The episode opens with Dexter cleaning off the wounds of the woman who witnessed him kill Boyd (we later find out her name is Lumen) while Harry admonishes Dexter for his lack of focus lately, bringing up the incident in the public bathroom, botching Boyd’s kill and landing Lumen as a witness. This is a new Dexter who seemingly has new priorities, stating the first rule as never kill an innocent, not never get caught. Harry makes one other important observation: Lumen isn’t his responsibility, Harrison is. Now that Lumen has witnessed him killing Boyd she could go to the cops and then baby Harrison would grow up without a father.
Dexter’s interactions with Lumen show a soft side to him. Even though they meet under the darkest of circumstances, there is something touching and sweet to the way he cares for her wounds. Naturally he can’t let her go free, at least not just yet, but the tenderness he shows to her demonstrates the affection and emotions he can feel for another.
One thing that never ceases to amaze me about this show is the fantastic writing. Every episode has these amazing tie-ins from the beginning of the episode to the end. This episode centers around the theme of fairy tales and the balance between truth and lies, and is appropriately called “Beauty and the Beast.” Dexter at one point equates a drugged out Lumen to sleeping beauty. Harry later says to Dexter that this isn’t a fairy tale; Dexter is not a handsome prince who gets to rescue the damsel in distress.
After Dexter is out all night killing Boyd, taking care of the witness and helping out at a crime scene where the machete man has struck again, he returns home to an irritated nanny, and rightfully so. She shares an interesting piece of advice that her mother told her years ago, “never lie to someone who trusts you, never trust someone who lies to you.” This is a sage piece of advice. However, Dexter’s whole life deals with lies and bending the truth to cover up his dark secrets. But by the end of the episode we see Dexter really trying, he’s telling the truth, just leaving out certain pieces of the puzzle, to gain both the trust of the nanny and Lumen. Each of these characters needs to take a leap of faith to trust the others.
One thing I found to be important to the overall question of the show, “who is Dexter Morgan?”, is when Lumen says that she thought he was a monster. She says this as she is cleaning off a wound of Dexter’s, one she inflicted, but it shows again how this show always comes full circle. Dexter really isn’t a monster at all, which is why this show is so wonderful. It is so thought provoking. How can we actually find ourselves rooting for a serial killer? Is it just that Dexter has become the world’s most loveable vigilante serial killer? And while we all want Dexter to win in the end, how can he not get caught? He’s killed an exorbitant amount of people. Regardless of the fact that they were other serial killers, Dexter took the law into his own hands, he has to be punished.