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Dexter Recap: Vigilantes in Love

“I need someone I can trust 100 percent,” Deb says to Dexter after confessing the circumstances of her rift with Quinn. “Like the vigilante. She has someone in her life, a guy who is helping her, who would do anything and everything for her. He’s risking himself for her. He’s putting everything on the line to make what happened to her right. What word would you use to describe that? Love. What they are doing takes devotion. To kill someone together, that’s some pretty serious shit.” Dexter contemplates this. Is that what Lumen and I have? he wonders. Serious shit?

It’s a good question. For the first time this season, we wonder if the shit between Lumen and Dexter is serious enough to get her into Season 6. I always assumed that, like everyone else who was privy to the real Dexter, Lumen would end up on his table. And that could still happen, I suppose. Or Jordan might kill her. But it also seems plausible, as we close in on the season finale, that Lumen and Dexter might become what Deb imagines they already are: a team of revenge killers, as devoted to each other as they are to the code.

The episode opens with Deb and Quinn questioning Jordan Chase in his office. She is so over Chase’s slick attitude. “I keep asking myself, what’s the connection, what do they have in common?” she says. “You! You are what they have in common. Why don’t you just save us a lot of time and tell us what that connection is.” Love the super-detective version of Deb we’ve seen emerge this season. Also love this line: “Jordan Chase is up to his ball sack in this, I fucking know it.” Well said, as per usual, Deb.

Dexter and Lumen, meanwhile, are lost in that postcoital honeymoon phase where they cuddle all the time, gaze at each other, and indulge in the serial-killer equivalent of ring shopping: They stroll around the mall, holding hands and looking at knives. Dexter buys Lumen a tasteful switchblade with a pearl handle. Classy and understated. They’re back at home snuggling and discussing the complexity of pursuing Jordan now that Miami Metro, and Deb in particular, are also onto him when Dexter sees the couple’s image in the screen of the baby monitor, which is picking up Liddy’s camera’s signal. “Somebody’s watching us,” Dexter says, nuzzling Lumen to hide his horror.

Dexter assumes Chase is behind this but when he locates the camera, he discovers the “Property of Miami Metro” tag and realizes the situation is even worse. Dexter knows the camera must be transmitting to a device close by, probably something mobile, but a quick scan of nearby cars reveals too many different RVs and dubious-looking white vans to narrow down immediately. We found this really satisfying, by the way, because in cop shows it seems like whenever a suspicious white van has to be located there is only one on the street but in real life there is one every block. Pet peeve!

Anyway, Dexter hacks into the Miami Metro database and tracks the camera to Quinn. A brief search of Quinn’s apartment turns up the telltale photos Liddy gave him of Lumen and Dexter loading suspicious-looking garbage bags (filled with body parts) onto Dexter’s boat. (Huge points to the writers here, who have Lumen mocking Quinn’s ancient computer, on which they turn up nothing besides a video of a cat “that hiccups and farts at the same time.” Quinn would so have that. Negative points, however, for the fact that they don’t find any porn. He would so have that, too.) Dexter and Lumen’s actual stalker, Liddy, has been officially booted off the force and is more convinced than ever that busting Dexter is his way back to good standing. One question: Does this guy really seem like he gives a shit if he gets to be a cop anymore? His favorite activity is shooting tequila and sucking down shellfish. What does he want with an office gig? Is his pride really so injured that he would be this maniacally focused on finding “something big enough to make them give me my job back?”

Doesn’t matter now, though, cause the dude is dead. Dexter finally tracks down the right van but Liddy tasers him, binds him, and drives him out to some suitably abandoned waterfront spot. Then he calls Quinn, whom he’s manipulated into showing up. Dexter wields his own switchblade, frees himself and manages to noiselessly stab Liddy and silence his cell phone while Quinn bangs on the door, then leaves an angry message. It’s almost a clean kill, except for one telltale drip of blood seeping through the seams in the van’s sliding door. Quinn doesn’t’ notice it right away but we know he will.

Back at the office, Masuka has turned up another one of Lumen’s footprints, this one left at the abandoned house next door to Alex’s. So that’s where they killed him. Masuka’ not supposed to be discussing Deb’s vigilante theory in mixed company but he does anyway and now LaGuerta knows. Still smarting from the fact that LaGuerta threw Deb under the bus in the whole Santa Muerte debacle, Deb’s sure LaGuerta won’t support her and at first it seems she’s right.

“It’s a theory I was keeping to myself, but it’s out there now,” Deb says. “We may have a vigilante on our hands. There are thirteen DVDs and only twelve victims so I’m thinking one of the barrel girls escaped and now she’s after the men that abducted her and she’s hunting them and killing them.”

“How is that even possible?” La Guerta says bitchily. “The barrel girls are all slight of build and Alex Tildon was what, 175 pounds?”

“Maybe she had help,” Deb offers. “A man, someone she trusts, someone who cares about her.”

“So now it’s vigilantes in love?” LaGuerta snaps.

Deb is undeterred. She and Quinn go to speak with Dan the Dentist’s wife, who tells them that of course her husband knew Jordan Chase, “they grew up together.” She informs the detectives about Jordan’s secret past as a fat kid. The look on Deb’s face is stirring; she’s right! She always believed her own theory but watching all the pieces come together is still pretty stunning. A quick call to Chase’s office yields the news that the guru has conveniently planned a string of speaking engagements out of the country. Deb tries to wrangle a court order to ground him but it’s denied. But LaGuerta intervenes. She claims that despite the pair’s differences, she’s always trusted Deb’s instincts as a cop and based on that, used her pull to get a different judge to grant the order. Thank God. I’m really sick of hating LaGuerta.

Deb rushes to the cinematically abandoned airfield where Chase’s private jet waits. She’ finally got her man! There’s only one problem: He’s not there. Chase has ordered the last remaining member of his twisted posse, Emily, to call Lumen up and lure her out to Emily’s house. They’re expecting Dexter as well but he’s busy with Liddy at the time, so Lumen arrives alone. Chase is pissed. “I find this profoundly distasteful,” he seethes, as he picks up a fireplace poker. “I’ve never had to do anything before, now I have no choice, I can’t leave any witnesses.” He turns his rage on Emily first, killing her. Then it’s just Lumen, alone with her ultimate nemesis and the little knife her boyfriend bought her. Looks like we’re going to find out if she’s really up to the challenge of being Dexter’s partner in crime.

Dexter shows up in time to follow the blood trail out of the house and into the backyard. Is this the only kind of love I’ll ever find the kind that ends in blood? he wonders. Then, finding Lumen’s knife bloodied and abandoned in the grass outside, he’s emboldened. “She’s putting up a fight.”

So much to look forward to in this finale! Whatever is going on between Lumen and Chase, it’s bound to be bloody, psychologically deranged, and totally compelling. It’s hard not to root for her to kill Jordan, but do we want her to survive the season? Would a new season of Dexter featuring our hero and his hot girlfriend co-killer be appealing? And what about the other troubled couple, Deb and Quinn: His apology seemed genuine. He really loves her, even if he expresses that by saying she reminds him of a guy. (Um, you never, ever, ever say that to a girl, no matter how tomboyish she seems.) The thing is, even though Quinn has abandoned the whole my-girlfriend’s-brother-killed-his-own-wife theory, once he finds out about Liddy he’s going to have no choice but to reexamine it. And what about Deb? Is this going to be the year where she finds out the truth about her brother? We hope not. We think it would demolish a crucial tension in the show’s infrastructure, but the plot is veering in that direction. And then there’s the undercurrent of Dexter’s nagging family life. Harrison’s birthday is coming up and Dexter and Lumen promised to drive to Orlando to participate.

When this season started, the big question was, can Dexter be a good father and a good killer? He thought the answer was no and initially abandoned the fatherhood thing to lead a life of abject bloodlust. Then he swung to the other extreme, devoting himself to his child and abstaining from killing for a while. As we near the season’s close, Dexter is making serious mistakes in each avenue of his life. The details of Harrison’s party remain woefully underplanned but Dexter is also breaking the code left and right. Killing people in broad daylight in parked cars? Disposing of damning evidence by tossing it casually into the water three feet from where you committed the murder? Harry would so not be pleased. But he’s not around right now to say anything. And the central questions about who Dexter really is and what kind of life he can reasonably sustain remain as unanswered as ever.

Photo: Showtime