Having left off last season with the prospect of some actual interesting character development, we of course do not pick up there. Instead, Dexter is frantically driving to the airport; when he has to stop for gas, all his cards are declined, so he fishes some cash out from the handy-dandy Escape The Country Travel-Pak he's had warming up in the wall since he moved into his current place. At the airport, Dexter buys a ticket to Budapest…
…and then we're back in the church, with Dexter literally being caught red-handed. Dexter tells Deb in his earnest-yet-creepy voice that he encountered Colin Hanks on that last forensics sweep, fought off his sword attack, and then snapped, keeping the serial nature of his killing to himself. Her world shattered, Deb succumbs to Dexter's emotional manipulation and conspires with him to make Colin Hanks' death look like a fiery suicidal tableau, and it says something about the state of mind Deb is in that she doesn't really bat an eye at destroying a house of worship.
Eventually, they of course get called back to the scene of the crime, and after Deb gives Dexter an assist in covering up a bit of evidence, she gives a statement to the press, and she lies quite a bit better than I would have expected. But there's a loose end – LaGuerta finds Dexter's broken blood slide, and as much as I've complained about Dexter's sloppiness, given what happened I suppose I can forgive him this one time. At home, Dexter realizes his error, while Anderson wonders how Colin Hanks got to the church, given that his car wasn't found at the scene, but this latter problem is solved when Dollhouse's Enver Gjokaj murders Anderson by the side of the road. The department discovers that his other victim is a Ukrainian stripper, but Dexter is the only one who actually finds the murderer's fingerprint and IDs Gjokaj, or "Viktor Baskov."
Dexter breaks into his place and discovers he's going to be on an imminent flight back to the Ukraine, so the race to the airport was a big fake-out, which was actually rather well done. The fact that Dexter is planning to commit a murder while surrounded by TSA agents is pretty hilarious, but sure enough, when Baskov goes to the can, Dexter's right in there to drug him, even bringing along a handy wheelchair so he can get Baskov to a more private place. You'd think Dexter would have learned his lesson and ditched the whole table setup, but he does off Baskov, unbeknownst at this point to his apparent boss, Ray Stevenson (Titus Pullo from Rome).
While all this is going on, Deb keeps trying to unpack Dexter's lies, and even though he has a ready answer to everything, she's starting to see him for what he is, given his lack of affect and her willingness to do some actual investigation – and by the end, Dexter walks into his place to find that Deb has laid bare all his killing equipment, even his blood slides. She calmly asks him if he's a serial killer – and he admits it. I'm not going to get my hopes up, but this was undoubtedly the best episode they've done in a long time -- not only is Deb's moral dilemma actually shaping up to be interesting, it seems to have burned any creepy attraction she had to Dexter right out of her. Win-win!
Welcome back! So I'm not gonna lie, I really wondered whether this assignment would be worth it, but there was more good stuff in this episode than in like the last two seasons combined, so I'm feeling pretty happy to get back into it. So:
As you know, we left off with Dexter FINALLY sending Colin Hanks to The Great Tableau In The Sky and Deb witnessing it. That is not where we start back up, however. Instead, we get dramatic chase music as Dexter urgently drives on the highway. A quick look at a sign lets us know that his destination is the airport; unfortunately, he's too low on gas to make it without filling up. He runs into another obstacle when his credit cards are declined and given what we learn later, it's surprising that he doesn't look surprised, but I suppose I could chalk it up to him being one hundred percent focused on the task at hand. (See, I'm giving the show the benefit of the doubt! It's been a while!) Luckily, Dexter has another option in the form of a bag packed with all sorts of escape-the-country materials: A Canadian passport (h/t to my Canuck buddy "Pull Up A Chair >Daniel for pointing that out), some practical clothing for the serial killer on the go and plenty of cash (not all of it American, either). He yoinks out forty bucks, which certainly is not going to be enough to fill that behemoth up even at Florida prices, but given that time seems to be of the essence, it's just as well. Soon, he's pulling into MIA and I just realized part of what made that sequence effectively tense: No opening DVO. It's coming right here, but I like the shake-up of the format. (There are no Imaginary Harry scenes either, another development of which I approve.) DVO tells us that it's human nature to keep secrets; for example, he dyes his hair (!) and watches Internet porn (!!). "But what if your whole life is a secret? A lie?" After a quick look at the board, Dexter heads up to the ticket counter of Aero Fictionalsk and books a ticket to anywhere (it's actually Budapest, but since his reaction shows that wasn't the flight he intended, it seems like he's not too particular about the destination). And with that rather taut, effective opening...
...we're back in the church where we left off (minus the "Oh, God" reaction, for which I'm thankful). Deb immediately draws her gun, which good on her, and tells Dexter to get away from the body. He replies that it's him and then admits that it's Colin Hanks on the table; thinking fast, he then does the best he can at looking upset, which is not super-convincing, but at least at this moment Deb's too freaked out to notice. He prevails on her to lower her gun, whereupon he spins this tale: He came to do the forensics sweep she requested from him and Colin Hanks was there and came at him with his sword; Dexter fought him off and knocked him out. The underlying cues here are effective; Dexter's typically affectless tone (he manages to make a singsong rhythm sound flat, which is not easy) is obviously not putting Deb at ease and as he approaches her, she takes a few involuntary steps backward. She asks how Colin Hanks came to be wrapped in plastic, so Dexter tries to sell the idea that he snapped, since there's been a lot of anger in him since Rita died and wherever she is, Rita has to be thinking that's pretty effing rich. Anyway, Dexter half-truths that after everything Colin Hanks did, he wanted him dead, so he killed him. Deb, looking like she's barely able to control her own body at this point -- excellent work from Carpenter in this scene -- points out that that still doesn't explain how he got wrapped up in plastic. So Dexter, after a moment to consider, says he didn't even think about it -- he's a forensics expert, so it was second nature for him not to leave a trace. It's never explicitly verbalized, but even if you were to buy this cock-and-bull explanation, he's admitting to the difference between premeditated and unpremeditated murder, which has to be an extra layer of unsettling for Deb.