Season 2 Episode 5

The Dark Defender

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 28, 2007 on Showtime

Episode Fan Reviews (20)

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  • Partners in Crime Written by Tim Schlattmann Directed by Keith Gordon

    Dexter: "I hide in plain sight, unable to reach out to people close to me, afraid I'll hurt them … like I've hurt so many others. This is what he made me become".
    Lila: "And that's what you should tell him".

    It should be around this time every season that we get an episode that turns most of what we believe about Dexter on its head. Here this is exactly what happens and it makes for a lethal hour for Miami's best serial killer.

    With everyone divided on the Bay Harbour Butcher either being a source for good or pure malevolence, Dexter finds himself thinking about his mother's death. During a particularly dull narcotics meeting he even drifts off to dreamland and wonders how he could've saved his mother.

    It continues to show that no matter how much Dexter thinks he's devoid of emotion, there's always something strong that will elicit an emotional reaction. You could ask why this preying heavily on his mind now but with Rudy's death not being so long away, it's easy to see why Dexter is in a contemplative mood.

    Telling Lila about his mother's death is good for his continued charade of being an addict but it's also good that he's emotionally engaging with someone. Lila might not be the best choice in terms of confidant but right now, she'll do and despite her obvious boundaries issues, at least she can doll out some sensible advice.

    With three men responsible for Laura Moser's death, the obvious thing Dexter could do is track these guys down and add them to his slide collection. Two other obvious methods are to either urinate on their graves or talk to them behind bars. Lila suggests the latter two and she sounded serious when suggesting both of them.

    Dexter seems to be good with taking other people's advice lately so he decides to do some digging up on his mother's killers. With only one of them available to sort out, it comes as a great joy that more about Harry's relationship with Laura Moser is brought to light thanks to some audios.

    It seems that Laura was an informant rather than an addict. More interestingly is that Harry was assigned to protect her and because she ultimately got killed in such a gruesome fashion, he failed her on that account. The flashbacks with Harry this season have been good but this is the first gripping one we've had.

    In a police station we see Laura and a younger Dexter talking to Harry and the latter is portrayed as reckless due to his lack of concern for Laura's welfare. She was smart enough to realise that her cover with that drug gang was essentially blown but Harry was too preoccupied with the idea of nailing the gang to properly protect Laura.

    I don't know if I would go as far as to blame Harry for what happened to Laura but there's definitely a lot he could've done to have prevented Laura from getting killed. Dexter himself was justifiably angry when he uncovered this little bombshell but it wouldn't be the only bad dent on Harry this week.

    As for Lila, she further upped her game by suggesting a road trip to see Santos Jimenez, the only freed killer of Laura Moser. Dexter not telling Rita about this was smart in a sense but also something that will backfire on him. After all, Rita is blatantly threatened by Lila despite the fact that neither of them have interacted.

    It's hard to understand Lila's motives all together. On one hand, she's incredibly unprofessional and does seem desperate to shag Dexter. She even suggested that he dumped Rita and there's a later scene where she bares her soul to him as well. Then there's the fact that so far she's only person who sees Dexter that doesn't want to expose him as a wrong one.

    Also it's her who actually saves Dexter from himself this week. When Dexter came close to killing Santos, it was Lila who ended up talking him out of it. Of course she assumed that Dexter was using rather than killing but either way she ended up being the voice of reason that Dexter needed during his meltdown with Santos.

    It's not that I actually wanted Santos to live, it's just under normal circumstances Dexter would've been in a better to do him in but here he was losing it big time. Santos was a surly enough prick but if Dexter had killed him right there and then; it would've put him in a lot of hot water. Also the fact that Harry was sleeping with Laura raises a lot of questions as well.

    However scene where Dexter and Lila were on the bed is a bizarre one. At one point I did think he was going to sleep with her but I'm glad he didn't. Instead Lila revealed that she accidentally killed an ex-boyfriend by burning his house to the ground. Lila did seem remorseful enough for that but it only further sets off alarm bells as far as I'm concerned.

    With Lila seeing Dexter for who he is and accepting it, it makes perfect sense that Gail would see Dexter for what she thinks he is and have difficulties reconciling with it. As far as Gail is concerned, history is having a very bad habit of repeating itself and Gail doesn't mind expressing that.

    First she tackled Dexter and told him to abandon Rita and the kids if he truly cared for her. As much as I like Dexter, it's hard to find fault with Gail in this scenario. She was on the money about Paul and Rita refused to listen to her. Gail seemed intent on making amends with Rita in the last episode. I guess a part of that means protecting her daughter from unsuitable men. Sadly that's exactly where Dexter fits in right about now. It also helps that the writers don't write Gail as a harridan either.

    When it comes to Dexter, Rita does stand her ground on that one. Even though she knows that Gail is making sense she still defends Dexter and his addictive behaviour. Even though I do actually side with Dexter here, I have to admit that Rita can often be a little too naïve for her own good. At least we know that unlike Paul, Dexter would never intentionally hurt Rita.

    Gail however is relentless and when Rita thought that their confrontation would result in his mother packing her bags, it was funny to see the opposite effect occurred instead. With Gail now intending to stay around for a little longer, Dexter will definitely have to watch his step. She might not be on the level of Doakes in suspicion but she's not far off either.

    Speaking of Doakes when he has many things to say on Dexter's behaviour, he really ought to take a look at his own. Last week he killed another guy and while it's obvious that he isn't keen on talking about it, it still doesn't avoid the fact that he's also a bit of a loose cannon.

    Even Maria has her worries about Doakes and when I say worries, I mean it. The woman might have been content with sleeping with Esme's fiancé to get her job back but even she's capable of caring about someone else. That makes sense given the fact that both her and Doakes are virtual outsiders/

    Of course Doakes doesn't appreciate Maria's input and tells her to mind her own business. He even uses the fact that he knows about Bertrand to get her to back off. I don't know why but for some reason the fact that Doakes knew in depth just how low Maria would sink to get what she wanted took me back a little.

    I quite like the Maria and Doakes dynamic so I kind of hope that neither one of them fall out with the other. I feel that way mainly because they only have each other as confidants due to the way their aggressive behaviour has alienated them from everyone else on the force.

    Someone who's doing a lot less alienating is Deb. After deciding to give a relationship with Gabe a go, she decides to snoop for some more information on her new boyfriend. Gabe's quite the cutie and at first I did wonder if he was lying about not knowing the Ice Truck Killer case. However it does appear that this relationship is a little one sided.

    Given what Deb went through with Rudy, perhaps it's not a good idea that she's in any relationship right now. When she snoops through his emails she assumed that a book he's writing is about the Ice Truck Killer. It later takes Lundy of all people to make Deb realise that Gabe only writes children's books. Something tells that Deb will make one wrong assumption too many and then Gabe will tire of her and leave.

    However if that doesn't happen or Deb doesn't dump the guy, then I'm sure her relationship with Lundy will also intensify. It seems with each new episode that airs, the flirty subtext is more apparent and during their surveillance at the docks, it did look like Lundy was trying to come on to Deb.

    The thing is Deb seems to be aware that there's an attraction there too. She might not play on it or encourage it all that much but she definitely knows that Lundy's into her. She was uncomfortable with him at the docks but more receptive when he started talking about his wife's death. When they do shag, it'll kill whatever paternal role Lundy could've played in her life.

    Also in "The Dark Defender"

    So all the papers are debating about the Bay Harbour Butcher being a good guy. Dexter still hates the name, not that I blame him.

    Dexter: "Shouldn't you be moving back to your office, boss?"
    Maria: "I'd rather be here".

    Two episodes in and Doakes still hasn't said a peep about Dexter being an addict. However the trailer for next week looked like he was going to spill.

    Lila: "So what were you doing to your mother in this dream?"
    Dexter: "Saving her life. She was murdered when I was a boy. I was there. I saw it".

    Deb: "Looks bad doesn't it?"
    Gabe: "Yeah. The cute panties help".
    Deb: "Would you believe that I'm trying to get to know you better?"

    Gabe mentioned being in El Salvador visiting family during the reign of the Ice Truck Killer. His book was also called "The Ice Princess". I can see why Deb would've thought it was about her.

    Dexter: "I would never hurt Rita like Paul did".
    Gail: "Because I'm not going to give the chance. It's only a matter of time before you pull her under like Paul did".

    Doakes: "Why the **** would I need counselling?"
    Maria: "Because you shot a man last week James. That's the second time in less than six months. It's got to be taking its toll".
    Doakes: "I'm fine".

    This episode gave some confirmation that at one point both Doakes and Maria might have had a sexual history.

    Deb: "Did you hear anything I just said?"
    Lundy: "Not one word. It's one o'clock. I always stop and eat lunch at one o'clock. You'll learn that about me. Why don't you sit down?"

    Dexter: "Good news is you've got the place to yourself if you want to tie up Gabriel again".
    Deb: "That one never gets ****ing old".

    So to ask an obvious question, is there a possibility that Harry could be Dexter's biological father?

    Maria: "How did you know about Bertrand?"
    Doakes: "I didn't for sure until just now".

    Rita: "You turned your back on me and your grandchildren".
    Gail: "That wasn't my fault. I tried to warn you about Paul but you ran away with him anyway".

    Dexter tried to make chit-chat with Gail about the armadillo encounter earlier on before she tried to get rid of him and Rita is trying to give up smoking.

    Santos: "You got me confused with someone else".
    Dexter: "I know exactly who you are. You made me into what I am".

    Dexter: "Thought I could resist".
    Lila: "Jesus are you using?"
    Dexter: "No but I'm about to".

    Lila had some fun with a cottage painting in the hotel by making it look all fiery. That probably was a hint to her history of arson.

    Lila (to Dexter): "They blamed the fire on his drugs but it was me. He died because of me".

    Dexter (re Marcus): "Did he deserve it?"
    Lila: "Yes".
    Dexter: "Then you didn't do anything wrong".

    Chronology: Thanks to Maria, it's a week since "See Through" and less than six months since "Father Knows Best".

    "The Dark Defender" is a suitably apt title for this episode. Anything that really explores Dexter's psyche in such a detailed manner is going to be a winner and this utterly superb episode just keeps hitting that awesome button. Also with security footage of Dexter cleaning his boat at the end, it seems that more trouble in on the horizon for our anti-hero.