Dexter: Gator Stew

Dex and Harry, his real dark passenger
Dex and Harry, his real dark passenger

By Elaine Bergstrom

I’m blogging from Cleveland this week where the front news coverage is all about Anthony Sowell, dubbed “The Cleveland Strangler.” Seeing his victims smiling in old photos on the front page of the Plain Dealer and watching the local news cams hovering over the police and the search dogs hunting for more bodies or the prayer vigils being held almost nightly in the community in which Sowell found his victims, my thoughts move to the Ice Truck Killer, to Trinity and to the Bay Harbor Butcher, Dex himself.

Dexter has made the best of his bad situation, but what is unjust beyond taking the law into his own hands, is that by killing the murderers and disposing of the bodies, he denies the families of the victims of his victims the closure that comes with seeing a killer apprehended and justice done. Watching the people waiting for the news that loved ones had been killed by Sowell, both hoping for closure and dreading that phone call, it’s hard not to see the damage a single vigilante can do. On the other hand, I doubt there are many relatives of those victims who would not have preferred that a vigilante had taken Sowell out a baker’s dozen kills ago. It’s the culture of violence in so many communities that makes Dexter so compelling an antihero.

At least Trinity leaves his victims for the police to find — three of them, that is, because he has been misnamed. There is a fourth victim in his cycle, someone no one would miss. Perhaps he targets a drifter, a man who he befriends and comes to care about. If Dexter were not so caught up in dealing with his family, Deb’s investigation into her father’s illicit love life, Quinn’s suspicions about him or (the ultimate problem!) that he may have killed an innocent man, he might realize that the wood he helped Arthur collect has meaning, and if he looked he might find some clue that there are more than three bodies, that somewhere in Trinity’s past there of some violent seminal event that threw him over the edge and made him the killer he is today. Was it an accident? Was that why hitting the deer upset Trinity so? Was it an act of rage against someone he thought was responsible for the deaths of his family members? There is a deeper, sadder backstory unfolding. It’s the one we’re waiting to discover before Trinity lays wrapped on Dexter’s killing table. Expect the revelations to begin next week when Dexter notices the growing tension in Arthur, a sign of the need to kill.