Dexter season 5 episode 4 review: Beauty And The Beast

Billy wonders by the end of this episode of Dexter, which of them is the 'Beauty' and which is the 'Beast'?

5.4 Beauty And The Beast

The slight resemblance between what happens in this episode and the Disneyfied version of the traditional fairy tale of its title is cursory at best. There is no singing tea cups, wolves in the wood or a magnificent ballroom. Yet, there’s something magical in the air, and for once it’s not tiny droplets of blood launching themselves from a recently opened artery that Dexter just cut.

At the end of the previous story, Dexter’s entire life was throw into chaos (okay, more chaos) by the arrival at one of his ceremonies by an uninvited guest, who witnessed him dispatching Boyd. The woman, Lumen, was Boyd’s last victim and Dexter now has the very morally challenging choice of what to do with her.

The theme is trust, or rather the lack of it that Dexter seems to instil in people, usually because he’s forced to lie when asked where he’s been and what he’s done. This upset the Irish child minder, has Joey Quinn on his case, and the abused and traumatised Lumen is entirely confused.

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Harry’s ghost, who I think was on sabbatical last week, hints that Dexter needs to erase this problem, but Dexter’s getting in touch with his human side, and decides to win her over instead of killing her.

At the time, this seemed like a dumb move, even if I was drawn to admire his attempt at humanity. She’s clearly unbalanced by the Boyd experience, and Dexter’s history with unstable women (Lila in season 2), isn’t a glowing one.

For his troubles, he gets attacked at least three times, hit with a blunt object and stabbed in the arm. But nobody suggested the path he’d chosen wasn’t going to be the painful one, other than maybe Harry.

When Lumen first appeared I was entirely unaware who was playing her, and, in fact, I only realised that it was Julia Stiles, (Nicky from the Bourne movies) when I saw her driver’s license photo when Dexter was trying to identify her. Without the usual makeup and attire, she looked totally different, but her acting in this piece was quite excellent.

Continuing the trend of talking mostly about what happened last week, Debra’s decapitation case got a little closer to the perps, only for her to make a poor choice when confronted by one of them.

I’m also inclined to think that Cira (April Lee Hernandez), the rooky cop, is more connected to what’s going on than we’ve so far been told. We never saw her conversation with the store owner, and he ended up headless around the same time. Is she working for the other side, to make sure that the investigation doesn’t get anywhere near the powerful people? Maybe. I feel a twist is in the offing.

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In many respects, Beauty And The Beast, was a rather short story in Dexter terms. It introduced Lumen, had some worrying developments for Dexter and Angel, and demonstrated that, in life and death situations, Debra isn’t best equipped to deal with them.

But it was the trailer for episode 5 that really uncorked the full potential of this show, as we see Julia Stiles destined to become a one woman (and supporting serial killer) vengeance machine. I can feel the modest drip of fatalities we’ve seen this season is about to become a downpour.

Read our review of episode 3, Practically Perfect, here.