The “Teenage Wasteland” opens with Dexter running on a treadmill next to Jordan Chase. Dexter has agreed to see Chase for some one on one sessions and the motivational speaker insists that the intense exercise will help him open up. Of course Dexter isn’t there to open up about his feelings and his goals, he’s there to try to get concrete proof of Chase’s guilt. Even with everything pointing to Chase as one of Lumen’s captors Dexter is determined to stick to the code and be certain. However Chase is playing everything just as close to the vest as Dexter is and is not giving anything away. However when the two are changing in the locker room after the work out Dexter spots a vial on a necklace in Chase’s locker. Inside the vial is what appears to be blood. Seeing this Dexter makes an appointment to see Chase again the following morning, planning to get just a drop of blood from the vial to test it back at the lab.
Driving back from his session with Chase, Dexter tells Lumen about his plan to acquire a sample of the blood from the vial. While they’re talking on the phone Lumen realizes that somebody is trying to get into the house. In fact there are two people trying to get in, one at the front door and one at the back. Dexter informs Lumen to hide in the bathroom, which she does but not before arming herself with a knife. As Dexter hurries to get to the house Lumen is discovered by the intruders. The two who have entered the house turn out to be Dexter’s step-daughter Astor and her new friend Olivia. They showed up with a bottle of alcohol at what they thought was an empty house. When Dexter arrives he comes up with the cover story that Lumen is a tenant who is renting the house and he allows Astor and Olivia to crash for the night and sleep it off.
The following morning Dexter brought Harrison to the house to check on the girls and their hangovers. Astor actually started to warm up to seeing her baby brother. That was until the infant appeared to call Lumen “mama” which instantly and understandably put Astor back into her extreme funk. With the arrival of the girls Lumen questions whether or not it’s a good idea for Dexter to go and see Chase. However Dexter knows that if he misses his appointment there will be no chance for him to make another one for at least two weeks. With that in mind Dexter leaves Harrison with Lumen and the girls, hoping the presence of the child will help Astor open up, and heads to his appointment.
Back at the precinct Debra talks to her union rep and is thankfully not fired over the shoot out at the club. However she is restricted to filing duty for the next few weeks. Given her curious nature Debra is not able to resist leafing through the cases that she should be filing away. She finds something in the file for the murdered barrel girls that had managed to be overlooked. Because the Dexter had steered the department toward Boyd Fowler so quickly the case was closed before the final coroner’s report came in. What Debra found in that report was DNA evidence indicating that as many as five men aside from Boyd had been involved in the death of the girls. Debra wants to reopen the case but given her current demotion she’s not in a position to do so. She’s able to get Batista to try to get it reopened. However Lt. Laguerta rejects the request, believing that it is just some way that Debra is trying to get back at her for throwing Debra under the bus over the club shoot out.
Dexter’s appoint with Chase goes much the same as the previous one, the two work out together and Chase pushes the notion that he thinks Dexter is opening up. When Chase goes into the show Dexter is able to take a tiny sample of blood from the necklace in Chase’s locker. After Dexter leaves Chase notices that his locker door is not fully closed and he seems to take note that his vial has been tampered with. Dexter believes that he’s gotten away clean but when he returns to the house he encounters a whole new problem: Astor and Olivia are missing. Lumen had stepped out to get them aspirin for their hangovers and when she came back bother girls were gone, the back door was wide open and their cell phones were still on the table. When a neighbor mentions having seen a white van (which he got a partial license plate on) Dexter and Lumen fear that the girls have been abducted from the house, possibly by the people who would be after Lumen.
Even though Dexter knows that it might bring questions down on him about Lumen he opts to call the police about the missing girls. When the police report is taken Dexter knows he has to be honest about his whereabouts because if he’s caught in a lie then it will only prompt further investigation. This means that Dexter has to admit that he was seeing Jordan Chase that morning, something met with concern and confusion by his co-workers. Using the partial plate and vehicle description the police soon find the van in question. However the driver turns out to not be an abductor, but rather the boyfriend of Olivia’s mother looking for the girls. The girls are soon reported as having been caught shoplifting at a local store and Dexter and Barry (the man from the van) go to pick them up. Dexter arranges to meet Barry with the girls later after he’s taken them back to the house to pick up their stuff. Debra goes with them back to the house and she greets Lumen with the same skepticism that Astor did when told that she’s only a tenant.
Returning to the precinct Debra confronts Laguerta about reopening the barrel girls case. She pleads with Laguerta to get her to understand that it’s not about some vendetta but it’s about making sure that no other girls end up dead in a barrel. She manages to crack through Laguerta’s self preserving exterior and the lieutenant agrees to reopen the case. This puts Miami Metro homicide back on the trail of the same killers Dexter is tracking. This will put Dexter under the gun to get to Chase and find the remaining men before his coworkers do. However the case being reopened isn’t the only thing that transpires in the meeting, as Laguerta indicates that Quinn’s “vacation” had actually been a suspension related to Dexter without going into specifics.
Back at the house Dexter tries once again to talk to Astor but the teenager continues to resist. Elsewhere in the house Lumen sees bruises on Olivia’s stomach. She gets the girl to open up to her and discovers that Barry has been beating the young girl in places that are generally concealed by clothing. She informs Dexter of this in front of Astor, who corroborates the story. Dexter tells her that he’s going to take care of it. He goes to meet Barry but leaves the two girls behind, he is able to coax the other man into an alley where he precedes to beat him. Dexter punches Barry in the same areas he was beating Olivia, about the torso. Dexter informs Barry that he has to break up with Olivia’s mother and then disappear or face Dexter’s wrath in even greater force. When he returns to his car Dexter is confronted with an image of Harry. He was expecting to be berated by the vision of his adoptive father. But instead Harry praises Dexter for putting himself at risk for another human being.
At the precinct Debra corners Quinn and asks him about his suspension. Due to his feelings for Debra, and having actually let slip that morning that he loved her, Quinn admits to having suspected Dexter in his wife’s murder. He explains that he thought there was a connection between Dexter and Kyle Butler. Quinn does his best to apologize and says that he dropped it and he had been wrong, but the damage is done and Debra refuses to speak with him. Back at his apartment Quinn is approached again by Liddy. Liddy shares the pictures that he took of Lumen and Dexter on the boat, explaining how they left with bags and came back without them. He floats his theory that it was either a drug deal or body disposal. Given Quinn’s feelings for Debra he tells Liddy that it’s over and tries to pay him off. However Liddy makes it clear that he’s prepared to pursue this regardless and to try to use whatever he finds as leverage to reclaim his place on the police force. This pretty much takes Quinn out of the role of Dexter’s pursuer but Liddy is immediately filling the void and seems to be a bit of mad dog that Quinn inadvertently let off the leash.
The episode closes with Dexter driving Astor back to her grandparents. In the car the two of them are finally able to connect and there seems to show hope that Dexter’s family may yet be able to recover. Back at the house Lumen answers the house phone assuming that it’s Dexter calling. However it turns out to be Chase, claiming to want to set up another appointment with Dexter. Lumen does her best to keep herself together but Chase tips his hand by ending the conversation with “Goodbye Lumen.” Chase is clearly a severe threat to Dexter since he knows a fair amount about him and clearly has the means and cunning to make life for Dexter very difficult.