Dexter cannot be viewed as any other show just like Twin Peaks was not to be viewed as other shows.
Most people are concentrating on the 'movement' of everybody on the show while the show is strictly about the 'movements' of Dexter, the man.
Therefore, while many consider this season slow compared to others it is the fastest paced season so far... if one watches it from Dexter's perspective.
I wish I had the time to go through the 60+ episodes since season 1 and cut and paste together just Dexter's voiceover track. That would be an amazing trip and would make people understand what the show is really about. Everything else, everyone in MM are like the dancers behind Lady Gaga: they only have meaning and greatness because of what she goes through with her music. No Gaga, no music, they would look boring, lengthy at times, and what they do incomprehensible or stupid.
Watch the show from Dexter's perspective and it is just another, and such amazing, story.
The characters are shown to us as Dexter sees them not as they really are. That is why they look corny, useless, and bland at times. This is how Dexter sees them. Except his sister and those who have had close encounters with him. This is observable by the superior caliber of actors that were/are brought in to play those roles. Doakes, Trinity, Lunden. Why does this new detective shines so much amongst the twits of MM? Because he his an outsider, seems competent and Dexter sees him as an eventual threat.
Its all about Dexter's movements... Only about Dexter's movements.
I would call this episode "Midseason Rush". It was clearly mentioned by the producers, last year, and hinted at the very beginning, that this season was going to be mainly about Dexter's inner questioning. And from that point of view, this is probably the fastest paced season of all. And it is no surprise that those who watch the show for the kills and the pursuits are disappointed. The series has never been about that anyway. The first two years were solely aimed at setting the character's dynamic well, before entering the journey.
It all began with the birth of Harrison. It intensified when he met the Trinity killer. It deepened when he found Harrison in his mother's pool of blood (as himself was found by Harry). It then got hopeful with the Lumen experience. This season, it has accelerated with Harrison entering school, Brother Sam and the "Tooth Fairy Killer" where it got a speedboost. This episode was the cumulative effect.
Harrison is the key here. Is it a coincidence that the writers have decided to name him "Harry's son"? Haven't we seen him more in this half season than on any other season? Without Harrison the questioning in Dexter's mind could not occur.
This is not about faith. It is about the changes in Dexter's inner self. That is probably why the writers needed to have Brother Sam killed. And if we all have been disappointed or sadden by his death, he has achieved his purpose because Dexter was also shook. That guy was no Miguel Prado to Dexter. He is beginning to feel true emotions which he has never shown before: happiness when he found out that they were dealing with a serial killer at the "Angel of Death" scene, disappointment when Leo got killed by the cops, profound disappointment and sadness when the doctor gave the news of Sam's death, and now, this growling rage when he killed Nick...
Dexter is changing, thus his vision of Harry is changing. He has been more "reflective" than "directive" as this season progressed, even beginning to question his own judgment: It's because he's [Sam] traveled both roads that he understand the darkness in you... and he sees the light. I wish I did. Maybe things could have been different". The comforting presence of Brother Sam in his life has lead Dexter to let Harry, his "safety valve", slowly fade away. If Harry fades away someone else may slip in... and there, is Brian, applauding.
A very intense episode for our dear Dexter. He has boldly gone where no Dexter had gone before. He never was half that disturbed when Rita died. Harry never prepared him for that. While he may now seek refuge in his brother to avoid the suffering, I believe it is temporary. Dexter has to exorcise his brother through Harrison before he can move into a lighter shade of life. The Jonah story, next week, is a perfect setup for that.
Still, I believe that his greatest turmoil has yet to come when he really comes face to face with Travis, the other traveler.
Travis is also beginning to question himself. What horrible story lays behind his dark passenger? He still has to face the wrath of Gellar next week. Will he ask Dexter for help? "Oh, trust me, I know more about darkness than most, and Gellar is pure darkness" said Dexter in the car.
As for the other stuff at Miami Metro:
Masuka thinks that they are all rock stars but they all closed the case on Brother Sam's killer with the wrong guy.
Quinn is suffering a lot more about Debra leaving him then he wanted to show. I began to feel sorry for him.
LaGuerta's voice was all shaky when she talked to Debra. I think she is a very sad woman.
The new intern is absolutely useless and a bit creepy at times. Maybe there is a surprising twist there. If the Ryan story was solely to introduce the reappearance of Brian it was totally unnecessary. In fact, the impact would have been better without that.
Great episode of a great season but the best has yet to come.