Dexter 5.08 “Take It!” Review

By far the best episode of the season, 5.08 finally pulled together all the pieces of this season’s narrative into something cohesive and meaningful.

This was the first time I truly believed in Dexter’s (Michael C. Hall) connection to Lumen (Julia Stiles). This isn’t the first time Dexter has let someone in on his killing methods, but it is the first time he’s needed to. Rita’s death left Dexter out of touch with his primal side, his killer instincts unable to fill the shattered void. But Lumen has given his dark passenger a new purpose, one that perhaps he’s never had before: he’s no longer killing to heal his own childhood wounds, he’s doing it to heal someone else (as misguided and twisted as this may be). He’s finally becoming a more selfless psychopath. Hooray!

For five years we’ve watched Dexter try desperately to connect to another human being. Each time, he’s either come up short, been betrayed, or suffered a horrible loss. Can anyone live with the truth of what I am? Until now, that answer has been a resounding NO. Lumen seems capable. But Dexter is still making a terrible mistake in relying on someone else to make him whole.

Being called on stage to relive the moment he discovered Rita was the kind of raw scene that over the history of Dexter has made this one of the best series on television. We wait and wait to see this kind of open vulnerability in Dexter, desperately wanting him to feel. So when we finally see the mask come off, it’s a moment of great catharsis, not only for Dexter, but for us.

Finally the Fuentes brothers storyline also had some kind of payoff in terms of expanding Deb’s (Jennifer Carpenter) character arc. Did we see a hint of a dark passenger in Deb as she admitted to Dexter that she felt nothing after killing Carlos? It also produced a moving scene between Deb and Batista (David Zayas) that had me cheering (inside). It’s been difficult to stand by and watch as one of my favorite characters, Batista, has been left floundering in the wind by the writers. He’s back!

There were some classic black humor moments at both the opening (“I’ve never been around so many people who made me feel normal.”) and the end of the episode with Cole’s body parts in Dexter’s suitcase. It also nicely set up some serious future tension, both with the revelation about Jordan (Jonny Lee Miller) and the final scene. It was only a matter of time (well, five years) before someone caught Dexter taking a little “Slice of Life”.

I’m finally invested in this season.

Grade: A

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