Dexter Suddenly Gets Stupid


The Damage a Man Can Do
Season 3 Episode 8

We’ve seen many sides of Dexter over the years: Lover, killer, blood spatter–analyzer, waffle lore–inventor. But this week we see a side of Dexter we haven’t seen before: teacher. Also: moron.

Don’t get us wrong. We’re generally big fans of the Dexter-Miguel storyline. (Emmys for everyone!) We are, however — much like Dexter’s spectral, omnipresent father — a little surprised at how quickly and completely Dexter’s taken Miguel on as his pupil. During the scene in which Dexter preps Miguel to kill Fleeter, the bookie enforcer, we kept waiting for Dexter to add, “Oh, by the way, there’s one more thing you need to know before we do this: I’M A PSYCHOPATH. I LACK HUMAN EMPATHY AND THE ABILITY TO FEEL REMORSE.”

Because Miguel, for all his stories of kicking his abusive father down the stairs and subsequently feeling “the darkness,” isn’t a psychopath — or, worse, he is one, in which case you probably don’t want to be teaching him how to be a better killer. This is all addressed, of course, in the episode’s many allusions to the butterfly effect — not to mention the final moment, when the newly empowered Miguel pays a visit to his old nemesis-slash-non-deserving-murderee, Ellen Wolf.

(One side note on Fleeter: So this guy pays off his debts to bookies by killing other people who haven’t paid off their debts to bookies? Does this seem like an economically efficient way to run a bookie operation?)

It makes some sense that Dexter, as a psycho, wouldn’t necessarily recognize other psychos (though he’s shown this ability explicitly in the past). Or maybe he doesn’t realize the obvious danger in tutoring Miguel on proper bladework (even though Miguel does nothing but deride Dexter’s “code”). Either way, this seems like catastrophically bad judgment. We really hope the rest of the season doesn’t play out like this: Miguel kills Ellen, Dexter sees the errors of his ways, he kills Miguel to clean up his mistake, and Spectral Father tut-tuts knowingly in the background. But that, unfortunately, seems to be where this is headed.

As for everyone else, it’s mixed news all around. Angel thinks he’s ruined things with Barbara, but she simply finds him endearingly dopey. LaGuerta seems to be developing Sapphic-love urges toward Wolf (a turn of events totally foreseen by our estimable colleague Emilly Nussbaum), but now Wolf looks to be not long for this world. And Deb figures Anton has dumped her, but, actually, he’s probably just dead.

Speaking of Deb and how much we love her: She gets both the best line of the night — “Wedding rings and nuclear fission are, like, my secret specialties” — and the worst. “Trimmed trees! The Skinner’s been here!” Or the gardener.

Dexter Suddenly Gets Stupid