The second episode of Dexter’s sixth season focused on rituals, which is certainly a subject Dexter is familiar with. Killing is a ritual for him. From the way he arranges his kill room, to the things he says to the man or woman on his table, often referencing their misdeeds and forcing them to admit to them in some way or another before taking that drop of blood and then plunging the knife in. It’s all a ritual, albeit a very dark one, and it’s part of what keeps his dark passenger at bay.
Rituals at home are important to any family, whether it be eating a meal together, a shared hobby, or some other regular thing that becomes a part of the family’s life together. In the case of Dexter and Harrison, a bubble bath and a bedtime story are among their rituals. What Dexter discovered during tonight’s episode is that Harrison is becoming more aware of his father’s behavior. It’s still on a very basic, innocent level. Harrison might see Dexter doing something and have the words to state it out loud, but he’s too little to know how to interpret what he’s seeing. Still, kids do say the darndest things and Dexter certainly can’t afford to have his son mention something odd about him to someone else, including his new nanny, who also happens to be Batista’s little sis.
Harrison mentioned “Daddy’s box” to Dexter, which means at some point, the toddler must have seen Dexter with his box of slides. This is exactly the sort of thing Dexter will have to be more careful of. He fixed the problem in the end by giving Harrison his own slide-box to play with. While there’s no way for Dexter to erase a memory from his son’s mind, over-writing it with a new association is certainly the next best thing.
Mos Def appeared tonight for the first time in his role as Brother Sam, an ex-con who was brought in for questioning in connection to the man found washed up on shore with the snakes inside him. He wasn’t able to help much in that regard, but his appearance at the precinct put him in Dexter’s path. Having escaped incarceration due to a mistrial, Dexter saw Brother Sam as easy pickins’.
Dexter wasn’t quite sure what to make of Brother Sam though and neither am I. He admits to being on a path of redemption, but doesn’t claim to be innocent or saved and fully changed. Instead, he’s open about his misdeeds, believing the holy spirit wants him to share his story. His willingness to own his sins threw Dexter off guard, and ultimately kept Brother Sam off of his table, for now anyway. Instead, a man name Julio took his place, making the unfortunate choice to go after Brother Sam while Dexter was with him. Dexter checked Julio out and found him to meet the code much more cleanly than Brother Sam does at this point.
Julio was a fairly boring kill, partially because he was practically handed to Dexter on a platter and partially because he was more or less a common criminal, with at least one murder under his belt. Dexter did kill him by slicing his throat, once again proving his willingness to deviate from the regular chest-stab method. But does that take something away from the ritual? Is Dexter changing himself by changing the way he kills his victims or is this just the writers’ way of keeping the kill-room scenes fresh?
Speaking of changes, things couldn’t have been more of a tornado of change in Deb’s life tonight. Not only did Quinn propose to her, but she was offered the position of full-time lieutenant, thanks in part to her heroic display at the restaurant, which was caught on video and posted online to be celebrated by all of Miami, as well as Miami Metro Homicide (including a certain limerick-writing lab geek).
Deb naturally freaked out over Quinn’s proposal, and was fully disbelieving of her promotion (“F--k balls you’re serious.”) when Matthews offered her the job. She put Quinn on hold for most of the episode, while she obsessed over it and the promotion, which opened up some interesting issues with regards to Deb’s character. She admitted to Dexter that she was a little relieved when their father died because she no longer felt she had to prove herself to him, but death doesn’t necessarily close the book on deep-seated issues like that. If anything, not having her father around now could mean she'll never fully have closure on that.
Dexter reminded us of his distrust/dislike of Quinn when he pondered the idea of Quinn being Harrison’s uncle, but fortunately for him, that won’t be an issue as Deb turned Quinn down. The marriage proposal shifted the relationship to a place Deb didn’t want to be and they broke up. Now that Deb is Quinn’s boss, that should make things sufficiently awkward at work. Tension!
Travis and Professor Gellar
Tonight we learned that Travis has a sister and they have a fairly good relationship. Gellar sees Travis’ sister as a distraction from their mission and after Travis failed to appear for whatever it is they’re doing with mannequin parts, Gellar burned himself with an iron to make some kind of point about the sacrifices he's welling to make. It seems like he’s using Travis’ compassion as a way to manipulate him. Perhaps Travis is the kind of guy who would be more moved by someone else's suffering than by fear of suffering, himself. Whatever it is, Gellar burning himself did the trick as Travis promised he wouldn’t see his sister again. Still, knowing there’s some person in his life that means something is information to pocket for later theories once we have a better idea of what’s going on with these two.
Gellar and Travis’ part of the episode ended with them capturing and tying up some man. Who knows what they have planned for him.
Other random parts...
Masuka’s enjoying having the adorable tight-clothes-wearing Ryan as his student, and she seems to be enthusiastic about the work he does. She also seems to be doing some not-so-subtle, but indirect flirting with him.
Batista and LaGuerta had words tonight. Angel was probably right to suggest that LaGuerta was the reason he didn’t get the promotion for Lieutenant. Matthews can’t stand LaGuerta and he obviously didn’t appreciate being blackmailed into promoting her to Captain. Why she thought she had any say in who was promoted to lieutenant, I don’t know. Once she gave him the black book, she had nothing to hold over his head. If anything, trying to encourage Matthews to make Batista Lieutenant only hurt his chances, given how Matthews feels about her. Meanwhile, Deb’s hero-video gave Matthews the perfect alternative.
This is not to say that Deb doesn’t deserve the job, however Deb’s more of a field cop and I have an easier time seeing Batista as an in-charge kind of person. I did love that Deb asked Batista for his blessing. She didn’t have to do that, but it does show good leadership on her part to pull Angel aside and talk to him man-to-man before accepting the position. Of course Batista gave her his blessing. He’s a stand-up kind of guy like that. But he’s not happy about it and he made sure to voice that to LaGuerta.
That about covers it! Not a lot of big moments, but tonight’s episode did shift things, plus we now have a new mysterious character to ponder over. Do you think Brother Sam is on the righteous path? Or is he destined to slip back into his old ways, if he hasn’t done-so already? He did prove tonight that he was willing to put his own life in danger for the sake of a member of his flock. The jury's definitely still out on this one...