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Dexter: Smoke Signals

"I've gotten rusty in my abstinence."

After too long on the bench, Dexter is definitely not on top of things anymore.

But he still knows how to keep his cool, big time. Faced with the possibility that there might be camera footage of himself taking Matt down, Dexter was still bland, helpful Jim Lindsey, easily identifying weapons in silhouette, and encouraging his girlfriend the Chief of Police while gently attempting to mislead her. This is why we still can't help rooting for Dexter, isn't it?

The lack of proximity to the Atlantic Ocean is a serious problem, especially if Dexter decides to continue killing. Will he? Was the release worth it? Because Dexter is no spring chicken anymore, and covering up an impulsive murder can be exhausting. I thought Dexter running around the woods all night with Matt's jacket was hilarious, and it worked – the search dogs were literally barking up the wrong tree. And Dexter is compartmentalizing the conflicting areas of his life as well as he did in the past.

Except Harrison is resisting that compartmentalization. Yes, he's covering for Dexter's absence in his earlier life, but that is probably because he doesn't want to deal with the fallout of the questions, not to help Dexter. Harrison isn't letting Dexter shove him into a corner, or possibly a wood-paneled closet masquerading as a very small bedroom. In fact, while they were alone, Harrison got downright snippy about the whole abandoning-him-for-years thing, and was angry when Dexter didn't stand up to Principal Strode about the placement test. Good for Harrison.

I also liked that Harrison championed Ethan, the cartoon nerd that was getting catfished. (Except that Ethan turned out to be a bit more bloodthirsty and incel-like than expected.) And Harrison helped Audrey Bishop take the dead white buck to the Seneca for the funeral the creature deserved. It's interesting that Harrison is the opposite of a shrinking violet. He values himself, does what he likes, and has no need for approval from his peers; maybe Hannah taught him that. Harrison hates bullies and got surprisingly violent with one using a neck hold. Maybe Hannah taught him that, too.

Dexter apologized to Harrison for not standing up for him, and Harrison responded by saying, "Thanks, Dad," making Dexter very happy. That was almost too easy. While at dinner with Harrison, Angela and Audrey, Dexter was thrilled to be part of a family again. Is he, though? I'm intrigued by the possibility that Harrison is so smart and so in control that he is actually manipulating Dexter, the king of manipulation.

The ghost of Deb was mostly sounding board and comic relief this time. While she was counseling Dexter about the search dogs, she was dressed exactly like Dexter and telling him things he already knew, just like a reflection – the scene was even shot with the two of them in a mirror. And then Deb was dressed like Angela and holding a gun to Dexter's head. Wow. I also liked the gleeful bit with the wood chipper. "A little Fargo, don't you think?"

Moving on to the murder mystery, who just killed the unfortunate young Lily in a human hunt scenario? I thought that the murderer's victims had been dropped down that hole Dexter was scoping out at the abandoned iron mine, but possibly not if there's a bear in the vicinity. Plus, the killer was embalming Lily's body. Who does that? Does that mean the victims are somehow being buried in the cemetery?

They're deliberately trying to give us another suspect with Edward Olsen (Fredric Lehne from Lost), another older white-haired blue-eyed man. That made me apprehensive when Olsen happened upon Audrey and her broken-down car. But then Dexter stumbled over Kurt Caldwell drunk as a skunk, or pretending to be, telling Dexter happily that he just FaceTimed with with his missing son Matt. Why on earth would Kurt do such a thing?

There's only one reason. He's worried that if the search continues, someone will find his bodies. I bet there are a lot of them. And he's more worried about getting caught than about finding his son Matt, which doesn't say a lot about that father-son relationship.

Is that an intentional echo of Dexter's relationship with Harrison?


— Damien, the CSI guy from Albany, gave us a very Dexter-like analysis of the crime scene. Ah, for the good old days.

— Molly Park, a true crime podcaster, is now on the scene.

— There was an obvious callback to Trinity when the killer played a 45 of the old song "Runaway" before killing Lily.

— Title musings: "Smoke Signals" was less about the Native American trope and more about the ritual of death: the bonfire for the white deer, and Matt's body going up in the incinerator. "Matt's ashes. I bet this is the closest Matt and Kurt have ever been."


Dexter: "Great. I'm going to be brought down by three small-town cops. And a zoologist."

Dexter: "Stop."
Deb: "Or what? You gonna kill me? Again? Or are other people going to die? Because that's what always happens, right? Right?"

Harrison: "They don't know anything about real violence."
It sounds like Harrison does. I really want to know about his past with Hannah.

Dexter: "Bears. Dogs. I miss the days when the only animals I had to worry about were alligators."

Kurt: "Matty's alive."
Dexter: "That's unbelievable.

Apologies for posting this review late. There was nothing wrong with the Dexter episode; it was just Thanksgiving week on top of the publication of the ninth Outlander novel.

Three out of four death rituals,

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


  1. 'Thanks dad' making dexter very happy. That was almost to easy.. - getting Connor/Angel end of season 3 vibes

  2. "He values himself, does what he likes, and has no need for approval from his peers; maybe Hannah taught him that. Harrison hates bullies and got surprisingly violent with one using a neck hold. Maybe Hannah taught him that, too."
    I still want to find out about all that, even if it's only through Harrison telling it to Dexter. And whether it really was just cancer. And if we never get Harrison monologuing to us I hope there's at least some kind of twist in store that isn't "Harrison isn't Harrison/Hannah trained him to find and kill Dexter out of revenge." I'd even accept if Hannah revealed herself to him but he basically had a normal person's "I uh... I see" reaction of knowing but never participating in it himself. All stored for self-defense. I really don't want to see him in an antagonistic role beyond passive comments about Dexter's absence. But I don't have much faith in the writers either, and I think I'll enjoy the show more if I just pretend like there's other seasons ahead and it's just an above-average season of a show far from over. And I guess I don't really need it to be anything more

    "Apologies for posting this review late."
    This used to be required Sunday viewing back in the day! D:<

    I can't really remember anything of what I might've wanted to add. It was the best episode by far but the show is still just adequately meh for me. It was cool to see Dexter burning the remains although I vaguely recall him bringing up why it could never be an option in the OG series... but I could be confusing that with something else. Anyone remember him mentioning something about not all the evidence being burned up properly, bone fragments surviving or something?

    Deb was a cute. A CUTE

  3. Onigirli: There was an episode in season 7 where Dexter incinerated one of his victims.

    1. What? He straight-up did it before? Well shut my mouth... season 7's one that I actually liked a lot, at least the first half, and something I might rewatch out of order. I'll keep an eye out for that incident. Thanks comrade

  4. Onigirli: I would tell you more about it here, but I'm afraid that would constitute spoilers for anyone who hasn't watched season 7...


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