Dexter: The Big One (S5E12)

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

If this was a cheerleading movie, I would sassily assert that Dexter definitely knows how to 'bring it' in their finales. We viewers have grown to expect non-stop action and the slow build up of the previous episodes to culminate and play out in the explosive 50 minutes that is episode 12.

Initially watching the episode, I was on the edge of my seat and thought it was spectacular. However after the credits had finished rolling and I had come down from my Dexter-high, I couldn't help but feel a little let down.

"The Big One' kicks off with Dexter frantically grabbing his kill tools while Ghost Harry condescendingly fusses over his lack of a solid plan to get Lumen back. This already shaky plan is further thwarted when he is surprised by Astor, Cody and company, who have come down from Orlando for Prince Harry's birthday. Astor's is less Taylor Momsen and more Taylor Swift these days and excitedly tells Dexter that they want to stay with him over the summer. Despite his stress, Dex seems genuinely happy to have his family back.

After this brief moment of familial bliss, Dexter heads out on his rescue mission. He calls Jordan Chase but to little avail except to learn that Lumen is still alive.
(Nitpick #1: if he had Chase's number all along, why did he wait SO long to call him and ask for Lumen back? I'm all for playing it cool but now hardly seems like the time.)

Lumen is struggling in the trunk of Jordan's car and after drawing attention of a fruit vendor at a red light, he decides to knock her out to keep her quiet.

Dexter delves into Chase's real estate holdings to discover where he might be keeping Lumen. Most of them are commercial buildings that are too out in the open to adequately gang rape someone so he decides to check out properties belonging to Chases' alter ago – Eugene Greer. This search proves much more fruitful as Dexter learns that Jordan is clearly taking a page out of Jason Voorhees' book and going back to where it all began: camp.

Meanwhile at the station, the gang gets called in after Liddy's body is discovered. Quinn is naturally perturbed by this news but his unsettled demeanour is construed for guilt when Laguerta discovers that not only were the last calls from Liddy's cell phone made to Quinn, but there is fresh blood on his shoe. Even though Quinn definitely knows that Dexter is behind all this, he surprisingly doesn't point any fingers and keeps his mouth shut.
(Nitpick #2: are we really supposed to believe that Quinn is just inclined to roll over and take a murder rap all in the name of love?)

Overwhelmed by all this, Deb tries to focus solely on the Jordan Chase case. We learn that her experience being kidnapped by the Ice Truck Killer in Season One really makes her identify with the victims in this case. She understands the powerlessness that they felt and in turn, she implicity seems to understand their attempt to reclaim this power through her vigilante theory. After a tip from the observant fruit vendor and a vow to take Spanish lessons, Deb is pointed in the right direction: towards the "campamento".

Both Morgans race towards Chase but Dexter in his haste, ends up crashing into an industrial loader, flipping his vehicle and neatly landing at Jordan Chase's feet. At gunpoint, he is lead into cabin where Lumen is being held hostage. Unfortunately for Chase, Dexter has managed to expertly smuggle a knife on his body and awesomely stabs him in the foot. It's all downhill for Chase from here, and no amount of motivational speaking can shed a silver lining on his inevitable demise. Lumen does the honours as Deb pulls up to the cabin.

This is where it gets exciting. Deb inches towards the murder scene with her gun drawn. She sees Jordan Chase's lifeless body and the shadow of two individuals behind the figurative curtain of plastic sheeting. Dexter and Lumen stand frozen in fear as Deb orders them not to move and fires a bullet to prove that she's not messing around. Then our normally black and white super detective succumbs to the shades of gray her brother swims in, and tells them though she is going to call in the scene, she is going to do so in a hour and suggests that they be long gone by the time the cops get there. Though I'm sure the viewers were all collectively hoping for a different result, wow, did Jennifer Carpenter ever knock this scene out of the park! Playing devil's advocate, how this played out made sense, especially in light of Deb's own kidnapping.

The vigilantes in love take advantage of this "get out of jail free" card and clean up the crime scene (hopefully including Deb's fired bullet and casing) and head out on the Slice of Life to dump Chase's body. Dexter and Lumen look like they couldn't be happier so naturally, I brace myself for something not so fun. I'm actually so pessimistic that I thought the boat was going to hit some submerged debris, and Lumen would go flying into the ocean to get eaten by a shark.

The writers opted to go a less garish but equally heartbreaking route. The morning after, Lumen reveals to a devastated Dexter that the darkness that brought them together, is gone on her part. Dexter is emotional but quixotically promises her "Don't be sorry your darkness is gone. I'll carry it for you - always. I'll keep it with mine". Farewell Lumen Pierce. I know the reception of Julia Stiles this season has been mixed but I really enjoyed her. However, I do not fault for the show for writing her off: realistically, her character had run its course and I do not see what she could bring to future seasons that would be worthwhile.

The season wraps up with Harrison's first birthday party on the beach. Though Dexter is alone, the other couples on the show have all reunited: Angel and Laguerta, Deb and Quinn and of course, Masuka and his lady of the night.

Quinn thanks Dexter for his blood work which exonerated him from the crime. Which is essentially saying, "hey man – thanks for doing me a solid and NOT framing me for a murder you committed. I owe you one". Really?? Doakes is probably rolling over in his grave at this atrocity.

Though it certainly wasn't lack lustre by any means, it wasn't a mindblowing FINALE. Not that I need every season to end with a bloodbath cliffhanger but...I was just SO hoping that curtain would be pulled back and Deb would finally see Dexter in his thermal Henley shirt glory. Then I could say "it's been brought-EN'.

And it turns out the nanny was just a nanny. Who would have thought?

Tags: Dexter, The Big One, Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Julia Stiles, Johnny Lee Miller, Desmond Harrington, Season 5, Episode 12, Finale

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