Dissecting 'Dexter' (Videos): Where is the Lumen Story Leading Us?
Dissecting 'Dexter' (Videos): Where is the Lumen Story Leading Us?
Meghan Carlson
Meghan Carlson
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Dexter is currently in a position I'd argue we've never seen him in before: He has a partner. And not just any partner: He has a partner who is now, when it boils down to it, dictating his purpose, at least when it comes to his current extracurricular activities. Dexter may be the teacher, but Lumen is making the lesson plan: Kill Cole and Jordan Chase, the two men still alive from the odd, possibly cultist twisted boys' club who abused and raped her, and murdered others. And, for better or worse, probably worse, she wants to be involved every step of the way. He's even going to teach her how to prep a kill room next week--how sweet.

Why is Dexter risking so much to take on someone else's problem--someone who's new to the murder business, is volatile, and almost got him caught last week? Perhaps it's because he sees himself in her, also "born in blood." Maybe he enjoys the camaraderie, the honesty, the ability to be himself and share a secret (though he should remember how his past partners have turned out--dead). He could be attracted to her. Maybe he's subconsciously punishing himself for Rita's death--or even attempting to absolve himself--by sticking his neck out for a victim in a way that Harry would deem reckless and rule-breaking. From the awkward, half-mentor, half-flirty relationship that Lumen and Dexter seem to be establishing (and show no signs of breaking off any time soon) I'd say it's a combination of all these.

One of the great things about Dexter's character and storytelling is that, save some of his more straightforward voiceovers, the underlying "why" is often as complex and muddled as our own motivations in life--maybe more so, since we're talking about a darkness-filled serial killer. Unless he spells it all out for us as season 5 wraps up, the Lumen "why" is for you to decide. So while I'd love to hear your theories on why Dexter is taking Lumen under his wing (comments!), right now I'm more interested in this question: Where is it all leading?

I don't spend a lot of time scouring Dexter message boards for spoilers and theories, since this is one show I prefer to let surprise me at its own pace. But I can't imagine I'm the only one wondering, on both storyline and logistical levels, just where Dexter and the writers who created him expect this story to go. It's not that I don't trust the Dexter writers to tie everything together in a gripping and satisfying conclusion--it's just that this season, that feat feels farther off than usual, and it's a fascinating puzzle to attempt to predict.

The way I see it, there are only a couple ways that Dex can escape this relationship alive and intact; even fewer in which Lumen can do the same; fewer still in which the audience will not lambaste the show with "We've seen it before" critiques. Such an ending could certainly happen, and we'll all just have to deal. But season 5 of Dexter is turning into a complicated knot, so here are a few possible end-scenarios I see for how it might unravel:

Lumen and Dexter succeed in killing Jordan and Cole, Lumen's thirst for vengeance is quenched, and she goes away to start a new life: Unlikely, if only for the convenient happy ending. Plenty of seemingly impossible things have happened on Dexter, but Lumen going from rape victim to murderer to grateful co-conspirator who moves away, opens a small town coffee shop and promises to take Dexter's secret to her grave is likely not one of them. Because that would be stupid.

Lumen gets killed by Dexter: She's Dexter's partner, but she differs from Brian, Lila, Miguel and Trinity in one essential way--she's not a threat. I mean, yes, she killed a guy. But she both sees and accepts Dexter's dark passenger for what it is (something Lila and Miguel failed to do) and seems open to his rules. She's sympathetic--to us and to Dexter. Unless she really goes off the rails in the next couple of episodes, Lumen meeting her end like Dexter's other "partners" seems like treachery to both their character arcs.

Quinn, Cole, Jordan or Peter Weller (what's his investigator name again? I just think of him as Robocop) kills Lumen, and Dexter retaliates: As we see in the first clip below, Cole and Jordan are "dangerous men," and Lumen is fresh and reckless when it comes to the kill. Cult-leader Cole could "Take it!" into his own hands and kill Lumen before she kills or exposes him. Weller is creepy, dirty and seemingly addicted to meth: What's to stop him from knocking on Lumen's door in his search for the truth, and getting into a deadly altercation? As Quinn and Weller close in on the truth about Dexter, it seems more likely that Lumen could become a casualty, lest Dex need to explain her existence to Quinn's partners at the police station. Dexter would be left alone and grieving once more--and out for the blood of those who again took away his closest ally. This feels too much like last season's finale (especially given all the heavy imagery linking Lumen to Rita so far this season) though some are praying that Dexter will kill Quinn this season, too, and such a scenario would set that up nicely.

Lumen kills herself:
Dexter keeps telling her that vengeance only leads to more vengeance; killing to more killing; pain to more pain. Maybe she'll realize it and choose no life over a life of evil.

Lumen gets caught--and does or doesn't take Dexter down with her:
Lumen has convinced Dexter to work directly against his moral code by roping him in on killing men who would have been caught and fried by the police if he hadn't stepped in and pointed them toward Boyd. For that, it could become fitting justice if, in the process, Lumen gets caught by the police for her crimes against the men who abused her--and, in a stand of virtue (at least in the show's universe) she keeps Dexter's secret as an act of repayment for his help. If she does rat out Dexter--well, then we'll either see some masterful cover-up work on Dexter's part, or an unprecedented chapter: Dexter: The Death Row Years. 

This is all assuming that Julia Stiles is a one-season guest star, and doesn't take into account how the mysterious Santa Muerte murders may come into play--which I'm hoping they will, or Dexter has never seen a more drawn-out and pointless storyline. There's no question that Dexter is pumping the octane as it barrels toward its finale, and I'm actually happy that I have no idea where it's going. I just hope the writers do--or did, when they wrapped filming last week. I've got faith, but I've got even more curiosity. And probably too much time on my hands.

It's totally possible that I am both barking up the wrong tree and looking under the wrong rocks in my search for meaning on Dexter. Please correct me and share your theories. Maybe Jordan Chase is the Santa Muerte killer, and maybe Robocop is his dad, and maybe the nanny did it! (Did what? I don't know--you tell me!)

(Image courtesy of Showtime)