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'Dexter' recap: It was all just a lie

October 3, 2010 | 10:15 pm

Dexter_502_1015 The grieving process is all about time. We may not ever get back to the way things were before a loss, but eventually, gradually, life begins to feel normal again.  Sometimes we tell ourselves lies to try to speed the process, and that appeared to be the theme of Sunday night’s episode of “Dexter,” as Dexter tries to talk himself into post-Rita life. “Once the kids and I are back together, it’ll all be fine,” he says at the beginning of the episode. Lie No. 1.  As he heads off to his FBI interview, he says, “There’s just one final loose end to tie up before putting all this behind me.” Lie No. 2. And while it’s maybe not actually a lie, trying to pretend for a moment that cramming into Deb’s apartment with three kids might work is probably Lie No. 3. 

Dexter may have troubles with his family, but at least for the time being the FBI isn't his problem, as agents tell him they know he was at Arthur Mitchell’s house while Rita was being murdered. Sure to bite him later on, though, is their interest in Kyle Butler, whom the police know as a murder victim and potential affiliate of Trinity but who we all know was Dexter himself.

Dexter tells himself that he doesn’t need distractions right now, but that’s what he gets when he starts fixating on a blood stain he spots in the bottom of a moving van (the repeated, highlighted close-ups of the blood along with the mysterious harp music got a little too obvious for me after a while). Eventually, he takes baby Harrison out to the van to run some tests. For a guy who was so worried about his baby turning out like him, Dexter doesn’t seem to have a problem introducing him to his way of life (sneaking around at night, mucking around in blood). 

Dex finds out that the previous renter of the van was a city-employed dead-animal retriever named Boyd. Dexter decides to scope him out by calling in a dead raccoon by the side of the road that Boyd notices was killed elsewhere but brought to the site. “He’s CSI’ing me,” Dexter notes irritably, which is a welcome return to the ironic humor of the show I love so much.

Raccoons aren’t the only dead things in the area: Miami Metro arrives on the scene of a decapitated head found in the park (I have to admit that, ever since the first season, I have a weakness for sawed-off body parts on this show), which a new cop on the scene deduces may be the work of the cult of Santa Muerte.

Making like her brother and lying to herself as well, Deb crashes at Quinn’s when her house is too full, not willing to acknowledge the fact that the two slept together. (I wouldn’t want to, either. Dating within the department only leads to heartache, like the boring story line of Angel resenting Maria’s retirement fund. Maria was more interesting in the very beginning of the series when it appeared that she had a crush on Dexter.)  I liked the detail of Deb putting in her retainer before she falls asleep.

Musing that he’s a better father if he’s a better killer, Dexter checks out Boyd’s house, which at first doesn’t seem like much (“Boyd. You are very boring.”) but things get creepy once Dexter notices Boyd’s affinity for aggressive motivational tapes, locking doors from the outside and collecting labeled locks of hair.

After following Boyd to the swamp, where he dumps something in the water, Dex gets a call from Deb, who can’t find the kids. They’re at their old house, trying to gain some sort of understanding or closure by standing in the room where their mother was murdered. “You made us think that everything would be good forever,” Astor says. “Every time I look at you I get so angry because it was all just a lie.”  She’s very astute, that Astor. She makes a request to live with her grandparents instead of Dexter, and I can’t really blame her. 

Back home, Dexter and Deb catch up, and he tells her that, even though Cody wanted to stay in Miami, Dexter told him that he and Astor shouldn’t be apart because they needed each other the way he and Deb did. “I guess it’s time to face reality,” he says, so Deb calls Quinn to admit that they had sex, but not much more than that.

Dexter finally lets go of the kids, mourning the fact that they served as a reminder of his lost innocence and the fact that he still cares about something.  But it’s back to business, as he heads to the swamp and opens up one of Boyd’s oil drums, which aren’t full of dead animals but dead ladies. Back to work, Dexter!

— Claire Zulkey

Photo: Dexter (Michael C. Hall) keeps an eye on Boyd (Shawn Hatosy). Photo credit: Cliff Lipson /Showtime.