In "Nebraska," this week's entry on Showtime's Dexter, Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) tells Dexter (Michael C. Hall) that the Trinity Killer has returned, murdering his own wife and daughter. Knowing that Trinity is actually dead, and egged on by the ghost of his brother, Brian (Christian Camargo), Dexter travels to Nebraska to dispatch the likely killer, Trinity's son Jonah (Brando Eaton, The Secret Life of the American Teenager). But the truth is more complicated, and Jonah admits only to hurting his mother during a fight, after his sister kills herself. Determining that Jonah feels guilt, and is not a monster, Dexter refuses to do the deed, leaving Jonah pleading in the rearview mirror for Dexter to end things.
It is neat that Dexter revisits a former recurring character, which stems from a very dark period in Dexter's life. And while Trinity is one of Dexter's best foes, the current story applies very centrally to Dexter's life as it is now, rather than just dredging up the past for nostalgia's sake. Following his murder of Brother Sam's (Mos) killer, Dexter is poised on a precipice. Should he follow in his brother's footsteps, embracing his inner psycho, and killing anyone that he wants? Or should he remember the teachings of Brother Sam, a better Brother than Dexter's real brother, finding mercy for those who have done wrong, and searching for inner light?
At first, Dexter goes fully over to Brian's side on his trip to "Nebraska." He steals a gun and screws a convenience store worker. Confronted by a potential blackmailer (Scott Michael Campbell, The Event), Dexter takes him out, breaking his own code, as the blackmailer has not killed anyone. Dexter is also very tempted to take out Jonah without satisfying his need for proof that Jonah deserves it. This is Dexter on the edge, rebelling against the kinder, gentler man he is these past few weeks with Sam's friendship. A backlash is natural and expected. Brian is the perfect manifestation of such feelings.
But then, Dexter is a very complicated guy, and Sam has touched something inside of him that cannot be ignored. Dexter tries to deny having any light to combat his darkness, but seeing Jonah, and thinking of his own son, he realizes that is simply not true. Without light, there can be no darkness. Dexter isn't going to stop killing all together, as Sam surely would prefer. But he will remember the code that Harry (James Remar) taught him. And he compares Jonah to Harrison, both kids of serial killers, and can't help but feel sorry for the lad. Fittingly, as Dexter returns home, his mission reavowed, it is Harry that climbs into Dexter's car, replacing Brian, whom Dexter has run over. Wonderful ending to a really cool plot.