LaGuerta's sights are closing on Dexter, but Captain Jack isn't so sure; regardless, they agree that if the real BHB is out there, he probably framed and killed Doakes, so they decide to look into Doakes' final days -- starting with the cabin in the Everglades where he was found. When they do, the owner tells them who he rented the cabin to -- and Captain Jack recognizes the name as one of the three drug lords that were responsible for killing Dexter's mother. When LaGuerta hears that Dexter watched his mother get chopped up like the BHB did to his victims, and that the Ice Truck Killer was Dexter's brother, she wants to question him immediately, but Captain Jack convinces her to let him do it instead, as he's known Dexter since he was a kid. That doesn't happen this week, but we'll see where Captain Jack's loyalties really lie next week.
Quinn hears that Nadia is being shipped out to Dubai, so he and Batista hit the strip club, inside which Jason Gedrick essentially dares Quinn to shoot him -- and he does, dead (I think). To get himself out of potential trouble, he has Nadia shoot him in the shoulder with Jason Gedrick's gun to make it look like Quinn was defending himself. Despite Batista being 99 percent sure the story is bullshit, Quinn prevails on Batista to let Nadia take her passport and some money and get out of there, as otherwise the Koshkas will kill her. This storyline seems to have lost its relevance, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for the moment.
The Phantom Arsonist has struck again, five times in total now, and this time there were witnesses to him emerging from the flames wearing his protective silver suit. Also, one of the victims this time around was a six-year-old child, and Dexter has it in his head that Whack-A-Phil might be responsible. But when Dexter discovers that Whack-A-Phil has an alibi for one of the fires -- he was at a Civil War reenactment, and I'll just save the jokes for the recap so we're not here all day -- he's back at square one. But we, as it turns out, are not, as we see a young man board a bus, don the suit, spray everyone in it and light it on fire. Everyone but one person escapes, but seeing the bus's security footage of the incident makes Dexter really, really want to kill the PA. They get a print off the bus, and while it doesn't match any adults in the database, Dexter takes it upon himself to break into the juvenile records hall, and discovers the Phantom, who's been an arsonist since he was a kid. He captures him, sets up the kill room and tells him it's time to take responsibility for his actions -- and then, thanks to the discussion with Hannah below, he can't go through with it, instead leaving the guy (who didn't see his face) unconscious for MM to find.
Dexter brings up his Dark Passenger to Hannah, and even though she's a killer too, she's a bit flummoxed despite his attempts to explain the concept. Then her father (played by Jim Beaver, another great character actor), whom Hannah hadn't seen since he went to prison, shows up looking to apologize for being such a terrible father; this understandably brings up conflicting emotions for her, but she does agree to see him again, and soon, Dexter's at dinner with the two of them.
All seems to be going well until he hits her up for money for a new business he supposedly wants to start; when she turns him down, he drunkenly but deliberately drives a truck into her greenhouse and tells his devastated daughter that her criminal notoriety caused her mother to die of a broken heart, and the only thing that stops his tirade is Dexter's livid intervention. Once she's back to herself, Hannah tells Dexter that she saw the look on his face and is maybe starting to understand his Dark Passenger construct, but conversely, Dexter starts to question it himself, wondering if he just made it up to avoid responsibility for everything he's done. However, when Hannah's dad shows up to try to blackmail Dexter, saying he's got information that could lead to a murder conviction for Hannah -- namely a witness, "Arlene Schram," who saw Hannah put the rat poison in that sex-abuser counselor's food -- and that he's the one who sold Price a lot of his information, Dexter goes to Hannah and asks if she might want to solve her problem her special way -- but she can't. But one effect of Dexter ditching the Dark Passenger idea is that he feels free to go off code -- so he kills Hannah's dad and tells her he won't be bothering her anymore.
Whether she grasps what he did or not is unclear, but they say they love each other -- just as Deb, acting on a message Hannah's dad left before he died, resolves to track down Arlene Schram. Like I said, the walls are closing in on Dexter and Hannah, and neither of them knows it.
So the Phantom Arsonist hasn't stopped, as we begin with Dexter arriving at a crime scene at which Batista is already questioning some people. This time, there were witnesses to the PA walking out of the fire in a silver suit, although one woman's claim that he looked about seven feet tall doesn't seem particularly credible. The city does have a pro basketball team, though. This is all so DVO can tell us -- as we see Whack-A-Phil milling about and a covered corpse being wheeled out -- how the idea that an actual person could do this is too awful, so we invent phantoms and other fanciful bullshit to make it easier to take. "But even the strongest of imaginations can't protect us once we know the truth." Deb accosts Dexter to ask where he was the night before, as she wanted to go over some case, but from his silence, she realizes he was with Hannah. Funny that she goes there first instead of guessing that he killed someone, but now we know which she thinks is worse. Quinn and Whack-A-Phil appear to report that they found no DNA or prints, but that it was the same accelerant used and there was another "Bobby" written at the scene. Deb says that's five of them in two weeks and she and Quinn agree that he must be signing his name. Like, that seems dubious, but it's not like they're going to spend any time trying to follow that up. We also learn that there were two victims this time -- a mother and her six-year-old daughter -- and Deb wonders what kind of person could do that. From across the room, Dexter's gaze focuses on Whack-A-Phil examining the corpses, as DVO intones, "Maybe the kind who isn't bothered by the sight of a dead child."
Dexter turns up at Hannah's (he has a key now, it seems) with food and confirms that she just got her stitches out. Her inquiry about his mood leads him to tell her about the PA killing and she tells him she's getting the feeling he'd like to put the PA on his table. Dexter grimaces and says he promised Deb he wouldn't take any cases from the PD and I never thought he was sincere about that, especially given his casually gleeful explanation of the technicality by which he went after Hannah. But okay, let's take him at his word. Hannah points out that their relationship is proof that he doesn't always listen to Deb, but Dexter sharply repeats that he can't kill the PA. He then apologizes, saying that he's frustrated -- while he wants to be there with her, his Dark Passenger would like to be elsewhere. Hannah's like, who in the what now?, so he tries to explain about how it feels like this thing living inside him that's telling him what to do and leaving him no alternative. Hannah's a bit put off by the idea that he thinks he doesn't have a choice and tries to tell him that it's just him -- he wants the PA dead, which is perfectly understandable. Dexter tells her she just doesn't get it, so she asks him to explain further and to ignore the knock on the door they just heard; Dexter replies that a lot of people feel like they want to kill someone, but for Dexter, he has to follow through. Hannah still isn't understanding him, as she follows through on killing all the time (love how conversational she is about it), but she doesn't have a "Dark Passenger" and speaking of things I love, it's great how two people now this season have heard about the Dark Passenger thing and been like, "That's Smurfy, dude." Any further discussion is curtailed by Dexter seeing a man, presumably the one who just knocked at the window; when Hannah turns to look, the guy is like, "Hi, Banana!" Hannah doesn't sound super-psyched about that nickname and I can't say I blame her, but at least her father (that's who it is, don't you know) is being played by Jim Beaver, who's got film credits going all the way back to Silkwood. But you'd know best for series-regular runs as Whitney Ellsworth on Deadwood and Bobby Singer on Supernatural. Perfect gruff, fatherly type who can slip into evil at a moment's notice...