Trinity’s patterns — and his family life — prove even more complicated than they seemed. And this episode reminds us, sadly, that our favorite serial-killer show sometimes has a hard time constructing a suspenseful plot.
The seemingly big revelations in this week’s show just confirm something that was pieced together in last week’s episode (Reporter Girl shot Lundy to protect Daddy Trinity) or given away in the preview (Trinity is really, uh, Quaddity, committing four murders per spree rather than three). What the hell, Showtime?
Trinity starts his sprees by kidnapping and killing little boys, who serve as stand-ins for himself in recreations of his family drama, complete with cowboy pajamas, model trains, and a vintage soundtrack. He snuffs the kids when they’re young and innocent, before they can turn bad and peep on their sisters, like he did.
Aided by the fact that the kid’s parents have helpfully emblazoned their minivan with the names of all the family members (Do people really do this?), Trinity nabs a child from an entertainment complex. Of course, this time around, there’s Dexter, who enlists Trinity’s son in unpacking the plot: Trinity holds his young victims in empty houses that are up for sale, then disposes of their bodies in concrete at build sites. Dexter catches up with Trinity at the last minute and apparently knocks him out — but Trinity runs off while Dexter saves the kid. Dexter’s good intentions have sabotaged the kill.
Meanwhile, Debra is piecing together Lundy’s killing; Batista, feeling insulted by LaGuerta for his lack of leads, doesn’t mind the interference. Deb is an increasingly impressive investigator. She agrees to an interview with Reporter Girl — to get her reaction, and her fingerprints. She even gets Quinn to give her Reporter Girl’s toothbrush for a DNA sample. And so the two cases are connected: The department knows not only that Reporter Girl likely shot Deb, but that she’s related to Trinity.
Panicked, Reporter Girl calls daddy. Problem is, they’re estranged: Trinity tells his daughter he has a family that needs him, and hangs up. But she catches up with him and confronts him with a childhood memory. He’d told her to stay in the car, but (like father, like daughter!) she peeped in a window and saw a woman in a bloody bathtub. When it happened in the same house 30 years later, she went through his old postcards and figured out that duplicate killings followed his travel path — and now she reports that the police might have figured something out, too. She just wants to please her absentee dad! Even if that means murder. But Trinity shoos her away, promising they’ll straighten this out later, and by “straighten this out,” we’re pretty sure he means he’s going to kill her. But the cops reach her first.
We’re left with Dexter cradling his baby boy, contemplating the sins of the fathers: “I promise no one’s ever going to hurt you again ... especially me.”
Anything would be anticlimactic after last week. In the season’s final two episodes, it looks like we'll see Harry’s informant telling Deb about another informant love interest (Dexter’s mom?), Masuka telling Dexter about Rita’s (non-)affair, and Trinity doing whatever it takes to get Dexter. We’re still waiting for Dexter’s misguided murder of that photographer to come back to bite him in the ass; to remind us about that problem, this week Rita’s son got into a fight with a kid who said he’d seen Dexter sneak out of the little sailor’s camp. Quinn is probably going to cause some trouble, and surely no good can come from how much Dexter shared with Trinity’s son ...
IGN lauds Dexter’s return to perversity.
The A.V. Club, the Ampersand, and Dreamin’ Demon agree that Reporter Girl being Trinity’s daughter is a ridiculous twist.
Television Without Pity questions whether a crime show really needs a Thanksgiving special.