'Dexter' recap, 'Are We There Yet?'

For The Baltimore Sun

The title brings to mind the classic American family trip, parents in the front and two kids in the back, annoyingly asking that time old question – “Are we there yet?”

OK, so this family isn’t nearly as classic. Consisting of Dexter, Hamilton, Hannah and Vogel, it’s more like the Addams family only even-more attracted to death. But at least the Addams family had a happy ending.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. There’s a whole roller coaster ride before that. Dexter starts out investigating Cassie’s murder, convinced that it was his protégé, Zack Hamilton (and even finds blood evidence to support it). Dex opts to settle this his way.

Although Vogel tries to discuss other options and excuses, Dexter has his mind made up, even though it wasn’t that long ago that he was going to break The Code and kill LaGuerta. Everyone makes mistakes; that’s what being young is all about.

Dexter meets up with Hannah and they have a cute (but psycho) couple moment. He takes her with him to the Keys to follow Hamilton. Deb is hot on their trail, still tracking Dex through the transmitter. She seems ready to turn Hannah in, but is this just another attempt to be the only girl in Dexter’s life? If she truly understood Dex and his psychopathic ways, then she’d understand Hannah, and her slightly less psychopathic ways.

Deb tries to convince Elway to go after Hannah McKay for the “reward money” – but everybody knows that if Deb were in this for the money, well, she could have started by turning Dex in. Or taking cases other than bounty jumpers. Let’s be real – Deb is all about Dexter, come what may.

Jamie brings Harrison to Quinn’s, since the two officially moved in together. Quinn tries to leave, insisting Jamie will be alright because she has “the kid.”  Seeing as Harrison is “the kid” of a serial killer, he might be right, but there are things you’re not supposed to say to your girlfriend and that is one of them. Bring in his history with Deb, and Jamie flees back to Angel’s, “the kid” in tow.

On the road trip, Dexter catches Hannah up on everything she’s missed – Dr. Vogel, Hamilton and everything in between. Feelings fly, moments get tense, but they won’t just kiss already!

Before Dexter and his “fiendish florist” can get cozy, duty calls and Dex breaks into Hamilton’s hotel room only to find a kill room. Plastic strung up, shiny knives at the ready – enough to make any normal serial killer proud. Dexter tweaks it to make it the perfect place to end Hamilton.

Dexter confronts Hamilton, but it seems he has an alibi – stalking an actual deserving victim. It’s so cute! His little protégé is all grown up! OK, so he messed up at several points, like bludgeoning the man, not using gloves, not properly disposing of the body. But Hamilton is like a small puppy, lapping up everything Dexter says. It may be a conversation about murder, but it’s one of the sweetest father-son scenes I’ve ever seen. Dexter takes Hamilton with him to clean up the car, leaving Hannah to clean up the kill room.

Midway through cleanup, Deb finds Hannah. Each has dirt on the other and the verbal claws come out. Both look like Annie Oakley at the O.K. Corral…and both are just as deadly. But both love Dexter, so they should be able to find some common ground. Dexter barges in. And then Hamilton. So Deb ditches them all – too much effort for a showdown now.

Dexter goes to drop Hamilton off at Vogel’s, but she invites everyone in for a family dinner. Vogel, as matriarch, even chides young Hamilton to get his elbows off the table. The only odd part of this is the lack of Harrison – Dexter doesn’t even know that Harrison is at Angel’s. What type of actual father is he? Picking his surrogate family over his own. Tsk tsk. It leaves a hollow part in an otherwise happy night.

Dexter even talks about work like the doting father trying to include his family in his life. If Hamilton didn’t kill Cassie, who did? Who better to ask than fellow killers?

Dexter drops Hannah off at her hotel room. Right in the middle of his explanation of international bank accounts and how to use her newly made passport, things get hot and heavy. So much for a simple goodbye. But Hannah truly brings out the best in Dexter – he is shy, caring, tripping over himself to be helpful and sweet to her in a way that Rita never could have appreciated. Blame it on the hopeless romantic in me, but it was enough to tear up!

Deb comes back empty-handed to Elway, and asks him to drop it. But like always, they get into an argument, this time about whether Deb should quit and return to Miami Homicide. I blame it all on Elway needing a girlfriend. Or a hobby. He is way too invested in Deb’s life.

But every family has its problems. And like life catching up to them, the other shoe falls. Dexter comes home to find Hamilton dead – brain carefully open to the world. Splice in a scene with Vogel holding a piece of Hamilton’s brain and you’ve got just enough to convince me she was the original Brain Surgeon.

In times of tragedies, families often lean on each other. But Dexter chooses Hannah, begging her to stay and she happily agrees. Where does that leave Deb? Or Harrison for that matter.

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