Showtime Slaughter: Dexter episode 104 – Let’s Give the Boy a Hand


Dexter episode 104 of highlights themes of normalcy, paranoia, severed limbs and dog-napping. It’s about to get bloody…

I love Halloween. The one time of year when everyone wears a mask… not just me. People think it’s fun to pretend you’re a monster. Me, I spend my life pretending I’m not. — Dexter Morgan

Ever feel like someone’s watching you? It’s an unsettling feeling, right? Well, in Let’s Give the Boy a Hand, it seems many characters are being watched, while watching others. For example, while investigating a severed hand found on a beach, Detective James Doakes (Erik King) realizes he’s being tailed by minions of drug lord Carlos Guerrero (Rudolf Martin).

Meanwhile, it’s well-established that Dexter (Michael C. Hall) is being watched by the “Ice Truck Killer,” who’s entering Dexter’s apartment basically at will. Of course, Dexter can’t reveal this to the police without likely incriminating himself as a serial killer, too.

Also, in the previous episode, Lt. María LaGuerta (Lauren Vélez) appears on television, urging everyone to be on the lookout for Ice Truck Killer suspect Tony Tucci (Brad William Henke). However, when it’s discovered that it’s Tony’s hand on the beach, she is compelled to apologize directly to Tucci’s family.

It’s an example of the watcher being watched — itself an extension if the question, “Who will police the police?” While LaGuerta was right to apologize, she was wrong to make snap judgments about a suspect before more facts were known. On top of that, what if the real killer had never placed Tucci’s hand on the beach? Would Tucci have remained a suspect? It would have been interesting.

Flashback Time, and Finding Tucci

More from 1428 Elm

Two other things are revealed by the hand: (1) Tucci is likely still alive, and (2) the killer is getting closer to Dexter. In fact, he’s getting into Dexter’s past, and into his head. Of course, Dexter’s past isn’t simply filled with “happy” memories. In fact, Dexter learned an awkward life lessons at that very beach location. His stepfather, Harry (James Remar) taught him about appearing happy, to fit in socially and hide his darker personality and impulses.

Being a bright guy, when Dexter gets back to his apartment, he looks through an old photo album. Bingo! He realizes the killer’s planting body parts in places linked to his memories. Indeed, Dexter eventually heads to an abandoned hospital, expecting to find leads to Tucci. Luckily for both of them, Dexter finds Tucci himself! Then, in quite an inspiring moment, Dexter decides not to kill Tucci, saying, “Harry wouldn’t want it, and neither would I.”

Still, it leaves Dexter with another problem: How does he report Tucci’s whereabouts without being linked to the scene? He ultimately decides on an anonymous phone call. This brings about an interesting dynamic: Dexter’s secrecy not only conceals his murders, but it means he generally can’t play the hero, either. After all, if he were to keep appearing at scenes like this, wouldn’t people eventually suspect him?

Some Less Dark, More Endearing Moments

Dexter “Let’s Give the Boy a Hand” — Courtesy of Showtime

Let’s Give the Boy a Hand doesn’t just have dark moments. In fact, this is one of the most lighthearted Dexter episodes in season one (though still dramatic). For example, you have moments between Detective Batista (David Zayas), Dexter and others, where Batista asks opinions on anniversary gifts for his wife. It seems everyone’s confused about what the gifts are supposed to symbolize.

Then you have issues between Rita and her next door neighbor’s beagle. When they tell their neighbor (Erin Daniels) about the noisy dog, she stubbornly refuses to take any action. Driven to the limit, Rita becomes a dognapper, and gives the dog with some friends of hers. Later, after telling Dexter that “the beagle has landed,” Dexter and Rita actually get intimate (so to speak), and Dexter realizes that maybe — just maybe — relationships have advantages aside from covering one’s sinister tracks.

Doakes as Live Bait Against Guerrero

It’s a bit of an aside, but when Guerrero has Doakes kidnapped, it’s revealed that Doakes was being used as bait! Guerrero gets busted, but it surely feels like a hollow victory. Who wants to be used in such a way, and have their life endangered? It shows the darker side of police work, and makes viewers expect Doakes to become bolder as the series progresses. Would he take such backstabbing without a fight? Not likely.

Well, that about does it for this episode of Dexter! What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Next: Dexter 103 -- Flashback to Dexter's first kill!

Fan of Showtime’s Dexter? Enjoying our look back on the serial killer series? Let the other murdering maniacs know what you think in the comment section below.