Dissecting Dexter: Season 5, Episode 12 "The Big One"

That's it? No surprising deaths? No last-minute game changers? Maybe Team Dexter was unable to deal out a harsh finale blow this season like they did last year. Maybe they just couldn't do it again to us and Dexter, who went through a lot this season and seemed to liven up toward the end of it.

But I'm left wondering after Sunday's Season 5 finale why the show didn't take more chances with some of its interesting characters this season. What about Stan Liddy? His only purpose was to see if Quinn would turn Dexter in over saving himself from a possible murder charge? And Julia Stiles' character was around just to show Dexter he's not alone in his need to kill (even though he's discovered this in past seasons)?

In the finale, Dexter is on a Jordan Chase hunt. And Deb is on a Jordan Chase hunt. It's a race between the couples, Quinn says, to see who can get to Chase first. It's kind of unfair though, because Dexter manages to use Deb's resources (like Jordan's real estate listings) while she rewatches rape videos hoping to find some sort of clue.

Dexter's family is back briefly, surprising him for Harrison's upcoming first birthday. Sweet little Astor and Cody are back, at the most inconvenient of time, to ask Daddy Dexter if they can stay with him over the summer. I think it's been too long for this return to mean as much as it would've earlier in the season. And I hope this means they'll be in next season.

Stan Liddy's dead, and of course Dexter has to help clean up the mess of blood he's responsible for creating. And he's oh so heartbroken that he can't get to save his new lady friend Lumen. But the crime scene is full of irony, what with him telling his colleagues how he killed Liddy, and Quinn's cell phone records and bloody shoe all but implicating Quinn in Liddy's death.

Poor, poor Quinn. Well, not really. It's rotten that a whole lot of evidence points to him being sneaky/involved in Liddy's death. But it's stupid/unbelievable that Quinn would keep quiet about why he's really involved with Liddy just to protect Deb's feelings about her brother.

Dexter tracks Jordan down at the campsite the evil group of men met as teens. He crashes his car at the site on the way to finding Jordan/Lumen, and Jordan is conveniently standing right there as Dex stumbles out in a concussion-like state. He scoops him up, and brings him to where he's keeping Lumen. Deb finds out from the Spanish fruit vendor that Jordan Chase had a girl in his car and was taking her to a camp down the road. Perfect timing; she heads out for the same camp that Dexter and Lumen are at, but at this point Dexter has managed to get out of Jordan's restraints and stick a large knife through his foot.

Lumen kills Jordan Chase rather uneventfully, and Deb arrives minutes later. Dexter has a nice plan laid out for how they're going to dump Jordan's body and break the news the Miami Metro later. But what he doesn't know is that Deb has found the camp, and is on the other side of the Seran wrap.

Lucky for everyone involved, Deb knows about the Vigilante Pair and has, well, sympathy/respect for them. She calls in the crime scene, but lets them get away. The outcome of the situation is pretty obvious and anti-climactic from the moment she gets of her car at the camp scene, but I thought it was kind of beautiful. And one hell of a way to show off Jennifer Carpenter's intensity, something that makes her one of the best dramatic actresses on television.

But this also puts a weird spin on the question of whether Deb will ever find out the truth about her brother in any kind of satisfying way. If this wasn't the most perfect moment for her to find out, when will it be?

Lumen ends up leaving in a very lame ending to her story. Turns out, she was only using Dexter to help kill the men who hurt her, and now that they're dead she has to leave Miami. It was sad to see Dexter realize that the one person he thought he could share his darkness with is leaving him. It's all so sad in fact, that Dex can summon tears and angry plate-throwing when Lumen dumps him, but not when his wife dies.

Aside from the lame Lumen exit, this episode wasn't terrible. Just a bit slow for a Dexter finale. Plus, didn't I watch this same finale last year? Dexter is preoccupied with police work so he has to put off finding his enemy (Trinity, now Chase). Dexter's family gets in the way of this task, too (the kids are conveniently brought back for about three seconds). The enemy outsmarts Dexter and pins him in a seemingly inescapable position. Dexter is even smarter and ends up compromising his enemy. Then he kills him. Then he has lady troubles.

Johnny Lee Miller's acting  (The part where he fake bites Lumen? So good.) was the best part of this otherwise lackluster ending to a season full of secrets and  promising leads on Dexter. Here's hoping next season will deliver just as much action as this year did, but also some more bloody and satisfying results. Deb is too close to the truth about Dexter for her not to follow that path next season.