After five episodes of piano-wire tension between Dexter and Debra, this chapter is driven by a different sort of friction. As long as it’s been since Dexter dispatched a bad guy, it’s been way longer since he got laid. Remember back in the day, when Dexter would occasionally get lucky, like that awkward quickie at the high school reunion? For all his talk in the opening scene with Harry about his need to kill, his obsession with Hannah and their creepy flirtation suggested that his real frustration could be of the sexual variety. The same goes for Deb, who’s stressed out, single, and probably running marathons on the treadmill to blow off steam. “My life is really fucking complicated,” Deb says in the understatement of the year. By the end of the episode, the Morgans up that ante in a big way, with two first dates that are distinctly Deb (dirty talk) and Dexter (knife play).
As action takes a backseat to plot advancement — save for the stuff in the final scene — the supporting story lines continue to take shape. No surprise that Isaak isn’t sitting on his hands in jail; instead, he’s breaking them, by sending a rather painful message to the rival Colombians who threaten to shiv him. He’s also got a cell phone, more proof that even in lockup, he’s a boss. When George the club manager delivers the news that Quinn isn’t taking their sack of cash, Isaak gives him a look that suggests he might reach through the glass and pull his still-beating heart from his chest. That sets in motion a blackmail plot that puts Quinn in a tight spot — risk losing his career and a one-way trip for Nadia to a Dubai sex dungeon, or tamper with evidence that’s sure to set Isaak free. No-brainer! Only a matter of time now until Isaak resumes his Dexter stalking. (And if our opinion of Quinn couldn’t sink any lower, note that Nadia is the voice of reason in their relationship. “What good is money if you are dead?” she tells him when he’s thinking of keeping the Kaska payoff. When you’re a cop and your Ukie stripper booty call is your moral compass, you’ve got problems.)
Back at the station, it seems like Batista and LaGuerta peed in a magic fountain or ate some freaky fortune cookies. That’s the only explanation for the body swap that’s taken place. Beaten down by his questions about the Anderson case and his sister’s dislike of hookers, Batista — the best cop in homicide and Deb’s mentor — is ready to hang up his badge. His new plan for stability and happiness? Running a restaurant. It’s no wonder Deb and Batista are so close, considering their knack for making the worst possible life choices. Meanwhile, LaGuerta has suddenly become Sherlock Holmes, as the professional schemer shows a knack for good po-lice work we haven’t seen before. All of a sudden she’s name-dropping Jordan Chase and the Barrel Girls (good name for a band) and throwing out wild theories that perfectly fit Dexter’s M.O. And the vice cranks tighter.
LaGuerta’s hunch leads Deb to more lightbulb moments regarding Dexter’s dirty deeds, as she grills him about Chase and the second vigilante killer. Dexter doesn’t admit that she was just a few feet away from catching him back then, but Deb connects the key dots.
Deb: You had that tenant with that weird fucking name. Lumen … Jesus fucking Christ, Dexter. You moved your girlfriend into the house where Trinity murdered your wife so you could kill together.
Dexter: It wasn’t like that … I was trying to make things right.
Deb: Of course. By murdering five other people.
When Dexter loses his cool and tells her to let him handle LaGuerta, Deb once again sees another glimpse of the rage and madness he’s been hiding. There’s apparently plenty of that same craziness bottled up inside Hannah, who we learn has a lust for death that goes well past her road trip with Randall. Enter the boorish Sal Price, true crime writer and another real catch that’s sure to end up on Deb’s list of mistakes with men. His research confirms that Dexter’s hunch was right — Hannah seems to have poisoned three people. It could be that all the talk about Lumen and Rita, combined with his recent celibate streak, has Dexter conflicted about Hannah. (Or maybe it’s her short-shorts and all that slow-motion strolling through the garden.) His awkwardness leads to a few funny lines, like the plant he’s looking for (“Something planty”) and his reaction when she shows up at his door (What he thinks: “I should ask her to leave.” What he says: “So you want to come in?”). At her house, Hannah corners him about his stalking, and Dexter’s quick thinking leads to a classic exchange.
Dexter: I want to take you out.
Hannah: On a date?
Dexter: That’ll work.
The Morgan siblings clearly have very different ideas of a fun night out. Deb keeps it simple with Price — beers, shop talk, and her demure charm (“C’mon, don’t be a cocktease; a good theory totally gives me a girl boner”). That pales in comparison to the winter wonderland that Dexter rigs up for Hannah. It’s the perfect first date for these two crazy kids — a little B&E at an abandoned theme park, twinkling lights, and a picnic basket full of knives, needles, and plastic wrap. One thing seemed certain: This episode could not possibly end without some psycho sex. So when Dexter whips out his syringe, it was a bit of a shock. No way Hannah is dispatched this soon, right? Perhaps it was the romantic mood in Dexter’s kill room. Or Hannah’s breathy challenge to “Do what you gotta do.” Or just Dexter’s lizard brain switching tracks from “take her out” to “get it on.” Good-bye, restraints! Off with the henley! Maybe the cure for Dexter’s compulsions is kinky naked time with a hot blonde who has a few skeletons in her closet (and one in a hole). With all that’s changed recently for the Morgans, one thing remains the same: their knack for finding love in the worst places.