Dexter season 5 episode 7 review: Circle Us

Billy wonders if the sanctified really watch over well meaning serial killers, in the latest episode of Dexter…

This review contains spoilers.

5.7 Circle Us

There’s a joy in Dexter currently that seems like an antidote to the crushing depression of Rita’s demise. Not only was Circle Us a turning point for season five, finally offering up the major villain, but it was also one of the funniest of the shows so far.

As least two passages of dialogue made me laugh out loud, the first of which was Dexter’s reaction to the appearance, courtesy of his Irish nanny, of a religious figurine next to Harrison. “That’s either a saint, or the most unexciting action figure ever.”

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But that was topped later by some images that Dexter took of men he thought might be Lumen’s abductors, where she sees in the shot Vince Masuka and immediately identifies him as “a freak”.

However, the levity was carefully balanced with some fairly dark events, specifically the deadly combination of inspirational speaker Jordan Chase and his accident prone henchman, Cole Harmon. On top of that, we have the case that Debra is pursuing, which goes horribly wrong when Maria makes some exceptionally poor strategic choices when they try to arrest the Fuentes brothers in a nightclub.

I thought at one point that these two threads might ultimately combine, but that seems much less likely now. I’m also not sure how to read the lethal efficiency that Debra exhibits, but clearly Dexter’s not the only Morgan who can kill people ruthlessly.

After I’d watched this episode, I was left with a very uneasy feeling about the blossoming relationship between Lumen and Dexter, and how it might end. Expecting her to continue her life after her abductors are dealt with seems completely unrealistic, as does integrating her into Dexter’s life. Given what happened to poor Rita, I’m concerned that Lumen is heading for a tragic end, after bringing a moment of humanity to Dexter’s life.

I hope that she’s not just more fodder, but I can’t help but conclude that she may be too psychologically damaged to survive the season.

A few people have commented to me that Lumen never does what she’s told, although in this story Dexter would have been in real trouble had she stayed in the car. I suspect that failure to follow instructions will be her ultimate undoing.

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Again, I must salute those who cast Dexter. After the masterstroke of Lithgow last year, they’ve brought in Julia Stiles as Lumen. Her exchanges with Michael C. Hall spark in a way that he and Julie Benz never quite managed. They’ve got much more cut and thrust.

There’s a danger here that they’ll descend into some oddly conceived homage to Bonny and Clyde, but I’m confident that the writing team behind this show won’t let it slide into that sort of pastiche.

What I can’t assess yet is what sort of opponent Jordan Chase is likely to become, although Jonny Lee Miller (Eli Stone) does look the sort of clean cut political figure that worry me most. With only five episodes left it will be interesting to see where the plot can take him, other than onto Dexter’s table.

The trailer for next week’s story suggests that Quinn’s private investigation into Dexter spirals out of control, as Liddy becomes uncontrollable. I can see that, now we’re in the down slope of season 5, the pace is likely to pick up rather smartly from here on.

Read our review of episode 6, Everything Is Illumenated, here.

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