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'Dexter' Season 5, Episode 9 Recap

by Sandie Angulo Chen, posted Nov 22nd 2010 9:50AM

Michael C. Hall and Jonny Lee Miller on Dexter['Dexter,' 'Teenage Wasteland']

Before we jump into the recap, kudos to the writers for referencing the Who's 'Baba O'Riley' with this episode's title. It's an epic song, so a big episode was expected.

Instead, this was more of a character-driven episode than a plot-changing one. Except for that amazing beatdown Dexter gave Barry and a couple of big revelations, including the climactic one that Jordan Chase knows Dexter and Lumen are allies ("Tick, tick, tick"), this episode was surprisingly mellow.

Who else was unspoiled and therefore utterly surprised that Astor (Christina Robinson) was the mysterious intruder? And was anyone else bothered by the fact that Astor has become a tarty 12-year-old who wears way too much make-up, dresses in inappropriately tight clothes, and boozes it up with her slightly older friend? Of course she's grieving, but the 'Lolita' act was really off-putting and slightly unbelievable, considering she's living with her grandparents. Despite that, her showing up with her abused pal Olivia became the catalyst for outing Lumen to Deb and proving once again that Dexter is capable of love.

The last time Astor was on the show, she seemed whiny and melodramatic, but this time her angst was less annoying, and her rapport with Dexter less forced. The fascinating thing about Dexter and Astor's interaction in this episode is that Lumen is the one who helped and encouraged Dexter to talk to his stepdaughter. Without Lumen's support, Dexter would've botched up his time with Astor by concentrating solely on her behavior and not the motivation behind her behavior.

Lumen was fantastic in this episode. She followed her own advice about telling the girls a story to help them relate to each other, which led to the truth about Olivia being abused. She held her own with Deb, who couldn't have been more shocked about the "hot blond tenant" her brother was keeping a secret. And then of course, on the phone with Jordan, Lumen instantly regressed back into victim mode, reminding us that she can't fully heal until she and Dexter have killed everyone involved in the kidnapping-rape-torture-murder ring, starting with their No. 1 target -- Jordan "I wear blood pendants" Chase.

While Lumen is slowly getting better, Deb is beginning to unravel again. Her relationship with Quinn has hit a major bump (Um, it's never a good idea to confess to your girlfriend that you think her brother might be a murderer -- even if you're spot on!); her career has temporarily stalled; her professional relationship with LaGuerta is completely strained; and she may be just an episode or two away from discovering some rather earth-shattering news about her brother's possibly homicidal activities. Plus, poor Deb never gets to just have a normal, healthy love affair. Everyone except for Anton (David Ramsey) has ended up dead.

Now Quinn is trying to do the right thing and stop Stan (Peter Weller) from continuing his investigation, but that's not gonna happen, is it? Why would the disgraced cop stop himself from sharing news that would bring down a Metro Police employee who's even dirtier than he is? If I were a gambling woman, I'd bet on Quinn having to accidentally-on-purpose put an end to Liddy himself.

Jonny Lee Miller continues to impress as the secretly evil motivational speaker. He strikes just the right balance of charm and smarm, and he should own the next episode.

Burning questions:
--Does anyone care about LaGuerta and Batista's marriage? The characters, yes, but their marriage -- meh.

--Now that Jordan Chase knows the truth, how can Dexter outwit him?

--How suspicious and close to the truth will Deb get?

--Will LaGuerta get fired? Quinn killed?

--What's going to happen to Lumen?

Memorable lines:
--"Who the f--k are you?/"Who the f--k are YOU?"/"Who the f--k is she?" --Olivia /Lumen/Aster

--"Detective Scapegoat, reporting for duty." -- Deb

--"I didn't know he had a tenant"/"Didn't know he had a sister" -- Deb/Lumen

--"If you're so interested in the truth, ask Quinn." -- LaGuerta to Deb

--"She's a friend. She's been through some really, really bad stuff. I'm helping her deal with it." -- Dexter to Aster

--"Tell Dexter one more thing. Tell him time is of the essence. Tick-tick-tick. That's the sound of his life running out." --Jordan to Lumen

'Dexter' airs Sun., 9PM ET on Showtime.

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Tucker Johnston

What was the great quote from Dexter's Dad that was so thought-provoking? Something like, "I'm impressed with you, Dex. Maybe I was wrong about you. Maybe I could have saved you [from being a serial killer]." And Dexter's reaction. Subtle. Not even dwelled-on, but another seed planted. Which they seem to be doing good this season. And the idea that maybe Dexter DOES have emotions of love -- buried deep in that damage psyche of his.

Great season. I'm so glad they didn't try and "top" the absolute dramatic mayhem of last season and chose to go in a different direction. I was hesitant at first about the Lumen character, but what a great catalyst to help Dexter explore himself and, more importantly, his ability to help and nurture others (even if it's in a rather unorthodox way).

November 23 2010 at 10:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Lumen was fantastic in this episode. She followed her own advice about telling the girls a story to help them relate to each other, which led to the truth about Olivia being abused. She held her own with Deb..."

I don't know what show the reviewer watched but I'm rolling my eyes with this review.

Admittedly, I can't stand the casting choice of Julia Stiles as Lumen this season, but I think she did a decent job this episode because of her "bonding" moment with the delinquent Olivia.


- Her conversation with Olivia didn't reveal the abuse. It was Olivia changing her clothes and accidentally lifting her shirt (revealing her bruised midsection) that brought that about. Astor then detailed the abuse to Dexter in the living room. Where did Lumen coax it out of Astor?

- How exactly did Lumen "hold her own" against Debra? I saw a deer caught in the headlights who knew it was better to go check on the girls rather than verbally spar with Deb. What is this reviewer smoking?

However, this episode wasn't that bad IMHO. The Astor subplot was actually interesting, and Dexter's loss of control against Olivia's "Step-Dad-Sort-Of" will only unravel further as we get closer to the finale.

The weakest points of the plot are Jordan Chase (sp?) and the domestics between Angel and Laguerta.

I'm a huge fan of this show but I can't tolerate poor writing. This season of Dexter has been disappointing, but I'm really hoping that it turns around for the finale.

November 22 2010 at 10:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The show got so much better when Astor and Cody were removed.
It was a good episode, but I'll be happy to continue never seeing them again.

November 22 2010 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I hadn't encountered any spoilers but the title of the episode, the silhouette of the intruder in the dark, and the amount of noise made during entry told me right away that it was probably Astor.

November 22 2010 at 10:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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