When looking at the complex character that is Dexter Morgan one must take the time to examine his interactions with all those around him. This includes none other than his deceased father Harry. In this episode the audience witnesses yet another one of Dexter’s inner monologues in which Harry surfaces to discuss with Dexter the importance of his next kill. Harry represents for Dexter a side of his unconscious, not necessarily his conscience, but the side of him that keeps him focused and alert.
From the moment Dexter began stalking his next kill, Harry was there reminding him of the rules and the necessity for Dexter to follow those rules to the letter. Dexter refers to these rules as “the code of Harry.” The most important thing that Dexter must always consider when killing is to never get caught. Everything else is superfluous next to this rule.
Yet in this kill Harry senses that Dexter is not giving it the focus and attention that it requires. While he wants Dexter to claim his next victim so that he can begin healing from Rita’s death he warns him that he can’t rush things.
Cut to the end of the episode: Dexter’s attempt to sedate Boyd fails and he has to rush the kill, surprising him at his home and setting up an impromptu kill room. There is no plastic wrap, there are no tarps. Only newspaper taped to the walls and a body held down by duct tape. The body is not secured in its typical plastic cocoon.
But the most notable difference between this kill and the more planned out ones is that Dexter has an observer. Chained up in the next room is the terrified would-be next victim of Boyd, played by Julia Stiles, and she sees everything. Dexter’s most soppy kill by far, he must now deal with the fact that an innocent woman has witnessed him in the act. And one of Harry’s other rules is never kill an innocent.
Dexter admits that he needed this kill, even though he knew it would not bring back Rita. However, afterwards he says that he needed this kill to bring him back. Unfortunately for Dexter, this kill doesn’t help him the way he needed it to. Yet again I argue that despite his constant denial that he feels emotions like love for others, he clearly does, because he can’t seem to find his way without Rita, his whole world has been turned upside-down. It goes beyond just missing her, she was a part of his life and he cared for her very deeply. Even after this kill he has not been brought back to his old self. It’s possible he never will be that Dexter again.
One final thing to analyze is why was Dexter so sloppy in this kill? He was pressed for time, yes, but if only he had taken care to prepare a more legitimate kill room. This begs the question, does Dexter want to get caught?