Review: ‘Dexter’ Episode #303
Note: Click here for last week’s victim!
The Crime Scene: "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"
From Showtime: "While grocery shopping with Rita and the kids, Dexter comes across a fellow predator. But this one is a pedophile. After the pedophile is seen talking with Astor, Dexter must decide if he fits The Code. Meanwhile, Debra has a new homicide to solve, a mysteriously skinned Jane Doe that they like Freebo for. But Dexter knows that Freebo is not the culprit, so he must find a way to help Debra identify their murder victim, thus proving that Freebo didn’t do the crime. While doing this, Dexter learns that Miguel Prado wants Dexter to be his friend. But just how smart is it for Dexter, a serial killer, to befriend an Assistant District Attorney?"
Blood Spatter Analysis
In the season’s third installment, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," Dexter continues to explore his impending role as a father while dealing with the ramifications of murdering Freebo, the man Miguel Prado believes to have killed his younger brother. Miguel, who doesn’t know that Dexter is the true culprit, witnessed the aftermath of our hero’s killing of Freebo in the previous episode, and was shockingly happy about Dexter’s actions. Complications continue as Miguel pushes his way deeper into Dexter’s life, swearing that the killing of Freebo is a favor that will "never be forgotten."
The relationship between these two men is simultaneously healthy and dangerous for Dexter. On the one hand, America’s favorite serial killer is finally enjoying some male bonding. Dexter has had superficial social gatherings with Angel and Masuka before, but has never been allowed to be his true self in front of others, save for his departed brother Rudy and rival Doakes. Miguel Prado is the closest man alive to being a confidant to Dexter. Indeed, as Dexter himself puts it, Prado is "the only living person who’s seen me with blood on my hands." That itself proves the danger of the relationship. All it takes is one hole to sink the ship, and Dexter will assuredly figure out how to fix this particular leak.
For a district attorney, Miguel comes off as rather naive in trusting Dexter so blindly. He sees the man covered in blood and, having known him for barely a few days, swears his loyalty to Dexter. He goes the extra mile in telling LaGuerta to call off the search for Freebo, as it’s diverting the police force’s valuable resources. Further, Miguel hands over his blood covered shirt to Dexter as a sign of good faith and to prove himself trustworthy. Is Prado really so foolish and emotionally driven to welcome Dexter with such arms?
Perhaps Prado is cleverer than he’s letting on. You don’t get to be Assistant D.A. without some brains and a good poker face. What if he knows what Dexter really is? What if he’s caught onto Dexter’s killer compulsion? Each episode of the season has unraveled another layer to Miguel, showing that he’s capable of covering truths to protect both himself and people he (assumedly) cares about. What else is this man capable of? Don’t discount his ominous compliment to Dexter: "You’ve got a lot of potential." Potential for what, exactly? There’s definitely more than meets the eye with Miguel Prado.
While family is clearly an important element in Prado’s life, it had never been too much on the forefront of Dexter’s brain until now. He finally divulges to Debra that Rita is pregnant, to which she gleefully expresses her excitement about Dexter’s upcoming "roly-poly chubby cheeked sh– machine." Dexter also wrestles with whether or not to play an active role in his child’s life. He’s the first to admit that he’s not the ideal candidate for fatherhood. Given his "hobby," how could Dexter effectively raise a child? And after the terror that Lila wrought upon Rita and her kids, how much more is at risk if Dexter involves himself in this newborn life?
But there’s always balance to these big life decisions, and with terror also comes elation. Sure, he’s not exactly thrilled about some of the uglier side of child rearing, such as calling a yoga session with Rita "the worst moment of his life." But even Dexter can’t deny the protective paternal instinct welling up in his belly. When a registered sex offender takes interest in Rita’s children, going so far as to take photographs of them, Dexter finds himself overwhelmed with concern for the kids. In another act of spontaneity, and in breaking with Harry’s code, Dexter kills the pedophile and proudly proclaims, "Nobody hurts my children." His role as a father outweighs his killer’s code of conduct. In the episode’s closing moments, Dexter makes the official decision to be involved in his child’s life.
And with that, we can finally pin the tail on the donkey and identify "family" as the central theme for Dexter‘s junior season. Whether it’s about Prado’s clan or Dexter’s, family is at the center of nearly every pivotal plot thus far. The only story it hasn’t factored into yet is the mysterious killer who removes perfect squares of flesh from his/her’s victims. If history repeats itself, that plot, too, will come to Dexter’s doorstep, and he’ll get a chance to show just how far a lion will go to protect his young.
Coroner’s Assessment: A-
You wanted a theme? You got it. "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" puts to bed the question of what season three is all about: family, family, family. It’s very interesting to see Dexter step into the world of parenthood, and more interesting still to see his "friendship" with Prado develop.
The Next Victim: "All in the Family"
From Showtime: "Dexter scrambles to convince Rita that his marriage proposal is sincere and romantic; Miguel’s vengeful brother Ramon searches desperately for their sibling’s murderer, who was secretly killed by Dexter."