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Dexter Recap: The Incest Taboo

Colin Hanks as Travis Marshall (Season 6, episode 11) - Photo: Randy Tepper/Showtime - Photo ID: dexter_611_2079

Unless the title of last night’s episode was meant to suggest a surprise Martin Lawrence cameo, it was safe to assume we’d see a return of the Ice Truck Killer evidence and the Prof’s severed palm. But in what was, for my money, the biggest shock of the season, there was a third hand in play — Dexter’s, as he engaged in some erotic chopstick action with his sister. (Incest is really having a moment.) Travis also tries to gas Miami Metro, LaGuerta’s a dick as usual, the Feds muck up the Doomsday Killer investigation, and a bunch of other stuff happens. Did I mention that Deb dreamed she almost kissed Dexter? No offense taken if you skip the rest of this and head straight for the comment board to talk it out. We all might need some time with Deb’s shrink after that Chinese food scene. (Some free advice, Deb — easy on the beer next time you and your bro hang out.)

The episode begins without the usual Dexter voice-over as we dive right into the hunt for Travis. Deb mentions the “anonymous tip” from 911, but doesn’t mention the caller was her brother, who made no attempt to disguise his voice. In another of the many odd or downright illogical moments in recent weeks, Dexter seems only mildly bothered by the fact that he’s largely responsible for Batista’s predicament, along with all the innocent people Travis already killed. After a psycho pep talk, Travis sends Beth to Miami Metro with a backpack of toxic gas and Batista’s I.D. card. Despite looking nervous — like someone who’s trying to smuggle a WMD into a police station — it only takes her two tries to awkwardly swipe the badge in plain view. Then again, this is the most inept homicide department in America. She probably could have carried the canisters in a picnic basket and while wearing an “I Am Wormwood” T-shirt and someone would have directed her to Deb’s office. At least Beth goes out in style, with some nice foaming at the mouth and the classic “bloody hand clawing at the window in vain hope of relief from death’s sweet embrace” move.

In what was the most obvious moment of the night, Dexter is warned that the toxic gas has left him vulnerable to extreme dizziness after physical exertion — y’know, the kind that comes when you’re wrestling with a serial killer at a marina. But with the final tableau on the way — the Lake of Fire — he doesn’t have time for an ER visit. Travis nearly caps Batista, but instead eludes capture by home-invading an elderly couple and killing them in their kitchen (but showing tenderness to their cat — is Travis also a PETA member?). To pump himself up for his next art installation, he paints what could be an awesome Slayer album cover (Satan! Hellfire! Tormented souls!), but then totally ruins it by replacing the devil’s face with Dexter’s (bald and horned is not a good look for him).

As for those hands, Dexter uses his Prof souvenir to lure Travis out from hiding. It’s unclear whether Travis was more enraged by Dexter’s taunting or that the public might think Dexter’s low-budget tableau was actually DDK’s handiwork (666 in blood? So trite). Surprisingly, no harm came from stashing the thing at work. Then there’s Louis, who thanks Dexter for his harsh video-game review. “You just made me realize I’ve spent my whole life on the sidelines playing make-believe games,” says the intern. “Now I want to get out there and make my life count for something.” That apparently means drawing palm-reading lines on the Ice Truck Killer hand and shipping it to Dexter. Clearly he is screwing with the wrong blood-spatter analyst.

Elsewhere at Miami Metro, Deputy Chief Matthews gets screwed by LaGuerta — who is now officially a one-dimensional scheming asshole boss — and blames Deb, as if she needs more shit on her sandwich (did I mention that she’s hot for her brother?). Speaking of Lieutenant Morgan, if there’s been an MVP on the show this season, it’s Jennifer Carpenter. In the scene where Deb chews out Quinn and Batista, Carpenter masterfully tightrope walks between anger and emotional meltdown. There’s also the speechless pause after her shrink suggests she may have unsisterly feelings for Dexter that says more than any F-bomb she’s ever dropped. Maybe this attraction to Dexter is a temporary diversion, or even a stress-induced response to all the fucked-upitude in her life. But the therapist makes a convincing argument about her possible semi-incestuous feelings, which aren’t as sick as they seem at first. Sure, they grew up together, but they’re not (irony alert) blood-related. They’re also each other’s best friend, save for one teeny secret Dexter is somehow still keeping from her. Still, it seems impossible for Deb to avoid either death or institutionalization by the end of the series.

Thanks to Dexter’s ill-timed dizzy spell, Travis casts him as the star in his Lake of Fire display, which of course involves a lake and a bunch of fire. Dexter survives an explosion, but is left mighty confused about where he’s headed next. With no more tableaus to complete and an apocalypse to launch, Travis might need new interns. Louis’s game plan has only just begun. And there was something else, too … oh, right, and Deb might want to bang her brother.

A few of the most ridiculous moments from last night and some thoughts before the finale:

• Why didn’t Dexter tell Deb that he recognized Beth because he looked up Doomsday Adam online and saw them in a photo together? The deception seemed unnecessary. That’s nothing that would have exposed him.

• Before the slo-mo hug between Dexter and Deb, he tells her, “I’d never let anything happen to you.” Is that just the kind of thing he says that makes her think those impure thoughts, or is it foreshadowing some badness?

• Deputy Chief Matthews tells Deb that he had sex with the hooker, then left for some unstated reason, and when he returned, she had OD’d. Where the hell did he go? A sandwich run? Feed the parking meter? A post-high-class-call-girl-humpfest stroll?

• Why would the Homeland Security agent set up shop in Deb’s office? Aren’t there any open rooms at Miami Metro other than the one Beth expired in?

• Will Louis be the second coming of the Ice Truck Killer? Or maybe a “greatest hits” killer who reprises some of Dexter’s classic foes? Something tells me he doesn’t know about Dexter’s Dark Passenger, but he might find out the hard way one day.

• Dexter says he dumped the leftover Prof pieces in the swamp. Why not the ocean?

• Speaking of risky, why would Dexter send Travis a cell-phone video? That might be his most careless move to date. If the cops ever found that phone, Dexter’s screwed.

• And why would he set up a kill scene on a boat at a marina in the middle of the day?

• At the scene of Dexter’s fake tableau, it’s mentioned that the security cameras weren’t trained on that statue. Again, the increasingly careless Dexter didn’t think to disable them just in case.

• Does Travis carry his art supplies with him everywhere he goes, including when he’s fleeing a police raid moments after he tries to set a cop on fire? Or was all of that paint just lying around the old couple’s house?

• Is there still a chance that Quinn will redeem himself and go out as a hero? Or will he just trade his badge for a twelve-step program? Anderson seems ready to step up as his replacement.

• Will Jamie become Louis’s first victim?

• How has Dexter survived this season with such a low body count? He’d usually be going more nuts than usual with a dry spell like this.

• How will Deb confront her feelings about Dexter? And will she confront him with them, too?

The Postmortem

Best quote: “What did stalkers do before the Internet?” —Dexter investigating Doomsday Adam and pondering how difficult serial killing would be without online access

Debra Morgan Vulgar Outburst of the Night: “Fuck yes, I’m becoming upset because you make it sound like I want to, be with him or something.” —in defensive denial of wanting to touch her brother’s chopsticks

Vince Masuka Pervo Line of the Night: “Bukkake, bukkakay.” —his unique take on the old “tomato, to-mah-to” line

Kill Tools: airtight police room, Wormwood gas, a swift shove.

Photo: Randy Tepper/Showtime