment because it connected the entire season in one, mind-blowing way. I feel/hope we’re moving toward something similar in season 5. I would love it if, for example, the Batista/LaGuerta plots developed into something that would end with one of them finding out the truth about Dexter — and not wanting to turn him in. Otherwise, why are the writers devoting so much airtime to a lackluster arc?

Meanwhile, Dexter’s trip to the station resulted in an ID on his mystery woman — Lumen Pierce from Minnesota — but not much else. (Not Dexter’s clever use of Harrison as a distraction to get some alone time with the computers in the lab and with Masuka’s medicine cabinet.) So Dexter took what little information he had, handed Harrison off to Deb, and made his way back to where he had been keeping Lumen.

Upon arrival, Dexter discovered that a drug-induced rest had done nothing to calm Lumen’s fears about Dexter and her situation, and a peace offering of water and antibiotics did little to build her trust. Lumen refused to take the pills Dexter had brought her, lied to him about her name, and initially claimed she hadn’t seen him kill Boyd. Worse still, Dex blew the one opportunity he had to gain her trust when he couldn’t answer her question about what he planned to do with her. (Um, maybe he couldn’t answer because he didn’t know.) Just when the situation seemed as bleak as it could be, Lumen tried to stage an escape. (Her first of two attempts in the episode.)

NEXT: What’s inside Barrel No. 1? (Actually, you don’t want to know.)

Desperate to find out more about his prisoner, Dexter went to a motel where Lumen had ditched the bill, and a note in her luggage from her mother revealed that she was a runaway who’d left behind a family. Apparently Lumen was welcomed back, though, which leaves us to wonder why she hadn’t already returned to Minnesota.

Back at the station, everyone mobilized after the aforementioned partial print gave them a name and address. At first, it seemed their raid would be fruitless. But in a back room, Deb came face-to-face with one of the killers; in a tense scene, Deb’s hand was on her trigger, and the killer’s hand was on a knife, pressed up against a man’s throat. When prompted, Deb radioed in that her sector was clear, only to see the suspect slit the hostage’s throat anyway. Talk about a disgusting display.

At the hideaway, Dexter was going to make one more attempt to earn Lumen’s trust. That’s when she staged her second (and more effective) escape attempt. In fact, after leading Dexter on a foot chase through shrub and swampy water, Lumen almost managed to flag down a car, but the passengers dismissed her as a nutty drug addict (and she very well could be — we don’t know).

At this point, Dexter hauled the woman into the car and drove her to the one place he thought he could prove himself to her: Boyd’s dumping ground for his victim’s bodies. This was Dexter leveling with Lumen in the last way he knew how, and it turned out to be the most effective. Popping open one of the barrels, he told her point-blank “This could have been you.…I saved your life.”

When she asked him how he could prove that he wasn’t the one who killed the women in the containers, Dexter answered honestly, “It’s a leap of faith,” a phrase he borrowed from his wise nanny. He told her vaguely about Rita — confessing “I don’t want to see any more people die” — then handed her his knife. She took a slice out of him, but in doing so, he showed her that he might do bad things, but he’s not a bad man.

After the dramatic display, Lumen leveled with Dexter. “I thought you were a monster like Boyd,” she told him before recounting her capture. But when Dexter told her it was all over and she could “go home,” she said it wasn’t that simple. “Boyd wasn’t the only one who did this to me. There were others. It’s not over.”

This presumably goes back to what Boyd said to Dexter last week. “You have no idea what you’re getting into.” Whatever it is, count me in.

NEXT: The best quotes from this week’s episode!

Now, Dexter fans, tell me below what you thought of the episode. Did your heart melt during that tiny moment at the station when Harrison backflipped into Dexter’s arms? How great was that scene where Masuka accused Quinn of stealing his drugs? Do you think that LaGuerta not filing a report on Quinn will come back to haunt her? And most importantly, what did Dexter get himself into?

QUOTEABLES

Masuka: “So that cigar ash stuff, learn that in grad school?”

Dexter: “Uh, Havana Room.”

Masuka re: Harrison: “He’s got daddy’s eyes.”

Batista: “…and your penis size.”

Dexter: “Who would’ve thought? Better than donuts.”

Dexter: “The babysitter doesn’t trust me because of the lies; Lumen doesn’t trust me because of the truth, there must be a name for that. Oh, right, Dexter Morgan.”

Dexter: “Ten months old and you’ve had your first cigarette. Sorry about that.”

Dexter: “I’m here now because we interviewed 30 people, and you’re the one…who didn’t scare me, basically.”

Dexter: “If I can get the crotchety, judgmental babysitter from Ireland to trust me, why not you?”

Share more theories on Twitter @EWSandraG

THINK OF YOUR TELEVISION AS A VITAL MEMBER OF THE FAMILY? Then don’t miss this week’s TV Insiders podcast! Michael Ausiello, Michael Slezak, Annie Barrett, Dalton Ross, and Jeff Jensen weigh in on the returning series that are hitting creative peaks this season, and dish the latest happenings on Mad Men, Survivor, and Dancing With the Stars. Click here to download the podcast to your MP3 player, or listen to a YouTube embed below!

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