Despite little tension or suspense, “Beauty and the Beast,” is nonetheless season 5’s most entertaining, emotionally satisfying episode to date, with Julia Stiles giving a knockout performance. Playing Lumen Pierce, the final victim of deceased serial killer Boyd Fowler, Stiles is animalistic and raw, vulnerable and utterly convincing.
“Beast” picks up where last week’s “Practically Perfect” left off. After discovering Lumen, Dexter has moved her to the abandoned visitor’s center he’d prepared for Fowler’s murder. Dexter’s inner Harry advises him to let her die, but Dexter can’t do it; he spends the episode nursing her back to health and winning her trust.
In the course of “bonding” with Lumen, Dexter manhandles her, drugs her, takes a hard clout to the jaw, and chases and tackles her, all while keeping her imprisoned in the abandoned visitor’s center. It’s not until he drives her to Fowler’s dumping ground—a deserted swamp littered with dozens of corpse-filled barrels—that Lumen understands. Dexter not only means her no harm, but, in killing Fowler, he saved her from ending up in Fowler’s swamp.
Satisfied he’s gained her trust, Dexter advises her to go home to Minnesota—back to the parents that love her. It’s not over, though, Lumen says in the episode’s closing moments and we get season 5’s second big twist [SPOILER!]: Boyd Fowler wasn’t working alone; he was part of a group who abducted, brutalized and murdered pretty young blondes. Lumen means to have revenge on them all.
Batista apologizes to Sergeant Lopez for the drunken barroom brawl in “Beast,” and Lopez accepts. Jim McCourt of Internal Affairs doesn’t care, though; he tells Batista that, reconciliation or no, the matter is up to IA, pending its investigation. When McCourt discusses the situation with Laguerta, he focuses on what Lopez said that night about Laguerta that set Batista off. Should those decidedly scandalous, sexually-charged accusations be made part of the record? We’re left wondering if McCourt is threatening Laguerta’s job or if he’s perhaps sexually harassing her. As usual, I’m left not caring much.
Harrison’s new nanny—Sonya—quits and then, thanks to Dexter’s passionate, from-the-heart entreaty, returns in week 4. She warns, though, that little Harrison needs a dependable parent; if Dexter dares spend another unscheduled night without coming home, there will be no convincing her to return.
The writers find an admittedly clever way to draw out Quinn’s pursuit of Kyle Butler in “Beast.” Agent Walker refuses to grant Quinn access to Arthur Mitchell’s family, but, ever the resourceful detective, Quinn stakes out Walker, tracking him and Jonah Mitchell (Brandon Eaton) to a convenience store. Quinn follows Brandon inside, quickly cornering him and showing him Dexter’s picture. “Is this Kyle Butler?” he says, but then Jonah’s FBI security detail descends, ordering Jonah back to the car and arresting Quinn. Jonah never answers the question.
Laguerta’s livid when she finds out—so much so that she suspends Quinn indefinitely without pay. We haven’t seen the end of Quinn versus Dexter, but it seems doubtful that Jonah Mitchell will ever actually identify Dexter as Kyle Butler.
Following his suspension, Quinn celebrates with an ill-advised sexual romp with Debra, who’s upset about a botched raid to nab a suspect in the Santa Muerte murders. That botched raid nearly led to the death of an innocent boy. “I’m no good for you,” he tells Dexter’s sister and wow; those are among the truest words ever spoken between fictional characters in primetime TV. When Deb finds out about Quinn’s crusade against Dexter, things are apt to turn very, very interesting.
My biggest complaint regarding “Beast”—besides it’s time-wasting Batista thread—is Laguerta’s reaction to Quinn’s suspicions. The police sketches of Kyle Butler do resemble Dexter and, with Arthur Mitchell being the primary suspect in Rita’s death, there’s an obvious, pre-existing connection between Dexter and Mitchell. Seems to me, any police lieutenant worth her salt would, in the least, take Quinn’s accusations more seriously. Then again, we’re only quarter-way through the season—still plenty of time for Laguerta to rethink her position; still plenty of time for the suspended Quinn to gather more evidence.
Lumen seems likely to go into vigilante mode, too, causing even more trouble for our favorite serial killer. She’s his responsibility now and Dexter will likely help her mete justice to Fowler’s buddies. In the end, that will might help him find the sense of purpose he’s been lacking in season 5.