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'Dexter' recap: Whatever it is, it’s big

November 7, 2010 | 10:00 pm

Dexter_507_0252 Although I initially was a fan of Julia Stiles when she appeared in this season of "Dexter" (I thought she portrayed "wild with fear" well), I haven't been especially enraptured with her the last few episodes. Maybe after the days of Lila I am overly suspicious of women in Dexter's life. Or perhaps I got a little tired of the stiff pattern of "I want to do murder with you" followed by "You can't; you still have a clean slate!" (although after Sunday night’s episode, that might change, as Dexter finally starts viewing Lumen as some sort of partner after they double-team a bad guy). Or maybe I just miss John Lithgow, all-time best guest star. I definitely miss John Lithgow.

Fortunately, although the Dexter/Lumen story line isn't currently gripping me, I thought the other plots in Sunday night's episode were especially compelling -- the show is exciting when Dexter must compete with the police department to get his man, and that's what's happening now. After a truck containing the barrels of Boyd Fowler's dead bodies crashes, the police are on the hunt for the murderer. The truck is registered to Jordan Chase, the same "Take it!" motivational speaker whose tapes Boyd listened to.  Dexter and Lumen and the detectives are all on the hunt for Cole Harmon, Jordan's chief of security, until Dexter throws them off the trail by alerting the police to Boyd's existence, a move that does not go unnoticed by Jordan and Cole.

In the meantime, the detectives are ready to bust the Fuentes brothers in a stakeout, but it goes horribly awry, ending with a dramatic shootout at the club, which Maria takes the flak for -- but at least she looked sexy in her going-out clothes. Plus, Quinn (who wore an especially heinous sweater this episode) has second thoughts about having Dexter trailed, until his crooked private eye, Stan Liddy, (played deliciously by Peter Weller, stealing all the scenes he's in, not unlike Lithgow) shames him for having second thoughts on account of Deb, who he is trying to pressure to move in with him for some reason. (Liddy has discovered the existence of Lumen, and thus so has Quinn).

As if that's not all enough, Dexter and Lumen realize there's something more to her rape and torture than she realized: Cole, Jordan, Boyd, Dan the Dentist and a few others have all known each other since they were teen-agers -- what are they exactly, some sort of death cult? Or the worst fraternity in history?

Speaking of which, although Stiles hasn't been gripping me as Lumen, I am excited to see more of Jonny Lee Miller as oily Jordan (I hope I get the chance to ask him if he had a good time recording those "Take it!" motivational tapes). "Trainspotting's" Sick Boy has grown into a potentially very Sick Man.

-- Claire Zulkey

Photo: Chris Vance as Cole Harmon and Jonny Lee Miller as Jordan Chase in "Dexter." Photo: Randy Tepper / Showtime