Dexter 2.1-3 – It’s Alive!, Waiting to Exhale, & An Inconvenient Lie

“Tonight’s the night. And it’s going to happen again and again.”

Deja vu or a change in the Matrix? Let’s find out in season 2 of Dexter!

Season two begins with the same inner monologue and driving sequence we heard and saw in the opening of the series. Only this time, Dexter isn’t alone: Doakes is close on his ass as they drive through nighttime Miami. Tonight’s activities are a lot tamer than murder, depending on how you feel about bowling. Dexter, Masuka, Batista, and some nameless other guy are at the alley, rocking some sweet baby blue team bowling shirts. Angel tells Dexter to stay loose, but Dex is on edge. It’s been 38 days, 16 hours, and 12 minutes since he killed Brian – not that anyone’s counting – and Dexter hasn’t had one night to himself thanks to Doakes the Blood Hound. He watches the team menacingly from the bar. Dexter needs to kill, and luckily for him, Doakes gets bored of watching them bowl and leaves.

Dexter’s next victim is a blind voodoo high priest. Dex is an equal opportunity serial killer. The ritual is kind of hindered by the fact that this guy can’t see, so Dexter describes the priest’s victims and takes his blood sample. Jimmy, the priest, curses Dexter. Just as he’s about to plunge the knife into Jimmy’s chest, he chokes, plunging the knife into the table instead. Visibly shaken, Dexter ponders that unanswerable question we all ask at some point or another: “What the fuck?”

Deb is still living at Dexter’s place, which is a situation ripe for a sitcom. Sloppy sister who was engaged to a serial killer and a neat freak who is a serial killer? I can almost hear the theme song! She can’t sleep at all. And apparently, Dexter can’t get aroused – Rita calls him up for a little morning fun time and there’s some trouble downstairs. This not being able to kill thing is ruining Dexter’s life!

Deb’s first day back at work is met with applause from her colleagues. Lt. Pascal says Deb’s psych evaluation shows she’s ready to be back, but Maria isn’t so sure. Still, Pascal sends Deb out with LaGuerta to check out a body that washed up on the breakers. The victim has multiple machete wounds. The machete is the weapon of choice for a gang called the 29th Street Kings, and this guy was a member – he has “29th” tattooed across the back of his neck. On shore, Deb is questioning the guy who found the body. A crowd of spectators has gathered with cameras, as usual.

Some douchenozzle turns to his douchebag friend and says, “Hey, isn’t that the Ice Truck Killer’s babe? She was in the paper – she’s fucking hot!” He proceeds to start snapping photos before yelling, “Hey, Mrs. Ice Truck Killer!” Oh god. Maria’s on guard. It looks like Deb is going to lose her shit when the guy tells her to turn around and look scared for the camera; instead, she just smiles and waves. That girl has got some self-control.

Just then, a woman comes running under the yellow caution tape. Maria yells for someone to stop her as about five cops just watch her run by. Dexter is the one who finally catches her. Through her tears, she speaks in rapid fire Spanish. Angel translates: the victim is her son, and a man called Little Chino killed him. She wants someone to find him and kill him like a dog. I think I know who Dexter’s next victim might be!

Astor and Cody are visiting their father in prison while Rita keeps a watchful eye at the next table over. The guard warns Paul that time is up, so they say their goodbyes. Paul tells Rita his lawyer is filing his appeal tomorrow, but he’s got no chance without The Shoe. Rita says there is no shoe; looks like she’s giving Dexter the benefit of the doubt since she did find a shoe, or she’s happy to see Paul locked up (who could blame her), or both. Paul admits that he’s not doing well in federal prison, which explains his busted lip. He begs for help but Rita brushes him off and leaves.

At the station, Eva, the recent victim’s mother, is giving a statement. Dexter thinks that killing Little Chino will set both of their worlds right, but only if he fits the Code. The information that Deb gives on Chino makes him a good candidate for Dexter’s table. Doakes escorts Little Chino through the station, and there is nothing little about him. Dude looks like a professional wrestler, over six feet tall and pure solid muscle. Deb hits it on the nose: “fucking beef bus.” Eva is willing to testify that Little Chino picked up her son on the night of his death – a pretty brave thing to do, considering the witnesses that were supposed to testify against the guy in two trials were killed before they could take the stand. Dex is kind of bummed that Chino will never reach his “cutting court room.” Luckily for him, Eva is a junkie and her testimony wouldn’t hold up in court. Chino is as good as free. For now.

"Little" Chino. Yikes.

There’s a treasure hunt going on in the middle of the ocean. Two divers jump in looking for some gold treasure. Instead they find a butcher knife and Dexter’s body dumping ground. We finally see the magnitude of murder: there are dozens of black garbage bags littering the ocean floor.

Dexter thinks Deb could use some girl time and reschedules his date with Rita so she can hang out with Deb and he can kill Little Chino. Deb doesn’t want to go, she just wants to work out. It’s becoming an unhealthy obsession of hers. Dex manages to convince her. He shakes Doakes at the bowling alley, telling him he’s going to practice until midnight.

LaGuerta is pulling some late hours at work when Pascal and her fiancé come charging in, yelling at each other. She’s convinced he’s cheating on her because he sent her three dozen roses (…ok?) and he insists there’s no one. Maria hides in the kitchen, hoping Pascal doesn’t know she’s privy to the relationship problems of her boss. After Pascal’s man leaves, she spots Maria and apologizes for having to see that.

Paul calls Rita and begs for her help. He’s not going to make it in federal prison. Rita tells him she found the shoe but she’s not going to help him and that if he sends a lawyer, the shoe won’t be there. He needs to deal with his problems himself. She hangs up as Deb arrives.

Dexter is waiting for Little Chino outside of a tattoo parlor. He’s getting a new drop of blood for his latest gang kill. When he’s done, Chino tries to drive away – but someone stuffed his car full of chickens! As he investigates from the sidewalk, Dex comes up behind him and sticks him with two doses of tranquilizer. Good call, because that guy’s huge. He goes down easy.

Girls’ Night is pretty awkward. Rita gripes about Paul, and then feels awful because she thinks Deb had it much worse than she did. She does miss the good parts about him, though, sometimes. Deb talks about how Rita doesn’t miss him, because what they had wasn’t real; rather, she misses the way he made her feel. That was real. Deb gets quiet before heading to the bar for another beer. Some guy sitting there says he recognizes her. Deb tries to ignore him. He tries to get her attention by touching the back of her shoulder and she promptly gives him an elbow to the face, freaking out about how he grabbed her. She’s obviously upset. It looks like her “I’m okay” attitude is just a front.

Things aren’t going well for Dexter, either. He’s jittery. Little Chino wakes up, and it’s clear that Dexter didn’t use enough tape to strap him down. He breaks an arm free just as Dex tries to stab him. There’s a struggle, but Little Chino escapes, naked and still half-covered in plastic wrap. Oops.

In an uncharacteristic move, he seeks human contact. He drives to Rita’s house and finds her outside, crying and smoking a cigarette. The prison called. Paul’s dead. He got into a fight and lost. Rita feels guilty because she could have helped him. She’s having second thoughts now, wondering if Paul was telling the truth. Dexter holds her as she sobs.

Dexter returns home. He asks Deb about her bar fight but she brushes him off, telling him he’s got to see what they’ve been playing on the news all night. It’s a segment about the treasure hunters’ discovery of a watery graveyard. Dexter looks like he needs a new pair of undies. Deb is excited – thirty bodies means a new mass murderer way worse than the Ice Truck Killer. Maybe she can catch this guy and finally get some peace.

Dexter pulls up to a crime scene. Masuka greets him as he ducks under the yellow police tape. “Eight confirmed,” he says as they walk. Dexter asks him what he’s talking about. “Eight confirmed victims of the Bay Harbor Butcher,” Masuka explains. It’s a catchy nickname for the man responsible for the watery graveyard discovered in the season premiere. Angel shares his hope that they just found the Ice Truck Killer’s dumping ground as he pulls back the sheet at the current crime scene: it’s Eva, the mother that was going to testify against Little Chino. Dexter feels guilty that he failed to kill Little Chino last night because Eva would still be alive if he succeeded.

There are now thirteen confirmed bodies in the Bay Harbor Butcher case, and the Feds are getting called in. Some FBI agent named Frank Lundy will be working with Homicide on the case. He’s some kind of rock star, according to Doakes – he busted a bunch of huge uncrackable cases. Just then, Little Chino steps off the elevator with his lawyer while Dexter hides in his little cave. Chino produces a video that shows him out with friends at the time of Eva’s death, so the cops have to cut him loose. Again. Good for Dexter, but where is he going to dispose of the body?

Special Agent Frank Lundy (played by Keith Carradine, David’s brother) introduces himself to Miami Metro before a little “show and tell” presentation in the conference room. Much to Dexter’s worry, Lundy knows his shit, and doesn’t think there’s a connection to the ITK. This is worse than Dex thought.

This is what a rock star looks like. Apparently.

Dexter trails Little Chino to some house party. A thunderstorm rages and flashes of lightning bathe the partiers in blinding white light, giving us glimpses of second-long scenes in the otherwise dark atmosphere. As Chino heads away from the party, Dexter steps out from behind a post with a tranq gun that he borrowed from the station. In the glare of lightning, Chino sees him: “I’ve been waitin’ for you.” Someone barrels out from between two cars and knocks the gun out of Dexter’s hands. He runs and manages to lose the gang members by hiding in a storm drain all night. How the mighty have fallen.

LaGuerta is still convinced that Deb isn’t ready to be back in the field, but Deb keeps insisting that she’s “over” the Ice Truck Killer. Angel and Deb are out knocking on doors in the 29th Street Kings’ neighborhood, but everyone refuses to talk to them. Deb’s frustrated to the point of tears when she sees some little kid vandalizing their car. She takes off after him, and all her working out pays off because Angel can’t even keep up. Deb throws him to the ground and pins him. The kid asks if she’s going to “fuck [him] like she fucked the Ice Truck Killer.” That’s when Deb pulls her gun and holds the cool metal against his neck. Angel finally catches up and stops her.

Turns out, Deb’s freak out was beneficial for Homicide. Even though she pulled a gun on an unarmed boy named Joey Nunez, he gave up all the information he knew about the 29th Street Kings. It led to a huge drug bust and, since most of them were three-strikers, a lot of them will be going away forever. They didn’t get Little Chino, though.

Somewhere in an abandoned warehouse Joey is working on his tagging skills. Little Chino is coming for him. Joey hears the elevator coming. Inside, Chino waits with his machete when all of a sudden, the elevator stops. The door opens, and through the metal grate Dexter gets Chino in the neck with another heavy duty tranquilizer he borrowed from the station. Joey’s life is spared. The Kill Room is in a mechanic’s shop and Dexter made sure to strap Chino down well this time. And, with a steady hand, he manages to snuff the life out of Little Chino. Dexter has a new dumping ground, too: the Gulf Stream will carry the body far, far north. As Dexter takes care of his trash, Rita calls and says she needs to see him, now.

Paul’s shoe sits on the dining room table in front of Dexter. He doesn’t understand what’s going on. Rita finally shares Paul’s theory with Dexter. She asks outright: “Did you attack him, Dexter?” He admits to acting on impulse, and says he stole the drugs from the evidence locker. But that story doesn’t add up, and Dexter knows way too much about heroin. Rita finally thinks she put it together and asks Dex if he’s an addict. “Yes,” Dexter says, “I have an addiction.” TO KILLING! But Rita assumes he means heroin and promises to help him get through it.

Dexter knew he had to say goodbye to Brian in order to reconnect with himself. He tosses the Barbie doll head he had been carrying around forever in to the ocean. As the weighted head sinks, Brian surfaces and grabs Dexter’s arm, but Dex lets him go a la Titanic. “Rest in peace,” he says. “I am.”

Episode three starts at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, where Dexter, who is not an addict, sits in the meeting with waning patience. He grabs a couple of pamphlets and leaves. Rita grills him about the meeting and he lies, poorly. He didn’t get a newcomer’s chip, so Rita knows he’s not telling the truth. She threatens to leave him if he doesn’t really try.

The station is in chaos. Every person in Miami with a missing family member or friend has showed up at the station in hopes that they might be found in the Bay Harbor Butcher’s dumping ground, thanks to a botched interview that Esmee gave to some reporter. She’s off, and the rumor mill is saying her fiancé is cheating on her. In good news, Deb is chosen for Lundy’s special task force, along with Batista and Masuka (not Doakes, though, who was told he doesn’t play nice with others).

Dexter’s researching his next victim at a used car lot. Two women were found dead in their homes, and both of them had their credit checked at the same used car lot – but since they had both purchased cars elsewhere, no one gave it a second thought. The salesman Dexter is tracking is named Roger Hicks. Somehow the guy ends up talking Dex into buying a new car (a “Mommy-mobile,” LaGuerta calls it) – but at least Dexter managed to swipe his comb to test for DNA evidence.

Vince manages to get Dexter a small temporary assignment in the Bay Harbor Butcher case. It’s not glamorous, but it’ll get Dex in the tent, and he’s “gotta see the tent – it’s amazing!” The FBI has put up a huge field morgue with state-of-the-art technology. Inside, Dexter’s “neat little packages” reflect the light’s glare, showing him the darkness that was meant to stay hidden. Meanwhile, Deb is questioning the dozens of people that showed up earlier at the station. It’s hard for her to sit there and listen to these emotional stories, and she asks Lundy to replace her on the task force.

That night, Dexter heads back to NA to keep his promise to Rita. His new car turns out to be a perfect disguise – Doakes is looking for Dexter’s old Taurus. Dex gets his newcomer’s chip and tries to share his story. He says his name is Bob and weaves a web of lies about who he is. After the meeting, a dark-haired British woman approaches him and invites him for coffee because the coffee at the meeting sucks. “So tell me,” she asks once they’ve got their coffee, “exactly how full of shit are you?”

The woman wants to know why he lied, because everyone in that room has done or seen things far worse than anything he can imagine. She describes what it’s like to be an addict, and the urge she talks about is exactly the same that Dexter feels about killing. Dexter knows that it’s too risky to be there, because she can recognize his demons. Rita will have to understand. (Guess what: she doesn’t.)

Her bullshit meter is going crazy.

Dex pretends he’s waiting for Roger to help him get a sweet stereo install when he’s really just trying to get some DNA – the hair he pulled from the comb was a synthetic wig hair. A woman shows up with a thank you note for Roger as Dexter says he’s just leaving. The woman tells Dex that Roger sent her to a dealership across the street after he ran a credit check and she couldn’t afford his prices – kind of like Santa from Miracle on 34th Street except not really because he’s a murderer and doesn’t bring me presents. Dexter asks her a bunch of really creepy questions about her living arrangements and relationship status and she asks if it’s some sort of weird come-on. Little does she know that Dexter is finding out about Roger’s victim’s profiles and that she’s next on the list. But Dex can’t do anything yet because of the Code. Harry would insist on following it. Roger’s DNA matches the semen found at both crime scenes. What more proof do you need, Dex?

Deb confronts Lundy again about her request to be removed from the task force. It’s been 24 hours since she asked. Every cop wants in on the case, he can pick from anyone. Lundy says he’s been curious about that – every cop wants to be on, but she’s the only one who wants to get off (heh). Deb tries to keep her voice steady as she explains that she was engaged to a serial killer and she didn’t even know it. What kind of cop can’t tell something like that? How could she ever help them find the Bay Harbor Butcher? Lundy interrupts her, saying that’s why he chose her. She’s a survivor and had a first-hand look into the heart and mind of a killer, and yet she still stands here. She needs to accept that and use it to help her. Lundy tells her to finish the day’s interviews, and if she still wants out, she’ll get it.

Captain Matthews visits LaGuerta and compliments her on her hard work. He pulls her out into the hallway to speak with her privately and explains he needs all his people working at their highest capabilities, then asks if he should be worried about Pascal. She’s been AWOL, letting her personal life affect her work, fucking up with the press, and behaving erratically. LaGuerta is Pascal’s harshest critic and Matthews wants to hear it straight. To my surprise, she defends Pascal, citing sexism on the job and insisting that Pascal is fine.

After dropping some dental X-rays off at the field morgue, a nice chat about justification for murder with Lundy, and slashing Doakes’ tire, Dexter makes his way to Roger’s car lot. Roger is just on his way out when Dex confronts him, choking him out before shoving him in the back of his new mini-van with the convenient stow-and-go seating and tinted windows. The Kill Room is in the house of one of Roger’s victims. Oddly enough, Roger makes Dexter realize how much he cares about Rita and the kids, and when Roger calls Rita the C-word, Dex angrily plunges his knife into Roger’s chest.

Dexter introduces himself with his real name at another NA meeting. He talks about his inner darkness, his Dark Passenger. He’s all he’s got. The British woman watches him from her seat, completely understanding the feelings he’s sharing. Everyone is emotional, and they give Dex a round of applause as he takes his seat. The woman’s name is Lila, and she agrees to lead the group in the serenity prayer.

Just as Dexter gets up to join them in the front of the room, Doakes steps through the doorway, looking like his birthday and Christmas just came early and at the same time. Uh-oh. But Doakes doesn’t do anything rash. Instead, he sort of half comforts Dexter, telling him his sneaking around makes sense and a lot of cops have been there to try and make the difficult job easier. “Stay clean and stay out of my way and we won’t have a problem.” Doakes says. “Oh, and you owe me a new Michelin, mother fucker.” Dex is in the clear.

Deb is finishing up her last interview for the night. The guy wants to know his father is dead and rotting in hell so he can get some peace – his father put him and his mother and sister through hell and spent a lot of time in prison. Lundy is on his way out when Deb is struck with an idea. She heads him off at the elevator. Two of the missing people had records, and it could be a pattern. Lundy encourages Deb’s theory and tells her to run the DNA against the criminal database right away.

An ecstatic Dexter knocks on Rita’s door late at night. He tells her she was right about the program and that he feels like it’s helped him a lot. He thanks her and they hug and all is right in the world. The next day, Rita drops Dexter off at an NA meeting. Lila is waiting outside and Dexter points her out as his sponsor. Rita looks uncomfortable and not a little worried.

Dexter body count: 15 (and counting… those garbage bags are starting to add up!)