By nature of his extracurricular activities, Dexter is a loner. But that doesn’t mean he wants to be. He’s always been desperate to share his secret with somebody who might understand, which is why he tends to monologue a bit before killing a new victim. His father, of course, knew him better than anyone, but he couldn’t bear to watch the monster that he created (or at least refined). His brother suffered the same psychosis, but didn’t share the same code. Lila seemed pretty sympathetic—they were both addicts, after all—but she was the wrong kind of batshit crazy. But now, with Miguel, an impassioned justice-seeker and score-settler, Dexter may have found himself a true friend and confidante.
“Easy As Pie” opens with a darkly funny dream sequence in which Dexter is cutting up a body and Miguel strolls into the room with his golf clubs. “We’ll play a quick nine, when you’re finished,” he says nonchalantly, as if his friend was performing a more socially acceptable form of butchery. Dexter has nightmares all the time, but this was a dream; of course, we don’t know yet how Miguel might react to his sick rituals, but Dexter has reason to believe that he won’t wilt in horror. We can see that he’s made of sterner stuff than that—the Prados as a family are at the very least hot-blooded—and his bloodlust certainly exceeds that of even the most crusading prosecutor.
Tonight’s episode presented Dexter with two sets of circumstances where carrying out a perhaps righteous kill would violate his code. Camilla, still suffering horribly from terminal cancer, has been given another month to live, but she’s in so much pain that she wants to go sooner. She properly senses that Dexter might be the right man to put her out of her misery: For one, he seems to be the only guy visiting her at the hospital, but also, she knows more about his personal history than most. She knows, for one, that Dexter had a brother and that his brother was also the Ice Truck Killer. So when she requests that he play her Kervorkian, she knows that he’s probably capable of pulling it off.
The other matter is much more complicated. Thrilled to have his own private attack dog to unleash against his enemies, Miguel tests Dexter by presenting him with an unconventional target: Not an actual murderer, but Ellen Wolf, a defense attorney who has made a career out of getting criminals exonerated. This makes her no different from other criminal defense attorneys, who are only doing their jobs, but Miguel has personal vendetta against Ms. Wolf, because she wants him to go down for prosecutorial misconduct. His case to Dexter conveniently elides his real reasons for wanting her dead, but it’s not a bad argument: If Dexter is frustrated by real murderers escaping the justice system on lawyerly technicalities, then shouldn’t he also be going after the people who help them slip the noose?
What makes Dexter’s dilemma interesting in both cases is that he’s thinking his morality through. Harry’s code allows for no such ambiguity, which should bring him to the immediate conclusion that he can’t kill either Camilla or Ellen, because neither one of them has killed anyone. Now he has a little more nuance in his thinking, which I take as a sign of growth. And what he decides upon is convincing, even humane: He’s the right guy to pull a Million Dollar Baby on Camilla, and the wrong one to kill Ellen, just because she gives her clients the best defense she can. (It’s kind of a shame that Maria’s intervention is what ultimately nets Ellen’s newest client.)
So where does all this leave Dexter and Miguel? Remarkably, it leaves Miguel as Dexter’s best man. Miguel at least professes to be relieved that Dexter decided not to do his bidding, but I think that’s maybe the tiny crack that indicates a crumbling foundation. Miguel is an unstable character: He’s gung-ho about having a guy like Dexter as a friend and he feels like he has a powerful weapon to bypass a failed justice system. But we hear from his wife that he’s been unusually temperamental, and it’s possible that his association with Dexter has played more on his conscience than he’s let on. And for Dexter, friendship is a luxury that perhaps easily diminished; the second he loses trust in Miguel, it stands to get awfully bloody.
• Another great week of the newly foul Masuka, who was particularly incensed about how killer-of-the-week Albert Chung might damage people’s perceptions of Asian-Americans.
• Another cool Chung-related moment: Dexter explaining to Ellen that the chances of anybody other than Chung being the killer are 170,000,000 to 1.
• A big episode for Deb, who’s crushed with guilt over Wendell’s murder, but not enough to keep her from risking her job to protect potential Skinner victim Anton. Given her dating history, clearly Anton has slaughtered two dozen people.
• “All the lives I’ve taken, they’ve always begged for mercy. I’ve never understood why until now. This, this is mercy. But only for a friend.”