Dexter Recap: Adventures in Babysitting

What if Dexter’s dark passenger were only a temporary traveler whose ticket expired a long time ago? That’s Deb’s line of thinking in this week’s episode of Dexter, and her brother starts to think she might be right. But I can think of little more than the terrible carnage that happens in the last few minutes of the episode: Those frosty swirls deserved better! But I am a professional, so I’ll try to pull it together so we can review the major events of “Sunshine and Frosty Swirl.”

DEB, DISGUSTED | The episode picks up exactly where last week’s ended, with Deb so upset about Dexter’s admission that she runs from the apartment complex and hurls in the street. He follows her, and she starts peppering him with questions between her sobs. Despite his harshly whispered “This is not the place to talk about this,” he answers her: He started when he was 20, he only kills “certain kinds of people, like Travis,” he was the Bay Harbor Butcher and “Dad taught me.” That one’s the worst – just when Deb’s gotten back up on her feet, it brings her down again in horror – and I like the way Michael C. Hall plays it, like he’s so sorry that his answers are cutting his sister into pieces but he knows that not answering her is no longer an option. Both he and Jennifer Carpenter nail this scene. Back inside the apartment, he tells her everything, but she’s not super sympathetic, saying, “A lot of horrible things happen to a lot of people, and they don’t turn out like you.” Good point. Deb has two more fairly fantastic lines, one in response to when Dexter first tells her about his dark passenger (“You gave it a name?”) and the other when she realizes that all of this has been happening on her watch (“I am the worst f—ing detective in the world.”). That said, she refuses to turn him in or turn her back on him. So she reads one Butcher-era newspaper article in which Lundy (sad aww) was quoted as saying serial killers will continue to murder until someone stops them, and she suddenly deems herself fit to help Dexter overcome his compulsion. (She also does that TV thing-that-never-happens-in-real-life where she reads part of the article out loud even though she’s by herself. Who does that?) Though I think she’s delusional, the love behind Deb’s decision to become a one-woman clinic is conveyed really well when she and Dex discuss the matter. She says she sees the good in him and thinks that if he can channel his appetite for the gruesome, why can’t he control it?  He ashamedly admits that he’s tried stopping before, with no success. Well, now he’s got her, she says, and she’s giving him no choice: She’s going to help him. Deb, if you think getting between Dex and his D.P. is going to end well, I’ve got a bra-eschewing, fire-lighting, crazy British chick you might wanna talk to.

FOXHOLEY MOLEY | A quick update on Mike’s murder: A snappy dresser named Isaak Sirko – the man we George call last week – is in Miami to find out what happened to Dexter’s last victim, Viktor. If the organization that owns The Foxhole is a series of Ukranian nesting dolls, Isaak is the biggest, scariest one. We know this because he never goes anywhere without a henchman and Foxhole manager George seems afraid of him – he mentions that no one in “the brotherhood” would’ve made a move against Viktor without clearing it with Isaak. Later, Isaak jams a screwdriver in the eye of a former Foxhole bouncer, killing him for talking to the police. While the Ukranian baddie is a little intriguing (though as far as well-mannered murderers go, I prefer mine to come with a fried chicken coating), this whole storyline felt very divorced from everything else that happened in the episode, no?

SIDE BY SIDE  | Back at Debra Morgan’s Home for Wayward Serial Killers, she informs Dexter that she’s going to watch everything he does to make sure his dark passenger stays locked in the trunk. When she says they’ll spend every minute together, he replies, “I hope you’ve got a big shower,” which is kinda icky on a bunch of levels, don’t you think? Dexter redeems himself at dinner, though, with a very descriptive (and nicely delivered) monologue about exactly how the pressure to kill builds inside him until it has to be let out. And as soon as he gets a little time out of Deb’s sight, Dexter breaks into Louis’ home to find out why the lab rat is so interested in him. The killer yearning starts to percolate as Dex realizes that Louis canceled his credit cards and sent him the prosthetic hand from the Ice Truck Killer case; his computer reveals that he’s a rage-filled dork who likes to rant into his webcam. One of his recorded sessions refers to how a guy named Bob Henley “got off easy” compared to what Louis is going to do to Dexter. A Web search tells Dex that Henley is a software company co-founder who was taken down when child porn (that Louis might’ve planted) was found on his work computer. All of this exposition is interrupted when Louis comes home; Dexter throttles him until Louis says he’s messing with Dexter because Dex pooh-poohed his video game. Dexter and I are skeptical, but Louis says he’ll leave Dex alone and does… until Dex comes home to his place and finds Louis there hanging out with Jamie and Harrison, acting like nothing happened. I read his remark that Dexter’s place is “by the bay” as a hint that he knows the true identity of the Bay Harbor Butcher. Thoughts? Anyway, Dexter later drugs Deb so he can sneak out and finish Louis off, but after syringing him and tossing him in the trunk, Dexter calls his no-kill sponsor like he’s supposed to. Deb comes running and congratulates him for stopping himself – she doesn’t know that Louis was his potential victim, and that he’s still passed out in the car – and when she leaves, Dexter leaves his tormentor in the park. Maybe there’s hope for Dexter after all – that’s what we’re supposed to think, especially after a murderer who’s helping Miami Metro look for some of his victims’ bodies tells Dexter that he made peace with himself after he surrendered to his conscience. But it turns out all that murderer wanted was a day or two in the sunshine and an ice cream cone, because he uses his pass from prison to kill himself by jumping in front of a gas truck (for the Sun ‘n’ Go gas company – ha!). Deb’s across the street from the scene, buying frosty swirls for her and Dexter, when it happens. The cones hit the ground in a moment of senseless soft-serve sacrifice (noooooo!) as she runs over, and as the prisoner’s blood splashes on his face, Dexter realizes that there was no hope for that “reformed” killer, and there might not be for him, either. And let’s not forget about the slide found in the previous episode, because LaGuerta sure hasn’t. She has a private lab confirm that the blood on the glass is Travis’, and later – as a photo of Doakes gives her the eyebrow – she sifts through the FBI’s sealed evidence box and compares those slides to the one she found. That net’s getting tighter, Dex…

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Did you buy Louis’ explanation for his fascination with Dexter? Do you think Deb actually believes she can watch her brother 24/7? And do you worry that prone-to-mess-ups Quinn may be considering the blonde stripper’s request for cash? Hit the comments and sound off!