***WARNING: SPOILERS CONTAINED THROUGHOUT***
Beauty and the Beast picks up immediately where the previous episode, Practically Perfect, left off. Dexter has just made his first proper kill since Rita’s death and killed Boyd in the woman killer’s own house. Unfortunately what Dexter had not realized was that Boyd had not yet finished with his latest victim. A young woman (played by Julia Stiles) who’s clearly been beaten and abused saw Dexter kill Boyd just before the shock of what she’s been through and seen caused her to pass out. While Dexter has briefly in the past flirted with the notion that he might be the hero of his story he’s not in the habit of going out of his way to save or rescue people. Except that since she’s seen him and what he’s done he can’t afford to simply ignore her.
The young woman wakes up in the isolated and abandoned tourist center that Dexter had planned to be his kill room for Boyd. Though she wakes up on Dexter’s killing table she’s not restrained in any way. Dexter tries to tend to her wounds but she quickly panics. She attempts to run, which Dexter cannot allow and so he’s forced to put her under with a sedative. Though it’s his hope to not only spare but actually save the woman Dexter is constantly reminded by his visions of Harry that the first rule of the Code is not “never take an innocent life,” the first rule is “don’t get caught.” It’s an interesting contrast as previously (in the last season especially) the visions of Harry tended to tell Dexter what a danger he was to others, now Harry’s clearly trying to keep Dexter alive. It’s very much in keeping with Harry representing Dexter’s own divided thoughts rather than being a true representation of Dexter’s late father.
While trying to figure out what he’s going to do with the young woman Dexter gets a call from Debra. She and most of Miami Metro have been up all night working the scene of the latest beheading. As a result they’re all rather burned out and she’s quick to point out that Masuka isn’t as good with blood as Dexter is and she asks him to come to the crime scene. This has causes Dexter to have the jarring revelation that it’s no longer night but the next morning (he’d lost time being in the light-less kill room he’d prepared,) and he’d left the nanny with his son all night long.
Dexter quickly gets to the crime scene and is able to assist his coworkers by noticing a cigar butt that may have belonged to one of the killers. This does the job of finally connecting Dexter with the ongoing investigation however at this point he has little to no interest in it. It’s starting to become questionable if the beheadings are there to give Dexter a target (as it would have been in previous seasons) or just to give Debra and the rest of Miami Metro something to do. He then rushes back to the apartment where he’s confronted by the understandably steamed nanny. Dexter apologizes profusely but the nanny tells him flat out that while she loves young Harrison she doesn’t trust Dexter and she quits on the spot. Later in the episode Dexter goes to her apartment and literally begs for another chance. Due to how much she cares about Harrison the nanny does agree to give him one more shot.
Dexter is forced to bring Harrison into the office with him where he’s able to let his co-workers dote on the infant for a time while he uncovers the young woman’s identity. He finds out her name is Lumen Pierce and she doesn’t have so much as a speeding ticket, not a missing person’s report. Dexter also takes the opportunity to raid some antibiotics from Masuka’s stash of meds. He gets Debra to agree to take Harrison back to the apartment and he heads back to where he’s keeping Lumen. Dexter arrives just as she’s waking up and he tries to convince her of his good intentions, even taking one of antibiotics himself to show her that he’s not trying to drug her. However as before Lumen tries to escape forcing Dexter to lock her in once again and come up with a more solid plan and approach.
During this Quinn is using his contact at the FBI to try to get close enough to members of the Trinity Killer’s family to see if they will identify a picture of Dexter as the mysterious Kyle Butler. When he can’t get access to the family through normal channels Quinn tails his FBI friend to the safe house and waits for his chance to approach Jonah Mitchell, which whom Dexter (as Kyle) had gotten the closest to. Quinn gets his chance at a convenience store where he shows Jonah a picture of Dexter and asks if it’s Kyle Butler. Before Jonah answers either way Quinn is arrested by the FBI for his suspicious behavior and approaching a protected witness. This naturally infuriates Laguerta to the point that she suspends Quinn without pay and she chews him out for targeting Dexter for no good reason she can see. One can’t help but wonder if she’ll connect this how weird Doakes got about Dexter and start to wonder what it is about the blood spatter analyst that makes her good cops act like this.
Speaking of Laguerta, her marriage to Batista continues to be a drag on the show. Two episodes previously Batista had gotten in a bar fight with a fellow officer because of the very crude things that were said about his new bride. Last episode it was revealed that Batista actually put the other officer in the hospital and Internal Affairs was getting involved. In an attempt to get this put behind them Laguerta basically orders Batista to go to the hospital and set things right. Batista goes and does manage a surprisingly heartfelt apology which the other officer accepts. However this doesn’t make the issue go away as the investigator from IA says that whether the other officer presses charges or not doesn’t eliminate the issue. In a private meeting with Laguerta it actually appears as though the investigator might be trying to blackmail sexual favors from her in exchange for not going after Batista. Why the writers for the show feel the need to delve so deeply into the marriage of these characters is very unclear. The relationship is not central to the show and in fact the characters are becoming less interesting as they’re becoming more defined by that relationship and little else.
With a little more detective work Dexter uncovers an unpaid motel bill for a local place that Lumen was staying at. He goes there, masquerading as her husband, and not only pays the bill but recovers her abandoned luggage. This allows him to learn more about her and also give her a few comforts of home. He drops off the bags, which include a note from her parents and then returns again later. When he comes back he finds Lumen on the floor looking as though she may have slashed her own wrist. When he approaches she hits him over the head and makes a break for it. Dexter gives chase through the wetlands and is only able to catch Lumen because her experience at the hand of Boyd render her so afraid that she’s unable to get into a car full of young men that she flags down.
In a last ditch effort to earn Lumen’s trust (as well as silence the insistent voice of Harry that he just get rid of her) Dexter takes the frightened woman to where Boyd had been dumping the bodies of the women he’d killed. Dexter shows her what he saved her from but at the same time acknowledges that he has little proof to offer her that he’s different from Boyd. He tells her that she’ll have to take a leap of faith and gives her the knife he’d been holding. While Lumen does slash at Dexter and cut his arm she starts to trust him when he doesn’t retaliate. Finally feeling that she won’t turn him in Dexter encourages her to go home to her family. Unfortunately it’s not that cut and dry, as Lumen reveals that Boyd had not acted alone in kidnapping her and that the other men are still out there. The episode ends with a general sense that Lumen is going to ask for Dexter’s help in finding and punishing her other attackers, and unfortunately for Dexter she’s in a position to coerce him into doing whether he wants to or not.