Wow. Things certainly took an interesting turn tonight on Dexter. And by interesting, I mean yet another possible game-changer for the series. Spoiler warning: If you're not caught up through "The Dark… Whatever," read no further!

Dark Rider

The whole "Dark Passenger" side of Dexter has always been his way of justifying his nature, but he's never really been called out on it or forced to explain it… until tonight. When venting about the Phantom arsonist to Hannah, Dexter explained to her about his dark passenger. Maybe it's easier to explain this side of himself to someone like Deb or Lumen or anyone else not a killer, but eye to eye with a fellow murderer, the whole "dark passenger" thing doesn't really add up. How is Dexter any different from Hannah, who doesn't claim to have any kind of dark passenger? Both like to kill people. As far as we know, Hannah mainly murders out of convenience, whereas Dexter does it for the rush. At the end of the day, they're both murderers.

After Hannah rejected Dexter's dark passenger explanation, he was forced to question it, which lead to a discussion with Harry that revealed that it was never Harry who coined that phrase. Interesting. Harry gave Dexter the code, and made reference to something getting inside of Dexter too early, but it was Dexter who came up with the name for his dark side.

Things seemed to click into place for Dexter tonight after Hannah's abusive father rolled back into town with plans to first apologize, then request her financial assistance on a crawfish endeavor. Plan B was to blackmail her. As it turns out, Hannah's story about Dad almost drowning her was true, and we also learned that he left her in a motel for three days when she was little while he went to play cards. He's also a jerk and a guy foolish enough to think it's a good idea to blackmail his murderer daughter.

Hannah being abused almost makes her sympathetic. Almost. She's still a murderer, but it feels almost hypocritical to judge her for that, given that we're all viewers of a show about a guy who kills people and I doubt many of us are rooting for Dexter to get caught and thrown in jail. All the same, even after Dad trashed her greenhouse and gloated about his plans to blackmail her, I still don't like or trust Hannah. But I do like how her relationship with Dexter is affecting him...

"It's time for you to take responsibility. Fuck."

The Phantom fire-guy is still running around burning people up and putting the word "Bobby" (or in tonight's case, "It's Bobby") at his crime scene. Dexter quickly ruled out Bosso the creepy arson investigator. He seemed too obvious anyway and his civil war reenactment alibi checked out. After running a finger print through a database accessible to people with higher level of security, Dexter found the Phantom and was prepared to kill him.

It's been a while since he's had anyone wrapped in plastic, so this felt long overdue. Then he learned that Jensen's reason for burning people was because he got blamed for setting some fire when he was a kid. Dexter practically laughed off the guy's excuse, telling him it's time he take some responsibility. And then it hit him. He does the same thing, kind of. He kills people because of something that happened to him as a kid.
He left Jensen unconscious and called the police so they could arrest him and it seemed like maybe Dexter finally realized he was accountable for his own actions. Actually, he did realize that, but he's not cured. Quite the opposite, it seems. He left Jensen's house and went to get Clint, Hannah's father. He took the guy out on his boat and killed him, then dumped him in the water.

Clint didn't fit Dexter's code, so this is a pretty huge deal. Dexter killed him because he wanted to, plain and simple. Freed from the notion that he's at the mercy of some "dark passenger," and now willing to take ownership of his actions, it appears he's open to releasing himself of the code if it suits his interests, which means we may be seeing Dexter unleashed. We'll have to wait and see if that's what actually happens. It could be that Clint is just a one-time-thing for Dexter and he'll return to hunting murderers. Or else, he's on the verge of becoming a code-less serial killer.

Other things

Though he didn't come out and say it, it seemed like Hannah understood Dexter's meaning when he said her father wouldn't be bothering her anymore. Hannah not being able to kill her own father shows she does have boundaries. But watching her hug Dexter, my initial fear was that she might want to repay the favor to Dexter by taking care of Deb. (Previews for next week's episode suggest that as a good possibility).

Meanwhile, before Dexter killed him, Clint sent a voicemail to Deb tipping her off about Arlene Schramm, the witness to Hannah's murder of her camp counselor. So that cat's out of the bag. And Deb's obviously going to do what she can to see that Hannah's brought to justice.

Speaking of murderers getting busted, LaGuerta's still working with Tom Matthews on the Bay Harbor Butcher case. Tom brushed off the idea that Dexter could be the guy, but the more they looked into the situation, the more signs pointed to Dexter. Investigating the cabin where Doakes was killed revealed that it once belonged to Santos Jimenez, who was one of the people responsible for Dexter's mother's murder. That, added to LaGuerta learning that the Ice Truck Killer was Dexter's brother has her more convinced than ever that Dexter's the man. Tom agreed to talk to Dexter about the situation, though he still seems doubtful. That conversation's going to be interesting.

The last Brotherhood loose end is (presumably) tied up. Quinn and George had a confrontation at the strip club and George, thinking there was no way Quinn would just outright shoot him, was slapping Nadia around to antagonize Quinn. George was wrong. Quinn shot him and then quickly got Nadia to shoot him in the arm to make it look like he shot George in self defense. Deb seemed to buy the story but Batista, who was in the strip club when the shots were fired and knew there was too big of a gap for the story to hold up, seemed skeptical. This, added to Quinn stealing the evidence earlier in the season, may have raised some red flags for Batista. He knows Quinn's not being honest, but where's all of this going?

And finally, everyone knows Dexter's dating Hannah. Somehow it seems like that'll be relevant at some point.

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