Dexter 1.4-6 – Let’s Give the Boy a Hand, Love American Style, & Return to Sender

Hot prosthetics doctors! A treasure map of body parts! Blowjobs! These next three episodes of Dexter season 1 has that and more. Let’s get right into it.

Ah, Miami. Beautiful beaches, beautiful people, beautiful sunshine. And death, of course. Another crime scene, complete with tableau: a severed hand on a beach chair and lovely beach accoutrements. This one is different, though. There’s blood, and the victim is male. Could it be the Ice Truck Killer? Dexter examines the hand, trying to ignore the feeling that he had been at this beach before. Flashback to family day at the beach with a miserable pre-teen Dexter and an even younger Deb who apparently already has the vocabulary of a sailor. Am I the only one who thinks young Dexter looks like a little Michael Cera? Harry’s lesson for the day is to pretend to be happy to fit in. Dex knows the Ice Truck Killer was leaving a message for him – he knows about Dexter’s past. What else does he know about him?

"Nice hand job."

The hand at the beach belongs to Tony Tucci, the missing ice rink security guard. I loved watching Maria freak out when the captain gives her the news before tearing her a new one. LaGuerta doesn’t want to show her dumb face to Tucci’s mom after calling her son a killer, but she has to make it right if Miami PD wants to avoid a lawsuit. Deb wishes she could have seen LaGuerta’s dumb face, too.

Halloween preparations are in full swing at the Bennett household. Dexter works on cleaning out a pumpkin for the kids to carve before heading out to the costume shop. Halloween is Dexter’s favorite holiday. He spends the entire year trying to wear a mask, and he’s got a lot of them – boyfriend, brother, friend – but this is the one time of year that everyone wants to be somebody else.

A severed foot (Tucci’s) in a soccer cleat is the focus of the Ice Truck Killer’s latest tableau. Dexter realizes now that the Killer is creating scenes from his own childhood. Doakes yells at Dexter to stop staring at the foot, then notices some of Guerrero’s thugs watching him, again. Apparently Simmons’ brother-in-law’s plan to frame Doakes for that beating has worked. Dexter thinks the Killer is mocking him – but then he realizes that he’s “not corrupting the happy Hallmark images of my youth. He’s revealing the ugly truth behind them.” Uh-oh.

Through Dexter’s awesome forensics work, he realizes that Tucci is still alive. The bruising and blood flow show that the amputations were done while the heart was still beating. The ITK is also dropping on a schedule, which means that tomorrow around 7am, there should be another delivery. The game has changed now, and homicide is working hard to save the rest of Tony Tucci. Oh look, Tucci’s knee at a pumpkin patch! Harry brought Deb and Dexter here as kids. It seems like the ITK is giving Tucci drugs before doing the amputations, so I guess that’s kind of nice of him?

Later that night, Rita shows up at Dexter’s apartment in a trench coat. She reveals a skimpy Lara Croft costume before giving Dex a blowie – go Rita! After their little love sesh, Rita spots the old photos Dexter had been studying. She unknowingly helps Dexter figure out a piece of the puzzle: Harry is the common denominator in these photo messages. The Ice Truck Killer is telling him where to go.

Guerrero’s men finally catch up with Doakes at his house. They knock him out, throw him in the trunk, and bring him to Guerrero in a parking garage where Doakes promptly has the shit kicked out of him. The cops that originally tried to get Doakes in trouble with Guerrero show up at the garage and save Doakes from certain death – apparently it was their plan all along. At the same time, Dexter is visiting an old hospital where his foster grandfather used to work, since shut down. He hears whimpering and discovers poor Tony Tucci, strapped to a table and missing several body parts. He asks for death. “Gift wrapped and begging for death, tools at the ready. He was left here for me to kill him. But my new friend doesn’t see me as clearly as he thinks. Harry wouldn’t want it, and neither would I.”

Back at the station, Deb gets a message through dispatch tipping her off about Tucci’s whereabouts (thanks, Dexter). The captain commends her work, calling her his “up and comer.” LaGuerta lets Deb do something else besides watch surveillance tapes all day as Tony is taken away in an ambulance, reunited with his mother.

Back at home, Dexter contemplates his inability to kill Tucci. He’s not a monster. It would have been wrong to kill an innocent man. Harry would have been proud. Dex lives by his own set of rules: “I’m neither man nor beast. I’m something else entirely. I’m Dexter.”

We start episode 5 with a Dexter monologue about his desire for complete loneliness, maybe in a world after a plague or some kind of apocalypse, so he doesn’t have to hide who he is (if you watch “The Walking Dead,” we all know how that turned out for Bat-Shit Insane Shane). It’s almost peaceful, the way we’re focused completely on Dexter, the blue sky, and his voice. But we’re jolted to reality with Doakes’ orders to stop grinning like a psychopath and get back to work. It’s a crime scene, after all, and Dexter knows blood. We’re at the hospital where the previous episode ended, and LaGuerta is desperate for some trace of the Ice Truck Killer’s DNA. Dexter mourns the loss of the ITK’s sanctuary.

Rita, working at a ritzy hotel by the water, steps outside on the patio and sees Elena, a Cuban woman who works at the hotel, very upset. Her fiancé, Ernesto, was supposed to join her in the States, but he hasn’t arrived. The coyote she paid to bring him wanted more money and she didn’t have it. He told Elena that Ernesto was sent back to Cuba, but no one there has heard from him. Rita offers to have Dexter help her, but Elena says the coyote will hurt her family if they involve the police. But Rita insists, and Dexter agrees to talk to a friend in immigration. Apparently, there have been a couple of disappearances like this – the coyote wants a “surprise” release fee, the family can’t afford it, and then the immigrants disappear. There are four or five suspects, but not enough evidence for even a warrant. If there was an application for a warrant, these people will be in the database. Dexter has a new homework assignment.

One of the suspects, Jorge Castillo, owns a car parts business. Dexter tries to do some snooping during the day, but Mr. Castillo is in. Dexter makes up some story about a mirror he needs to complete a restoration, but he’s shut down. It’s dark the next time Dexter returns, and he’s wearing his Kill Uniform (oh Michael C. Hall, you are so sexy in your tight Henley shirt). He finds the place where Castillo keeps the immigrants locked up, but it’s not where he kills them. So where are they?

A dead body washes up on the beach, and Dexter’s friend in immigration calls to let him know it could be a match for Elena’s husband. Dexter, Rita, and Elena head to the morgue. It’s Ernesto. “That must be what love looks like,” Dexter thinks. “The inability to feel has its advantages. Sometimes.”

At the hospital, an attractive prosthetics doctor named Rudy is fitting Tony Tucci with a leg and foot while Deb and Doakes look on. Tony is just thrilled to be alive and says Doc Rudy is going to make him good as new. Rudy and Deb make eyes at each other, and I don’t blame her. He’s a hottie. Tony unfortunately didn’t see much of his attacker – he wore a mask, he was average build, he didn’t speak much. Deb “helpfully” offers to blindfold Tony again to help him remember. Understandably, Tony says he’s tired, and Doakes and Deb leave. Oops.

Ever since Rita’s surprise BJ, she’s wanted to take the relationship to the next level. Dexter says he doesn’t have a next level, and he spends quite a bit of time in this episode trying to figure out how to fake it. Angel gives Dexter some relationship advice: bring home la passion. Dexter wants to know what to do if she wants more, and Angel tells him to reciprocate. What about emotions, Dexter asks. Angel says: “Don’t go down that road. Just go down on her.” Hey Angel, wanna marry me?

Since Deb’s fuck up with Tucci, Doakes has been reluctant to listen to her ideas for finding out more about the Ice Truck Killer. Deb has had enough and tells him off, saying he’s old and tired and needs some new eyes on the case, and he needs to let her do her job. I’m rooting so hard for her. I love Deb.

Later that night, Dexter skulks around Reefshore Marina, where Castillo keeps his boat. My heart is pounding. I always get so nervous when Dex is sneaking around places he shouldn’t be. He finds two cell phones. If one matches the number that Elena has, then Castillo is it. But Dex does one better: he opens a holding container on the boat. It’s filled with water. A body floats to the top; Castillo drowns them there, and then dumps them in the ocean. It’s right about then that Castillo shows up. Dexter escapes, but it’s a close freakin’ call.

Deb and Doakes are questioning Tony again, but he can’t remember anything. Out of nowhere, Doakes says they should try the blindfold. With a bit of coaxing, Tony agrees. They use Doakes’ tie. It works. Tony is able to remember minute details – sounds and smells – that he didn’t recall before. It’s an emotional scene, but they got what they wanted. The Ice Truck Killer has a lozenges problem and was always clearing his throat. Back at the crime scene, Doakes, Deb, and Masuka find a lozenge wrapper in one of the rat’s nests.  At the station, Masuka does a couple of tests. They got a partial print, and it’s all thanks to Deb.

At Castillo’s car yard, he unloads a van crammed with Cubans and puts them in his holding container. After locking them in, he notices something weird: a trail of lit candles. How romantic! He follows them to an old RV, where Dexter has set up his kill room, complete with photos of the drowned victims. Just as Dex gets Castillo with his magic syringe, Mrs. Castillo shows up. Oh shit. Dexter watches as she opens the holding container, gun in hand, and pushes one of the women back inside. She’s in on the whole scheme. How lucky for Dexter – a two-fer! Just as he’s about to finish them both off, Castillo and his wife confess their love for each other. Dexter pauses his mission for a little interview session. “How do you love each other?” he wants to know. It’s because they both have the same dream. Dex thanks them for their helpful information before putting his power saw to work.

The sun is rising as Dexter shoves them into the trunk of his car (Valerie didn’t quite get the full treatment – time is of the essence) and drives away. The camera closes in on the trunk of an old Mercedes-Benz. Though a small hole, an eye peers out. Oh shit. Dexter returns to unlock the holding container full of living human beings and leaves.

Dexter and Rita share a quiet candlelit dinner. Dexter asks her if she has a dream for her life. “Of course,” she says. “Do you?” Dexter says his is to just be content like everyone else. “To have a normal life,” Rita finishes for him with a smile. “That’s all that I want.” Aww.

We’re now halfway through season one! At Rita’s house, Dexter helps Cody give his dead goldfish a proper flushing to that Big Toilet Bowl in the Sky. Astor is busy picking out the birthday cake she wants for her upcoming party. Just as Rita is finishing Dexter’s breakfast reward, dispatch calls, and Dexter is off to a crime scene – the very same one he left the episode before. The once-deserted salvage yard is now buzzing with law enforcement. If I were Dexter, I would be shitting bricks right about now. Dexter regrets killing both Castillo and his wife. It didn’t leave him enough time to be careful.

Inside the trailer that served as Dex’s kill room, Deb is examining the body of Castillo’s wife – the one Dexter didn’t have time to cut up before throwing her overboard. “It has to be him,” he thinks. The Ice Truck Killer is getting back at him for not killing that security guard. While Deb, Doakes, and LaGuerta check out the holding container where the Cuban immigrants were kept, an officer interrupts them. They heard movement in the trunk of a familiar Mercedes-Benz, and it ain’t Janis Joplin. They bust it open, guns pointed – and discover a small Cuban boy praying frantically in Spanish. Dexter immediately knows that this kid saw him the other night.

Masuka’s relentless forensics work is going to get Dexter arrested. He found a spot on Lady Castillo’s neck. Dexter said it looked like a bug bite (he has to cover his ass), but Masuka said it kept bothering him, so he ordered a tox screen. It turns out that this woman was drugged with an animal tranquilizer that’s strictly controlled. Someone would need a DEA license to get it, and Masuka put in a request for the list. He’ll have it by morning. Dexter is, obviously, on that list. Time is ticking.

Bad news: Paul, Rita’s soon to be ex-husband and junkie wife-beater, is out of prison due to over-crowding (god that is such bullshit), and he wants to come to Astor’s birthday party. Rita knows he’ll show up even if she says no. This can’t be good.

The young Cuban boy is being called in to talk to a sketch artist. Apparently, he saw a man who “saved him from the bad lady.” Deb thinks they’ve got a copy-cat killer, even though not everything matches up with the Ice Truck Killer’s MO. Doakes says she can work up a profile, though he thinks it’s Jorge that offed his wife.

Dexter is starting to unravel. He has a nightmare – something he never has – that Deb kills him after finding out what he is. At the station he hacks Masuka’s email and removes his alias (Dr. Patrick Bateman lol) from the list of people with access to the animal tranq. Deb interrupts him and asks him to read her copycat killer report. He reads aloud a description that matches him totally, but obviously Deb doesn’t know that. Dexter tells her to keep this to herself, but she says that she feels she’s onto something and feels betrayed by his lack of faith in her.

LaGuerta is so sweet with little Oscar. He seems to have taken a shine to her, and won’t speak or really interact with anyone. Seeing the interview room empty and the artist’s sketchpad on the table, Dexter can’t resist checking it out. But the room isn’t empty – LaGuerta’s in there with a sleeping Oscar on her lap. The little boy opens his eyes when Dexter puts a make shift pillow under his head, but doesn’t seem to recognize him. LaGuerta says they didn’t get very far and they’ll pick it up again tomorrow. It’s only a matter of time.

Dexter picks up the sketchpad and studies a drawing of a pair of eyes – his eyes. Dexter is in full freak-out mode. He dumps his entire kill kit in the ocean in the middle of the night. It’s the only way he can survive this. While looking over his blood slides one last time, Dexter notices something odd about Valerie Castillo’s sample: a smiley face. The Ice Truck Killer wasn’t getting back at him for not killing Tucci; he was painting him in a corner to see if he could get himself out of it. He was testing him.

Don't worry. Be happy.

And he can do that, easily. By planting a bit of dried blood and a couple of fingerprints, Dexter can pin this on Jorge. He calls Doakes and Deb into the lab to share his “findings,” and Deb is pissed. Dexter apologizes to her, but she doesn’t accept and storms out. Of course, Doakes sends the cadets back to the salvage yard, and of course, they find the knife that Dexter planted. But that’s not the end of it, because Oscar completed his interview with the sketch artist. Everyone is freaking out about the drawing, and they call Dexter over. He takes the sketchpad, expecting to see himself. Instead, it’s the last thing we expected: apparently, Oscar was saved by Jesus.

At Astor’s birthday party, Dexter realizes the importance of birthdays, now. He barely escaped capture this time, and his days are numbered. Better make the most of them.

Total Dexter body count: 2