Dexter 1.7-9 – Circle of Friends, Shrink Wrap, & Father Knows Best

So, a LOT happened in this week’s episodes! We’re into the second half of the season and things are speeding up with a shock at every turn. There is quite a bit to cover, and this recap is a little longer than the previous ones, so let’s get to our favorite lovable serial killer.

We get a nice change of pace this week with episode seven opening with a crime scene. Did you know that the FBI estimates there are only 50 serial killers active in the United States? I think they should probably form a union. Dexter is practicing his sword fighting skills – I mean, retracing cast-off patterns. The vic is a young high school kid, honor roll student and editor of the school yearbook. As he stares at the body, Dexter says the killer was a professional and hit almost every major artery. Doakes asks if Dexter has a “goddamn hard-on.” LOL DOAKES I LOVE YOU. Dexter says he’s seen those types of wounds before.

Back at the station, Deb is working hard on following leads. She tells Angel she’s been searching through parking tickets, because it’s dumb shit that gets the suspects caught – like Son of Sam got a parking ticket outside his own crime scene. Angel suggests searching all moving violations, and the name Neil Perry pops up. Deb recognizes that name, because she’s a huge Dead Poets Society fan. I mean, because it’s the useless voluntary witness who came forward to give a statement when Tony Tucci’s body was found. And he was at not one, but TWO crime scenes.

Shit is going down at Perry’s doublewide. A wood-paneled station wagon – one that matches the description of the car that Cherry got into before her untimely death – is parked in the driveway. Deb spots a security camera watching them, so she and Angel cover both entrances, guns drawn. Perry commando crawls out of a secret door and slashes the tires of their car before driving off.

After comparing the cuts on the recently dead teenager to photos of another dead teenager, Dexter realizes that the murderer is Jeremy Downs, the kid he let go a few episodes ago in an act of kindness. Oops.

Rita pulls up to the kids’ school and is greeted by the crossing guard. “Where are the kids?” Rita asks. Crossing Guard Charlie tells her that her husband stopped by a few minutes ago and picked them up. Rita is understandably upset: “You gave my kids to Paul?! Are you stupid?!” She told the administrative office that the kids weren’t supposed to be released into his custody… apparently, they didn’t tell poor Charlie. We finally get to meet Paul when he drops Astor and Cody off, and I already hate him. He looks like a skeezy Mike Brady with his sweet 70s fashion sense. Later, when Dex and Rita are talking about Paul and the darkness inside him (that sounds like a porno), Dexter tells Rita he has a dark side, too, and that he doesn’t hurt innocent people. She laughs and smiles. Uh, ok Rita. Don’t say he didn’t warn ya.

A kid at a halfway house tells Dex that Jeremy Downs hangs out with the “Brokeback Boys.” Dexter, disguised in a hoodie and shades, finds them in a local park and pretends to be a guy looking for a little somethin’-somethin’ to lure Downs to his car. Just as they’re making their way to the lot, Doakes comes barreling out of nowhere and shoves Dexter out of his way. He and a few other guys cuff Downs. Foiled again, Dex!

Angel and Deb are following a lead on Perry’s whereabouts, checking out an area of hotels frequented by hookers. It’s been a long day and they’re tired of pounding the pavement. They question a hilarious hotel owner (“I don’t know, they come, they go… get it? They come?!”), who eventually tells them that Perry rents a room there by the month and oh yeah, he’s there right now! Deb and Angel open the door to his room and find a girl chained to the bed, bloodied and freaked out. Perry soon returns from the liquor store. Angel is there behind the door with his gun to Perry’s head. Perry smiles and starts creepily singing a hymn from “The Golden Hymn Book” before getting on the ground.

LaGuerta has been sitting in an interview room with Perry forever. He waived his right to a lawyer and just keeps blabbing on. LaGuerta tells him that he knows he’s getting off on this, and she’s not going to feed into it. It’s not even the fun part, she tells him. That’ll happen when they go to court, because “serial killers are an American pastime.” Perry agrees and finally admits to murdering the hookers, draining their blood, and chopping them up. The whole department is watching the interview. Dexter is so upset, because he was sure Perry wasn’t the right guy, until now. All of his expectations and promises of greatness are out, because Perry is a total freak and not the genius he’s supposed to be.

Dexter mourns the loss of his playmate. Everything is changed. The Ice Truck Killer was caught, Paul is back… Dexter needs to connect to someone. He is soon sitting across the table from Perry. He needs to fill that desire to connect with someone. “Hi,” Dexter says, as if meeting an old friend. Perry looks at him and asks, “Who the fuck are you?” THEN WHO WAS PHONE?!

"Who the fuck are you?"

A storm rages as the light of a flashlight reveals a bloodstained wall. An apparent suicide brings us into episode eight. This woman, a prosecutor, is another in a line of similar suicides committed in Miami the year before. Dexter asks Angel if all those women were high-powered women too. Angel says he thinks so. “Note to self,” Dexter says, snapping photos of the body. Rudy drops Deb off at the crime scene. After a few dates, their relationship is going well – Deb is practically in his lap. I don’t blame you, Deb, I wouldn’t be able to keep my pants on around Dr. Hottie, either.

Dexter checks his email at the station. He left an ad on Craigslist from “Frozen Barbie” to “Ken” in hopes that the real ITK would respond. So far, no luck. Vanessa Gale, the apparent suicide, died from a gunshot. Women don’t generally use guns for that purpose. Dexter looks at the other cases of powerful women that killed themselves with a gun. They all shared the same therapist: Dr. Emmett Meridian. Time to play pretend! “Sean” has a session with Dr. Meridian. The good doctor analyzes Dexter perfectly without even really knowing much about him. Before Dexter realizes it, “Sean” is no longer there, but it’s Dexter sitting there in that chair, telling Dr. M about his own life.

Maria pays Perry a little visit at the prison. She’s following Dexter’s suggestion that Perry isn’t the Ice Truck Killer. His confession is great and all, but the evidence isn’t matching up. The partial print pulled from the lozenge wrapper doesn’t match Perry’s. He claims that the liquid nitrogen he used to freeze the bodies burned off his fingertips, but LaGuerta’s not buying it. It’s pretty clear to everyone that Perry is getting off on all the attention he’s getting. He wants to be memorialized.

A note: this paragraph talks about therapy, antidepressants, and suicide in some detail. If you are uncomfortable reading about that, please skip to the next paragraph. After dark, Dexter returns to Dr. M’s office in his Serial Killer Clothes. He spotted a hidden camera in an earlier session and wants to check it out. Dex wisely deletes his own file before checking out Vanessa’s and the other women’s. They are all begging for refills on their prescriptions for antidepressants. Then Dr. M feeds them with the idea that suicide is respected and revered in other cultures. One of the women asks how most people do it. Dr. M tells her that most people use painkillers, but they are unreliable. The most courageous use guns.

Rita texts Dexter asking him to come over. She feels great! She spent the afternoon with Paul and the kids and finally feels like she’s in control of her life. Rita and Dexter make out while Dexter worries that if she gets better, she’ll leave him. So… you want her to stay “damaged”? Kind of a dick move there, Dex. Then there are Julie Benz’s boobs and Dexter bails. Bawww. But we discover that Dexter doesn’t want to sleep with Rita because every time he has sex with a woman, they see that he is empty and they leave. And he doesn’t want Rita to go!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch at the station, LaGuerta asks Doakes to see her in her office. She asks him if he told anybody about the bust that got her promoted. Doakes says no, because it would ruin her rep and make him look like a whiny bitch (DOAKES I LOVE YOU). Then how did Perry know all those details about the bust when Maria last interviewed him? He would have had to have read the police report. LaGuerta says they have to have their firewall checked.

Dexter is back for another session with Dr. M, who thinks that Dex has control issues and that’s why he can’t be intimate with Rita. The shrink puts him through a deep relaxation exercise. Through a series of fragmented flashbacks, we see teenaged Dexter almost lose control as he pulls a knife on a school bully (stopped, thankfully, by Harry); Harry telling Dexter that there are consequences to everything he does in life and if he loses control and becomes powerless, it’s over; and finally, a very young Dexter crying, sitting in a huge pool of blood. Dexter starts to have a panic attack and rushes out. He shows up at Rita’s house (whose high beams are on through her white t-shirt) looking like he’s been through hell. Without saying a word, they totally do it. Finally. And guess what? Rita doesn’t want him to leave. There is nothing he could ever do that would scare her away. Oh, Rita.

We’re seeing a lot of the interview room at the prison this episode. LaGuerta brings a cooler covered in Haz Mat stickers to her next meeting with Perry. She says the department could use his expert opinion. “We can’t figure out just how the killer cut off this head,” she says conversationally as she pulls a head in a plastic bag from the cooler. Perry is clearly uncomfortable and says he can’t tell her. LaGuerta tells him to take a closer look. Perry turns into a sniveling pile of pathetic and tells her to take it away. LaGuerta has got the goods to prove he’s not the ITK. “Why are you doing this?” Perry cries. He finally admits that he lied. He’s not the Ice Truck Killer. The DA still says they’re going to go forward with the trial anyway because Maria doesn’t tell them what really happened when she visited. Is anyone else noticing a trend here?

Dexter tells Dr. M about his sexploits from the night before. And then he does something that made my jaw drop the first time I watched this episode: he tells the psych that he’s a serial killer. Of course, Doc M thinks he’s joking, but Dexter says he’s not. “You should try it,” Dexter urges. “I know. Your Big Bag Wolf has racked up a tidy little death toll.” Dexter tells him he knows about the camera and he copied the files. Dr. M plays dumb. As the doctor gets up to leave, Dexter chokes him out and soon we’re in the infamous Kill Room. In his pre-kill monologue, Dexter says that Dr. M helped him admit who he really was.

Rudy calls Deb to tell her he’s going to be late for their date because he has some housework to do. They hang up, and Rudy heads to his laptop. Right next to his mouse is… Oh. Shit. An all-too-familiar beheaded, naked Barbie doll tied with ribbons. We get a look at his computer screen. It’s Dexter’s Craigslist ad. “Barbie, be patient. One day we’ll share a cold one,” he responds. If that’s not enough to have you screaming the F-word, Rudy heads into a giant walk-in freezer. Huge containers of blood are stored on the shelves, and on a worktable, a new victim is being packaged for delivery.

What a way to end an episode. Re-watching this season reminds me how many times I used to yell at the tv when I first saw it. But naked showering Michael C. Hall is a nice way to start episode nine. Let’s all just pause for a moment and enjoy this beautiful sight.


Doakes and Angel are out for a drive. Doakes sees a man walking down the street with his groceries and tells Angel to stop the car. He gets out and yells, and the guy takes off running. Doakes follows on foot; Angel follows in their sweet sedan. Two shots are fired. The man lies dead underneath the causeway. Uh-oh. Jacques Bayard is his name, and Doakes claims he saw a gun in his waistband. When Doakes tried to question him, he ran. Doakes put Bayard down when he took a shot at him, and shows LaGuerta about where he was standing. Just then Dex shows up in his cute knee-high galoshes and tells Doakes that’s not where he was standing. The last thing you want to do is question James Doakes’ integrity, and he tells Dexter as much while insulting him in the process. Something isn’t adding up here.

Later that day, Deb bugs Dexter to go on a double date with her and Rudy. Dex keeps putting her off, saying he wants to make sure this one “sticks.” Way to be a supportive brother, Dexter. Deb says Rudy’s different and admits she’s falling for him. Just then, a courier shows up to deliver an urgent letter to Dexter. Deb opens it. It’s a letter notifying Dexter that his biological father (Joseph Driscoll) died and that he, Dexter, is the executor of his estate. Deb is confused because Harry told them that Dexter’s real father died before they took him in, and he wouldn’t lie about that. Oh also, by the way, Dexter inherited his house. Rita and Dexter head out to Dade City for the weekend to take care of Joe Driscoll’s estate.

Angel is having trouble with Doakes’ version of the gunfight that went down. He swears he heard Doakes’ 9mm go off first, and the blood spatter analysis doesn’t match up with Doakes’ story, but Angel is supportive of his partner and says that there are a lot of reasons it could have gone down that way. It’s a tough situation. Angel clearly wants to support Doakes, but his conscience won’t let him file a false report just to cover Doakes’ ass, either. James tells him to come at him straight if he’s going to do it, and Angel finally admits that he didn’t see a gun on Bayard.

The Dade City Mini-Vacation is in full swing. Ding-dong! Surprise! It’s Deb and Rudy! Dexter and Rita look thrilled, and by that I mean miserable. The next day Dexter heads to the morgue and examines Driscoll’s body. It’s hilarious watching Dexter question the doctor, then refute his claims. Joe’s tattoo is not something he picked up in ‘Nam, for example, but a prison tattoo. And the reason for ruling his death a heart attack could be found in someone with diabetes, too. The doc insists he knows a heart attack when he sees one. Dexter has a random flashback. He’s a young kid sitting in the back seat of a car while CCR’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” plays. And he’s studying an elbow tattoo – the same one that Driscoll has. Maybe he knows this guy after all. That means Harry was lying. Dexter asks for a moment alone with “Dad,” then goes to work getting a blood sample. Dex calls Masuka with a favor – he’s sending two blood samples for a tox screen. We learn through a flashback that Dexter has a rare blood type; as a kid, he fell on a wrought-iron spike and needed surgery to stop internal bleeding. He also needed a blood donor, and since his type is rare, things were grim. But Harry knew someone who could help, someone with the same blood type.

Masuka calls Dexter, who is out throwing away garbage in other people’s garbage cans. Deb answers. Masuka says he has the results of the DNA test. “What DNA test?” Deb asks. Uh, I don’t think Deb is supposed to know about this, but… Deb confronts Dexter while he’s outside, asking him why he decided to question Harry now after trusting him his whole life. The DNA is a match: Joe Driscoll is Dexter’s biological father. So why did Harry say that his bio dad was dead? Deb defends Harry, saying he had a damn good reason for hiding this from Dexter, and she’s not going to let some man Dexter didn’t even know tarnish Harry’s reputation like that. She’s pissed Dex ordered a tox screen, because that means he cared enough to find out why Joe really died. The only thing in his system was a sedative. Dexter thinks he was slipped the sedative so he wouldn’t struggle when someone gave him diabetic insulin to cause the cardiac arrest.

At the station, Maria confronts Doakes about the Bayard shooting. Apparently, Bayard wasn’t his real name; he changed it when he emigrated from Haiti. He was also a former member of the Haitian military and Doakes, a former Marine, had done some Spec Ops in Haiti. LaGuerta has heard the terrible stories of the “Boogie Men,” killing squads that did despicable things in Haiti. She says that if Bayard did those things, he deserved a lot worse than he got. Maria reassures James that this whole thing will be over soon.

Dexter questions the elderly neighbor across the street about Joe’s last week of life. Did he have any visitors? She thinks for a moment before remembering a very handsome, dark-haired cable repairman. If Driscoll was killed with insulin, there will be an injection site, and Dexter’s going to find it. He sneaks into the hospital after hours, only to be caught by an overweight security guard who can’t keep up with him. Dexter escapes and Rudy meets him outside in his car. He heard him sneak out and knew where he was headed; he says he was going to try and talk him out of it. Instead he gets Dexter to finally admit that Joe Driscoll was his real father, no matter what anyone says. They return home, and a sleepy Rita points Dexter to a box of papers she found in Joe’s closet. Dexter finds a hand-made thank you card inside. It was the one that he made as a kid for his blood donor after his surgery. Joe Driscoll’s blood saved Dexter’s life.

"Yes Dexter, don't listen to any of the people you've known your whole life and trust completely. Listen to me, a total stranger who you just met yesterday."

Internal Affairs drops Doakes’ case. Angel is pissed because he put everything on the line to tell the truth, and all the evidence was there, and now it doesn’t matter. Maria tells him the case involved sensitive military information and that someone in Washington had it closed. As Angel leaves, a beat cop bumps into him. “Squeak, squeak,” he mocks – Angel’s a rat for telling on his partner. But Doakes won’t stand that. He humiliates the guy by having him apologize to Angel, his superior. They’re still good. Did I mention how much I love Doakes?

A realtor puts up a sign at Joe’s house. Deb and Dexter make up and everybody gets into their cars, ready to leave. The adorable elderly neighbor woman is on her porch, watching them. “Cable repairman!” she calls. She’s waving at Rudy. “Cable repairman, wait! Please, I want to ask you something!” Rudy looks at her before driving off. As Dexter pulls out of the driveway, she yells to him about whether the repairman said anything about her antenna. She beckons Dexter to turn around, but he just waves. OH MY GOD DEXTER JUST GO TALK TO HER.

Rita tucks Astor and Cody into bed when someone knocks at the door. It’s Paul. And he’s drunk. He comes barreling in, swearing and shouting about how he wants to see his kids and Rita doesn’t call the shots. She tries to get him to leave at first. But then she tells him she’s been awful and she’ll make it up to him. They go into her bedroom. Oh god. Poor Rita. I feel sick to my stomach because this is clearly what their relationship used to be like. Paul throws her on the bed and forces himself on her. Rita pulls a baseball bat from underneath her bed and whacks him pretty good. She grabs the kids and they leave.

Dexter’s voice over reflects on his relationship with Harry and the revelation that he had a father. It had never really mattered to him before because Harry was all he needed, but this changes things. CCR plays in the background. As Dexter talks, we see the toolbox of a repairman as he knocks on a front door. The elderly neighbor woman answers and invites him in. As he turns to close the door, the camera pans up. It’s fucking Rudy. “Maybe Rudy was right. You never can truly know anyone.”

What a whirlwind this week! We’re down to the FINAL THREE episodes of Season 1 and shit is getting real. Deb is falling in love with the supposed Ice Truck Killer, who probably murdered Dexter’s biological father, Paul is getting more violent and scarier by the minute, and Dexter’s implicit trust in everything that came out of Harry’s mouth is unraveling. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait until next week.

Dexter body count: 1