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'Dexter' 5.12 'The Big One' Review

December 12th, 2010 9:56pm EST | Brittany Frederick By: Brittany Frederick

DexterDexter left off with Lumen in the clutches of Jordan Chase, and Jordan in everyone else's crosshairs. It didn't reach the shock and awe value of the season four finale, but it certainly was a good one.

Dexter is determined to save Lumen like he couldn't save Rita, and ends up as Jordan's second captive at the scene of his very first crime. Jonny Lee Miller is at his creepy, disturbing best here; I'm going to need to watch a lot of Eli Stone to get this one out of my head. When he calls Dexter "no different than the idiots who show up at my seminars," you just have to laugh at how little he knows. The struggle between the two of them is short; I was hoping for a good knock-down, drag-out fight, but I'm satisfied with Jordan's eventual demise. Even when he's facing death, he's still poking and prodding at the psyches of Dexter and Lumen. John Lithgow still tops my list of Dexter villains, but Miller's up there, and his final moments are worth the wait.

Quinn is squarely in the crosshairs when Stan's body is found, and it's not long before LaGuerta uncovers every single piece of incriminating evidence on him. With his back to the wall, he seems resigned to his fate, and won't even open up to Deb. There's a great scene between the two of them in an interrogation room, where you can see on his face how defeated he is, and hear in her voice how much she wants to help him. I wasn't quite sure at the beginning of the season if a relationship between these two characters was going to work, but it's provided some great material for both actors. It's nice to see the two of them renewing that relationship by episode's end. Even Dexter seems to like him a bit more, if only because he makes Deb happy. I'm just glad that he still has a pulse.

Deb is the one character who's squarely in the middle of both plots, and Jennifer Carpenter makes the most of her character's complicated predicament. One moment she's realizing how much Quinn means to her; the next, she's unknowingly holding a gun on her own brother. Inevitably, Deb is going to have to realize that her brother is a serial killer, but this episode shows that when that day comes, she might be pretty amenable to that situation. In deciding to cut Dexter and Lumen a break (even though she'll never know it's them), she's empathizing with Jordan's victims and maybe even coming to terms with her own victimization. I think this season has really developed Deb's character, and the finale leaves her in a place where there are a lot of possibilities for her.

Speaking of possibilities, this finale does a great job of giving the show lots of options for season six. Just when it seems like Dexter has a whole family developing again, Lumen decides to leave and try to start a normal life, apparently cured of her Dark Passenger. That doesn't mean she won't be back, of course, but it certainly seems like she's run her course; without that common ground between her and Dexter, she isn't too different from Rita. Julia Stiles held her own with Michael C. Hall this season, and I'm okay if she doesn't come back; at least she leaves the show on a high note. Her departure also reinforces the sad fact we learned last season - that Dexter might not ever get a legitimately happy ending, that being the price he pays for his true nature. Yet I admit that doesn't stop me from hoping he will someday.

The more I think on this episode, the more I realize that it probably couldn't have ended any other way. Jordan had to die; Lumen couldn't really stay. There wasn't a part of this episode where I felt like something didn't fit. It's not necessarily a surprising ending, but it is the right one. Bring on season six.

For more Dexter, check out the Dexter category on my blog, DigitalAirwaves.net.

Photo Credits: Showtime