Dexter’s got a lot on his plate this week: an FBI Agent and the entire Homicide Department breathing down his neck (not that they realize it), trying to juggle pretending to be addicted to heroin and actually being addicted to killing people, a sweet girlfriend with a crazy mother, an unconventional NA sponsor, and a vigilante copycat on the loose – it’s no wonder Dexter seems to be coming unhinged.
We’re heading into the third week of the Bay Harbor Butcher investigation. “Super Duper” Special Agent Lundy hasn’t quite traced the clues back to Dexter yet, but he hasn’t given up, either. Rita is on all fours scrubbing the kitchen floor for her estranged mother’s impending visit. This will be interesting. Rita tells Dexter she hopes they catch the BHB and that they hurt him – then hilariously kisses Dex goodbye and bids him a great day.
Lundy’s giving his squad a break-down of Deb’s latest findings: thirteen(!) of the victims have been accused of murder, or suspected of it. There are still several others who have no criminal record, so that doesn’t really solve anything. The Captain wants to go public with it to ease the minds of upstanding citizens, but Lundy’s not so sure. Matthews is going to do it anyway. Masuka bursts in to Dexter’s office, shouting about his breaking lead in the case. Dexter watches in horror as Vince and Angel share a high-five after he shares his discovery. Seeking help, Dexter goes to visit his sponsor.
Lila lives in some crazy artist’s loft, and Dexter finds her welding some creepy-ass mannequins together. She basically strips naked in front of him and forgets to put a bra on before throwing on some clean clothes. They head out to get “art supplies,” which turns out to be random fence posts and lawn decorations that Lila runs over with her Jeep and steals off porches. Very classy.
Pascal calls Dexter into her office. She wants him to run some tests on a shirt. There’s no blood on it, but there’s a smell – it smells like a woman. “Which part?” Dexter asks. But he sends Esmee to Masuka, because that’s his kind of weirdo thing to do.
Turns out, Masuka’s find is algae. There was algae inside the bags, and Vince thinks he can use it to track the marina where the BHB stores his boat. Dexter doesn’t understand, because the algae would come from the place where he dumps the bodies. He’s missing something here and doesn’t like that.
Deb and Lundy bond at work as they recount their “social appointments” from the night before. Deb blurts out that she got laid by a hot beefcake from her gym named Gabriel and Lundy, who’s old enough to be her father, feels awkward. His date, by the way, was terrible. Pascal has a freak out in the middle of the station because Masuka couldn’t trace a smell on her fiance’s shirt. When Masuka tries to explain that you can’t really do that, she goes berserk, yelling that her fiancé is ruining her life and NO ONE CARES! Matthews puts Maria back in charge of Homicide, effective immediately.
Over lunch, Dex tries to tell Lila she’s not going to be his sponsor anymore. She looks pretty disappointed, but no time for chatting – Dex has to get back to work. Lila’s waiting for him at the station and begs for another chance. She tells him there is no such thing as all good or all evil, so Dexter wants to show her evil. Inside the morgue, he opens body bags and she is totally enthralled, not disgusted, as Dexter had hoped. “The person who did this is just like me, and just like you. We’re all good, Dexter, and we’re all evil,” she says. Turns out, she knows Dexter better than anyone without really realizing it. Dex likes that she makes him feel okay about who and what he is. He agrees to keep her as his sponsor.
Batista, complaining about the crazy heat wave that has hit Miami, unknowingly gives Dexter an idea about how to deal with part of his problems. Dexter returns to the mobile morgue later that night. He busts the cooling system near the dumpsters, making the garbage man an easy scapegoat.
Maria lies in bed, watching the news. The man lying next to her turns off the tv, and Maria tells him that it’s the last time they’ll be together. He sits up, and we recognize him as Pascal’s fiancé. WHAT. He doesn’t understand why she’s trying to break up with him, because Esmee’s gone. Maria tells him to go back to her, because obviously she was just using him to screw up Esmee’s life and get her lieutenant spot back. “You are one cold-hearted bitch, I’ll tell you that.” Tell it, brother.
Dexter informs Rita that Lila will remain his sponsor. She’s not thrilled, but she just wants what’s best for Dexter. Rita’s mom, Gail, made Cody a super hero costume. He’s “The Butcher,” because the Butcher only kills bad people! Dexter swings him through the air as the two women watch from the kitchen. “He’s quite the actor,” Gail tells Rita. “He’s hiding something.” Rita, who used to defend Dexter blindly, looks a little concerned too.
The marine biologist that Masuka brought in for the algae thing is talking to Masuka and Lundy outside the morgue, blabbing on about algae. He’s stopped mid-sentence once they enter the once-frosty morgue, now filled with puddles and dripping and the awful smell of bodies left to rot in the Miami heat. The bodies are pink mush, but Masuka reassures Dex that they still had the rocks. The BHB was picking rocks up from his marina to weigh the bodies down (flash to Dexter harvesting mossy rocks from the water and stuffing them in a bag). The marine biologist already took the rocks to his lab, and they’ll find out what marina they’re from in a week or so. Aw shit.
Dexter waits in line at his favorite coffee shop. All around him, customers are reading the paper with “Bay Harbor Butcher: Friend or Foe?” on the front page. A couple of guys chat about the case, and one says that the BHB should get a medal. Deb feels the total opposite and expresses her desire to put a bullet in his head. The people of Miami are just like Dexter: neither of them knows who he really is.
Dispatch calls and we’re off to our first crime scene in episode five. It’s at a comic book shop. Dex admits that he’s never understood the superhero thing, but it seems like they’re having increasingly more in common these days. There’s a poster on the wall of a comic anti-hero named “The Dark Defender.” Denny, the victim, had the idea to put a spin on the BHB case by making a graphic novel out of him. Mmm, Michael C. Hall in Spandex?
At an NA meeting, Dexter zones. He flashes back to his mother’s murder, but this time he sees more than her face and endless blood: he sees the three chainsaw-wielding murderers. Dexter as the Dark Defender bursts in and rescues his mother. “It’s ok, Mom. You’re safe.” Dexter tells Lila he was dreaming about his mom and that she was murdered – something he never told anyone before. Lila pushes Dexter to get closure by confronting the murderers, whether they’re dead, behind bars, or wherever.
Deb and Gabriel seemed to have hit it off after their first boning sesh. She rifles through his underwear drawer while he sleeps. He watches her for a moment before telling her that his meth lab’s in the sock drawer. Deb confesses she’s just trying to get to know him better and reveals that she had been engaged to the Ice Truck Killer. Gabriel, who has been visiting family in El Salvador, has no idea who that even is. She’s not just a “trophy fuck” for him. How sweet…
An armadillo has gotten into the Bennett house, and Dexter swiftly saves them all by hockeying it out of there with a broom. While Rita gets the kids ready for school, Gail confronts Dexter about Narcotics Anonymous literature she found in a drawer at the house (jeez, nosy much?). Dexter tells her that he recently entered the program. Gail has little patience for users and basically tells Dexter that if he really cared about her daughter and grandchildren, he would leave them alone. Ouch.
The marine biologist has narrowed down the algae to three marinas. Coral Cove is one of them, and it’s where Harry used to keep the family boat and where Dexter docks his now. Lundy assigns Deb to go with him to check it out. Meanwhile, Dexter is down in the basement getting files on his mother’s three murderers. There’s only one, belonging to Santos Jimenez. One of the other guys is dead and the other is serving life without parole. But Santos’ case is still open – he gave evidence and went into witness protection. There are also some tapes that go along with the investigation. A criminal informant was working the cocaine bust from the inside. Harry’s voice plays on the cassettes. The voice of the female CI is unmistakable. Dexter’s been hearing her pleas for mercy for months in his head. It’s his mother. She’s frightened and worried she’s going to be killed, but Harry asks her to hold on just a little longer: “I won’t let anything happen to you. Or your boys. You have my word.” Well, you can see what that was worth in the end.
At the station, Lila is trying to visit Dexter, to no avail: he’s not in his office. Angel approaches and she introduces herself as Dexter’s decorator. Angel gets her a visitor’s badge and takes her upstairs. He’s Dexter’s bff, donchaknow? Dex tells Lila that he found out his mother’s free murderer runs a bar in Naples and she wants to go with him to confront the guy. Dexter agrees.
Lila and Dexter check into a hotel for the night. Lila is being all “supportive” about this meeting when Rita calls. Lila takes the hint and heads to the shower. Rita’s concerned that Dex didn’t call when he arrived and doesn’t even really know why he’s gone. Dexter says he wanted to look up someone from his past. Rita doesn’t understand how that’s something that “suddenly comes up” and asks what’s going on, but Dexter is a bit distracted by the fact that Lila’s stripping down and didn’t even close the bathroom door!
At Gabriel’s apartment, Deb snoops through his email while he showers. His sent box contains several messages with the subject, “The Ice Princess.” Uh-oh. The emails were sent to publishers, and Deb immediately believes Gabriel’s written a story about their relationship. She freaks out on him and bolts.
Dexter calls Lila from the biker bar as his mother’s killer pours him a beer, staring Dexter down. Dex doesn’t know if he’s going to say anything to Jimenez and hangs up with Lila, who is busy defacing the painting in their hotel room. Dexter sits at the bar until after closing. Jimenez tries to get him out of there. When Dexter doesn’t leave, he pulls out a baseball bat. Telling Jimenez how he feels doesn’t work, so he punches him a few times in the face and proceeds to kick the shit out of him as he recounts his mother’s murder. This is the most we’ve seen Dexter lose control. He’s personally invested, something Harry always warned against. This is deeper than losing a mother, though. This is about the birth of a killer. Jimenez blames Estrado, the drug dealer. He wanted Laura dead because she was a snitch for a cop – and not only that, she was fucking the cop. Harry got her killed. Lila calls in the middle of it and Dexter says he’s about to “use.” Miraculously, she talks him out of it.
Back at Rita’s house, she confronts her mother about what went on that morning. Apparently, Rita and her mother have always had a tenuous relationship – she didn’t run away with Paul, she was running away from her mother. Rita tells her what for and stands up for herself. Yay Rita!
Deb goes into work late that night. Lundy’s still there. She tells him she broke up with Gabriel, and Lundy hands her a background check on the guy. “Just because he’s not a criminal doesn’t mean he’s an asshole,” Deb retorts, and explains she went through his emails and found out he was using her to shop around a book on the ITK. Lundy seems confused because apparently Deb doesn’t realize Gabriel is a children’s author. Lundy and Deb bond over the fact that they both lost important people to cancer.
Early morning sunshine pours into the hotel room in Naples. Dexter wakes up, his head on Lila’s lap. She tells him how she got into the program: she met a man named Marco and thought he was her boyfriend, but he turned out to be her dealer. When he left her, she got so messed up that she burned his house down… without realizing that Marco was passed out inside. She got away with it; the police blamed the fire on his drugs. When she tells Dexter that Marco deserved it, he tells her she didn’t do anything wrong.
Dex stops by Rita’s at her request. She’s caring and supportive, as always, but Dexter looks like he’d rather not be there. Gail joins them for breakfast and declares her commitment to helping Dexter and Rita – she’s staying in Miami! At Rita’s house! Rita looks like she’s going to vomit.
Later that night, Deb and Gabriel read his book “The Ice Princess” together. At Coral Cove, Dexter checks every single inch of his boat for blood or any other signs that he could be the Bay Harbor Butcher. Dex wonders if he’s the Bay Harbor Butcher or the Dark Defender? He doesn’t know if it matters, because he met someone who doesn’t care what he is. Dexter is excited at the prospect of a life with no more secrets. He doesn’t notice the newly installed security cameras (requested by Lundy) recording his every move.
Harry pushes play on the tape recorder. Laura says there’s a big shipment of cocaine coming in that night – 300 bricks. Harry wants her to get her hands on some of it because they need hard evidence. Her word alone won’t be good enough against Estrada. Detective Morgan promises to protect her. Laura grabs Harry’s hand and asks him to meet her later. “Laura,” he says. “The tape’s still rolling.” She whispers something unintelligible, and in the present, Dexter rewinds to no avail. He’s doubting Harry constantly now. And so we begin episode six.
Dexter’s late for work and he’s looking a little ragged. Doakes asks Deb if Dexter fell off the wagon. She has no idea what he’s talking about. “Your brother’s a junkie, isn’t he?” Doakes asks. Deb laughs and says Dexter hasn’t even smoked a cigarette, but his new material is refreshing: “freak” and “psycho” were getting kind of old. Doakes looks concerned. Lundy wants his team outside in five minutes – someone just called in, saying he escaped the Bay Harbor Butcher. Now it’s Dexter’s turn to look confused, but knows it could be good news for him. Lundy wants Dexter to help on this one. He hears he’s pretty good at tracking serial killers .
The alleged victim was knocked out and tied up with rope in a train car. Dexter has obviously never seen him before. Inside the train car, Dexter insults the (lack of) professionalism of this copycat. Mr. John Henry, the victim, says he just got out of prison after a six-year sentence for aggravated assault. The BHB told him he was going to get what he deserved. The Butcher kills murderers, though. Dexter tells Lundy he doesn’t think this guy is the Butcher. The place doesn’t match his MO, for one thing – it’s filthy. Lundy agrees and thinks they’re looking for a vigilante inspired by the BHB’s principles. He also lets slip that they put cameras in the marinas a few days ago to watch for suspicious activity. Dexter wonders if Lundy saw him on the tape and he brought him along to mess with him. Luckily for him, they can’t sync the footage until the station’s computer systems are updated, which should happen later that night. No one has seen it yet.
Gail invites Dexter and Lila for dinner at Rita’s. The four of them sit down for an awkward meal. Gail just wants to talk about what drugs everyone’s using (“I don’t know much about meth”) and talk about Paul. The three women talk about Dexter like he’s not sitting right there. Gail asks Dexter what kind of career choice blood spatter is and Rita quickly defends her man by telling her that he catches criminals. Lila says it makes perfect sense because of what happened to his mother. Everyone shares an awkward glance while Lila stuffs her face. Rita admits to Dexter that she kind of likes her, though.
After dinner, Dex heads to the station to try and erase the footage from the marina cameras, but Lundy’s office has super tight security that’s beyond his expertise. So he and Rita go bone at his apartment. While they’re mackin’ it, the phone rings and the machine picks up. It’s Lila. Dexter gets to watch his relationship crumble in real time: after giving Rita a backhanded compliment and full-out insulting Gail, she apologizes for almost telling them what happened to Dexter’s mom – but it could have been worse because she could have spilled the beans about their secret Naples road trip and the fact that they shared a hotel room. Rita dumps his ass and leaves.
Lundy calls a meeting at the station and requests Dexter’s presence. Everyone’s gathered around the computer screens streaming the security footage from the marinas. Not Dexter’s marina, though, not yet. There’s still time. Lundy says the media attention on the case has come back to bite them. Not only do they have a copycat vigilante on their hands, but people have posted ads on Craigslist and community bulletin boards requesting the services of the Butcher. Vigilantes are domestic terrorists, and Lundy promises if there is even one death at the hands of a copycat, the case will be pulled from Miami Metro and given fully to the FBI. Angel interrupts with news he might have a suspect, a guy named Ken Olson. Dexter heads back to his lab to find Doakes listening to the taped interviews between Harry and Laura Moser. After a tense but quiet confrontation, Dexter goes directly to LaGuerta’s office to file a formal complaint against Doakes. At her request, Dexter gives Maria the chance to talk to James before he files a complaint. Maria gives him a mandatory few hours away from work.
Rather than go to Rita’s to try and apologize as Deb suggested, Dexter goes to Lila’s place. Dexter rants vaguely about what just went down at work and then freaks out on Lila for what happened with Rita the night before. They shout at each other and he grabs her wrists. They have a little rough afternoon delight, if you know what I’m sayin’. (Try to get that song out of your head, now.) Lila gushes about what a great sponsor she is. I do not like this at all. As he’s leaving, Rita calls and wants Dexter to come over after work so they can talk.
Olson saw himself on the news and shows up for questioning. John Henry attacked Olson’s mother before going away, giving Olson a motive, but he insists the Butcher went after Henry. Not that he’s complaining. Outside of Lundy’s office, Dexter sees that his marina is now on screen and that in less than thirty minutes, he’ll be up there, too. So he pulls a fire alarm, something the “old” Dexter never would have done. While everyone files out of the building, Dexter goes to work erasing his existence from the security footage.
Miami Metro couldn’t get jack on Olson, so they had to let him go. Dex gets his address from his file and heads over that night to make sure Lundy finds a piece of evidence there so Olson is caught fair and square. Olson comes home in the middle of Dex’s snooping and Dexter manages to get him in a chokehold. Thinking he’s in the clutches of the BHB (which he is), he admits he was sloppy with Henry, but he’s killed other “bad guys” (like the husband of a girl he was fucking) and it felt great. Dexter decides this guy needs to be put down and sets up the kill room, demonstrating how it should be done. He doesn’t need to kill this guy; there isn’t any urge from deep within him like there used to be. But he’s going to do it anyway because he can.
A team of FBI agents, Lundy, Deb, and Angel approach the train car where they found John Henry, guns aimed. When no one answers Lundy’s call, they open the door and find Olson’s body neatly cut up and placed into garbage bags. Angel admits the real Butcher probably did them a favor – sends a message to others thinking about copying him. Deb asks Lundy if he’s going to pull the case, and he says no. When Deb finds out that he only wants Dexter’s help because he can’t stand Masuka (and not because he’s always been the better Morgan), they share a hug that lasts a little too long.
Dexter shows up at Rita’s for their talk. He confesses a lot to Rita: the fact that Lila went with him to Naples, and, oh yeah, he witnessed the murder of his mother when he was three. Rita is upset that Dexter didn’t include her in this big part of his life, but he would share it with Lila. Rita asks if they had sex that night, and Dexter truthfully says no… not that night. Rita kicks him out. I guess at least he told the truth? “There was a time,” Dexter tells us as he rings Lila’s doorbell, “I would have done anything to protect Rita. I would have even lied. But today I told the truth, even though I knew she’d get hurt. Maybe I am leaving the old me behind.”