Dissecting Dexter: Season 5, Episode 2 "Hello Bandit"

This week's second and rather devastating episode of the season begins with my favorite kind of opening scene: The show's sexy central male character submerged under water, his swimming set to a voiceover. (See: Don Draper's opener in Mad Men, "The Summer Man".) Dexter's pool scene was a tranquil start to an action-packed follow-up to last week's rather slow yet riveting (and equally as good) season 5 premiere. Side note: After being treated for lymphoma earlier this year and going into remission not too long before season 5 began shooting, Michael C. Hall sure looks great.

"Hello Bandit" had more of a classic Dexter feel. Dexter can't curb his urge to scheme and hunt down his next victim, in this case Boyd Fowler, even if he doesn't plan on killing him yet. As Dexter states in the beginning of the episode, he's a full-time dad. I like his struggle with this. "The better killer I am, the better father," he tells Harry's ghost. I've always liked Cody and Astor as characters, and baby Harrison makes every scene with Daddy Dexter (whether he's telling his son a "Once upon a time" blood spatter story or warming up his bottle) ten times cuter. So I was very saddened to see them go. As was Dexter. Which only made the thing even more heartwrenching to watch. Astor decides that she and her brother are going to live with their grandparents in Orlando. I get that Astor is upset, but her reasons for hating Dexter are weak. She despises him because he made her think everything would be good, always? Hmm. A convenient way to relieve him of the responsibility of having the kids live with him? I hope not. So far it's provided the best drama. I suppose down the line, it could create the same problem Dexter faced with Rita: Sneak out and kill and lie to the kids when they inevitably suspect something, or not kill and go crazy. Cody has always loved Dexter, so him wanting to stay was sweet and, maybe, a clue that the kids aren't gone for good.

At the Miami Metro station, the FBI interviews Dexter in an attempt to find out why the Trinity killer might have targeted his wife Rita. "Because he's a serial killer...?" Dexter says. They don't think Dexter did it; he has the alibi of being with the police at Trinity's house during the time of the murder. But Dex isn't out of the woods, yet. The FBI has the name Kyle Butler, a dead guy and also Dexter's alias with Trinity. And, sure enough, a sketch artist's drawing reveals that Kyle Butler looks like Dexter—or at least parts of his face do. Quinn gets copies of the 3 drawings the artist comes up with, and puts them together like puzzle pieces to reveal, basically, Dexter's face.

This is surely going to conflict with Quinn's love for Deb, who had sex with him in a fit of despair and is now trying to pretend like it never happened. Snooze. I'm glad the show is fast-forwarding Quinn's suspicion of Dexter, his thing with Deb isn't nearly interesting enough to stand on its own. "Fat little sausage fingers" Quinn suspecting her brother of anything sinister is going to rub a very protective Deb the wrong way.

This episode managed to stir up a lot of intrigue for the rest of the season to sort out. Deb seems to have her police story for the season, courtesy of a decapitated woman and her seemingly suicidal lover: the Santa Muerta cult and the new Hispanic cop who gave her the tip. I like the prospects of both of these. Still less interesting but more watchable than it was last season is Maria LaGuerta/Angel Batista's marriage. This week, Angel finds out that Maria has a "secret" bank account that she's been adding to for a loooong time and now has close to $300,000 in it. This does not seem that problematic in the grand scheme of things, but I'll give those two a chance. They've always been strong characters in the past. Vince Masuka provides some great comic relief as he takes over Dexter's duties at the station, and hates it. Funny that even the filthiest guy on the show can't stomach Dexter's blood splatter job.

Ultimately, Dexter doesn't kill in this episode. He lures a man named Boyd Fowler, who he's connected to a U-haul with blood in it, to pick up a dead raccoon in the road and learn more about him. He is moved by Boyd's creepiness and his own urge to kill, taking to snooping around Boyd's home to look for clues he might be a killer. He finds a lock of hair, and eventually follows him to the middle of nowhere, where Boyd is stuffing women into barrels and then electrocuting them. Yikes. Dexter is too sad about losing Astor and Cody to care much about his discovery then, which was touching, but I don't think we've seen the last of this case. With just baby Harrison in tow, will Dexter kill again next week? Will he see Astor and Cody often, like he promised Cody? And what's Quinn going to do now that he has in his hands a drawing that looks far too much like Dexter?

See you back here next week for "Practically Perfect."

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