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Dexter: The Big One

Deb: "Nothing is as simple as it seems."
Dexter: "You're right about that."

This entire episode had me on the edge of my seat. And the ending was not what I expected. Actually, the entire season was not what I expected. That's a good thing, by the way.

Every scene with Jordan Chase and Lumen had me freaked. I kept expecting him to kill her or hurt her. At one point, I honestly thought he was going to bite her face. (Jordan, with his delusions of grandeur, was probably pretending to be Hannibal Lector.) I also expected that Deb would catch Dexter and Lumen red-handed. What would Deb have done if her brother had stepped out from behind that literal and metaphorical curtain? I thought this was the season we'd find out, but no. Geez Louise, will they ever go there?

I'm okay with the ending. I knew it wouldn't be happy, because at its core, Dexter is tragic. (In fact, as the Slice of Life was cutting triumphantly through the water toward home with Lumen perched on the bow, I almost expected it to blow up or get attacked by sharks.) I get why Lumen had to leave. The finality of Jordan's well-deserved death and nearly getting caught by Deb probably shocked her out of her current emotional state. She wouldn't be the good person that Dexter loves if she could kill strangers who never hurt her. She's not Dexter.

Maybe what we learned this season wasn't just that Dexter is capable of love, because we've known that for a long time. It's that Dexter is capable of change, of the transformation that Jordan kept talking about in and out of his pretentious seminars. Dexter did something truly good this season. He saved Lumen's life, not once, but twice. He helped her avenge what happened to her. He made her feel loved, protected and cared for, so that she could move on and have a life again. I loved him telling her that he would carry her darkness for her.

Yes, he's still alone; we had the obvious symbolism of Dexter blowing out a single candle while surrounded by couples and families. But he does have Harrison. He still has Astor and Cody, too, now that he has mended his bridges with Astor. And he has his wonderful sister Deb, who faced her memories of being helpless and at the mercy of the Ice Truck Killer, who looked inside her heart and found the courage to let the "vigilante lovers" go. Maybe the other big message this season is that Deb has changed, too. She might be able to handle Dexter's darkness, after all.

Since this is Dexter, they had to leave one big plot simmering on the back burner. Dexter falsified evidence (again) so that Quinn wouldn't be charged with Liddy's murder. Yes, Dexter had reasons of his own for doing it. But he also knew that Quinn probably won't let it go. Huge favor or not, I just can't see a curious detective like Quinn letting his questions about Dexter just lie there, especially since he must suspect who really killed Liddy. Interesting to see how that will play out next season.

Bits and pieces:

-- The episode title, "The Big One," was of course a reference to Harrison's birthday. But it could have meant so many other things. For example, I couldn't find a good episode photo, so I went with a glossy one with obviously phallic symbolism.

-- The grandparents, kids and nanny all showed up for a party. That may just qualify for the worst timing ever award.

-- "River Jordan Camp for Boys and Girls" was where Jordan took his name. Were the other seven victims buried there, too?

-- I guess we'll never get a full explanation for Emily. It must have been that, as his first victim, he just never let go of her. Controlling her forever must have given Jordan great pleasure.

-- I loved Jordan's face when he saw Dexter's knives. "Wow."

-- Maria mended her fences with Deb. And that was enough to repair her marriage with Angel.

-- "Harry" was no help in this episode, and even caused Dexter to crash his stolen car. Dexter knows himself much better now than he did in the past; I wonder if it's time for "Harry" to leave forever?

-- There were several candidates for Most Obvious Symbolism: the curtain with Dexter and Lumen on one side and Deb on the other, the single candle that Dexter blew out, Dexter finally removing his wedding ring. But I'm going with the breakfast plates that Dexter broke when Lumen told him she was leaving.

-- Gold acting stars for Julia Stiles, Jonny Lee Miller, and as always, Michael C. Hall.

-- Dexter again blew out the ratings on Showtime this fall. We're getting a sixth season.


Angel: "So the killer knew what he was doing."
Dexter: (to himself) "It sure felt like it at the time."

Deb: "I fucking swear I'm taking Spanish after this. The sound? In the... ah, ah, trunk-o?"

Deb: "It's a miracle you survived. A fucking miracle."

Lumen: "It's like what your sister said. It's a miracle. It's a fucking miracle."

Dexter: "Don't be sorry your darkness is gone. I'll carry it for you. Always. I'll keep it with mine."

I'd like to thank the producers and writers for giving us an intriguing season that was ultimately about Dexter himself instead of murder, about drama instead of gore. Four out of four broken plates,

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


  1. "In fact, as the Slice of Life was cutting triumphantly through the water toward home with Lumen perched on the bow, I almost expected it to blow up or get attacked by sharks."

    I seriously expected a SyFy-movie quality Loch Ness monster. Or a kraken.

  2. Nope, me too. The filmed footage of the Slice of Life sailing off looked so grainy, I imagined someone was watching them. First, I suspected the boat might explode. Then, when Lumen went to the prow of the ship, I expected her to be taken out a sniper. Yes, this show has got me paranoid.

    A wholly fulfilling season, all told. I wondered back at the beginning whether Lumen would be able to cope with the mental aspect of the death and suffering. I half expected her recklessness to get Dexter caught. In the end, it turned out she was the better adjusted of the two of them. When her reason for killing was gone, she stopped. Dexter can't.

    Which comes as somewhat of a relief with a sixth season in the offing. There are so many places they can still go with this show. Thanks for taking us through another season, Billie. A pleasure, as always.

  3. You definitely weren't the only one. Billie. I was racking my brain, trying to come up with any loose ends that could come back and knock Lumen off the boat. When I couldn't come up with any, I was sure she's just jump. Glad she didn't. I was sad to see her go but I thought it was handled beautifully.

    And speaking of loose ends, what happened with the Santa Muerta murders? Isn't there a brother still on the loose?

    I don't know if they're going to explore the Quinn/bloody boot story any further. It seems like both Quinn and Dexter are tucking their tails between their legs, realizing they each screwed up and each are just glad they didn't get caught. At least that's what I'm hoping for. I want Quinn to sing a new song because the "Dexter's got a secret" tune is getting old and making his character boring.

    Thanks for some awesome reviews this season, Billie.

  4. Deb: "You must be (happy) too. Now that this is all over, I mean."

    What did Deb mean by that? I'd like to think she was referring to he and Lumen being in the clear, but I think they would have made a bigger deal if that were the case.

  5. EW reports that Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter, who have been separated for a while, have filed for divorce. Too bad. It did say "amicable", so hopefully this won't deep six season six. I'd post a link, but the site has a nasty popup on it.

  6. CELEBRITIES REALLY NEED TO STOP MIXIN business with pleasure....so much 4 Hallpenter...and just when i coined the term

  7. Quinn still has those photos Liddy took of Lumen a nd Dex on the boat the night they disposed of Cole Harmon. I bet he will look at them one day.

  8. I don't know about this finale... the season was very good (especially towards the end), but this last episode ends all subplots way too easily.

    Jordan dies quickly. I can see the point: it was to show that Lumen got little satisfaction from killing him. I guess the final kill doesn't quite make up for what was done to her.

    Quinn's drop of blood is resolved as quickly as it becomes a problem.

    All season we see Deb coming to terms with a vigilante killer, and then the writers pussy out at the last moment. You can't keep stalling this and expecting people to continue to care.

    Then Lumen neither dies nor stays. She's 'put on a bus', most likely for contract reasons. Lame. Just figure out a future storyline already. Or, if you want her gone after the season, don't make them romantically involved. Lumen has a shitty reason for leaving now.

    When I saw the first few episodes, I thought the season was going to suck. Luckily this was turned around by the Lumen character. But after this huge reset button of a finale, I'm wondering what the point was.

    I'm complaining, but just because I care. It's a great show, but it needs to move forward, not run in circles.

  9. Aside from some of Dex's voiceovers and couple of Lumen's lines, that I could easily do without, Season 5 was alright – did have to watch the finale twice to fully appreciate it, though.

  10. Just finished my Dexter catch up! This season was so heart-wrenching, and the Lumen character was a huge part of it. She and Dexter had such a strong, seemingly unbreakable connection, so for her to just decide to leave overnight (literally) seemed so odd to me. As someone else mentioned, it seemed like Stiles wasn't signed for anymore episodes, so "Oh yeah so I guess I'm leaving, not like you, blah blah blah ok bye." It just seemed sudden and not in keeping with the rest of the season! Other than that, this was an incredible season. Dexter has never let me down!

  11. I think the most surprising thing about this season is that Lumen and the nanny both survived :P In fact no one important died in the finale

  12. Late to the party, I know. I've been catching up with Dexter only over the past few months. I watched the S5 finale only last night.If anybody replies, please refrain from spoiling on future seasons/episodes, even on the 'New Blood show:-)
    To me S5 has been disappointing from a plot and writing perspective.I love this show as much as you do but this season had too many inconsistencies and loose ends.
    For one, the santa muerte thing was just silly. It seemed just a fodder story and I was expecting that it would come to a conclusion since one of the Fuentes brother went missing..or just make Stan Liddy character have something to do with it. After all, he was a corrupted cop who got busted by Internal Affairs. And writers did not even explain exactly what he did to get fired from the police department. And how he knew Quinn....This character was wasted and no depth, no sufficient back story were given to him. Only served as obstacle to Dexter who quickly dispatched him. And his murder was dismissed too quickly...

    Deb nearly catching Dex in the act scene was way too convenient. I'm no cop but why would a detective not bring any backup unit if they think they can possibly find and apprehend a wanted murderer...She did not even bother to pull that curtain. I understand she felt sympathetic towards victim 13 and her accomplice and the prior dialogues with Dex set this scene up...but still..so anti-climatic. On the other hand I do get showtime wanted to keep the show running for as long as they possibly could while the iron was still hot...
    And Lumen leaving was quite abrupt. To me it almost felt as if she used Dexter just to get revenge on Jordan Chase and his crew....or perhaps Dex would have killed them all even without Lumen as if they had never met. Again, I know Julia Stiles only had signed up for one season and did not want to kill her like they did with Rita....but still.....I'm starting S6 later tonight hoping it gets better and some of the unresolved issues addressed.

  13. I'd say the real S5 big bad was the cat that hiccups and farts at the same time


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