In 'Circle Us,' Dexter realizes that Lumen might be a worthy cohort after all

By Sandra Gonzalez
Updated November 08, 2010 at 09:04 AM EST
Randy Tepper/Showtime

“Sometimes partners find us, and as much as we try to push them away, they work their way into our lives, regardless — until we finally realize how much we need them.”

Dexter’s assessment of Lumen as she played with Harrison last night parallels my own conflicted feelings about the character in question. Admittedly, I haven’t been Lumen’s biggest fan, but the show’s latest installment allowed me to see function to Lumen’s story beyond being a pebble in Dexter’s shoe. Meanwhile, Dexter realized he might have found something he once believed to be unfeasible: a relatively sane person on whom he could depend, both as a killer and as a man (relatively sane = NOT Miguel Prado).

This week found Lumen and Dexter in pursuit of two men, “watch guy” and “suit guy.” She painted an eerie picture of the former for Dexter. “I would be tied to a chair, blindfolded. Sometimes I wouldn’t even know he was there until I heard this watch by my ear. Then, he’d lean in and whisper, ‘Tick, tick, tick. That’s the sound of your life running out.'” “Suit guy” was less ambiguous; he’d remove the blindfold “because he thought I’d be dead soon,” Lumen said.

Cut to the swamp, where Suit Guy and a truck of handymen were loading up barrels into the back of a pick-up truck. Boyd Fowler’s handiwork was on the move, but it wouldn’t be for long. Once on the road, the truck was side-swiped by a vehicle, throwing the contents of the barrels (bodies) out on the street.

Back in the kitchen of his old house, Dexter argued with Lumen about how to proceed. She wanted to help him hunt down Watch Guy and Suit Guy; he was less certain. “We’re doing this together,” she said. “Lumen, what I do, I do alone.” She pleaded for flexibility, saying she wanted to be the one to bring the men to justice. “We’ll see.” With that, Dexter gathered his things to go home to Harrison, “the other part of your life,” Lumen said.

“There is no other part to Lumen’s life. This is all she has,” Dexter pondered. “Even so I can’t bring her into my world. There’s no place for her.” Or is there?

At the apartment, Dexter walked in to find the nanny putting Harrison to sleep with a little prayer. This would have made atheist Dexter uncomfortable as it is, but he was even more so when he saw a statue of Saint Brigid of Kildare on the side table above Harrison’s playpen. (Still no crib for Harrison, apparently?) As she left, he gave it a wry look before hiding it in Harrison’s toy box. “He doesn’t need Saint Brigid; he has father Dexter.”

In the morning, at Quinn’s place, we learned that Deb was still having sleepovers, and that the gym is an important part of keeping a bone-thin body. Quinn had just playfully brought up the idea of getting an apartment with Deb when she got the call about the bodies at the traffic accident. As she speedily got dressed, a perplexed Quinn asked why Deb didn’t mention they were together. “Because I’m not here. Basically, no one knows we’re seeing each other and I want to keep it that way,” she said. Quinn has always been the one in their relationship eager to take the next step, and true to form, he was hurt by the setback, but let it be.

NEXT: Dexter makes a tactical error.

At the crime scene, Dexter rolled up to find that his vigilante quest with Lumen had now become a homicide investigation, and — with the driver of the truck on the run — it has also become a manhunt. Luckily, the drunk driver who had hit the truck didn’t get a good look at the assailant, “which means he’s still mine,” Dexter thought. Even better, it turned out that the truck driver was one of his targets: Suit Guy.

In the distance, Dexter spotted the princess of bad timing, Lumen, who had heard about the incident on the news. “So much for keeping our lives separate,” he said. He approached her to ask for space, not realizing he was making a grave mistake. Quinn had just received a call from his police buddy who he hired to trail Dexter. He told Quinn about how Dexter had been returning to his home with a woman and had removed the “for sale” sign. “What’s this girl look like?” Quinn asked. As his friend described Lumen, Quinn looked up and saw her talking to Dexter.

As Dexter shooed Lumen away, Deb came to a discovery: the truck involved in the accident was registered to Jordan Chase, a.k.a. the self-help guru from all of Boyd Fowler’s tapes (and apparently Vince Masuka’s hero).

Just as the cops began to sweat their inability to contact Chase, he walked in the station door flanked by his personal security Cole (Chris Vance). Cole claimed that the truck was, in fact, theirs but that it had been stolen by someone who knew where he kept the spare keys. The story didn’t sit right with anyone in the department, and the focus quickly shifted from Jordan Chase to Cole.

Dexter had other plans. He knew Cole was the guilty party after Lumen ID’d him using pictures he’d taken at the station. (She wasn’t sure about Chase, since Watch Guy kept her blindfolded.) But Dexter had bad news: With the homicide team on Cole’s trail, it was likely they’d get to him first. “Once that happens, Cole will likely never see the outside of a prison again. …It’s only a matter of time until they’re all in the hands of the police.” Dexter encouraged Lumen to let justice take its course, but she resisted. “I don’t want the police to take care of it; I want to take care of it.”

Dexter could relate. They both carried an intense sense of responsibility to personally right wrongs. It was a heavy, suffocating weight, and he knew from personal experience that the only way to breathe easy again was to have a proper conclusion. “I just don’t know that helping you kill someone is actually helping you,” he said. “Don’t back out now. This is important to me,” she begged. Dexter decided to help her because he wanted to “for very complicated reasons,” he said. So he set off to deflect the case.

NEXT: Is a worthy opponent for Dexter emerging?

Over at Boyd’s house, Dexter gift-wrapped the scene for the police, gathered evidence he could plant back at the station (in this case, Boyd’s wallet), and cleaned the area of Lumen’s involvement. But to do that, Lumen had to point out the spots that needed cleaning. She hesitated as Dexter asked her to walk up into the attic, but he offered her reassurance. “I’ll be with you,” he said.

Lumen recounted her time there in graphic detail, from being chained up for days to the hours she spent chewing on her ropes to escape. Together, they erased her presence from the scene and, likely, a few of her haunting memories.

After Masuka found the wallet Dexter had planted in the vehicle, police descended on the home like happy little locusts, consuming every bit of evidence from Boyd’s days as “the finisher,” as Dexter pegged it.

Chase was called in to the station later and told that he was off the hook because of Fowler. Cole then told police that Fowler had been one of his stalkers. “He never struck me as serious,” Cole told Chase. After they were sent on their way and in the privacy of the car, Chase turned to Cole and praised his tactics. “You finally did something right, steering the cops toward Boyd. Very smart,” Chase said. Except, as Cole pointed out, it wasn’t him who did the steering.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team prepared for one final sting at the club for the Santa Muerte case. (The informant from last week had told the cops that she would make sure the Fuentes brothers would meet her there.) But before heading off, Quinn got a visit from his investigator, who wanted more money for his services. “I know you got the cash,” he said.” But Quinn had other motives for his reluctance, namely Deb. “Now looky here, stud, if you’re backing off this thing because you’re porking that guy’s sister, you’ve got your priorities as a cop all wrong. I’m a little embarrassed for you,” he said. Quinn ultimately folded under the pressure.

I hate this schoolhouse bully of an investigator in a great way. He’s stirring up trouble and knows how to manipulate Quinn. I don’t think he’s a worthy foe for Dexter, though. I just don’t see him as a threat. He’s like the store-brand version of Lundy — and he dresses badly. His strongest quality, however, is that he picks up on the small things Dexter slips up on. He’s not a big picture man; he’s a details man.

At the club, LaGuerta put her best efforts into making sure it went smoothly. Earlier in the episode, she was confronted by the chief about her shoddy work on the case, and he hinted that her job was in jeopardy. With so much pressure riding on the sting, it didn’t go well (of course). Officer Manzon was called over to the V.I.P. area by the brothers, but once there, they discovered her gun. A shoot-out ensued, ending in a déjà vu showdown between Deb and the brother who slit a man’s throat in front of her just a few episodes ago. This time, however, Deb didn’t let him get the upper hand and shot him in the head.

NEXT: Lumen discovers there’s an ‘I’ in ‘We.’ Plus, the best lines from last night’s episode.

In the end, with three dead (one perp, the informant, and an innocent bystander) and civilians injured, the chief came down hard on LaGuerta. Batista tried to comfort her, but she responded curtly, “If mistakes were made, they certainly weren’t mine.”

Back at the apartment, Dexter prepared to go to Cole’s home to investigate further. Once there — with Lumen in tow — he found a picture that would change everything. It was an old photograph of young Cole standing next to Rapist DDS, Boyd Fowler, and one other man. They’d known each other since they were teens. Before he could look into it more, though, someone grabbed Dexter from behind and started choking him, but Lumen stepped in and hit the man on the head so they could make a getaway.

Dexter: What’s this mean?

Lumen: Oh my God, Dexter, this is huge.

Dexter: So what do we do next?

Lumen (pausing before replying with awe): You said ‘we.’

So Dexter opened himself up to Lumen this week, opened himself up to faith (via Saint Brigid), and opened the lid on a case that is shaping up to be a heck of an undertaking. But my question is how will all of these story arcs work together? Will Lumen bring peace to Dexter like he’s hoping Saint Brigid will bring peace to his son? And will the case bring peace to Lumen’s troubled existence?

On a related note, if you didn’t like Lumen already, is she starting to grow on you? What are your thoughts on the Deb/Quinn relationship: love or hate? Is the LaGuerta/Batista union heading for divorce? (Do we care?) And did the mental picture Dexter painted of his prom make you wish we saw more flashbacks of awkward teenage Dexter? Weigh in below!

QUOTEABLES

“That’s either a saint or the most boring action figure I’ve ever seen” –Dexter

“He doesn’t need Saint Brigid; he has father Dexter.” –Dexter

“That’s what’s on your show: congealed organ.” –Dexter

“S–t a brick and f–k me with it, you’re never going to believe who this truck is registered to.” –Deb

“If that’s the watch Lumen heard, I’ll make sure it accompanies you to the bottom of the Atlantic.” –Dexter

“I mean, that guy’s clearly a freak, but I don’t know him.” –Lumen re: Masuka in the picture

Deb to Quinn on the phone: “Will you not wear that shirt with the patterns all over it? It made me dizzy.”

Quinn: [Removes the shirt] “No, I only wore that as a joke.”

@EWSandraG on Twitter

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