Dexter
Blinded By the Light

Episode Report Card
Joe R: C+ | 1 USERS: C-
YOU GRADE IT
Vandal in the Wind

Many thanks to Mindy for covering the recaplet while I was too busy contemplating giving up on NFL football for good. Previously on Dexter: Didja hear that Dex has gone all domesticated? Because he has. Three kids and a wife and a minivan and ... okay, scratch that minivan, as it got totaled in the car wreck. But the kids are still there, three little constant reminders of how uncool he's become. Oh, also: Lundy and Deb had a workplace romance, while Angel and LaGuerta currently do.

We open on what I totally thought was a dream sequence but is not: Dexter regarding everyone at a neighborhood backyard BBQ. While Dexter's voice-over blah-blahs about the primal nature of man and how BBQs are remnants of the times when the men would have to communally take down great beasts to feed their families (zzzzzzz...), we're reminded that we'll be revisiting a theme this week. And that theme is "Dexter will never fit in with the rest of the world, never ever ever ever." I won't bore you guys with going through every instance in the show where this concept has been displayed inconsistently, so I say we just go with it: This week, Dexter is an incurable social misfit unable to do anything but barely fake it.

Dexter pours out some conspicuously red daiquiris (because: BLOOD), then offers the kids some sodas. Only Astor is still firmly entrenched in the Bitchiful Tweens and thus hates everything, and her buddy Jesse the Unconvincing Stoner decides he'd rather play his drumsticks on Dexter's drink-serving tray. And again, in the interests of getting the obvious out of the way early: We all wish Dex would just chuck the Code and murder Jesse just because he's annoying. Consider that a given even when I'm not mentioning it.

Rita pulls Dex aside and totally busts him for lying about his concussion last week. She called the doctor to check up on him and everything. I can't tell whether this is just a natural extension of Rita, Needy Single Mom, or if the writers are going overboard with how much of a drag it is to have a wife and kids. Bottom line is that, in keeping with doctor's orders, Rita will be driving Dexter everywhere for the next week or so. Dex tries to object, but Rita goes further: "The past few weeks you have not been the most present father and husband." Dexter's VO rationalizes it for him: Play nice with the carpool and there will be more slack on that ball-n-chain for when he wants to get some killin' done.

The party's hosts come by and the husband starts bitching about a neighborhood vandal who got their birdbath, among other neighborhood landmarks. Another neighbor, Andy, happens by and notes the vandal knocked the seahorse off his mailbox. Jesse the Unconvincing Stoner -- who is Andy's son -- whines that he hated that seahorse anyway, even though his deceased mother picked it out. Andy then proceeds to super-soaker random party guests while the neighbors indulge him for being half an orphan. There's talk of a neighborhood watch, and then Andy jokes that the trouble didn't start until Dexter moved in. Dex, currently incapable of not looking incredibly suspicious at all times, doesn't recognize the joke until Andy has to spell it out for him. You know what that means: Another minute and a half of Dex's VO pontificating about how impossible it is to fit in.

Elsewhere, our fine BBQ host playfully pushes Cody into the (insanely luxurious) pool, to chuckling all around. But when Dexter sees it and tries to do the same to Astor, she's mortified, as is Rita. You guys, this is gonna be a sad hour for Dexter.

In happier, more well-adjusted news (or so the editing would have us believe), we see Trinity has decided to go forward with his second murder. The mother he was stalking all last episode is crying terrified tears as she drives down an isolated alleyway. Trinity's in the seat behind her, dressed in all black like he's a cat burglar. He has her pull into a warehouse parking lot, then directs her inside and up the stairs, at knifepoint. The woman's badly freaking out, while Trinity stays icily calm as he positions her towards the ledge overlooking the parking lot. "It's time for you to jump," he says. He's not even touching her, and he won't push her when she ultimately (after he makes threats against her husband and children) begs him to. "That's not how it works," he says, stone-faced. So the woman, trembling and despondent, steps to the ledge and lets go. Back down on the ground, Trinity sees her dead body and whimpers, "Mommy?" Then he pulls a vial of something or other out of his pocket and spreads it with his un-gloved fingertip along the pavement. That's two killings that rate a 10 out of 10 on the creepy-crawly scale.

The next morning, Dexter emerges from his house to get his paper, only to see the vandal has spraypainted a grimacing smiley face on his front gate. Immediately, Ghost Harry is there to prey on Dexter's doubtful feelings: This is just like 11th grade, when the school kids TP'd their yard. Harry made Dexter clean it up then, so as not to arouse suspicion. So the pattern remains the same: Nobody liked Dexter, and he has to work hard to cover up so he won't give himself away. "I know you're under a lot of pressure," Harry allows (a perturbed Dexter snorts his agreement), but that's no excuse to slip up. Dexter notes a can of spray paint left on his lawn. He grabs it and VOs that it looks like somebody else slipped up this time.

Anton and Deb's place. Anton noodles around on his guitar while Deb scowls at him for not making a fresh pot of coffee. Oh, it begins. Anton gets "good news" in his email: a local hotel wants to book his band for the whole month. That means no going out on tour -- he'll be home every night. Deb could not be less obviously disappointed at this news, not that Anton seems to pick up on it much.

The carpool of Dexter's discontent. Rita sings "Karma Chamaleon" to Harrison while Dexter squirms uncomfortably in the passenger seat. Oh, I'm sorry, since when does being a deeply disturbed social misfit preclude one from enjoying the shit out of Culture Club? Dex's VO frantically tries to figure out a way for his Week of Playing Nice to end as quickly as possible. He eventually bargains it down to four and a half more days. "I'm never gonna make it," he internally grouses.

At the station, Angel and LaGuerta run down their Vacation Murders suspect, Johnny Rose. Thus far, they've got nothing on him. LaGuerta gives out the new marching orders, then tells Deb if she doesn't get anywhere on the Lisa Bell case soon, she's gonna get put on Vacation Murder duty too. That's the one with all the political pressure. Meanwhile, Quinn spots Dexter getting off the elevator and makes a beeline. Seems the mission for Quinn is still to buy Dexter's silence (Dex saw him pocket that crime-scene cash last week), this time with a pair of Dolphins tickets. And, since apparently murderous sociopaths are second only to gay dudes in terms of getting snooty about team sports, Dexter turns right around and hands the tickets off to Masuka. Though Dexter does kindly turn down Masuka's offer of "Who do I have to fuck to get those kind of tickets." Once again, Dexter keeping the universe at a distance.

Meanwhile, Angel's got a report of a female body in a warehouse parking lot, looks like a suicide. And despite Quinn's most obnoxious efforts to refuse on her behalf, Deb jumps on the case once Dexter notes to her that it sounds like Lundy's prediction of a second Trinity murder has come true. Dex goes to grab his keys, but Deb says Rita's already told her about the no-driving thing, so he's coming with her and Quinn. And in what might be my favorite Quinn moment so far, he pulls up in front with testosto-rap blaring and tells Dexter to climb in the back: "You'll be right on the subwoofer; you can feel the bass in your spine!" Oh, Quinn, you are a type.

At the crime scene, Dexter photographs the victim while his VO admires Trinity's work, which is much different than his. Some of it seems obvious (and in keeping with

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