Are you ready for the new, creepier Dexter to get even creepier? Or more human? Or both?
Let’s skip right to the punch line: In one of the more ingenious scenes in the series’ history, Dexter parrots the confessions of a psychotic, murderous stalker to — wait for it — convince Rita to marry him. Even better is that, at the end, we’re not really sure how to feel about all this. Is Dexter playing a role to manipulate Rita? Or is he simply struggling, as he’s always done, to use a role to feel real — or as close to feeling real as he’s able?
That’s the theme this week, in case you missed it: role-playing. Everyone suspects everyone else of not being quite what they seem. If Miguel Prado is a valiant crusader for justice, why is he railroading Chickie Hines? If Quinn is on the up-and-up, why is he so good at slyly convincing the fragile murderess Fiona to spill her secrets to him — and totally deceiving Deb in the process? As for Dexter, what role is he playing, exactly? Is it the psycho trying valiantly to be a decent family man? Or is it the psycho trying to bamboozle an innocent woman into believing that he is, in fact, a decent family man?
The only person who’s on the level in this topsy-turvy world is the hot-headed Ramon Prado — and he’s being played by Dexter like a mandolin. (Well, there’s also poor Angel, who, in his fumbling search for intimacy, manages to hire a prostitute that turns out to be a vice cop.)
But what’s really intriguing about the emerging dynamic between Dexter and Miguel is that, even as Dexter is increasingly seduced by the idea that, in Miguel, he’s finally found a trustworthy confidant, that trust is built largely as a consequence of Dexter’s own manipulations and lies. After Ramon’s meltdown, Miguel decides Dexter’s the only person he can trust — not knowing, of course, that said meltdown was entirely engineered by Dexter. So — can Dexter be trusted? Can he ever truly be someone’s friend, let alone a husband and father? With the new, creepier Dexter, that seems less and less likely. Although, the fact that he, alone, of everyone in the entire Miami PD, agreed to attend Masuka’s lecture suggests he must have some latent capacity for extraordinary loyalty.