Ah, Family. The source of so much anger and frustration. If you have siblings or kids, then you’ve heard the fighting and tattling. “Mom, Sally is on my side!” “Dad, Tommy hit me!” Well, after this week’s Dexter episode, Dexter’s sister Deborah surely has the most legitimate sibling complaint of them all. “Mom, Dexter is a serial killer!” Read on for a spoilerific recap of the episode.
Episode 2, titled “Sunshine and Frosty Swirl,” does a solid job of slowly tightening the net around Dexter’s world. While Deb struggles to control her brother’s uncontrollable compulsions, various forces are set in motion that threaten to expose Dexter’s secret once and for all. This new season is already so much better than the last, not only because Deborah has finally learned the truth about her brother, but because so much is going on to threaten our favorite serial killer. Dexter’s secret is already on shaky ground, and it’s only episode 2.
The episode opens right where the previous one left off. Dexter has just admitted to Deb that he’s a serial killer and Deb proceeds to have a Grand Mal Flip Out. She runs out of Dexter’s apartment, swears, vomits, swears, cries, and then swears. A lot.
Everything Dexter tells Deb just blows her world into smaller and smaller pieces. He’s been killing since he was 20 years old. He calls the killer within him his Dark Passenger (“You gave it a name?!”). Their father, Harry, knew about it and even taught Dexter the “Code” that he kills by. He only kills people who deserve it. Yes, the blood slides confirm that he is the Bay Harbor Butcher.
Deb is horrified, furious. Dexter surrenders completely to her questions. At one point, Dexter gets a little indignant, listing off a few of the murderers that he took off the streets, but Deb puts the kibosh on Dexter’s twisted sense of justice. She’s not remotely sympathetic to the trauma that Dexter suffered as a child when his mother was murdered in front of him, saying that a lot of bad things happen to a lot of people and they didn’t turn out like him. She’s got him there.
Ultimately, Deb doesn’t arrest Dexter. Instead, she figures that serial killers have a terrible addiction that they just can’t control, like doing drugs, or playing World of Warcraft. She decides to help her brother kick the killing habit by putting him into serial killer rehab. Deb tells Dexter that he’s going to move in with her so she can keep an eye on him at all times. She reels him in at work, using her position as his boss to control where he goes. Rule #1, she tells him, is to always be honest. Maybe it’s just me, but shouldn’t Rule #1 be NO MORE KILLING?
After seven seasons (with more to go), we know that Deb is being terribly naïve. Dexter has tried to control his Dark Passenger before and his father tried before that, but it was all in vain. Still, Deb is doing this out of love for her brother, telling him that she believes that there is good in him. And she’s not giving him a choice. So Dexter moves into Deb’s house and she plants herself by the front door so he can’t leave. Over a dinner of spaghetti covered in blood-red sauce, Dexter explains to Deb how the urge to kill manifests itself. It starts with the image of blood, and it only intensifies the longer he waits until he can’t control it.
Meanwhile, buddy cop rejects Quinn and Batista harass the owner of the strip club, looking for a witness that will lead them to whoever killed Detective Anderson. Quinn charms a Ukrainian stripper into giving up the name of the dead stripper’s boyfriend, and the boyfriend reluctantly gives up the name of the man she was last seen with on the night she was killed, aka Viktor, the Ukrainian hit man that Dexter killed last episode.
But there’s a problem, and his name is Isaak Sirko, the Mysterious European Man™ that the strip club owner called during last week’s episode. Sirko shows up in Miami wearing an expensive suit, speaking with an evil British accent, and oozing quiet, controlled menace. After scaring the bejeezus of the strip club owner by just showing up (and mentioning a nefarious group called “The Brotherhood”), Sirko calmly toys with the dead hooker’s boyfriend. Sirko doesn’t like that the boyfriend talked to the police, so Sirko casually kills the guy by stabbing him in the eye with a screwdriver. He walks away without so much as a spot on his fancy suit.
Back to Dexter. He still has a few secrets he’s keeping from Deb, specifically the hand from the Ice Truck Killer case that someone mailed to him. Dexter finds out from Masuka that the hand was sold on eBay by Masuka’s hot blonde intern. Masuka asked Louis to find out who bought the hand, but he was unsuccessful. Dexter has never liked Louis and the mention of Louis’s name sets Dexter’s spidey senses a-tingling.
Deb reluctantly allows Dexter to accompany the police to a dig site where a killer buried a few bodies years before. Dexter asks the killer (who wears an orange jump suit and shackles) what caused his change of heart. Why is he now telling the police where to find his victim’s bodies? The killer tells Dexter that he let go of his anger and the urge to kill just went away. Is there hope for Dexter too? (Hint: NO).
Dexter sneaks away from the dig and breaks into Louis’s apartment, where he finds evidence that Louis has been trying to sabotage Dexter’s life. According to some convenient web videos on Louis’s computer, Louis has it in for Dexter and is vowing revenge. Apparently, Louis brought down his former partner by framing him, and now he is planning worse for Dexter. When Louis comes home, Dexter throws him against the wall and Louis folds like a table, admitting that he was mad about Dexter’s criticisms of his serial killer video game. Dexter tells Louis he never wants to see him again and Louis promises to stay away.
Meanwhile, LaGuerta, confirms that the blood on the slide that she found matches the Doomsday killer. She digs out the evidence on Doakes, the Bay Harbor Butcher, and the blood slide matches up perfectly. Now she knows that the Bay Harbor Butcher is alive and well. Dun-dun-DUN.
Deb takes Dexter home to see Harrison and discovers Louis there, acting as if their previous encounter never happened. Louis even seems to taunt Dexter, as if he knows Dexter’s secret. Never one to take a taunt lying down, Dexter drugs Deb, sneaks out, drugs Louis, and then throws Louis’s body in his car. But instead of actually killing Louis, Dexter decides to give Deb’s rehab plan the ol’ college try. Dexter calls Deb, who groggily shows up and talks Dexter down from his murderous mood. After Deb leaves, Dexter leaves Louis’s still-drugged body on a park bench where he probably gets molested by a homeless person.
The next day, Dexter is back with the police as they search for the killer’s long-buried bodies. Deb is there too, happy that Dexter confided in her last night. It seems as if her plan to “fix” her broken brother is going to work. She walks across the street to get some ice cream, leaving Dexter with the killer. The killer enjoys an ice cream cone and the sun on his face. “I’m going to miss this,” the killer says.
Then, with a wry smile at Dexter, the killer suddenly runs in front of a semi truck, killing himself and speckling Dexter’s face with his blood. The killer was never reformed. There were never any bodies buried there. Dexter realizes that the killer just wanted a few days of sunshine and ice cream cones. The darkness within him never “went away.” It was always there, right up until the moment that the killer did the only thing he had left to do and killed himself.
If there was never any hope for this killer, what hope is there for Dexter?