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Dexter Recap: Murder Free

If someone told you that we’d go two weeks in a row without seeing Dexter dump body parts off his boat, you’d probably say that’s a bad sign of where this season is headed. Yet last night was the second consecutive kill-free episode that was still completely satisfying. Make that almost completely — when Dex carjacks Travis and starts talking in that low-octave, edge-of-madness voice, it’s a reminder of how deliciously twisted those kill scenes always are. (Sigh. Remember how much fun it is to cheer on an act of serial murder?) But it’s unseemly to complain when we’re given so much more to enjoy: whore-hunting with the Prof and Travis, another shocking ending, and the second series appearance by someone who banged Bill Compton on True Blood.

Last week, we took a shot at decoding the Doomsday Killer’s messages, and in light of smarty-pants Anderson’s research, it appears our batting average is a healthy .500. He says the winged waitress in the greenhouse was a reference to Revelation 8 through 10; we said Revelation 12 and thought she might have represented the Ho of Babylon. It turns out the HOB was actually next on the Prof’s tableau to-do list, so we’ll take a strikeout on that one (though really it’s more like a warning-track fly-out, just sayin’). As for those slips of paper with the numbers — nailed it! A note marked “1244” is found in the waitress-angel’s throat, and as Masuka’s new intern confirms, the number 1260 is indeed the endgame, as we predicted. (Apologies if this recap is shorter than usual, but it’s hard to type while patting oneself on the back.) That gives Miami Metro and Dexter fifteen more days of dealing with “apocalyptic bullshit,” as Deb observes, before the Prof’s grim grand finale.

There’s also a theory (potential spoiler alert here) that some of you floated in last week’s comments — that the Prof is dead and talking to Travis in the same way Old Man Morgan talks to Dexter. That seemed like a stretch, but upon further review, there could be something to this Shyamalanian twist. The Prof was oddly unconcerned about being seen in public during the Great South Beach Whore Hunt, despite the fact that his mug is now front-page news. Whenever they’re in a car, Travis is driving. When Travis dropped the mannequins on the steps of their church-lair in episode two, the Prof didn’t lend a hand. It seemed like a control technique at the time; the Prof makes Travis do all of his dirty work to keep him in line. But it is getting rather suspicious that he doesn’t do much besides bossing Travis around and tossing off 700 Club bons mots like “Eyes on God, not me.”

The Ghost Prof theory would also explain why Travis sees the Prof bleeding from the head during prayer time. Notice that when Travis looks back at him, the stigmata is gone. Travis is seeing things. Could the Prof be one of his visions? When Dexter asks him if the Prof is the one doing all the killing, Travis gives a non-committal response: “He’s so much stronger than me.” It’s enough to keep him alive, as Dexter suspects the Prof is the real killer. Maybe it really is a setup for a mind-bending reveal when Dex finds the Prof — and he’s dead!

But hopefully not. It would be a sly trick, sure, but it doesn’t fit within the show’s own logic. In one scene, Travis physically helps the Prof to his feet; in the car, the Prof pushes Travis’s foot on the gas to rack up some miniskirted road kill. You could say it’s all in his mind, and that Travis uses Ghost Prof as a means to do what he’s not “strong enough” to handle himself (for example, killing people). But we have seen the Prof actually doing stuff, like painting the death angel scene and stroking the waitress’s hair as she’s bound and gagged. Although he didn’t help Travis carry those mannequins into the church, he did pick up a wayward head and brushed aside its hair (brunette, as we’ve learned he fancies). The clincher came last night when Travis calls the Prof on his cell phone. By comparison, Harry doesn’t interact in any physical way with the world around him (and he doesn’t have an iPhone). If we’re supposed to believe Travis is imagining the Prof answering his call and talking back to him, that’s a logic fail. Unless it’s proven otherwise, the Prof looks alive to me.

With all the talk of angels both light and dark, Brother Sam emerges as the yang to the Doomsday Killers’ yin. It figures that just as the Bro and Dexter begin to bond — over beers at the apartment, where Dex does the majority of his socializing — somebody caps Dexter’s new buddy. Three shots to the chest don’t bode well, unless Kevlar is part of the Bro’s work attire at the auto shop. Methinks there’s a “miraculous” recovery in his future, though (Mos ain’t goin’ out like that!). As for the rest of the gang, Deb finally scores a sweet bungalow on the beach (with a double-homicide discount); Masuka’s third intern hire cleans up his Ice Truck Killer mess (and the porn on his work computer — this guy’s a keeper); and just when Quinn shows a hint of maturity in politely asking Deb to cough up the engagement ring, he sleeps with their best Doomsday Killer lead — Professor Clarissa Morris, a.k.a. Lorena from True Blood. Sure, there’s a bar full of women he could hit on who wouldn’t jeopardize their investigation, but as he explains to Angel, screwing a college professor is on his bucket list. Plus, there’s a financial angle — Quinn already dropped $80 to reel this one in. Why start over? (I’m sure when Angel thought about it from an investment standpoint, it totally made sense.) Love it when Quinn is completely puzzled by Clarissa’s esoteric literary reference to C.S. Lewis. Think he’s read anything that doesn’t come with a centerfold or a fold-in cover? We’re left to ponder that question and a few more heading into next week:

• What in the hell does the title of the Prof’s book, The Alpha and the Omega of the Enesserette, mean? And what clues does it hold?

• Does Travis have his own version of Dexter’s kill uniform? (When he was out hunting for harlots with the Prof, he was wearing a sensible jacket and polo shirt. During his botched abduction attempt, he’s rocking jeans and a blue Champion sweatshirt circa 1998. Dex, please give this kid some serial-murder fashion advice before you snuff him out.)

• Clarissa, the Prof’s former student/hookup, tells Angel and Quinn that the Prof had a thing for brunettes. How will that play out? (Perhaps with a starring role for Travis’s brunette sister in a future Revelation-inspired kill scenario?)

• Will “Who Shot the Bro?” rival “Who Shot J.R.?” in terms of pop-culture significance? (The Official Dexter Magic 8-Ball says “outlook not so good.” Doesn’t seem like much of a mystery, since just a few days ago, we saw a very nasty gangbanger threaten to shoot him.)

• At Deb’s new shore house, Anderson rather awkwardly mentions that he’s married. Is poor Deb headed for yet another disastrous relationship?

• What does the Prof have in store for the party girl that Travis ran over?

• What does Clarissa’s crazy tramp stamp mean? (A similar symbol appeared on the spine of a book that Angel saw on her bookshelf.)

• Is this the most unintentionally hilarious exchange in Dexter history? Or the Best Faith-Based Pep Talk You’ll Never Hear Before a Notre Dame Football Game?
Prof: You may have to find our whore without me.
Travis: By myself? I can’t.
Prof: Yes you can. I believe in you. God believes in you.

THE POSTMORTEM
Best quote: “Would it be weird if I just left?” —Dexter to himself after walking in on Deb’s argument with his nanny.

Debra Morgan Vulgar Outburst of the Night: “I can’t work for fuck in my new office. It’s like LaGuerta’s perfume seeped into the walls. If she ever had a soul, it’s still in there.” —on the challenges of her new gig.

Kill Tools: n/a

Photo: Randy Tepper/Showtime