Television Tourniquet: ‘Dexter' Episode 4.9


"Hungry Man"
Written By: Wendy West
Directed By: John Dahl
Original Airdate: 22 November 2009

In This Episode…

It's Thanksgiving in Dexterland.  Dexter, doing his usual stakeout of the Mitchell household, sees Jonah and Arthur get into a fight.  Following Jonah to the middle of nowhere, where he is taking his aggression out on baseballs and the vintage car, he admits that his dad beats him.  To protect the boy, Dexter promises to go to Thanksgiving dinner.  Rita is cooking a big dinner for the family and the next-door neighbor, but Dex fakes a work thing and comes back before dinner is served (you're having Stove Top at six?  We're having Stove Top at eight!).

Holidays always bring out the dysfunction in people, and the Mitchell family is no different.  Arthur surreptitiously breaks his son's finger for the wreck he made of the car; Rebecca throws herself at Dexter, promising "anything" if he takes her away; Sally sees their inappropriate closeness and tells Dexter she doesn't care what is going on with him and Rebecca as long as he swears not to say anything to Arthur.  Things come to a head during the meal: after going around the table, saying what everyone is thankful for, Arthur becomes incensed that no one was thankful for him.  Jonah finally stands up to his dad, tearing Four Walls plaques off the wall, and accusing his father of being a killer (while I can't be certain, I think he was referring to his father being the killer of their spirit).  In the melee, Arthur calls Rebecca "Vera" and throws her into a wall, and Jonah smashes Vera's urn which causes Arthur  to strangle Jonah with his bare hands.  Dexter jumps in, loops his belt around Arthur's neck, and drags him into the kitchen.  Grabbing a butcher knife, Dexter pins Arthur down, hissing threats in his ear – and the family walks in, Sally leading with a scream when she sees the knife.

Deb can't make it to Thanksgiving because she has to work, so Dex sits the kids down on the couch to make a sad video begging Aunt Deb to come to dinner.  She can't refuse, so she invites Masuka along so she isn't the only single person there.  Rita and Elliot go to his house to utilize his double ovens.  Masuka brings his molten chocolate cake over to bake, and spies them kissing through the window.  Rita pushes Elliot away – though not for a few seconds – and later greets Dexter with more warmth than ever, to prove to Elliot that she isn't lonely.  While with the family, the kids unknowingly help Deb figure out two very important things: Trinity's kill cycle coincides with school holidays; and Christine knew an awful lot about the position of her and Lundy's bodies at the crime scene.  Details that Quinn swears he did not share with her.

Also: Batista solves a 10 year old cold case, only to find the victim's husband comatose, which leads him to a Thanksgiving dinner of Icees on the beach with Laguerta, and professing his love for her.  Christine is getting increasingly clingy with Quinn, wanting to put a "name" on their relationship.  He is resistant to call her his "girlfriend" – but a blowjob changes that.

Dig It or Bury It?

This episode started out slow but really ramped up until the end left me breathless.  The powder keg that is the Mitchell household was timed to go off perfectly.  You knew it was coming, that wasn't a surprise, but it was a release to see it finally happen.  Last week I predicted that Christine was either going to be the next Trinity victim or involved in Deb's shooting.  I was kind of right on both accounts – she definitely was the triggerman, and let's face it – by being Arthur's daughter, she is definitely a victim.  I am now eager to find out more of the back story there.  Was she the product of a previous relationship?  Does his current family know she exists?  If Sally is her mother, are they not allowed to talk about it?  I get the feeling that she is Arthur's dirty little secret.  Well, the lesser of his dirty secrets.

On the domestic side of things, it is hilarious to watch Deb not only interact with kids, but be on her best behavior around them.  It is also sweet to see how much the kids love their Aunt Deb, and kind of makes me wonder if they will ever start calling Dexter "Dad."  The Laguerta/Batista relationship alternates between sweet and nauseating.  I honestly thought Batista was going to propose this episode.

Body Bags

Plenty of near-misses, but no casualties.

Flashback to the Future

Harry is kind enough not to "I told you so" Dexter when the perfect veneer of the Mitchell family wears thin.  When Dexter is helping Arthur in the garage, he comes across the coffin he built, and asks Harry what kind of father keeps a coffin in his garage.  Harry fires back with "What kind of father keeps blood slides in his shed?"  After the shit hits the fan at the Mitchell household, Harry warns Dexter that Arthur will see him coming.  But Harry can't be as hard on Dexter as Dexter is on himself.  He is furious that he has waited so long to do the deed, but at the same time feels the need to convince Harry – and more importantly, himself – that his family will not end up like the Mitchell family.  Rita may have started out as a "beard," but she is much more now.  Dexter is put at ease when Cody blurts out at dinner that he is most thankful for Dexter.


Better, perhaps, than the naughty talk was Deb trying to hold back from the naughty talk.  While talking to Rita about the kids, and how crazy the house is during school vacations, she pieces together the school schedule and Trinity's schedule.  She manages to hold her tongue in front of the kids: "fuuuuuuuudge."  She runs outside to call Quinn and tell him what she figured out, and realizes she is still holding the baby: "fu-fudge."

Arthur makes up for it with a loud, sharp "You cunt!" directed towards his wife at dinner, and Masuka proves himself to be the master of the single entendre when he describes his molten chocolate cake as "hot chocolate love that melts in your mouth."  This later prompts Astor to ask if he was the one her mom said she shouldn't talk to.


Christine is definitely Deb and Lundy's shooter – she was obviously trying to cover for her dad.  Dexter also figures out that there is another level to the Trinity killings – it is actually a quadrilogy of kills.  There is a fourth victim in each cycle, one that is buried beneath a mountain of concrete.  Now the question is, who is he killing in memory of?