Dexter Season 5-09 ‘Teenage Wasteland’ Recap

After three straight terrific episodes, a letdown was inevitable, I suppose, and week 9’s Teenage Wasteland, while not terrible, is certainly inferior to the three episodes before it.  The story moves little and feels, in fact, as if the writers are stalling and inching plot threads forward just enough to transition into bigger developments in weeks 10-12.

There are two significant exceptions. The first is Deb’s discovery that, early in season 5, Quinn investigated the possibility that Dexter and ‘Kyle Butler’ are the same person. The second exception comes in the episode’s closing seconds when Jordan Chase briefly speaks with Lumen via telephone. Jordan, it seems, knows that Dexter and Lumen are targeting him. He not only remembers Lumen, but knows that’s who he’s speaking to. Roll credits.

Dexter and Chase are becoming quite cozy as week 9 opens, with Dexter taking up Chase’s offer from last week for a personal consultation and spending the appointment running on a treadmill. Dexter, of course, plays coy, refusing to divulge his secrets. All he really wants is conclusive evidence Chase is involved with the gang that kidnapped and brutalized Lumen—the same gang responsible the ‘barrel girl’ killings.

Dexter discovers a tiny, blood-filled vial that Chase wears around his neck. He covertly takes a sample of that blood and a DNA analysis uncovers a most unexpected source: a woman in her late 30s with a history of alcohol-related arrests who’s—and this is the shocking part—alive and residing in Miami.

We don’t learn who this woman is or why Chase wears her blood around his neck—not this week—but, unbeknownst to Dexter, Chase discovers that Dexter took a sample from the vial.  Judging from the episode’s conclusion, Chase doesn’t mind Dexter—or Lumen—knowing that he knows they’re after him. That fact should lead to some interesting twists as season 5 winds down.

Quinn finally confesses his investigation to Deb—after being left little choice by Laguerta—of a link between Dexter and ‘Kyle Butler.’ Needless to say, Deb doesn’t take the news well; not even Quinn’s protestations of love for her blunt the blow; neither does Deb believe his claim that he’d never intentionally hurt her. Even worse for Quinn, poor, unlucky-at-love Deb has yet to learn about Quinn’s collaboration with disgraced cop Stan Liddy to uncover Dexter’s secrets—and there seems little doubt she will.

Liddy is indeed gathering very incriminating on Dexter—and on Lumen. Quinn’s intrigued when Liddy shares pics of the pair on Dexter’s boat at 3:00 am throwing plastic trash bags into the ocean (which contain the dismembered body of ‘barrel girl’ gang member and Jordan Chase security chief, Cole Harmon). Even so, Quinn finally understands that Liddy’s investigation can only end with the destruction of his relationship with Deb—probably worse. When Liddy threatens to take his evidence to Deb, Quinn snaps and warns him to stay away or else; the investigation is over.

Liddy, though, refuses to quit. This investigation, after all, could be his ticket to exoneration. I expect this storyline to figure prominently into season 5’s climax—and I don’t expect Stan Liddy to live to see season 6, either. I suspect, too, that it could directly lead to Deb’s learning Dexter’s murderous secret.

Elsewhere in Wasteland, Deb, who’s been relegated to filing thanks to becoming Laguerta’s scapegoat for the Mayan Club shooting, discovers a file that uncovers the fact that there were likely multiple killers in the ‘barrel girl’ case; Lloyd Fowler wasn’t working alone.

She successfully lobbies to reopen the case, leaving me intrigued about how this will effect Dexter and Lumen’s pursuit of the killers. Moreover, how will Jordan Chase—who’s informed of the case’s reopening during a visit by Deb and Quinn—use the reopened case to create havoc?  It seems almost inevitable that he will. Perhaps a frame up’s coming?

Astor makes her first appearance in week 9 since Hello Bandit, when she and Cody moved in with Rita’s parents in Orlando. Her reappearance mostly reminds why the writers made a sound decision in getting get her and Cody out of Dexter’s way.

Astor has become quite the troubled preteen. She and her friend Olivia take a 215-mile taxi ride to Miami and break into Dexter’s old house, badly scaring Lumen (and creating some seriously contrived tension).  She also engages in underage drinking and gets caught shoplifting.

Christina Robinson is a solid child actress and she and Michael C. Hall sparkle together onscreen. Otherwise, her return seems like a time waster that leaves other, more important plot threads languishing. Then again, maybe the writers will surprise me and make Astor more integral to season 5’s outcome than it otherwise appears she’ll be. After Rita’s murder, I take nothing for granted with this series.

Either way, it won’t be long before we learn everyone’s season 5 fate.  Only 3 episodes remain in what, overall, has been a strong season. If the writers can pull off a shocker to match last year’s finale (which I severely doubt), it will be quite an achievement.