'Dexter' Gets All Dark And Whatever

December 3rd, 2012 3:07pm EST

Dinner The "phantom" arsonist strikes again, killing three to start the episode, which means last week's random arsons weren't just story fodder. The casting department did a great job when they found actor Brett Rickaby as Fire Inspector Phil Bosso. He's creepy, he gets every arson investigation correct, and he's Dexter's prime suspect as the killer arsonist. A little cliché? Perhaps.

And, just in case the Hannah-Dexter story wasn't complicated enough, Hannah's dad Clint (Jim Beaver) shows up just after the opening credits, fresh out of prison. Dexter has his suspicions about the old boy, and he's not the only one. He's one of those "I had a lot of time in prison to put my life back together" kind of guys, who instantly fails the ol' sniff test.

Pretty quickly it all goes south with Hannah, Clint, and Dexter when he asks her, actually begs her, for money to start his new crawdad business down in the Big Easy. She flatly refuses him and of course all our suspicions are confirmed. Even fans who tuned in late got a real good feel for him when he drove his truck through Hannah's flower garden, blaming it on the drinks he had to calm his nerves.

Captain Maria LaGuerta (Lauren Vélez) confides in retired officer Tom Matthews (Geoff Pierson) that she believes Dexter is the Bay Harbor Butcher. Tom thinks it's a fantastic idea, as in no way possible that Dexter is the Butcher. They do, however, find some compelling if circumstantial evidence that could serve a legit motivation for Dexter's involvement in wiping out a few people involved in his mother's murder. Tom tells her he'll talk to Dexter.

Video surveillance from one of the arson incidents reveals there may be a fingerprint to be lifted from a handrail on a bus, but there's no match in any of the criminal databases. This necessarily rules out cops and firemen. Juvenile databases, however, contain different information—sealed information—and Dexter knows to check there as well.

Bingo! Phantom arsonist no longer; enter Joe Jansen (Mike Foy), child arsonist, recently released from a mental institution. I won't spoil what goes down between Dexter and Joe, but it's meaningful to the entire spectrum of the Dexter storylines.

Hannah's dad turns out to be a real bastard. All this time, since Hannah was caught with Wayne Randall, he's been selling information about her. He thinks he's going to blackmail Dexter with info about a murder Hannah committed, a murder about which law-enforcement is unaware.

You know how, sometimes, you just make a really bad choice primarily because you just didn't have enough information to be making any sort of choice in the first place? This is how I felt about Clint McKay as soon as he decided to go up against Dexter. A monumental blunder; one he couldn't have dreamed in a million years.

I thought the writers had wrapped the whole Isaak/Viktor/Jurg/George/Nadia/Quinn storyline, but they had other plans for us. Honestly, it felt tacked-on to the story because what happened came from left field, was settled in a hurry, and had the smell of a scene that was buttoned one too many times. They could have left it out and we wouldn't lose a wink of sleep over it. Anyway, so long George and Nadia. It was fun while it lasted.

With just two episodes left in what can only be described as a blockbuster season, the story has focused on Dexter. Maria and Tom are much closer to the truth about Dexter than either realizes, and Hannah's dad left a parting gift on Debra's voicemail at work; one that could prove quite problematic.

All told, a pretty decent episode that tied up several loose ends, refocused everything back on Dexter, and turned up the heat beneath a kettle already hissing, belching, and gurgling!

Stephanie Caldwell, writer for Writer by day, couch potato by night.

Related: Dexter, Starpulse Exclusives, Television, Drama, TV Networks, Showtime

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