I find myself saying this regularly now, but Take It is season 5’s new “best episode to date.” Week 8 is well written and dense, with lots of character development, a handful of clever twists and some intense action. In fact, if weeks 1-5 were slow and deliberate, week 8 is the payoff to all that buildup; if last week’s Circle Us was the second half of a well-delivered 1-2 punch, Take is a blunt-force object, steamrolling at a breakneck pace.
Dexter is attending one of Jordan Chase’s seminars as the episode opens, stalking his latest kill. That kill is Cole Harmon, Chase’s security chief, who Lumen remembers as “Suit Guy.” In the first of this week’s aforementioned twists, Chase spots Dexter in the audience and summons him for a brief meeting during an extended break between sessions.
“I know your history, Dexter,” Chase says and reveals that, even at the police station, Dexter looked familiar. Turns out, Chase has read numerous media reports regarding Rita’s murder and the Trinity killer. “I’d like to discuss your situation in depth at another time if you’re open.” Dexter, mildly perplexed, agrees, leaving me to wonder if Chase might be contemplating offering Dexter a spot on his psychotic, homicidal team.
LaGuerta’s in deep doo-doo in week 8 over the shooting at Club Mayan, but she’s not alone. Batista and his team are in hot water, too. Will Batista disclose that LaGuerta, the operation’s senior officer—who’s also his wife—gave the order that precipitated the shootout? Two innocent bystanders were killed in that shootout and a handful of others wounded. Thanks to Deb’s steel and eagle-eye marksmanship, Carlos Fuentes died too, but that won’t be enough to blunt the firestorm.
LaGuerta wants to blame Officer Manzon, but Deb refuses and even offers herself as a scapegoat; otherwise, she wants to weather the storm as a team. LaGuerta accepts her scapegoat offer, though, calling a press conference and announcing Deb responsible for the botched operation. She’ll be placed on paid suspension pending the investigation. In a cruel twist, Manzon backs LaGuerta’s story to further her career.
Lumen’s life becomes more complicated in week 8 when her ex-fiancé, Owen (David Paetkau)—who she abandoned—arrives in Miami and meets her for lunch. He’s purchased round-the-world plane tickets and wants her to accompany him on an odyssey of self-discovery. In the end, Lumen instead remains in Miami with Dexter, but we likely haven’t seen the last of Owen.
Disgraced officer Stan Liddy creates yet another complication—this a big one—when he intentionally rams Lumen’s car as she’s backing out of a parking spot at the local hardware store. Lumen, of course, doesn’t know Liddy’s working to uncover dirt on Dexter (likewise, Liddy has no idea she’s just finished a supply run for wrapping Harmon onto Dexter’s killing table later that night) and she exchanges insurance with him.
Liddy shows up the next day at Quinn’s apartment, where Debra’s just leaving. He relays the info he’s uncovered and asks for more money to continue the investigation. When Quinn refuses, Liddy none-too-delicately threatens to tell Deb about his dirt-digging operation.
Lumen helps Dexter prepare Harmon’s kill room, but Harmon has a sexual tryst that forces a change in plans, delaying the kill until the next day. That delay sets off a chain reaction that leads to season 5’s best climax so far.
Dexter again attends Chase’s seminar the following day, intending to covertly nab Harmon by the service elevators during one of his security rounds. When Dexter instead gets unexpectedly called onstage by Chase to discuss his feelings about Rita’s murder, Harmon instead runs into Lumen and the chase is afoot. She calls Dexter via cell phone, but will he arrive in time? It’s a well-done, nail-biting sequence that ends with one seriously damaged hotel-room door and with Dexter finally revealing his dark passenger to Lumen in full.
He reveals, too, that Rita’s death left him with no refuge from grief and guilt—not even his dark passenger could console him. Lumen, however, has brought new meaning to his existence as a vigilante serial killer and Dexter has, in a way, become an extension of her vengeance. Lumen, Michael C. Hall speculates in voiceover, may be that one person who can accept Dexter for his true self: a killer.
Dexter’s few minutes on Chase’s stage, talking about Rita’s death, offer an unexpected little aside, too, setting up that climactic scene with Lumen and Harmon in the kill room with added poignancy and depth. As I mentioned with week 2’s Hello Bandit, it’s astounding Hall hasn’t won an Emmy for this part.
The episode also offers a tantalizing scene between Dexter and Deb in which she discusses how she feels about killing Carlos Fuentes. The problem is, she tells Dexter (and, earlier, Quinn), is that she doesn’t feel anything about killing Fuentes. This loaded exchange between onscreen brother and sister (and offscreen husband and wife) feels like a foreshadowing of things to come.
“I always thought it would bother me to take a life,” Deb explains, “[but] I don’t feel bad; I don’t feel anything.” She looks at Dexter as if realizing who she’s speaking to. “They don’t issue guns to lab geeks, so you have no idea what I’m talking about.”
“I can imagine,” Dexter replies, carefully playing his part. “Dad once told me that some people deserve to die.”
Deb is clearly surprised. “Do you believe that?”
“Some people don’t deserve to live,” Dexter replies and it feels like he’s planting a seed.
Deb falls perfectly instep with her brother’s logic, too. “Trinity should be dead,” she says, and we see a new understanding of the world dawn. “Not Rita; not Lundy. Maybe the world is better off without Carlos Fuentes.”
In the books upon which Dexter is based, Deb helps maintain Dexter’s secret life. If TV Deb’s starting to see the world more through her brother’s perspective, might that mean the writers are preparing to make her a partner in Dexter’s secret?
Regardless, considering how Take It ends—with Liddy making a huge discovery about Dexter and Lumen—I can’t imagine a bright future for that character. More importantly, though, I see a showdown looming between Quinn and Liddy. Liddy’s already got some very damning evidence on Dexter, with more certain to follow; it thus seems likely Quinn will learn Dexter’s secret, too. Will Quinn’s love for Deb and his own less-than ethical approach to law-enforcement drive him to protect Dexter’s secret? Or will he go the way of Doakes? The answer to those questions could go a long way in determining season 5’s outcome.
But I’m jumping ahead. Four episodes remain in this excellent season and nothing—save for Liddy’s demise—seems certain yet.