Dexter season 5 episode 6 review: Everything Is Illumenated

Lumen's unsuccessful attempt to leave Miami last week buys Dexter the sort of problems that only he can have…

This review contains spoilers.

5.6 Everything Is Illumenated

If last week’s story represented the synchronised ascent, with the clanking of the chain pulling a rollercoaster to the top of a steep incline, then episode six represented the influence of gravity accompanied by unrestrained shrieks of those strapped aboard the Dexter Express.

When this show is having an average week, it’s good, but when it starts to gather the sort of pace that Everything Is Illumenated achieved, it becomes quite breathtakingly brilliant drama.

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If you’ve not seen it, then don’t read this, please, just watch what arrived on screen like a head-on collision between a seventies revenge movie and a classic French farce.

Dexter has picked a victim for some recreational homicide, but having abducted him he’s interrupted by Lumen, who has shot her own prey without thinking through what she’ll do after killing him. Suddenly, Dexter is driving around with a naked unconscious murderer in his RV, heading to find out that Lumen isn’t a brilliant shot and some people just won’t stay dead.

With Dexter’s police colleagues (and relative) heading to the same location, his ingenuity and skills are put to the ultimate test as he endeavours to keep all these juggled objects impossibly airborne. As more and more complications pile on, I was reduced to watching through my fingers, like I was witnessing a motor race where a car is totally out of control and heading towards a certain and explosive crash.

How the chaos is converted into a resolution was almost too clever, and the way that Vince Masuka interprets the crime scene did seem to slide over some rather obvious issues (like what happened to the dressing that Dexter used on the shot guy?). But the build-up to this was so fantastically entertaining that I was willing to forgive the rather hurried escape from utter disaster they’d fashioned.

The track record of Julia Stiles was maintained as the unstable but likable Lumen, moving effortlessly from rational and even caring to wholly psychopathic in the blink of an eye. She’s rapidly becoming the perfect partner for Dexter, even if he’s having a hard time admitting he’s found a genuine soul mate in her. He’s still deeply affected by Rita’s death, and considering his psychological profile, those are feelings he’s not equipped to handle. Perhaps Lumen is his means to compartmentalise those feelings, even if they’re not ready to be contained just yet.

We’re at the season halfway point now, and while it’s been simmering gently in the background, I’ve got the feeling that Dexter’s decision to help Lumen find her abusers and Deb’s Santa Muerte case are about to fuse into something bigger, better and probably more shocking than I’m truly prepared for.

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I must salute the writers of the show, who clearly chose not to repeat the model as represented by previous seasons of Dexter stalking and being counter-stalked by another killer. I’ve no idea where this is going or what craziness might ensue, but based on this week alone, it’s going to be a hoot wherever they take us.

It’s frustrating that the subject matter in Dexter does limit its appeal in some demographics, but given how much better this was than any other show I’m currently watching or reviewing, it makes me wonder how writers of other productions compare it with what they’re generating? I’d suggest that, consistently, Dexter is on a special exclusive level, although some might argue that it’s easy to shine with such large numbers of mediocre shows around.

Dexter is like a madman diving at high speed, who puts on the cruise control and then has a little nap in the confident knowledge that something at the next junction is bound to wake him. There’s a certain logic in most actions, but probably only the type that sociopaths would apply.

I love it. Full speed ahead!

Read our review of episode 5, First Blood, here.

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