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TV Review: Dexter – “First Blood”

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“We all have something inside,” Dexter says as the episode opens, “some dark place where we pretend everything’s okay. Some of these places are darker than others. Watching your mother die hasn’t changed you like it changed me.” He is referring to Harrison who has scratched a child at the Mommy and Me playgroup. Now Daddy has to help him flee the scene of the crime.

As Harrison grows will he take on his father’s demons? Will Dexter become his “Harry”? At times, it seems Harrison’s life is mirroring his own, a major concern for Dexter and something which will continue to trouble him no matter how much Sonia assures him that Harrison is a “gentle child.” The scratch, he worries, is a sure sign of bad things to come.

But Lumen is Dexter’s current concern. He tells her the best thing to do is go home to Minneapolis, but this is not going to happen; she can’t get past what happened and needs to find the men who did this to her. She is also upset over the fact Dexter still has not revealed anything about himself to her. Rather than respond to this, he gives her a plane ticket to Minneapolis and pleads with her to get on with her life. Maybe this is one problem he can remove from the list. “Yeah,” he thinks, “Maybe it will snow this week.”

It is apparent Debra is becoming less ambivalent toward Quinn. Can she be close to admitting that she has feelings for him?

She leaves his apartment to meet Angel at the hospital to question one of the Fuentes’ victim. Outside the hospital room she talks to the mother of the victim, then asks the woman’s son about the man who hurt him. The young man remembers a mark on his attacker’s hand, a small one, which he draws for them.

Attempting to get a line on Boyd Fowler’s accomplices, Dexter searches the internet but comes up with nothing. He drives to Boyd’s house to look for more clues and finds that someone has been there before him. A window is broken and smears of blood are on the door, leading Dexter to surmise whoever was there left in a panic.

At the police station, Dexter finds Lumen’s fingerprints on the evidence he took from Boyd’s house, proving she is the one guilty of breaking and entering. He has no choice but to check out Lumen’s apartment. There he finds articles about victims like herself plastered all over the walls. “Does this seem like the product of a stable mind?” Harry asks. “She’s not a killer, she’s not you. She’s coming undone.” A letter among her possessions from Robert Bruner, Boyd’s old cellmate, clues Dexter into the fact that Lumen has taken matters into her own hands. Harry warns Dexter if he continues his quest to save this woman, she is going to bring him down.

Dexter confronts Lumen and tells her the men who hurt her put five women in barrels and don’t want to be found. But Lumen has her own agenda. “You don’t get to tell me what to do. You saved my life, now leave me alone,” she says. Dexter pleads with her again to “Please stop before it’s too late.” But it is obvious she has no intention of listening to him.

Debra shows Angel the tattoo drawing (which resembles an alien ship), after which they ask Masuka about it (since he has an ornate dragon lady tattoo on his back). He suggests says they visit Michael Angelo, a tattoo artist who knows every other artist in the area.

Angel is still troubled by his problems with Internal Affairs. He asks Maria if there’s anything he needs to know about the repercussions from his barfight; his suspicions are growing that something is not quite right. When he follows Maria and sees her drive off with the Internal Affairs officer, he assumes those suspicions to be correct.

Dexter researches Bruner’s file and finds Bruner’s criminal history jives with what happened to Lumen. He goes to Tuttle Bridge, where Bruner resides, anxious to get to him before Lumen does.

At the tattoo parlor, Debra visits Michael Angelo and shows her Fuentes’ tattoo. Michael Angelo tells her it could be the image of the eye from the back of a dollar bill.

Manzon checks out footage of eight Santa Muerte victims, all doing business at the same ATM machine, each one obviously upset. The mystery of their plights prevails and she makes plans with Debra to check out their houses the next day.

At Tuttle Bridge, Dexter searches for Bruner. He finds him and pretends to be a fellow ex-con to win his trust. Bruner says he’s going north after his parole’s up and tells about how he assaulted a woman whom Dexter assumes to be Lumen. Enraged, Dexter sedates him and brings him to the kill room, where he discovers Bruner is wearing a police ankle bracelet. Dexter has the wrong guy and is mortified that he was ready to murder him. Harry is right. Dexter needs to get Lumen to do something he has been unable to do. Move on.

Dexter returns to Debra’s apartment to find Quinn with Debra. Dexter is not happy to see him. Quinn notices gloves sticking out of Dexter’s back pocket. Before he leaves he says with snide suspicion how it’s kind of warm to be wearing them. When Dexter asks Debra about her relationship with Quinn she tells him they’re ‘fuck buddies’ but that’s all. This doesn’t make Dexter feel any better and tells her to keep Quinn away from Harrison.

Maria arrives home late, telling Angel she was caught up working on the end of the month budgets. His suspicion grows even more when he finds evidence on her cellphone of what appears to be a rendezvous with someone at a motel.

When Dexter returns to Lumen’s hotel, the proprietor tells him Lumen went to Tuttle Bridge. At the bridge, Lumen scopes out her prey and when she finds Bruner, pulls a gun and aims it at him. Her hand shakes and she hesitates as Dexter sneaks up behind her and wrenches the gun away. Dexter tells her Bruner is not the man who hurt her. She breaks down, crying that she just wants to feel better. Dexter implores her to go home to her family or this will get worse. Finally she agrees.

Debra and Manzon investigate a house belonging to one of the Santa Muerte victims, where they find two dead bodies: a double homicide.

Meanwhile Angel arrives at the address he found on Maria’s cellphone and discovers Maria in a hotel room with the IA officer. Maria is livid, and tells him he’s barged in on a sting. She shows him she was wearing a wire and that the IA needed her help to bust a narcotics cop on the take. It was all done to close the book on Angel’s barfight. In the next room, the cop in question sits on the bed in handcuffs.

The homicide victims’ murders are found to be inconsistent with the Santa Muerte killings. In the meantime, Deb spots a poster, that shows the tattoo in question was actually a stamp from a nightclub.

Dexter accompanies Lumen to the airport, where he finally tells her his name. He wants her to trust him. Lumen tells him she came to Miami for a fresh start and that she tried to call her family but couldn’t. She didn’t know what to say. She couldn’t tell them what happened to her. She couldn’t tell anyone and that Dexter is the only one who knows. He tells her to call him if she needs him and she thanks him and leaves. When she fails to get through airport security, she is searched by a guard which causes her agitation to grow…

While this is going on, Quinn meets with the unscrupulous narcotics officer and offers to pay him to dig up information on Dexter.

Back at the Mommy and Me playgroup, Dexter wonders if there is a darkness in Harrison. The mothers at the playgroup think there is, that Harrison was responsible for scratching another boy in the group. Dexter doesn’t want to believe it, that is until Harrison scratches Dexter on the cheek.

In the end,we see Lumen getting into a cab at the airport and, to our surprise, heads back to the city of Miami.

While I am not totally enamored of this Lumen plotline, I am intrigued. Lumen seems like more trouble than she is worth. Between her insistence on getting revenge regardless of the consequences and Quinn’s growing suspicions, I can’t help wonder how Dexter will fare through all of this. Will one of these characters finally be the key to Dexter’s downfall or will his cleverness get him out of trouble again. Now that Harrison is in the picture, Dexter has much more riding on his ability to keep his secrets hid. He needs to pay more heed to Harry than the demons riding him. Unfortunately,from what we learn in “First Blood”, this may not be possible.

Dexter airs on Showtime, Sundays at 9PM ET.

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