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Dexter - Season Five – Episode Six: “Everything Is Illumenated” Review

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Written by : published Thursday 28th July 2011

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Season five finally found its feet with Everything Is Illumenated, and didn’t it feel good to be back in the midst of a genuinely gripping chapter of Dexter Morgan’s story? Not since My Bad have the stakes felt so high. That episode had audiences screaming at their screens with frustration as Dexter’s reaction to Rita’s death threatened to expose his secret life. Everything Is Illumenated teased fans of the show like no episode has before and it was exactly what we’ve been craving for since the season began.


After her ordeal at the airport last week, Lumen (Julia Stiles) returns to Miami with one thing on her mind: revenge. When we catch up with her, she’s getting ready for a night out, or so it seems. In actuality, she plans to stake out the bar her abusers abducted her from and lure them to their deaths. Looking stunning in a light, flowery dress and with her pretty brown eyes augmented with long fake eyelashes, Lumen completes her disguise with a black wig to hide her long, blonde locks. She slides a gun into her purse and leaves her hotel room, ready to bring down those who crossed her.


Meanwhile, Dexter (Michael C. Hall), unaware that Lumen is still in Miami, decides a fresh kill is in order. He targets a killer who locates his victims on gay dating websites, seducing and murdering them when they meet. Dexter puts up his own lonely hearts ad (hilariously describing himself as “12 inches of steel”) and ensnares his victim using the killer’s own technique, quite the reversal of fortune. Settling into the old routine, Dexter feels relaxed and carefree, more than ready to get things back on track.


But nothing lasts forever, and the tranquillity of the moment is spoiled when his mobile phone rings. He answers and it’s bad news: not only is Lumen still in Miami, but she’s shot one of the men who raped her and “there’s so much blood”.


With a killer unconscious on his cutting table and Lumen a mess, Dexter, being the obsessive problem solver that he is, decides to leap to her aid. He packs his latest victim in the boot of his car, crossing his fingers that the sedative in his system doesn’t wear off, and sets out to find troublesome Lumen.


As this is all going on, Debs (Jennifer Carpenter), Quinn (Desmond Harrington), Batista (David Zayas) and new girl Cia (April Hernandez Castillo) are working undercover to apprehend their suspects in the Santa Muerte Killings. These scenes were woven expertly into the main storyline and for the first time it was enjoyable to delve into this case. The show hinted heavily that Batista was going to cheat on Maria (Lauren Velez) but in the end it was just a ruse and Batista was able to bring in a promising lead on the case, much to LaGuerta's approval.


Deborah’s feelings for Quinn were dealt with once and for all this week and we now have a new couple on the show. Debs and Quinn do make sense; they share the same job, the same beat, the same office, and the same car. It’s just odd that, in the show’s timeline, it is mere weeks since both suffered massive emotional losses. Are we really expected to buy that Debs would simply forget about Lundy (Keith Carradine) and jump into bed with Quinn almost immediately after losing the love of her life? And Quinn’s girlfriend just committed suicide. It’s almost as if any elements of season four which clash with the current status quo get swept under the carpet.


As mentioned earlier, Everything Is Illumenated proved to be the most intense episode of Dexter in recent memory. Dexter is furious with Lumen when he meets her outside the warehouse she shot the supposed rapist; there were so many questions to be answered; why hasn’t she gone home? Why didn’t she board her flight? But the most lingering question of all has to be: where is the body? Yes, the gunshot victim is gone, and obviously not dead.


As it turns out, Lumen is a pretty crap shot with a gun. The crates behind the thick, drying slick of blood where the dying man had laid are riddled with bullet holes. While inspecting Lumen’s handiwork, Dexter receives a call from the station with the address of a possible homicide. Eyes widening, Dexter reveals that the location the police are flooding to is the very warehouse they’re standing in. Someone must have heard Lumen’s gun going off. Dex assures Lumen that they still have time before they’re discovered, perhaps enough to locate the gunshot victim and get the hell out of there.


Utilising his knowledge of forensic science, we are treated to some fascinating scenes in which Dexter effortlessly tracks the wounded man to a separate warehouse. When they find him, he’s in a bad state. Fading and bloody, the man, who turns out to be an unassuming dentist, protests his innocence and Lumen’s insanity. Lumen reveals that she knows this is the man who raped her because he smells the same as one of her attackers.


Hardly definitive proof.


Dexter, confused and unsure what to do, has to leave the room to take a phone call from Sonya (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and stupidly leaves Lumen in charge of the situation. When he returns, she is stuffing her stiletto shoe into the man’s mouth, spitting at him. Dexter wrestles Lumen away and commands her to calm down, stating that she is “ruining his life”. As the two argue, the dentist manages to make a call, telling someone that “the bitch is alive”. Hearing this, Dexter and Lumen return to the room where her victim lays dying. He begins to insult Lumen and his words reveal that he is in fact one of her rapists after all. Dexter snaps the man’s neck, tells Lumen is hose away the blood, and then goes to get his car which he parked elsewhere.


While Dexter tries to get things under control, Debs arrives at the warehouse with Masuka (C.S. Lee). Vince, being the capable forensics expert he is, follows the same trail Dexter did in tracking down the gunshot victim. With minutes to go before he and Lumen are discovered, Dexter really does have his work cut out in bringing some resolution to arguably one of the worst night of his life. Lumen successfully washes away the blood and Dexter gives her the keys to the house he shared with Rita. He instructs Lumen to go there and wait for him. As she’s leaving, a crash rings out and the killer in Dexter car boot sprints past the bewildered pair, shrink wrap flailing in the air as he goes.


As if the intensity couldn’t be amped any higher, we watch, biting our nails, as Dexter sprints after the escapee while Debs, flashlight in hand, explores the labyrinth of warehouses. The killer looks certain to run straight into Debs and Masuka when Dexter finally catches up to him and strangles him on the spot with a loose trail of the shrink wrap. Quickly returning to the scene of the crime, Dexter manipulates things to look like some strange sexual encounter gone wrong. Deborah and Vince arrive moments later, just in time for Dex to appear from inside the warehouse, telling them, “You won’t believe what I found in here.” Surveying the scene, it only takes Masuka a matter of seconds to explain what went on: “auto-erotic mummification,” he says, knowingly.


Masuka is a brilliantly funny character and his presence on the show would be sorely missed if he ever left. Last week’s reveal that he has a huge dragon tattoo on his back was unexpected and yet so completely ‘Masuka’ that is forced us to wonder how we hadn’t suspected it all along. This week, his short scenes were as funny as ever, the highlight being his re-enactment of the auto-erotic mummification scenario.


Masuka has actually enjoyed some pretty nice scenes this season, being involved in the Batista bar fight and its aftermath, quizzing Quinn about his missing antibiotics, the tattoo revelation and now the hilarious warehouse scenes. For a minor character, Masuka is obviously one of the writing team’s favourite characters.


This was a fantastic example of how good Dexter can be when the team behind the series are at their best. Tense, expertly timed, and what felt like the proper start of season five, Everything Is Illumenated didn’t back away from posing serious threats to Dexter’s secret identity and provided viewers with more than enough thrills to ensure that they keep watching. This was easily the best episode of season five so far.




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