I’m sad to say that, for the second week in a row, the previews for the next episode looked much more compelling than the episode we just watched. But then, I normally get frustrated with early season “Dexter” episodes, frustration that melts away as the season progresses.
Last night’s episode dealt primarily with Dexter’s relationship with his step-daughter, Astor, and step-son, Cody, and how his relationship with murder is now entwined with the love of his children. By the end of the episode, Astor — who has replaced Rita as the show’s most annoying character — and Cody left with their grandparents, moving in with them in Orlando, leaving Dexter lost. Without his children, his desire to kill has been extinguished. “Normally a target would make me feel good. But now it means nothing. And I don’t know what will make me feel better.”
Dexter kills because he loves, damnit. And without his children around, Dexter is in a funk, which is good news only for Boyd Fowler, Shawn Hatosy’s creepy animal control worker, who kills blondes in his spare time by electrocuting them in barrels. A man’s worth nothing without his habits. Dexter has something big planned for Boyd, though. A big romantic murderin’ gesture to get his step-kids back.
It’s not as though Dexter didn’t try. He drove his kids to school, kept them away from Mommy’s bathtub, and made them funny-shaped pancakes. But Astor rebuffs his parental attempts, though her logic is wonky: Dexter gave them a perfect family, and now without Rita, Dexter’s is a constant reminder of the perfect family they lost. Tough break for Dex: “Cody and Astor showed me I can still care about something, which makes letting them go that much harder.”
Meanwhile, Quinn continues his campaign to re-bed Deb, but Deb is having none of that “fuck puddle,” at least initially. She’s warming to him, though, which is trouble for Quinn, who is also getting involved with the search for Kyle Butler (Dexter’s pseudonym with the Mitchell family), the only lead the daffy FBI agents have so far in the Trinity Killer case. Quinn is so in my Dexter death pool this season. Also, did Quinn lose a lot of weight in between seasons? He looks skeletal, and more clean-cut than usual. Maybe it’s just a new haircut.
Elsewhere, in addition to Boyd Fowler’s barrel murders, there’s also a new killer in town, someone who commits ritual machete killings under the direction of the Santa Muerte cult, or so believes a young female officer (April Lee Hernandez), who looks like she should know. She has sweet, innocent-looking serial killer written all over her. and I bet she can wield the hell out of a machete.
Finally: Sergeant Batista feels burned by the discovery that his now wife, LaGuerta, has nearly $300,000 in savings (turns out, it’s a retirement fund). Batista takes his frustration out on a few shots, before turning his attention a fellow bar patron, who had the audacity to suggest that LaGuerta is a “nice piece of ass.” I have no idea where this LaGuerta/Batista conflict is going, but right now, it feels extraneous and sitcommy. If the writers need filler, focus some more on Masuka, who’s at least good for a few darkly comic laughs each episode.
Not one of the better episodes, though I am liking Hatosy, so far. I hope he sticks around for a few more episodes before Dexter disposes of him.