Dexter

Episode Report Card
Joe R: A- | 5 USERS: A
YOU GRADE IT
Catching Up to You
on software at Miami Metro is top-notch, because by that night they're excavating the entire build site. Deb tells Angel and LaGuerta that the "cadaver-sniffing dogs" (what a cheerful bunch those dogs must be) led them to dig up the patio. They find a bag, which Masuka opens to find the remains of a boy. How old? Well, if Masuka's gonna guess, oh, say...ten? "Looks to be wearing pajamas," says Masuka, and Angel quickly connects that to Scott being found in PJs too. Good enough for a warrant. Says LaGuerta. Angel and Deb powwow about checking Four Walls rosters across the various Trinity locales and cross-referencing to get their guy.

Meanwhile, their guy just picked a lock and broke into Dexter's bachelor pad. Also known as Deb's current bachelor pad. It takes Arthur finding a bra on the floor and mail addressed to Debra to make the connection, though. "Fucking Debra!" Trinity says, throwing the mail to the ground like a child.

The next morning, Dexter and Rita send the kids off to Disney World with the grandparents. Dexter then loads Rita and Harrison into a cab bound for the airport. They'll go ahead to the Keys and he'll meet them there tonight. As they pull away, DVO yammers about how very much he wants to kill Arthur. Dex rifles through Arthur's wallet, but finds no receipt or bus/train/plane ticket to give him a clue where he might be. So he decides to check the source: the Mitchell house. Jonah answers the door and Dexter just barges in, asking a million questions about Arthur's whereabouts, what he took, et cetera. Sally comes downstairs and greets "Kyle" with a mixture of anger (she knows he's somehow a part of this) and hopefulness (maybe he knows how to fix it). Dexter promises them all it's going to be okay. I like the way the show has handled this, actually. All through the season, Dexter's been manifesting self-doubts (via Harry, via DVO) about his ability to be a family man, but in practice, he's not only been protecting his own family, but ever since he found Jonah smashing up his dad's Mustang, Dexter's been protecting this family too. Anyway, no sooner has Dexter promised everything's going to be okay than we hear police choppers overhead. Time for the S.W.A.T. team!

So Dexter sees the fuzz in time to skedaddle, but the rest of the Mitchells get bum-rushed, put on the floor, and generally made to be terrorized. So perhaps not quite "everything's gonna be okay." But hey, Dexter made it to the garage undetected. And he managed to hide in Arthur's homemade coffin! How ingenious/thematically striking! He crawls out just in time to flash a laminate, then meet Deb and Angel, who are there in their flak jackets. Dex is totally out of breath and skittish, and Deb keeps giving him the hairy eyeball as she asks where his jacket is, how he got there, et cetera. We're supposed to think she's onto him, but clearly she's just feeling Moser guilt, since she thinks she knows something he doesn't. Meanwhile, Dexter's being hyper-helpful, all "LOOK A COFFIN AND ALSO A FRAMING HAMMER HEY REMEMBER HOW THE MURDER WEAPON WAS A HAMMER?" Deb explains how they found Arthur, then lays down some thematic resonance, all "Can you believe this monster had a family? And he abandoned them?" She confirms what Dex suspected -- that the cops saw the cleaned-out bank accounts and now assume he skipped town.

Deb, still being weird, tells Dexter to put on his fucking flak jacket before heading off to do something else. He runs into Quinn, and even starts to apologize for their run-in earlier, but Quinn simply tells him if he tries that again, he'll be the one on the ground. So that bit of tension is nicely set up for next season. The Mitchells are led out of the house, Sally and Rebecca in tears. (Incidentally, this is the last we'll hear of Jonah Mitchell this season, and I bid him a fond farewell and hereby forgive him for all those shirts with sleeves on them.) Dexter flashes to an image of Rita and their three kids being led out on the same walk. And while we're hallucinating, why not have Harry be the cop leading them out. He turns back to Dexter and reminds him this is the inevitable fate of his precious family. Dexter looks shaken. He says abandoning his family would do what Arthur's done, but Harry argues that if Dexter left now, the damage would be minimal. Certainly less than what would happen if he's ever caught. The stigma that would give them, long after he's executed. Dexter's finding his resolve weakening.

Debra snaps Dexter out of his reverie. She's got something to tell him. Man, people are just breaking all sorts of speed records going against Matthews's orders. She explains everything about Tragic Val, Laura Moser, Brian, the whole deal. Externally, Dexter plays all the right nonplussed notes, while inside DVO is freaking, thinking she not only knows about the Brian connection but followed that truth down the road through Dexter's pathology and right up to his dark passenger. When he realizes that all Deb is doing is "breaking" this terrible truth to him, he expresses a truth: that Brian went after Debra as a means to get to Dexter. That it's his fault she was almost killed. "If I'd never been in your life..." he begins, but Deb cuts him off with a quick "Fuck you." She starts to cry. "If you hadn't been in my life, I wouldn't be who I am. You've given me confidence, and support. You've been the one constant...the one constantly good thing in my life."

Two things. 1) In this, the Year of Jennifer Carpenter, that scene might've been her most powerful yet. Can't give enough praise to her performance. 2) I have to mention how, despite the fact that Jennifer and Michael C. Hall are married in real life, their chemistry never once reads anything but brother/sister on screen. Not once during these episodes am I taken out of the show by anything that reminds me they're a couple. Kudos to them for that as well.

It all seems to dawn on Dexter at once: Deb says he's been good for her, a positive force in her life; Rita said the same. Maybe Harry's wrong; maybe he's not destined to be exactly like Arthur Mitchell. Anyway, Quinn calls Deb inside. Before she heads in, she tearfully tells Dexter she loves him. He looks up at her and speaks with utter sincerity: "I'm so thankful."

After Deb walks off, Dex stands up and spots something in the Mitchell garage. It's the smashed windshield of the Mustang. Arthur must've had it replaced. And recently. He rifles through Arthur's wallet and finds the receipt. So now Dexter has the car he's driving, and the license plate. We cut to Arthur driving the car out of the detail shop before the paint's even dry. Salsa music on the soundtrack reminds us he's still in Miami, for the moment. But the last we see of him, he's taking the open road outta town.

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Dexter

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