My intention is not to have The Bunker to become all recaps, all the time, but with that being stated, I do have to introduce me new Tuesday feature: Dexter Season 5 Recaps.
Why did I come out of recap hiatus after a not-so-hot launch with the tepid Syfy show Haven? Well, because it is Dexter. Dexter is probably one of my favorite tv shows in decades and I know there are a lot of people out there who love it as well. Plus these recaps will give you a chance to read some gold mined from my wonderful dry wit and my drastically inferior ability at seven degrees of Elwood as displayed in the Covert Affairs recaps.
Warning: From here on, consider this one giant spoiler for the entire Dexter series up to season four.
Main guest actor: John Lithgow as “The Trinity Killer” (that ended up being a misnomer, if you remember) in a Golden Globe and Emmy Winning performance.
Season four has a dramatically different feel to previous seasons because the changed dynamics of Dex’s life. Long time girlfriend and now serial killer trophy wife Rita (Julie Benz) is in the picture fulltime as Dex gives up his privacy (if not his apartment) and moves in with Rita in their new house with Rita’s children, Cody and Astor (Preston Bailey and Christina Robinson). The biggest change in Dexter’s life, however, is the addition of a Dex and Rita created baby. Yes, Dexter has now created a life in contrast to taking them.
Sgt. Angel Batista (David Zayas) ditched his vice cop girlfriend (who he hooked up with after being busted in a prostitution sting) in favor of his immediate supervisor, Lt. Maria Lagureta (Lauren Vélez). The couple seem happy even if their relationship comes out of the blue from a viewer’s perspective. As the season progresses, the relationship between the two homicide detectives becomes a sore spot with Captain Matthews and the couple are given an ultimatum: End the relationship, or Batista has to be transferred. Batista lives and breathes solving crimes and the two decide to cool their heels – which lasts about an episode. Unable to comply with the either option of Captain Matthews’ ultimatum, Batista and Lagureta decide to get married and therefore put pressure on the Captain by being forced to dismiss one or both of a married couple. Mathews backs down, but not before some pretty scathing, though poignant, parting shots.
Dex’s sister Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) also has a change of relationship. Season three sweetheart Anton Briggs (David Ramsey) is a bit too much of a homebody for Deb. Then, out of nowhere, retired FBI serial killer specialist Frank Lundy (Keith Carradine) shows back up (last appeared in season two) at Miami P.D. chasing a clever killer that got away while he was with The Bureau. Lundy has named the murderer “The Trinity Killer” (TTK) because he kills in threes, always following the same pattern. Lundy is haunted by the fact that this is one bad guy that he never nabbed. TTK is now active in Miami, starting his cycle of: a young woman in a bathtub who is bled to death, an older mother of two “falling” to her death, and a father of two bludgeoned to death. The M.P.D. allow Lundy to consult on the investigation with his former flame, Deb, leading the official team. In no time flat, Deb is in the sack with Lundy and ditches Anton.
Deb’s partner Quinn (Desmond Harrington) continues to be a character that I like and dislike all at once. This season he has a flame of his own in relentless newspaper reporter (do those still exist?) Christine Hill (the beautiful Courtney Ford). While he pumps her, she is pumping Quinn for information and that relationship plays out for a while like the typical cop-reporter relationship seen on tv for decades. Quinn is also very nervous because he was caught lifting cash from a crime scene by Dexter. Dexter doesn’t care, but he is under so much stress that he is unable to pull off his normal Nice Dexter persona and Quinn comes to believe Dex is holding it over his head.
The Ghost of Harry (James Remar), Dexter’s foster father, continues in his role giving voice to Dexter’s subconscious and conscious (what there is).
Masuka (C.S. Lee) is Masuka.
The Main Course:
TTK, of course, quickly moves up the food chain as his nefarious deeds draws the attention of our serial killer superhero, Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall). While independently investigating TTK, Dexter discovers that TTK is a local Miami resident, Arthur Mitchell, who uses a Habitat for Humanities type organization as a travel cover for the killings. Dex assumes the identity of “Kyle Butler” and befriends Mitchell. Dexter is fascinated by Arthur because, like Dex aspires to be, Mitchell is a family man and seems to balance a well-adjusted home life with his dark side play time. After a while, however, Dexter gets wise that the charity-centric family man that Mitchell presents is just a front; Mitchell’s family is terrified of him.
Dexter’s investigation and stalking of TTK is often interrupted because Dex is now a family man. Family issues with Rita and the children draws Dexter away from his prey game time and time again and that, along with the sleepless nights of a new daddy, is taking its toll on Dexter. Our hero finds himself forgetful and mistake prone while also dealing with, much to his surprise, what might be a glimmering of emotions – and actual affection for Rita and his new family.
Dexter Does discover that TTK kills in fours, not threes. The last in the cycle is the abduction and death of a young boy. Under the guise of Kyle Butler, Dexter is able to anticipate Arthur and lays in wait to trap him. Arthur gets away, but Dexter saves the boy.
Meanwhile, Deb and Lundy are back in full swing and chasing down clues for TTK. After a “work meeting,” Deb and Lundy are saying their sweet goodbyes when suddenly both are shot. Lundy dies, Deb lives, and all believe they were getting too close, so TTK struck at the man that has been tracking him for so long.
Dexter’s frustrations take their toll as he finds himself losing control, getting in fights, and unable come off as attentive to Rita. Rita ramps up the nagging wife shtick to nauseating levels as she pulls the full Oprah routine on Dexter which eventually leads to marital counseling. During a get together at The Morgan’s, too friendly neighbor Nick (Roger Ranney) gets fresh with Rita and they have a brief make-out session that Masuka witnesses. Rita eventually comes clean to Dexter just as Dexter is feeling full on pressure from his job, his stalking of TTK, and his marriage. Dex snaps once again and punches Nick after arriving home one night. Rita is happy about this development because it means Dexter cares. Yeah, she’s not the ex-wife of an abusive spouse.
Dexter, as Kyle Butler, runs a con on Arthur pretending to “know” that Arthur abducts children presumably for pedophilia reasons. He is trying to draw TTK out to where he can be taken and dealt with. However, TTK is not an un-jailed killer because he is stupid. He baits “Kyle Butler” into revealing himself and turns the tables. Arthur tracks “Kyle Butler” back the the Miami Police Department where he discovers “Kyle Butler” is none other than Dexter Morgan, blood splatter expert for the po-lees.
Monster and Monster come face to face and, understandably, Dexter panics because if Arthur knows who he is, he can find those that are dear to him – and Dexter’s family is dear to him. Against the advice from The Ghost of Harry, Dexter, with all the proof he needs to put Arthur away, decides he still has to be the one to take out TTK or his family will be shattered when Arthur rats out Dexter’s Design (which at this point Arthur still believes a blackmail scheme).
To throw the police off the trail, Dexter kills and sets up one of Lundy’s prime suspects for the Trinity killings who was a bad man in his own right. To keep his family safe, Dexter arranges for a belated honeymoon (marital healing as well) with Rita and stashes the older children with Rita’s mom.
Deb and Quinn run down clues that lead to proof that the shooting of Deb and death of Lundy was committed not by Trinity, but someone trying to protect him. Who better to protect their father than daddy’s girl? Ace sleuthing leads Deb and Quinn to conclude that Quinn’s girlfriend, Christine Hill, was the shooter. She won’t roll on Arthur, however, because she has been daddy’s dirty secret since she was a little girl. There is no proof beyond circumstantial to connect Hill to the Lundy shooting, so she walks free, only to be severely scorned by Arthur when she calls him asking for help. Hill then calls a meeting with Deb where she admits to the shooting, keeps quiet about the police being on the wrong trail (that Dexter sent them down), and then shoots herself in the head.
Dexter’s trap is finally laid even as Arthur is stalking him. Arthur disappears for an afternoon, but Dex tracks him down, lays a trap, and finally takes care of business as only Dexter can. No more Trinity. And just in time for the well deserved honeymoon with a wife that Dexter is beginning to believe he actually has feelings for.
Dexter arrives home to pack before catching his flight. He turns on his cell and receives a message from earlier that day that Rita left. There was a hiccup at the airport and she had to take a later flight. No big deal. Dex calls Rita back to let her know he is on his way… and the phone rings from Rita’s purse which is still right there in the house.
Then Dexter hears a baby cry coming from the bathroom.
Dexter goes into the bathroom to find his son sitting in a pool of blood, alive, much like how Officer Harry Morgan found Dexter all those years ago.
To the right is Rita. Dead. In a bathtub full of blood. Killed by Trinity while out of Dexter’s sight earlier that day.
Was anyone else physically affected by Rata’s murder? I was stunned. I bitched about Rita’s character over the course of the entire season, but I didn’t want her dead. Julie Benz is gorgeous and a good actor to boot, so I certainly did not want her to get killed off. But Damn, that was one hell of a way to end the season. And you know what else? It means for the first time Dexter lost. Sure, he was able to take Arthur out, but this blow to Dexter and Dexter’s previous invulnerability is akin to if Moriarty would have slipped Watson some poison tea before Holmes threw him off the Reichenbach Falls.
I found this paradigm shift to be startling.
What’s to Come?
If the Season Five Trailer below is an indication, there will at least be some time where Dexter is pursued by Quinn for suspicion of killing Rita. That much we know for sure. Will that be one of the main arcs of the season, ala the Sgt. Doakes witch hunt over seasons one and two? No way to tell for sure.
There are other clues and tidbits as to what to expect. This season’s guest star list is going to include Julia Stiles as a new woman in Dexter’s life. IMDb only has her listed in three episodes, however, so her part may be be short-lived or come near the end of the season. Robo Cop (Peter Weller) is going to play a troubled Miami Metro police officer who gets caught up in an internal affairs investigation, and there is a whole slew of veteran tv actors coming on board this season. Many of these actors are from the UK. Julie Benz is also going to be back for at least one episode according to EW.com. My assumption that is that this will be a role primarily for flashbacks.
I love the addition of Stiles and hope she is around for a while as a flame or a foil. I’ve always enjoyed Stiles’ work and find her to be a talented actor who can work well along side the often award nominated Michael C. Hall. Her typical role type would be a welcome departure from the Rita character as well.
- Some conjecture can be made with the facts that are available:
- Quinn for at least some time will be after Dexter. Dexter, to deflect heat, may reveal Quinn’s indiscretion with the cash. Quinn may also come off it when he realizes Dex is not going to rat him out even for leverage.
- Either Quinn’s cash taking or an investigation into Dexter will probably bring about Internal Affairs and Weller’s character.
- I read somewhere, though now I cannot find a referent, that the villains this season will have a more international flavor. We can assume that is where the UK actors will come into play.
- The evolution of Cody, Astor, and the baby should be interesting. Some parts of various clips and teasers suggests they blame Dexter for Rita’s death.
- One of the more interesting questions is if Deb is going to discover Dexter’s Dark Passenger. I’m personally against it. Right now Deb stands for what is Right & Good while solving crime the traditional way. Deb’s character is the embodiment of Law and wanting to get the bad guy using the rules. To have her be an accomplice to Dexter’s Darkness would void the character I feel. I’ve long felt that when the show ends, it should end with Deb finding out about Dexter and taking him out.
Below is the trailer for the upcoming season which start this Sunday, September 26, at 9pm on Showtime.