Season 5’s measured pacing continues in First Blood, an episode that works almost as well as a stand-alone outing as it does as a piece of season 5’s overarching story.
Lumen is determined to exact revenge on Lloyd Fowler’s gang in episode 5, and Dexter’s equally determined to send her home to Minnesota, even buying her a plane ticket. She’s so obsessed that she breaks into Fowler’s home to find the names of his accomplices. She finds one—Fowler’s former prison cellmate, Robert Brunner (Chris Payne Gilbert)—and Dexter initially believes she’s stumbled upon one of the perpetrators responsible for her ordeal.
He even prepares a kill room, kidnaps Brunner and wraps him onto the killing table. At the last instant, however, he spots a tracking device on Brunner’s ankle and realizes Brunner’s been under probationary surveillance since before Lumen was kidnapped; there’s zero possibility he could’ve been part of Fowler’s gang. Dexter’s horrified to realize how close he came to violating Harry’s code, increasing his determination to send Lumen home.
He releases Brunner, who’s completely unaware of what happened, and then stops Lumen when she goes after him, confronting her with proof of Brunner’s innocence, leading her to finally agree to go home. She has a near panic attack going through airport security, though, and, predictably, stays in Miami.
Meanwhile, episode 5 clarifies what Internal Affairs agent Jim McCourt wanted from Laguerta last week. Turns out, he wanted her to go undercover and wear a wire to help IA bust a dirty cop. Complications ensue when she doesn’t tell Batista and Batista, thinking she’s doing the hanky panky with McCourt, tracks her to a motel room, nearly attacking McCourt and almost ruining the bust. Laguerta’s outraged and the couple’s relationship takes a decidedly icy turn. Could they be headed for divorce? One can only hope.
Speaking of hanky panky, Deb and Quinn continue their own variation of the carnal boogie in “First Blood,” and Dexter finds out. Deb tells him the relationship is strictly sexual but Dexter doesn’t care. “Keep him away from my son,” he tells her and storms out before Deb can defend Quinn’s character.
Deb is suspicious, too, of Quinn’s forced vacation days. She needs him on the Santa Muerte murder investigation (which, besides leading to a Miami nightclub in week 5, otherwise runs in pointless circles). It just doesn’t make sense, she tells him, and Quinn agrees, stopping far short of telling her the truth behind his time off. When (not if) Deb finds out that truth, season 5’s stakes will skyrocket. I wouldn’t be surprised, in fact, if the Deb/Quinn/Dexter plot thread proves integral to season 5’s conclusion.
Despite his conflict of interest with Deb; despite his suspension, Quinn continues pursuing Dexter in week 5. To help gather evidence and/or dirt, Quinn turns to Liddy (Peter Weller), the crooked cop Laguerta helped take down. One gets the impression, though, that Quinn is bedding down with the devil and that this partnership with Liddy might backfire.
I also found myself intrigued by Dexter’s continued fears that his baby son Harrison might be headed down the path of the dark passenger. Harrison’s transgression—scratching another baby’s face at daycare—is fairly typical 10-month-old stuff, but Dexter’s extreme worry is a clever way for the writers to further humanize the character. Will little Harrison, propelled by Rita’s murder, grow up to be a serial killer like daddy? It’s the last thing Dexter wants, suggesting that, in many respects, Dexter’s not so different from most parents. He only wants what’s best for his son; becoming a serial murderer certainly doesn’t qualify. I like the irony, too, that many fathers would be proud for a child to follow in his footsteps; Dexter’s too good a father to want that.