Dexter: Howdy, Partner

Happy Halloween from Dexter! And what better way to celebrate than with a good, old-fashioned double homicide? No, Sunday night’s episode wasn’t Halloween-themed, but it certainly had enough blood to keep me feeling festive. Several of you thought I was too hard on last week’s ep—which, to be fair, I mostly liked. “Everything Is Illuminated” just felt like a more clear progression of the plot, forging the alliances that will color the second half of this season.

Dexter got himself a partner. He didn’t want a partner—at least, not consciously—and he’s been doing fine without one for quite a while. But Lumen isn’t leaving any time soon, and the two appear inextricably linked until her storyline plays out. I like the interplay between Dexter, the nervous-but-experienced killer, and Lumen, the careless amateur. Dexter's interests are clearly paternal: Note the scene in which he licks his finger and wipes blood off Lumen’s face. (“Blood stains on school picture day! What’s a mother to do?”) Dexter has to teach Lumen the code—although, as I speculated last week, her motivations are a lot simpler. Lumen doesn’t need to kill—she just needs to find peace. Hopefully Dexter stepping into Harry’s role will aid her in that process without pushing her too far toward the dark side. Speaking of, isn’t it curious that Harry was conspicuously absent this week?

Dexter appears to see Lumen as his “daughter.” He insisted on reiterating his favorite bad omen mantra, “Lumen didn’t witness her mother’s murder, but she was born in blood.” A little repetitive, to be sure, but I’d rather Dexter fret over a grown woman than over Harrison, who may or may not have said “die, die.” (Babies: not known for their enunciation skills.) I do, however, think Dexter is being a bit naïve in establishing himself as the father when his interests in Lumen are—how shall I put this?—not just familial. He wants to see her as a version of himself, but isn’t she more of a Rita? This is another strong, motivated woman destroyed by the violence wrought on her. And if we needed any more hints, we got an obvious nod to Rita’s death with Lumen’s bath. “I can’t get revenge for Rita’s death,” Dexter lamented, “but I can help Lumen avenge what was done to her.” And where does that leave you, Dex? Are you the Harry to her Dexter? Or, if you do end up saving her, are you the Dexter to her Rita?

The other alliances will likely prove interesting as the season progresses, but I have little to say about them now. While I’m glad to see that Angel and Maria worked through their differences, I’m confused as to why we had to go through all the drama. When they first ended up together, I was as surprised as most viewers—but I went with it. The more we saw, the more it made sense. They just fit. Throwing a wrench in the relationship felt like Season 5 spinning its wheels, which was my biggest issue with last week’s “filler” episode. Here’s hoping Miami’s finest can hold it together till the season finale.

And then there’s Quinn, who has now established alliances with a crooked cop (Peter Weller) and with Deb, the sister of the man he’s trying to take down. From the beginning, it seemed as though Quinn was following Doakes’ footsteps—and he definitely is, to some extent. But this plotline has the potential to exceed Season 2’s cat-and-mouse game, with the addition of two more outsiders. To me, the biggest wildcard is Deb. On the one hand, the bond between brother and sister has never been stronger. At the end of last season, Deb learned that her former fiancée, the Ice Truck Killer, was Dexter’s biological brother, and she still stuck by him. But what happens now? She’s developed feelings for Quinn, a man convinced—and rightly so—that Dexter is Kyle Butler. “If this is going to end badly, will you please just tell me now?” she insisted. Oh, Deb. You should know better than that.

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