Dexter Season 4 Episode 6 If I had a Hammer finds Dexter is the role of student and Trinity, the older serial killer played with such chilling effectiveness by John Lithgow, as the teacher, And what Trinity has to teach is not just the art of being a killer.
Spoilers surely follow.
Trinity, as we found out in the previous episode, “Dirty Harry,” is a family man, living in the suburbs, much like Dexter himself. It gets better. Trinity is also a teacher, a deacon at his church, and the head of a project much like Habitat for Humanity, building homes for the deserving poor.
The main thing that Dexter has to learn from Trinity is how to be a serial killer and still maintain a normal, family life, the latter of which Dexter seems to be falling down on. Rita is still upset about Dexter lying about keeping his apartment. Rita’s solution, as with Dexter’s alleged drug addiction, is professional therapy and not, as with some outraged wives, thrown lamps.
While Dexter struggles with how to satisfy Rita so as not to lose his protective coloration as a father and husband, he finds himself fascinated by how Trinity has kept his over the decades. It turns out, for instance, that the same sort of tools that can build a home for a deserving family can be used to end the life of some undeserving victim. And those tools can be kept in plain sight in the garage.
A little lucky break in forensics and a little detective work by Dexter reveals that Trinity lost three dear ones over the years. A sister was slaughtered in her bathtub as a teenager. His mom leaped to her death. His father was bludgeoned to death. It seems like an unusual run of bad luck for anyone, but then maybe it was Trinity himself who did all of the deeds. In any case, Trinity has been recreating the death of his family over and over and over again, dispatching three innocent victims in cycles over the decades.
Trinity needs killing, as they say in Texas, but not before Dexter learns more from him. Indeed Dexter needs Trinity as a teacher as much as he needs him to satisfy the Dark Passenger. Dexter has a similar relationship with Assistant DA Prado in Season Three. The difference is that Dexter thought of Prado as a friend, as someone that he could share his someone twisted, dark hobby with. Trinity, on the other hand, albeit unknowingly, is a mentor, as an older version of Dexter who has somehow not only assumed the protective coloration of a family man, but seems to actually feel the affection for that family that is at best stunted in Dexter’s case. Dexter will not admit it to himself, but he really would like to feel something other than the rush that he gets when he kills.
On the other hand, Prado ended with the “friend” on Dexter’s table. Trinity is certain to end the same way, once Dexter has no further use for him. There is, after all, the fact that Trinity may have tried to waste his sister. That makes things personal. A new complication arises when Dexter’s sister, Debra, decides that it was Trinity who shot her and killed her lover Frank Lunz. The imperative to get to Trinity first goes a little beyond sibling rivalry. An arrested Trinity would answer too many embarrassing questions about his new friend, Dexter. When Debra gets the bit in her teeth, she can be as relentless as Dexter in getting her man, albeit with slightly different consequences.
Finally, speaking on learning how to feel, Dexter finds a way in therapy to open up to Rita. He has abandonment issues, since his mom left him by being chained sawed to death in front of his eyes. He needs a special place to provide some measure of reassurance. Rita, understanding, though not understanding, but also eager to be understanding, helps Dexter build a little tool shed out in the back yard, just for Dexter, and his kill tools and his slide collection. All seems back to normal with the Morgan family, with Rita satisfied, Dexter with his protective coloration intact.
Dexter has the only key to his new secret place. God help him if one of the kids takes the key and lets curiosity get the better of him or her.
Source: Dexter, If I had a Hammer, TV.Com