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"Blinded by the Light" is the third of twelve episodes in Season Four of the Showtime series DEXTER, and the thirty-ninth overall episode of the series. It first aired 11 October 2009.

Summary

Dexter Morgan and his wife are attending a suburban backyard barbecue. He blends a strawberry-tequila smoothie and makes rounds with a tray of booze for the grown-ups and soda for the kids. Astor rejects his offer of a drink and he notices her watching a drumstick-wielding older boy sitting nearby, who doesn’t want a soda either.

Rita asks Dexter why he didn’t tell her about his concussion, which she found out from his doctor. She demands his car keys, saying she will drive him around for the next week, as per doctor’s orders. Dexter says he didn’t want to worry her, but she reminds him they are a team. He decides to go along with her wishes, reasoning it will benefit him the next time he needs a night out.

At the barbecue, there is talk about a neighborhood vandal who has broken a birdbath, knocked over a water fountain, pulled down a basketball hoop, spray-painted trash cans. and broken the seahorse off a mailbox. Andy Brightman, a recent widower and the father of Jesse, Astor’s crush, says jokingly it’s suspicious that the vandalism started when Dexter and Rita moved into the neighborhood.

Elliot Larson pushes Cody into the pool, earning laughs from everyone. Dexter, in the spirit of the moment, does the same thing with Astor, to resounding silence. Rita scolds him, and Astor is humiliated.

Inside a dark minivan, The Trinity Killer sits in the backseat while a weeping Tarla Grant drives up to an empty warehouse. He tells her to stop the van and takes her to the top floor where they stand at a large open window. He tells her to jump, but she resists. He places her outside the railing and threatens to hurt her family if she doesn’t comply. She begs him to push her, but he won’t. Trembling and sobbing, she lets go, and falls. Arthur seems relieved and says, “Oh… Mommy,” as he looks at her body. He takes a small glass vial out of his pocket, licks his finger, and dips it into the vial, collecting some type of powder. He wipes it on the ground next to Tarla.

In the morning, Dexter goes out to get the newspaper in his pajamas. Behind him, there is a crude angry face spray-painted on the wooden gate. When he turns, Dexter sees it, along with an empty spray paint can which he collects it learn the identity of the vandal.

Debra and Anton Briggs are still adjusting to living together. As Anton strums his guitar, Deb asks why he never makes the coffee in the morning. Anton says it’s because he doesn’t want it bad enough. He checks his email and learns that his band has a three-night-a-week gig at a local hotel, meaning he won’t have to work on the cruise ship anymore, and he’ll be home every night. Deb appears less than thrilled at this.

Rita is driving Dexter to work while singing along to “Karma Chameleon.” To his annoyance, she won’t stop to let Dexter buy a coffee, because he’s already had one. Dexter mentally counts down the days to when he can drive again.

At the station, the homicide team is investigating Johnny Rose, the Vacation Murderer. They’ve held interviews, and his immediate family is under surveillance. As Dexter walks out of the elevator, Joey Quinn presents him with two club-level seats to a Miami Dolphins game. He tells Dexter that he can’t go and he was the first “friend” he thought of to give them to. In the kitchen, Vince Masuka catches sight of the tickets and asks who he has to fuck to get them. Dexter hands the tickets to him, fuck-free, which awes Masuka.

Angel Batista announces that Tarla Grant has been found dead and it appears to be suicide. Dexter thinks she might be a victim of Trinity. He rides to the scene with Deb and Quinn, and sits in the back seat, feeling the loud music in his spine.

Tarla is sprawled on the concrete in front of the warehouse. Masuka notes that there are no signs of violence previous to the jump. It’s looking pretty open-and-shut, when Frank Lundy shows up. Quinn asks why Lundy’s interested in the suicide. Deb says it’s weird that Tarla drove all the way from Fort Lauderdale to jump off this abandoned warehouse, and that she’d rather treat it as a homicide until they know more. Lundy walks around dictating notes into a tape recorder. Deb apologizes to Lundy for the scene at his hotel the other night, but Lundy admits he’s glad that Trinity has brought him to Miami. Lundy also tells her that if Tarla is Trinity’s victim, she was married with two kids, and there was likely a similar case on this site thirty years ago.

Masuka drives Dexter home in a monster truck, painted blue and detailed with lightning bolts, while blasting country music. Dexter exits the vehicle and approaches his house when suddenly he is blinded by newly installed security lights.

Inside, Dexter finds Rita hosting a neighborhood watch meeting. While Dexter surveys his community, a cop advises him to familiarize himself with his neighbors’ schedules, and gives him a whistle and a light for patrolling. He tells Dexter that his job is to only watch and report.

Andy Brightman strolls over to represent the Neighborhood Beautification Association. They want Dexter to paint over the graffiti on his gate. Elliot Larson says he trained his security lights on Dexter’s lawn on purpose, as a favor to thwart the vandal.

Everyone is signing up for neighborhood watch, so Dexter signs up, too. Looking up, he sees graffiti designs on Jesse Brightman’s shoes. Jesse is telling an admiring Astor that he has to go to community college next year instead of the University of Miami because his dad got laid off. Jesse and Astor tell Dexter that the neighborhood watch is lame, but Dexter is focused on Jesse’s empty soda can, sure to bear fingerprints. He takes it, and then embarrasses Astor by telling her “the little lady is up past her bedtime.”

The next morning, Dexter is painting over the graffiti on the gate, when Astor, on her way to school, rolls her eyes at his offer of a high five.

After Rita drives him to work to the sounds of "Bananarama," Dexter compares fingerprints in the lab. The fingerprints taken from Jesse’s soda match those on the empty paint can. Now he can catch the vandal and get the neighborhood watch off his back.

Meanwhile, Quinn discovers that Tarla Grant was, in fact, a married mother of two. However, he still has doubts that Lundy is correct about her being murdered. Maria LaGuerta strides in and announces that she’s unsealed Johnny Rose’s juvie records, revealing the name of his high-school girlfriend, Nikki Wald. At one time, Nikki had testified against Johnny in a shoplifting trial. Angel wants to track her down, and LaGuerta says she’ll go with him.

Deb has found a thirty-year-old case that’s identical to Tarla Grant’s, and the family in that case never believed it was a suicide. But Quinn remains skeptical. Anton arrives to take Deb out for lunch, and she bites his head off, saying she’s got a fuckload of work. Anton just stares at her, so Deb agrees to a working lunch.

Deb and Anton head outside and interrupt Dexter’s lunchtime solitude, with Lundy right behind them. Talk turns to Tarla Grant just as Dexter stuffs half a sandwich in his mouth and hurries off. Deb tells Lundy that he was right about Tarla. Anton doesn’t know what they are talking about, so she lets Anton have a peek at the disturbing crime scene photos.

Angel and LaGuerta find no one home at Nikki Wald’s apartment. As they are leaving, Angel spots a young woman walking up to the building accompanied by Johnny Rose himself. Gunfire ensues. No one is shot, but the couple escapes. Angel calls in an alert on a gray sedan headed north.

Dexter is crouched in the dark outside Andy and Jesse’s house. Andy heads out to his weekly poker game, and Jesse then leaves the house to begin whacking flowers with his drumsticks. Dexter pulls a black mask over his face, prepared to give the kid a scare, when he is spotted by the neighborhood watch. Dexter leads his pursuers on a chase through the suburban backyards. Dexter evades them, and pulls off his mask just in time before Elliot’s security lights turn on. Next morning at breakfast, Elliot shows Dexter and Rita the vandal’s latest work. He broke into a car, released the brake, and sent it rolling, which crushed Cody’s bike.

The team’s back at the warehouse, where Masuka is pushing a cartful of dummies up to the top floor to simulate Tarla’s jump. Quinn asks how they’re supposed to simulate a running leap, but Masuka says people don’t kill themselves that way; they just let go. Masuka then tries to sell the Dolphins tickets Dexter gave him — the ones he got from Quinn. Furious, Quinn grabs the tickets.

Masuka observes Deb looking at Lundy and, for once, doesn’t have something pervy to say:

Masuka: “Must be weird for you, Lundy coming back.”
Deb: [defensively] “Why would it be weird? You’re weird.”
Masuka: “None of my business, I know. But if I loved someone and that person was gone, and then I moved on and found someone else, and then the first person all of a sudden showed up again… I don’t know, I’ve never had that problem. But it’s gotta be a little confusing.”
Deb: “Maybe. …A little.”
Masuka: “So then maybe, if you know that it’s supposed to be weird and confusing, then maybe it’s a little easier to handle.”

Dexter and Lundy are waiting down below to watch the dummies fall. Lundy reveals that Trinity’s pattern is to lacerate a young woman’s femoral artery in bathtub; force a mother to jump to her death; and bludgeon a man.

Dexter asks Lundy how many cycles Trinity’s gone through. He says there are fifteen that he knows of, but given these thirty-year-old cases they’re finding, there’s likely many more. Dexter smiles at this, but when he catches Lundy staring at him, he clarifies that it’s only impressive “in a very evil way.” Lundy believes Trinity has succeeded because he’s a lone wolf, drifting through life, having foregone all but the most rudimentary of human connections. Lundy says this description just as easily fits him as the hunt was the only thing that excited him. Lundy is intrigued that Trinity’s back in Miami, but wouldn’t say he’s come home since “people like us don’t really belong anywhere.”

A small wooden table holds a whiskey bottle, a pitcher of water, two glasses, and two framed black-and-white photographs: one of a young girl, and the other of a happy couple. Arthur Mitchell places a floral urn in the table’s center. He takes out a small glass vial and pours its ashy contents into the urn, replacing the lid. He sits down in one of two chairs and pours a glass of whiskey, then a glass of water. He pushes the whiskey towards the empty chair, picks up the glass of water, and says “Drink up,” clinking the whiskey glass with his own. “You’re next.”

Quinn is with Christine Hill at the police station. She wants info about the vacation murders, but Quinn says she’ll have to wait for the press release. He does, however, mention that LaGuerta and Angel almost got killed yesterday. He catches sight of Deb and Masuka and tells her to leave.

Deb faces opposition when Masuka says the lab results show that Tarla was a jumper, and Quinn reveals that Tarla had been diagnosed with a small tumor, possibly a motive for suicide. Deb, however, reminds them that Tarla left no text messages or suicide note.

LaGuerta and Angel prepare for their debriefing on the shootout. After this, LaGuerta pressures Deb to accept that Tarla Grant committed suicide.

Quinn walks into Dexter’s lab and demands to know why he is rejecting all of his attempts to “make things good.” Dexter cuts to the chase — he doesn’t care if Quinn’s a dirty cop. Quinn takes this badly and tries to justify his actions. Dexter says he doesn’t care what Quinn does, as long as he keeps Deb out of it. Quinn tells Dexter he can’t understand, because he’s not a cop.

Deb drives Dexter home, and they sit in the car for a while talking. Dexter doesn’t want to enter his crowded, wife-and-three-kids house, and Deb doesn’t like living with Anton now that he’s always home. Deb points out, “We’re complaining because people want to be with us.” Neither Deb nor Dexter think Tarla Grant committed suicide, and she must have jumped because she was afraid of something.

When Dexter walks into a quiet house, where Cody’s made a fort under the table. At Rita’s suggestion, Dexter apologizes to Astor, who’s reading a teen magazine. He awkwardly says he knows Astor’s not a little kid, but sometimes he can’t help being dumb. After a moment, Astor says it’s okay to be dumb. This relieves Dexter.

Quinn is getting massaged by a topless Christine while bitching about Dexter. Quinn ends up revealing Lundy’s theory to Christine.

While at a bar, Lundy tells Deb that he’s got evidence of Trinity in eight different cities across the country, but this is the first time, as far as he knows, that Trinity’s hit the same city twice. They are subtly flirting when Deb gets a text from Anton asking if she’s working late, to which she answers in the affirmative. He then calls her. “Don’t get take out,” Deb says, “I’m still working.” Anton says he loves her and she replies, “Me too.”

Dexter is set to break into Andy’s house and scare the crap out of Jesse. He picks the lock and pulls the mask over his face. He’s wearing his head lamp, and it reveals Jesse sound asleep in bed, to his surprise. Then Andy comes in the front door, carrying a wrench over his shoulder. Dexter realizes he’s the vandal. He follows Andy into the garage and turns off the light. He starts threatening Andy in a raspy voice, warning him to stop it, or he’ll come back and leave with his head in a bag. Andy lashes out, starting a scuffle. He doesn’t want to stop because his wife is dead, he lost his job, his son hates him, and the bank is foreclosing on his house. He hates his neighbors and everything they represent. He doesn’t care if Dexter kills him, so Dexter threatens his son’s life instead — and it works.

Back at home, Dexter walks onto his lawn and the bright security lights switch on again. Dexter grabs a rake and smashes the security lights with a couple of well-placed hits. Rita comes out just in time to see him do it. They stand and stare at each other.

Related Pages

Goofs

  • During the scene where LaGuerta brings in some information about Johnny Rose, Detective Hill can be seen in the background talking with another officer. The camera changes to show Detective Quinn, who is near the entrance to the Homicide Department and Detective Hill can be seen behind him outside of the department in one of the other offices. When the shot returns to LaGuerta, Hill is still standing behind her next to another officer.
Extra Information
Title Meaning:
Blinded by the Light - Mainly refers to the motion-sensor lights near Dexter's house. It also may be referring to the many good things that people give him, but that have instead created more problems for him. It proves that for some people the light produces more darkness than good.
Trivia
The warehouse the Trinity killer forces the woman to jump off of is the same warehouse teenage Dexter stands on top of to "feel alive" by the heartbeat in a flashback during the first episode of season 2 "It's Alive!"

The song Rita sings in the car while driving with dexter is "Karma Chameleon."
Quotes
"The danger of community is that those who don't belong are looked upon with suspicion.
Those of us who prefer to work alone, the lone wolves, risk being singled out."
- Dexter, to himself

"If this is the latest victim of Lundy’s Trinity Killer, then he’s a very different monster than I am.
Why her? Why here? What is Trinity’s code? Does he have one?"
- Dexter, in Tarla Grant's crime scene

"Great. Security lights. Just what every serial killer needs."
- Dexter, to himself

Gallery

The Episodes of Dexter

References

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