Dexter: In the Beginning

Alex: "What's this going to cost? Give me a number!"
Lumen: "Thirteen."

Powerful, intense, moving, and here's a descriptor I don't usually apply to a Dexter episode – deeply romantic. If I could have picked the one plotline I least expected for the season following Rita's death, it is that Dexter would find a woman who could love him just as he is.

Dexter did love Rita. He loved her sweetness and gentleness, he loved that she was a good mother. But he was always off balance with Rita, always scrambling to please her, or to explain himself. Rita often saw the good man inside Dexter, but for the most part, he kept himself masked.

The mask is now gone. There was more emotion on Dexter's face in this episode than I've ever seen before. He wanted to touch Lumen, to comfort her, but he never did. He never would have touched her at all if she hadn't made the first move. When Lumen took off his shirt, Dexter allowed her to "bind" his wrists behind him, just as she had been bound by her captors. That just blew me away. It showed a depth of sensitivity that I didn't think Dexter was capable of feeling. This is the most human that we have ever seen him.

Lumen as Dexter's murder student was oddly funny. She was delighted with her murder outfit, the gloves he gave her, those scary knives. She didn't hesitate to kill Alex Tilden, either; she got right on top of him and, pardon the expression, dug right in. It made me wonder, though. As a fan of this show, I've adjusted to Dexter's homicidal proclivities. But what is happening to Lumen – replacing her extreme trauma with a fixation on revenge, on killing – it isn't healthy for her.

Not that I blame her a bit, because if anyone is justified carrying out revenge this extreme, it's Lumen. Thirteen disks of torture. Very upsetting. Watching Lumen watch her own torture was even more upsetting. I'm glad we didn't actually see much. Just listening was difficult to take as it was.

Deb had a hard time with it, too. Her latest discussion with Dexter about seeing herself as a vigilante was yet another tempting suggestion that we might be moving toward a brother-sister partnership. Yes, I know, too much to hope for, but what a team they would make! Deb is such an outstanding detective. She has already figured out that the thirteenth victim is doing the killing, and she and Quinn nearly caught Dexter and Lumen in the act. Another amazing scene; I was on the edge of my seat.

Deb confronting Jordan was great, too; she wasn't even trying for diplomatic. I also liked the somewhat similar scene with Dexter and Jordan and the DNA sample. It had the flavor of Trinity walking into Miami Metro and confronting Dexter, but on the other foot. Dexter is utterly confident that he will prevail. Since the title of the show is Dexter, I think he will, too. As I've already mentioned ad nauseum, it's Lumen I'm worried about.

Jonny Lee Miller as Jordan Chase has become a Dexter-worthy villain. He's icky in a way I can't define. That conversation he had with Emily was just too weird; it was like she was drugged. They have a bond? She's protecting him, even though she was telling the truth about what he did to her? He's a total voyeur, too, and he wouldn't let Emily even touch his hand. Is Jordan Chase a victim, too? Did something horrible happen to him, something that made him the way he is? Like Dexter?

I usually keep this show at an emotional arm's length because the plots are so upsetting and I'm a wuss. But I'm really into this season. I'm a romantic. I want Dexter to live happily ever after, even though I know he won't. I know Lumen won't, either. Rats.

Bits and pieces:

-- The title of this episode is "In the Beginning." That must refer to Emily. Or what happened to Jordan before Emily? Actually, "In the Beginning" is also the title of one of my absolute favorite Supernatural episodes. I hear it might be in the Bible, too.

-- Jordan Chase's real name is Eugene Greer, and he was in the photo, after all. Because Emily Birch took the picture. Weird, weird, weird.

-- Lumen was victim number thirteen, the lucky one. Or the unlucky one, according to Deb, who thought the dead victims were the lucky ones. And was Lumen's necklace a four-leaf clover?

-- I sort of believe Alex Tilden that he never intended to become what he became, that he was roped in. Doesn't make him less subhuman, though. Especially since he kept the jewelry as trophies.

-- There were several scenes in the dark, and the reflections on the wall looked like a spider web. I'm sure that was intentional. It was a point of no return for Lumen.

-- Unsurprisingly, Maria didn't give Deb credit for discovering the new evidence. And things continue to be tense in the LaGuerta-Batista marriage.

-- Liddy is continuing to make me smile. This week, it was when he was about to put a cheeseburger in his mouth, saw the knives, and his jaw literally dropped. He is so out of his league. And he would be terribly offended if someone told him he was out of his league.

-- I'm glad Harrison is out of the way at his grandparents'. Can't have a baby around for the final episodes because the shit is completely covering the fan.

Quotes, and all serious ones this time:

Dexter: "Despite having considered myself a monster for as long as I can remember, it still comes as a shock when I'm confronted with the depth of evil that exists in this world."

Deb: "No one could go through something like this and have a life again."

Liddy: "You like blood?"
Dexter: "I like catching bad guys."
Liddy: "That's cute."
Cute?

Dexter: "Maybe it's true that pairs survive better in the wild."

Dexter: "With Lumen, I'm someone different. In her eyes, I'm not a monster at all."

This episode is up there with my favorite Dexter episodes. Four out of four ruined DVDs,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

10 comments:

Miguel said...

I loved this episode as well. I'm a bit of a romantic myself and have become more invested in Lumen than I ever expected to be. I love the relationship that has developed between her and Dexter; it is unlike anything else this show has ever done. I'm just afraid Julia Stiles won't be sticking around for season six. They can't kill off two of Dexter's love interests in less than a year can they?

I almost had to pause my TV watching the episode last night just to catch my breath. This show always gets unbelievably intense during the final episodes of a season. A lot of foreshadowing that this will be the season Deb finds out about her brother. Wouldn't that make for an interesting season six?

After five years this show continues to amaze.

VictorD said...

My only hope in regards to Lumen is that it seems the internet as a collective is praying she's not offed. Everyone is expecting it. Dexter doesn't seem like the show that would follow expectations so closely.

That's not to say they won't be separated in some other manner. But at the very least, I can't see Lumen dying this season.

Paul Kelly said...

"The shit is completely covering the fan." Marvellous phrase, Billie. Laughed my cap off at that one.

I think I can see how this season might end... with Dexter and Lumen falling in love, only to have Deb catch Lumen (since she's already pieced together that the 13th victim may be responsible for the killings), and Lumen being incarcerated (but keeping schtum for Dexters sake).

I think I'd prefer that ending to her dying. But this is Dexter, after all. People usually die. Like Liddy. That guy's definitely toast. Since Dexter can't kill him because of the code, maybe Lumen will?

hparnell said...

Wow! I had thought that Lumen would commit suicide at the end (with her revenge complete and the foreshadowing of Deb saying, "No one could go through something like that and have a life again." But perhaps Paul Kelly is correct... she'll take the fall and keep mum about Dexter (although they would have to explain how Dexter knew her in the first place). This would keep her around... Dexter could visit her in prison. I'm very worried about Quinn. Although he is a weak, weak man, he loves Deb... and I wonder if he somehow tries to take Liddy out to protect Deb... and something happens to him. Almost all Deb's boyfriends die, after all.

Anonymous said...

While I was watching this episode I came up with the notion that maybe Lumen won't die, but will end up in prison convicted of the murders of Boyd through Chase.

Anonymous said...

Gotta be one of the best Dexter episods ever.
The Love scene between Dexter and Lumen was really intense, even if it's not realistic at all, people THAT damaged don't recover that quickly, IF EVER. But then again meeting a guy like dexter is not realistic also so i guess it makes sense.
that asides, really intense and great scene, I LOVE LUMEN and I would like her to stay on this show but since when dexter is happy ? She will either be killed or written off at the end of this season, will see. Great season starting at episode 8, i think from this point it's the best dexter ever.

topher darling said...

I never thought I'd say this but I want the show to end after this season. I want a happy Dexter and Lumen, a dead Jordan, a promoted Deb and a single Batista.

When Lumen appeared in her killing clothes, I loved Dexter looking at her like she was appearing in her wedding dress.

Also, I had perceived the title to mean Lumen's beginning as a serial killer vigilante. Maybe that means she's going to stick around...PLEASE!

Billie Doux said...

Dexter is again killing in the ratings and an announcement about a sixth season is imminent. Dexter stalks sixth season

Henrik Bennetter said...

Best scene in the episode to me was with "Jordan" and his first "victim". Her wanting to touch him and him being overcome with disgust.
Here's what I think: she was a "CIT" - counselor in training. I think she might be the one behind all this and Eugene/Jordan/The fat kid being her first attempt at counselling someone, trying to instill self-confidence, shoving someone into leadership with insane, absurd, methods.
Maybe an experiment gone wrong/that backfired. Either that or SHE is STILL manipulating HIM. Notice how many times she said that she "told [Lumen] the truth"?
Maybe she is the really big bad this season, hiding behind the big bad.
Anyone else care to speculate?

In any case, like I've said before, I LOVE that this show keeps me guessing - even after so long.

Gus Brunetti said...

I think the title refers to the bible, particularly Genesis. After experiencing sin, Eve made Adam experience it too; and then they, aham, "knew each other" for the first time. If you reverse the sexes, that's pretty much what happened in this episode. Dex's being cuffed by his sweater reminded me of a painting, but I couldn't identify it and google was no help.

Dexter givig Lumen the gloves was one of the cutest scenes I've seen. It's clear they love each other, if not romantically. I really hope she stays for S06. They'd make a perfect couple.

And for those who say Dex can't have a happy ending, he can! Remember that Season 3 ended in a very happy note. The happiness lasted one season, but for us it was a whole year. I'm kind of hopeful for this season.