Dexter Review: “Teenage Wasteland”

This week, on a very special Dexter

Alright not really, but it’s about as close as we’re going to get to an episode like that. Things had to settle down eventually as the last two weeks of the show have been non-stop action, so we had a more relaxed pace with only a few major plot developments. But I did dig this week’s episode as it fully revealed a side of Dex I’ve suspected exists for a while now.

The whole premise of the early seasons of Dexter was that he’s trying to blend in and have a normal life, which is why he brings people donuts, goes bowling and has a girlfriend. There’s one quote I remember where he’s talking about emotions, and he remarks he would feel something ” if he had them.” Compound that with that one episode where his father shows him his serial killing brainscan with low compassion and high aggression levels, and it’s clear that he’s not normal. Serial killers aren’t nice guys after all, are they?

But that theory defeats the entire premise of the show, which has built Dexter up to be some kind of moral superhero (literally, in season two he had his own comic book), who always does the right thing to protect the innocent, even if it is outside the law.

Alright, well that smile is kind of fake. But he can be actually happy!

And as he grew close to the kids and Rita, and interacted with his friends and sister, and now more recently Lumen, it’s clear that’s all bullshit. The guy DOES have a emotions, and he does feel close to those around him. It may be hard for him to realize or admit, but it’s true.

This manifested itself very clearly this week, where the main plotline was the return of Astor and Dexter dealing with her friend’s abusive father. Yeah, it seemed like something out of a Law and Order episode, and sort of out of place for the Dexter universe, but cemented the idea that despite what he says, Dexter is a moral person. When you think about everything he’s done, it’s only been in the service of killing bad people and protecting innocent lives. In fact, I can barely think of a time where his actions weren’t justified in some way. He’s called himself a monster for years, but I think he’s underestimated the clarity of his own soul.

But enough about the grand moral schema of the show and its star, stuff actually happened this week and it’s worth commenting on here. The season’s main plotline only had minor developments, but pretty important ones. Dexter sees that Jordan Chase wears a blood vial around his neck (subtle) and swipes it for a blood sample. Chase realizes something is up, and by the end of the episode calls Lumen and lets her know he’s knows what’s up. I thought he figured things out a bit too quickly, as how the hell did he make that connection so fast? I know people have been disappearing, but why suspect Dexter? Did he actually notice that one drop of blood was missing and his locker was a ajar a quarter inch?


Miami Metro is being a pain the ass again as file clerk Deb unearths DNA evidence that places “three or four others” besides Boy Fowler as handling the dead barrel girls. The show is just being purposefully ambiguous about the number now, between this, the guys in the picture and Lumen’s fuzzy memory. I think after Chase there’s one more surprise bad guy that’s going to be revealed, and I’m not even sure Dex will get to him in time. Tick, tick, tick, that’s the sound of the current season running out.

Switching over to the SERIES plotline, which is the grand investigation of Dexter Morgan and his dark secret, which was started by Doakes and continued by Quinn, who picks just the wrong time to go soft, as Robocop has just snapped shots of Lumen and Dex dumping luggage overboard on his boat, which he suspects is “narcotics or a body.” Having just sparred with Deb over his initial suspicions of Dexter being Kyle Butler, Quinn wants to throw in the towel, but Robocop wants to press further. It’s unclear now whether Quinn will be so rejected by Deb he goes back to the investigation, or if Robocop will do it on his own. Either way, it’s not looking good.

As for the Astor plotine, there’s not much to say other than it’s good to see the kids haven’t been written out of the show. Dexter’s handling of the situation was appropriate (you can’t really murder a man for some stomach punching, can you?), and it was nice to see him finally profess his parental love for Astor. I didn’t understand the whole Harrison calling people “Mama” thing. Does he think whoever picks his toy up fills that role? Kind of strange, and I’m not sure the show knows what to do with him other than pass him around like a football.

It is extremely disconcerting twelve year olds actually look like this nowadays.

Presumably next week the hunt picks up for both Chase and Dexter, with each now pursuing the other. I think we’ll know who comes up on top, but what will be lost in the process. NOT LUMEN. DO NOT KILL LUMEN. Phew, just need to get that point across. It’s OK to have recurring characters that don’t die after a season, and I think that’s a lesson the show needs to learn. And if she did die, that would mirror the last season far too closely.

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  1. I liked this episode for a few reasons, Dexter beat the crap out of that guy, Chase knows that Dexter and Lumen are on to him, and The police are onto Chase’s group which may or may not lead back to Dexter.

    Like in season 2, the police were just breathing down Dexters neck and they were so close to getting him, and Doakes did figure it out. So in this season I am curious to see that if at the end of the season Dexter might have to explain some things. I do not think Lumen will die but I do think she has a chance of being caught, just a thought.

    Good episode though.

  2. I suspect this episode is laying the foundation for the beginning of the end of Dexter. It seems as though the writers are turning Dexter into a more “normal” person each season (as you pointed out).

    My guess is that Dexter will realize he simply can not continue his lifestyle of moonlight serial killing if he wants to have a family (which he apparently does) or he may even actually lose the will to kill or “monster” inside all together.

    In the end, the camera will simply fade away on a family man.

  3. Two things:

    He knew what Dexter did because of the hole in the vial top. If you remember, after he was done holding it, there was a drop of blood on his finger from where it seeped out of the hole. He found out from dead dentist guy that Lumen was still alive, knows that Fowler is dead, and suspects that his security guy is dead. Along with that, he knows that Dexter is a blood analyzer and that it would have to be why the vial has a hole in it after leaving Dex alone in the room. And, honestly, don’t tell me you’ve never walked into a room and said to yourself, “That wasn’t like that when I left…” Really, it probably didn’t take Chase much effort to figure out what Dexter did and is doing and who it is he is working with.

    As for Harrison and the mamma thing, I think it was all just a plot device. It was meant to get Astor even more pissed at Dexter by making her completely certain that he had a new girlfriend already and then let her find out that Harrison is just saying that all over the place as a way (along with him trusting her to do the right thing and her suspicion that he’s the reason the abusive “dad” left) to finally get her to trust him after Rita was murdered. It was how the writers were able to have Dexter prove to Astor that he isn’t lying to her.

  4. I interpreted Chase finding out about Lumen and Dexter more after seeing the locker open, suspecting something, then calling and hearing Lumen’s voice. He seems like smart and maniacal enough to hold for a whole conversation then snap.

  5. Jordan figured it out because:

    1) Someone framed Boyd Fowler and it wasn’t Cole.

    2) Someone from Homicide Shows up at his Seminar, who knows about the case.

    3) Cole goes missing AFTER that person shows up.

    4) Lumen wasn’t killed, hence why Cole had to move the bodies.

    5) The Blood Vial…I’m 100% Jordan Chase keeps a close eye on that thing.

    6) He recognized Lumen’s voice over the phone when originally he was just calling to get a hold of Dexter, and didn’t realize it was Lumen until after she answered.

  6. Prediction:
    Lumen will kill Chase in front of Miami Metro (Deb/Quinn?) and go to a mental institution for it.

    LaGuerta gets fired…(PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!)

  7. About the mama thing:

    Harrison throws his toy out of the car at the end of the episode and says “mama”. Then Astor says “This is mama?” and picks up the toy.

    I enjoy these reviews. Always gives me some insight. Keep them coming.

  8. I second what Boba Fett said, EXCEPT !

    Lumen kills Chase, Debra catches her and gives her a pass. Essentially Debra will find out that Lumen is one of the Barrel Girls and THINK Lumen is using Dexter to keep track of the investigation. Ya know since Dexter is a blood analyst and such. However I think the final image will be Debra finding out what Dexter does…It HAS to happen this Season !

    And LeGuerta CAN’T get fired. Trust me…she won’t…


  9. How are they going to tie up the Robocop loose end. According to the trailer for next week he sees a video of Lumen practicing a kill. Maybe he has a massive heart attack on the way to break the news to the cops and his car crashes and catches firs and all the evidence burns. Just sayin. It could happen. Maybe to get LaGuerta of of the picture, she runs for Mayor. She already has lying and manipulation down to a science.

  10. I think the surprise bad guy is Lumen’s ex-fiance, who with his friends decided to get back at her for leaving him at the alter. So they made her their next pray.

  11. @ #

    Said Mr. “Massive Heart Attack on the way to break the news…”

    I kid. Personally, I think Debra is gonna get ahold of those snapshots. Trust me, SHE’S GONNA FIND OUT THIS SEASON! and if she does I’ll be owing everyone a massive “I told you so!”. BUT I’m gonna hold my tongue and wait for the final 3.


    TAKE IT!

  12. I can’t believe you actually like the Lumen character. She is awful and the actress never comes across as authentic but always seems like she’s trying to act. I think this season will end without her dying though BUT she will be gone. I think in the end she will confess to the murders and protect Dexter from being found out or cover up any involvement he had to begin with. He is in deep right now and isn’t even aware of “Robocop” yet so the only way out is to get rid of those pictures and judging from the previews Lumen is going to be the one to kill Jordan and will probably get convicted of the murders.

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