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Dexter: A History of Violence

Dexter’s misguided murder of the pervy photographer isn’t tearing his life up like we’d expected (yet); instead, Trinity is cracking up, ready for another round of killing. It’s a delicious and plot-furthering episode as Debra finds out something important about her killer and Trinity explains the roots of his crimes.

Dexter’s selfish voice-over encourages the cops to scoff when Debra explains Lundy’s Trinity Killer theory to her colleagues, but LaGuerta finally believes her and even agrees to set up road blocks to get DNA swabs from tall blue-eyed men over 50. Supposedly the recurrent smudge of ashes has convinced LaGuerta, but it’s obviously just the next step in the season. LaGuerta and Batista team up to figure out how the department can pay for this — but their illicit, ahem, “teaming up” is interrupted when Quinn drops by to announce that the guys have each agreed to donate a vacation day to fund this DNA collection and help Deb. LaGuerta is so happy she throws Batista down on the table, which collapses in the next scene.

Since Deb is a victim, she’s off the case, and has to play Cyrano to Quinn, guiding him through the investigation. At least until she finally takes a look at that hip wound she winces at every ten minutes, and she and Masuka (who spends the scene checking out her tits, while we yawn at him) figure out that the wound’s entry/exit angle means her shooter couldn’t have been that tall drink of water, Trinity. Was it her jealous boyfriend or the Vacation Killers after all? Either way, she’s back in charge.

But Dexter is desperate to keep Trinity for himself. Trinity is increasingly cranky — and has apparently scheduled a build in Tampa so he can relieve his homicidal impulses out of town. Dexter sees this as an opportunity to get him — so he asks for a ride. How was he going to get home? Trinity obviously needs some time alone, but he can’t resist Dexter’s cry for help. The real genius of Trinity’s character isn’t so much in how he deals with his killer impulses, but in how he balances his increasingly overwhelming grouchiness with a real desire to help the people around him. Dexter plays along — or opens up — with Trinity’s remorse and redemption theme, telling him about killing the photographer, but disguising it as a hunting story.

They bond, of course — notice there’s no Harry in this episode. And this pushes Trinity a step further: Ostensibly to cheer Dexter up, he barges into the house he grew up in and shows him the site of all his pain. Young Trinity peeped on his sister in the shower, she got startled, badly cut her leg, and bled to death; his grieving mother jumped to her death; and then Trinity bludgeoned his alcoholic, abusive father. Feel better now?

No, actually: Trinity tries to leap off the roof of the construction site. Dexter grabs on to him just so he can drop Trinity himself — and then some other workers show up and help save him. So they’re back to Miami, where Trinity unsurprisingly makes a U-turn to avoid the DNA roadblock after Dexter explains it to him. So we have at least one more week of Dexter contrasting his increased sense of his own humanity with his realization of what a grumpy old complicated bastard Trinity is, while we continue to wonder whether Dexter might give up Trinity rather than continue to screw over his sister. And, oh, right: It looks like Rita is embarking on an affair with a recently dumped neighborhood dad.

More Recaps:
The AV Club damns the show’s peripheral characters.
Television Without Pity speculates about Dexter’s end.
The Ampersand articulates the boredom that we suspect led several other recappers to skip last week.

Photo: Randy Tepper/Showtime