Never trust a Christmas gift wrapped in plastic…
Dexter sees himself as an old man as the episode begins, contemplating a “normal” life. He receives a phone call about Hector Estrada’s parole hearing. Hannah suggests that it may be the universe giving Dexter a Christmas present: the chance to finally kill the last man responsible for his mother’s death. Dexter doesn’t object at the parole hearing when Estrada is given a compassionate release and later watches as Estrada runs to catch a bus leaving the prison.
Quinn can’t find Nadia. He goes to the strip club where she works, only to have another stripper tell him that she has left and moved to Las Vegas to make a new start in life.
Batista has located Arlene Schram. She has a history of drug abuse and is on the verge of losing custody of her children. Deb meets with her and tells her that she knows about the counselor whose coffee was spiked with rat poison. She threatens Arlene with jail time, but insists that she’ll give her immunity if she talks. Arlene reluctantly agrees to think about it. Hannah and Arlene meet, and Hannah reminds her that they’ve always had each other’s backs. Arlene saw Hannah poison the counselor, but it was to protect them both from his unwanted sexual advances.
Dexter goes to meet with Matthews on his boat. He tells Dexter that LaGuerta thinks he is the Bay Harbor Butcher. Dexter feigns surprise and Matthews agrees that the notion is preposterous. Even so, Matthews lets Dexter know that Doakes died in a cabin rented by Jimenez, the murderer of Dexter’s mother. To throw Matthews off his trail, Dexter fabricates a story about Doakes having a boat at the same dock as he.
While taking Harrison to meet Santa Claus, Dexter tells Deb that LaGuerta is looking into the Bay Harbor Butcher. He tells her of his plan to give them insurmountable evidence that Doakes was the killer. Deb offers to plant the evidence herself, and the trio take an awkward family picture.
Deb stakes out LaGuerta’s house. When she leaves, Deb goes inside. The next day, when LaGuerta and Matthews are going through boxes, they find a tackle box and locate a key to a boat storage facility. While searching the storage facility, they find the Bay Harbor Butcher’s “tools of the trade” with Doake’s fingerprints. LaGuerta has trouble acknowledging that Doake’s was the Butcher, but Matthews tells her to let it go.
Hannah comes to Deb’s house to talk to her about Dexter. She tells her that Dexter is happy for the first time in a really long time and is looking forward to their future together. Hannah tells Deb that she loves Dexter and wants to work out their issues. Debs tells her that she will do everything she can to protect Dexter from Hannah.
Dexter tells Deb that he heard from Matthews that LaGuerta’s investigation is being called off. He meets Estrada and concocts a story that he is trying to deal drugs.
In the meantime, Deb is in a car accident. She’s been taking medication for anxiety and blacked out at the wheel. Batista tells Dexter about Arlene Schram. The doctor’s say that Deb had three times the normal amount of medication in her system. Deb tells Dexter that she only took one pill, despite the fact that we saw her taking multiple pills. Is Deb mistaken? Did Hannah poison Deb? Dexter finds an empty water bottle in Deb’s car and sends it to the lab for analysis.
Batista invites LaGuerta to a Christmas Eve party. She starts speaking of regrets, and he wonders if she regrets the downfall of their marriage. Wistfully, she tells him no. He tells her how happy he is with the new restaurant and that he’s planning to put in for retirement the first of the year.
Dexter comes home to a Christmas Eve dinner with Hannah, Harrison and Jamie. Still mulling over Deb’s accident, he warily watches Hannah serve the food. Hannah gives him a picture of the two of them, but Dexter wonders if their relationship is all a lie. After he takes her home, Hannah tells Dexter that she has always run from the men she’s been involved with, but with Dexter, she wants him to stay. She asks him to spend the night, but he tells her that he has plans that evening. She figures out that his plan is to kill Estrada and tells him that she supports him. Dexter and Hannah talk about his fear that she might poison Deb. Hannah tells Dexter that if she had actually tried to kill Deb, she would have succeeded. She tells Dexter that she’s 100% sure about him, but he needs to decide what he wants.
Dexter lures Estrada into a storage container. Just before he is about to kill Estrada, he learns that LaGuerta was responsible for his release. Figuring out that it’s a trap, he escapes just before LaGuerta arrives. Estrada, however gets away.
The lab calls and Dexter learns that the water bottle was spiked with alprazolam. Did Hannah poison Deb? Did Deb spike her own water bottle in order to frame Hannah? It doesn’t matter; Dexter gives Deb the pen that Hannah used to kill Price. He goes to see Hannah, and they kiss under the mistletoe, just before Hannah is arrested for the murder of Sal Price. Her parting words to Dexter? “You should have killed me.”
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