Okay, this season is really not kidding around. Slower burns first: Nadia turns up to the station asking about the bracelet Soroka was wearing, but of course we know Viktor took it off her corpse, so Quinn can't help her. He does score a date out of the deal, though, and it's a good thing Deb's got too much on her plate to hear about that. Although I'd imagine she will eventually, since this was all a setup job – as Jason Gedrick tells Nadia, they need to get the bracelet back because it has a GPS signal that they use to track the mules in their heroin business, which is their real cash cow. Isaak Pullo then drips culture and menace all over Nadia in ordering her to get close to Quinn in an effort to find out what the police know, and after she leaves while gamely covering her terror, Isaak Pullo speculates that Viktor took the bracelet to keep the police from finding it, and instructs Jason Gedrick to get the IT man who set up the system on working on a way to track the prior data. Surprisingly, Nadia confesses her orders to Quinn, so they devise a plan for her to play double agent, and this is the first time they've involved Quinn in the story in a meaningful way in some time, although he won't be our Joey if he doesn't find a way to screw it all up.
Randall's mother (played by the redoubtable Beth Grant; the show is certainly doing well with casting this season) turns up to give Deb some evidence from his killing spree that Randall sent her fifteen years ago. While she wasn't willing to give it up while Randall was alive, as it might have been enough for him to have been put to death, she figures now there might be something in there that could give the families of the victims some peace. There's enough for the team to conclude that Randall was telling the truth about there being more bodies buried out there, so Deb sends Batista and Dexter to talk to Randall's old flame Hannah, played by Chuck's Yvonne Strahovski, another inspired casting choice. On the way, though, Batista stops in at the strip club to give Jason Gedrick a piece of his mind about Tony's recently discovered corpse, leaving Dexter free to have a little getting-to-know-you chat with Isaak Pullo. Then, when Batista and Dexter show up to Hannah, she's both remorseful for her involvement with Randall and cold and uncooperative to Batista, but she does seem to take a shine to Dexter, so we've got our love interest for the season.
Dexter sets Greene up by sending a package to Masuka containing the ITK hand and a letter asking Greene for a refund. Masuka cans Greene on the spot, and, obviously unable to explain the real truth, Greene slinks away – only to find Jamie at his place watching the video of Greene and that hooker, which apparently happened after they started dating. Greene tries to inform Jamie that Dexter's behind it, but she tells him she never wants to see him again. This leads Greene to try to sink Dexter's boat, which proves to be an exquisitely poorly-timed errand, given that Isaak Pullo and his goons, having located the slip from which the bracelet left, show up to catch him in the act. Isaak Pullo solves Dexter's Greene problem by putting a bullet in his head, but not before Greene gives up Dexter's name and the fact that he works for the police, which brings recognition to Isaak Pullo's face from the turn he and Dexter had earlier.
Dexter is feeling the pressure of Deb's constant surveillance to the point where's he's envisioning killing people right and left, and his fantasy of stabbing Masuka may be audience pandering, but I'm not going to be the one to turn it down. When he physically assaults an uncooperative detainee, Deb hauls him outside, and they have an intense conversation in which Dexter effectively conveys how much like a ticking time bomb he feels. Deb agrees to give him a little space, but not without invoking Harrison to try to get Dexter to mend his ways.
This doesn't stop Dexter from doing a little kill research, coming up with a simply charming fellow by the name of Raymond Speltzer, a lady-killer in the less fun sense. After some recon, Dexter correctly senses that Speltzer is getting ready to claim his next victim, so he tries to get Deb's blessing to stop him the only way he knows how. Deb won't be pulled down the slippery slope so easily, though; instead, she goes to LaGuerta to try to follow up on Dexter's vetting work and see if they can bag Speltzer through legal means. Unfortunately, LaGuerta's judgment is that there isn't enough evidence for a search warrant, but she does sanction Deb to put a patrol car on Speltzer.
Dexter's lack of faith in the legal system proves warranted when Deb allows the patrol car to leave on another errand in advance of this waitress we saw earlier turning up to Speltzer's for a date, and he finally finds the proof he needs that Speltzer is a killer. Meanwhile, Deb, a part of her trusting Dexter's instincts more than she'd like to admit, decides to drive by Speltzer's house on her way home, which is good, given that he's inside wearing some kind of Viking-looking helmet and hunting the girl in this death maze into which he's turned the house. Deb gets tangled up in some barbed wire, and it's only through Dexter's delayed-but-still-timely intervention that her life is saved, which is more than we can say for the poor girl; on top of that, Speltzer gets away.
In the end, Deb is forced to admit that what Dexter does might be "a necessary evil," but while she reluctantly accepts it, she doesn't like it – especially the part where he likes it so much. She sends him back home with a warning that things will never be the same between them, and Dexter realizes that his freedom has come at a price he didn't want to pay. Still so many nitpicks, but it's amazing how a tightly-packed story makes those seem so much less relevant.
Dexter's in line at the Post Office, and the way people are crowding into each other's personal space is enough to demonstrate how trapped he feels without the ensuing explanatory DVO; moreover, you'd think the sweltering City of Miami would have passed an ordinance about maintaining a reasonable distance from others as a matter of olfactory courtesy. Deb the babysitter is outside, I think playing Cat's Cradle with her iPod headphones, and Dexter looks like he's going out of his mind until, after one of the clerks closes up in front of him in one of those cartoonish ways they do, Dexter picks up something sharp and slices the throat of the OBVIOUS dummy. Also, this must be one posh part of Miami that doesn't use Plexiglas in its Post Offices, no? Anyway, snapping him out of the dream sequence is Deb, who enters and complains about how long this is taking, which is hilarious given that she and Dexter are both public employees, before asking him why he looks so guilty, like, NICE QUESTION TO ASK OF YOUR SERIAL-KILLER BROTHER IN A CROWDED ROOM. Dexter finally gets his turn at the window, and as we see one of the packages he's sending is addressed to Miami Metro Forensics (return is an "A. Thompson") as DVO lets us know that this is his play to get Greene out of his life. I wouldn't have said this last season, but I hope it works.
Speaking of Greene and Des Moines Metro, Dexter enters in time to have a little slo-mo pass-by staring contest with Greene after which they both seem to claim victory, and then Dexter heads into the briefing, and really, show, you're doing so much better, but given that we JUST saw that Deb took the time to escort Dexter to the Post Office, what sense does it make that they would come in separately? Deb asks Batista for an update on the Anderson investigation, but he only gets a few seconds in before Deb starts glowering in Dexter's direction, and as boring as Batista might be, it's still intense and out of character enough that Masuka notices and surreptitiously asks Dexter what's up. Dexter looks understandably freaked that Deb's surveillance of him is becoming this noticeable, but doesn't have time to dwell on it, because after Quinn presents some sort of plan that won't be relevant anyway, Deb orders Dexter to get a standard forensics sample from some suspect they just hauled in. Masuka can't let it go about how Dexter must have fucked up in Deb's eyes, and yammers at him until Dexter hilariously takes a pen and stabs "Masuka" in the carotid artery, producing a veritable fountain of blood for which I had no idea I was rooting so hard, and Dexter's "Ahhhh" reaction kind of agrees with me. Also hilariously, everyone's dream reaction is "Ohhhhh!" like "That's gotta hurt" instead of "grisly murder of a co-worker" - while I'd expect this crowd to be pretty hard-boiled, that's still cold. Deb then gives a little spiel about the end-of-month open-case numbers...