Dexter, “In The Beginning”

After last week’s quick detour, “In The Beginning” ramps up the crazy as we head towards the conclusion to a very solid season of Dexter. The episode features a number of great moments, makes Jordan more of an interesting character and of course, features a complicated ending that surely has all fans talking.

Let’s start with that ending, or at least that story. It’s been hard not to think of Lumen as a love interest for Dexter from the beginning because when a high-profile female actress comes onto the cast just as the lead female actress gets killed off, that’s just what happens. However, this season has been really good at developing the Dexter-Lumen relationship at such a nice rate that it hasn’t always been clear where exactly their relationship was going — and that’s what has made it so great.

“In The Beginning” crystallizes a lot of things for both of them as individuals and as, I guess, a couple.  In a lot of ways, the episode plays like a creepy romantic comedy (which you could probably say the whole season has been something like that as well). Dexter buys her a gift (black leather gloves), they share a few intimate and personal moments (Dexter brings her a DVD of her time in capture, because just in case you didn’t think Chase and company were f’ed up enough before, they filmed everything), he sees her in a whole new light because of an outfit (her murder blues) and there’s even a scene where he puts a necklace on her. And of course, they also discover who the final member of the Jordan Chase cabal and Lumen makes her first kill! It’s all a little demented, but ultimately, kind of cute and great to watch.

So it makes a lot of sense that after all those little moments of foreplay, Lumen is finally ready to take control of her sexuality after a terrible trauma and give herself to Dexter. I imagine that some fans of the series might not want this to happen or at least now hope that Dexter has to kill Lumen for some reason — we’ll get to that — but I don’t think the season has done a real disservice to Rita’s memory or rapidly developed this relationship between Dexter and Lumen. Though the pre-Lumen episodes of the season feel like something of a prologue to the episodes with her in it, they still focused a whole lot on Dexter letting go of Rita and even last week covered it.

And obviously, Lumen is something of the perfect match for Dexter. She sees the “monster” inside of him as heroic trait, she knows what goes through his head and they can connect on a level that he and Rita could not. If you’re Dexter and already in an emotionally vulnerable place, finding a woman who completely embraces you for you, murders and all is like a godsend. Lumen might be something of a rebound, but I don’t think so. I think they make sense together at this point and I hope the series bucks the trend and keeps their special guest star around for another full season.

But, this is Dexter and apart from last year’s finale, the writers don’t seem totally interested in stepping outside the formula. And a few developments in this episode tell me that Lumen is probably not long for this world. Because it’s coming down to the end of the season, OBVIOUSLY people have to be closing in on Dexter, and now, Lumen as well. Liddy is still out there in the shadows, taking pictures, recording audio and certainly getting closer to the truth at every turn. Moreover, after the DVDs come up, Deb does some damn good detective work and deduces that the reason the suspects are missing is because a vigilante knows what they did and is taking them out. Her two suspects? A cop and a former victim.

And finally, this episode presents us with a much more cunning and interesting Jordan Chase. We already knew he had something of a cult of personality, but it’s worse than that. He apparently never touched any of the girls who were attacked, but instead convinced the other men to do it, so there’s no way to pin anything on him. But more importantly, the living victim find out about in last week’s episode is also somehow under Jordan’s spell or has some sort of Stockholm Syndrome. She tells Lumen the whole truth about being the first victim, but then later is seen with Jordan discussing how much they care about each other and all of that creepy stuff.

Therefore, there are just too many options out there for Lumen to live, or at least stay around, at this point. First, she could be killed by Liddy or kill Liddy and get caught because she doesn’t have a “code” or whatever. Second, she could be caught by Deb, but because of her sympathetic position, Deb could let her go as long as she leaves Miami or something dumb like that. Third, she could be taken out by Jordan’s crazy Stockholm Syndrome’d ladyfriend. And finally, she could be killed by Dexter because after the first kill, she could become uncontrollable. There are a lot of different options for Lumen, but I just don’t think the writers will be willing to keep her around for another season, which is absolutely unfortunate. I want to be proven wrong, because she’s a great character and thus far, this is a rock-solid season.

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