Alcoholism and the Birth of Serial Killers 408: “Road Kill” & 409: “Hungry Man”

Bloody Home

Dexter suffers after the revelation that he killed an innocent man (Jonathan Farrow) after lacking sufficient evidence to support his guilt; Quinn becomes suspicious of Dexter. Debra, after being thrown off of the Trinity case for she was officially a “victim” of Trinity, starts back-seat driving the investigation through Quinn; later, after Masuka and Deb figure out that the shooter was too short to be Trinity himself, Deb is put back on the case. Dexter accompanies Arthur Mitchell to Tampa on a build (or attending a Weather Conference, as he tells everyone); he admits to Trinity that he killed an innocent man, leading to the revelation that Trinity also was responsible for the death of an innocent person. Rita accidentally kisses Elliot next door. Dexter spends Thanksgiving with the Mitchells. Ultimately, we discover that Christine Hill is Trinity’s daughter( gasp!).

Dark Passengers and Textbook Definitions of Emotion

“Guilt, remorse. It’s what separates us from the animals.” – Arthur Mitchell to Dexter Morgan

Arthur Mitchell can be construed as far more dangerous than Dexter, given the fact that he’s using his family as “human shields” and they are too afraid to report him or turn him in. Between locking Rebecca in her room and calling her “Vera,” and beating Jonah and breaking his fingers, Arthur has quite a history of violence with his family. With friends, however, he is far better at keeping that image up, so long as those friends (not Kyle Butler anyway) are kept at a distance. Dexter challenges Arthur’s “humanity” when he tries hitching a ride to Tampa to “get away.”

“I have nothing to give you.”
“Generosity of spirit, Arthur? Those aren’t just words to you. Tell me they’re not just words.”

If you recall, Dexter has mentioned various emotions only being words to him with a textbook definition of how one would typically act when under that emotional influence. Dexter’s most recently brought this up in therapy when Rita was crying, saying that he’s completely comfortable with bodily fluids, but he’s wary about the coordinating emotions. Calling Arthur out on this discrepancy (by calling “generosity of spirit” just a phrase to him, Dexter insinuates that Arthur is a hypocrite. We know both of them are hypocrites) forces Arthur into taking Dexter on the trip in the first place. Whereas Dexter’s intention for this trip is to off Trinity, they end up bonding and disclosing half-truths about their Dark Passengers.

“We’re kindred spirits, you and I.” – Arthur Mitchell

Dexter’s “hunting accident,” to Trinity, makes them “kindred spirits,” for “you’re just like me. We’re both responsible for the death of an innocent. We share that.” The two were both “born in blood;” Trinity’s misfortunes began with his sister, Vera, bleeding out before him in the bathroom and we know how Dexter came to be. After his sister’s accidental death, and his mother’s suicide, he was “left . . . all alone with him,” his alcoholic of a father, who blamed Arthur for their deaths.

Trinity Vics

Dexter fails to “[cut] [Trinity] down to size” on the Tampa trip; rather, he spares Trinity’s life. Although we know Dexter’s literal intentions are to kill and slice Trinity up, we do know that he wants to cut down Trinity’s ego. After thirty successful years of serial killing and the facade of a perfect family holding up, Trinity has to feel like a demigod in the trade of killing. We know that Dexter feels he’s the superior killer, for he kills other killers; however, he knows he’s not playing to “[score] points with God,” like Trinity is in his false actions with the Four Walls, One Heart project and other community involvements.

“To feel remorse is human. Wait . . . Does that make me human? Huh.” – Dexter Morgan

Religious Themes

“God rewards good deeds.” – Arthur Mitchell
[V.O.] “The best deed I could do is rid the world of you [Trinity].” – Dexter

Arthur admits to Dexter that he never told anyone about his family before, and such disclosure seems to purge the hate in his soul. He feels so good that he tells a family in the diner, while Dexter’s busy making his alibis for the Weather Conference, about his past as well. The confession is a sign that his mask is cracking and that he’s losing control, much like Dexter himself.

“Confession is good for the soul.” – Arthur Mitchell

The signal that he’s spinning out of control leads Dexter to prepare a kill room, only to discover that Arthur is missing. Dexter finds him, spread Christ-like, ready to jump off of a Four Walls, One Heart build site structure. He symbolically spreads his sister, Vera’s, ashes into the wind to christen his own death just before Dexter stops him, albeit selfishly, for Dexter wants to kill him ritualistically.

“Will [suicide] be my only solution someday?” – Dexter Morgan

Arthur comments, just after the men at the site help Dexter in pulling Arthur up from the building, that he once believed that God had sent him to save Dexter; however, he discovered that it was the other way around. Dexter was sent to Arthur to save him. Although Arthur is far from perfect, I cannot overlook the Christian symbology. In Arthur’s analogy, Dexter saving Arthur means that Dexter is a Christ Figure, who will save Arthur, a commoner, from the sins of the world. It is more likely that Dexter will be saving the world from the sins of Arthur, a commoner, however. In this analogy, Dexter is Jesus. A man who will die for everyone’s sins. But will he? At least he’s trying to intervene and save Trinity’s family from harm.

Christ Figure

Yet again, Dexter saves Trinity from death and apprehension by tipping him off about the DNA swabbing stations going on, and selfishly so. Dexter, if a Christ figure, is a perverted one, for he is anything but selfless.

“Your Life Is a Lie”: Families of Serial Killers

The lives surrounding both Dexter and Arthur Mitchell prove to be highly falsified and fictionalized. No matter how perfect Arthur’s family appears, we see the “cracks in the perfect family, which makes them perfectly normal.” Regardless of how Debra tries to keep her father’s image that of a saint’s, she’s starting to uncover, via his former C.I.s, just how unfaithful he was to her mother. In witnessing Arthur’s family, especially at Thanksgiving, Dexter begins to wonder if this is what he is doing to his family: he cannot tell the difference between a “loving wife and a frightened one.”

“My family is nothing like that.” – Dexter

Jonah insists that Dexter “[doesn’t] know what [Trinity’s] capable of,” and we already know this is true. A serial killer of this caliber is in Dexter’s league, which makes him just as deadly and successful as our beloved blood spatter analyst.  The fact that Jonah “never argue[s]” with Arthur is telling that he’s a control freak and a tyrant. He even snaps Jonah’s trophies in half once he quits his baseball team. Little does Arthur know that he quits in the first place because he was running out of excuses to cover for his father’s abuse. Dexter’s time with the Mitchells at Thanksgiving only serve to prove Jonah’s accusations.

A bombshell is uncovered in “Hungry Man:” Christine Hill is Arthur Mitchell’s daughter. Although Christine’s total involvement in the plot is still not clear, we do know that Arthur has some serious sh*t buried in his past that we have yet to apprehend.

“You’re a parent. Parents do damage.” – Rita Bennett Morgan

Harrison's face is covered in blood-colored food. Death is never a far-fetched option for Dexter's family so long as he continues to
Harrison’s face is covered in blood-colored food. Death is never a far-fetched option for Dexter’s family so long as he continues to “spin the plates,” as Harry puts it. Dexter’s presence in his family’s lives will inevitably corrupt their purity.

Thanksgiving ends with Jonah smashing Vera’s urn against the wall, yelling: “You’re a killer. Sucking the lives out of all of us!” Whether or not Jonah knows this fact, it is clear that Dexter will now be under attack, given the fact that he now knows what kind of monster Dexter is.

“My Mother, My Sister, My Mother, My Sister…”

“As girls, we gotta double prove ourselves.” – Debra Morgan to Christine Hill

It is a bit early for an in-depth comparison; however I do have to say that Debra and Christine Hill are on parallel tracks. It is clear that Christine isn’t a part of Arthur’s “perfect family;” and it is even more apparent that Deb has always felt left out of Harry and Dexter’s relationship. Despite being blood related, both Deb and Christine have always gotten the short end of the stick. The fact that Christine was not at Thanksgiving dinner insinuates that the two are not on good terms.

“You’re not the only one with father issues.” – Dexter to Jonah Mitchell

Aside from the serial killing, we can tell that Arthur is still hung up on his sister’s death, for when Rebecca “crosses a line” at Thanksgiving dinner, Arthur barks: “Go to your room, Vera.” Things must be bad enough, for Rebecca would rather be used, sexually, by Dexter, an older (creepy) man than live one more day in that house with her abusive father.

Bloody Home

“Things of beauty need to be honored.” – Arthur Mitchell

Interestingly enough, since we are still set in suburbia this season, we can see Arthur’s need to honor beauty (in both Vera, his mother, and his Mustang) as a critique of American culture and the American Dream. Jonah’s Mustang symbolizes materialism, and an ideal beauty/image for women, as well as a reputation of purity, is manifested by the sanctuary dedicated to Vera and Arthur’s need to lock his fifteen year old daughter up in her room, as a princess in a tower (Chauvinism to the max).

“[Dexter’s] more like dad every day.” – Debra Morgan

Although we know Dexter is not having an affair, as Debra might think, we know he does have somewhat of a fling with his serial killing. He likely enjoys getting away with being who his father dreamed he would always be as well as the family man who his father said he couldn’t be.

Dexter: A Comedy

Angel Batista: [after Deb describes the potential serial killer] “So, we’re looking for a potentially retired, old, white guy. In Miami?”

Deb’s back-seat driving of the Trinity investigation.

Trinity’s coffee-and-morning-surprise dance.

  • Quinn: “You have access to Dexter’s discard crime scene photos?”
  • Masuka: “We share everything. Not in a gay way.”

Masuka: “Dexter is pure jungle cat. You should’ve seen the hot English muffin he was ‘bow-chicka-wowing’ a couple years ago.”

  • Debra: “Ashes to ashes-“
  • Quinn: “Doughnut to doughnut.”
  • Rita: [After burning her hand] “I need ice.”
  • Elliott: “C’mon, lady. Give peas a chance.”
  • Masuka: “Hi.”
  • Astor: “Are you the one my mom told me not to talk to?”
  • Masuka: “Awkward.”


And now to put a “number” on this episode. Dexterity (neat-handedness, puns, trickery, clever sayings, placements, etc.) will judge all of the small things that I pick up on. The higher the score, the more fun I had picking apart the episode for hidden clues. Entertainment (how much I laughed and enjoyed the episode) will judge how excited I was on average throughout the episode, as well as after it for the upcoming episodes. “Xtremity” (how dramatic, but also how believable the episode was, edge-of-the-seat, white knuckles, the “holy shit” factor) will judge just how jaw-dropping the episode was.
Dexterity: 9
Entertainment: 9
Xtremity: 10
DEX-Factor: 9.33

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