“Miguel!” Nine holes tomorrow? “You bet.”
It’s not Freebo’s blood. It’s not even human. It’s bovine. Cow’s blood. He’s been using me the whole time. I didn’t create a monster; I was used by one. He used me.
Today I keep up the pretense. But soon, maybe tomorrow, Miguel will know exactly how I feel. Because finally there’s an emotion I don’t have to fake.
Today, I feel something real.
That is the moment that it becomes clear the Miguel is bigger than Dexter in more ways than height. He’s a bigger fake and therefore a bigger monster.
Dexter repeatedly takes pride in his ability to hide who he really is, a serial killer, from everyone in his life. His first warning sign should have been Miguel being able to see through his disguise, but because he is longing for the connection of someone who knows his secret, as he had with Harry and the Ice Pick Killer/his Brother, he is vulnerable to letting another into his reality. His world of killing controlled and dictated by a code.
The scene quoted above is the one where Dexter realizes that Miguel has been screwing him over from the very beginning. There is never a moment in their relationship when Miguel is being honest with him. Their entire friendship is built on lies; or at least, to be clear, the lies of Miguel.
Example, right from the start Miguel decides not to trust Dexter while lulling Dexter into a false sense of trusting him. Giving Dexter the shirt with bovine blood and claiming it as his own blood and evidence that he was there when Dexter killed Freebo shows that he is willing from the beginning to use false evidence aka lies to manipulate Dexter into feeling he can trust him.
Yes, Dexter has feelings. He just doesn’t understand them. This is another whole essay, but Dexter, like the rest of humanity, is motivated by the feelings in himself caused and attributed to his upbringing, disposition, and situation. Dexter, like the rest of us, is a product of his environment. Remove him from the environment and you get a different, aka a NOT, Dexter.
On that note, Miguel creates an environment of friendship with Dexter. Dexter blames himself for falling for a friendship and then thinking that it is only because he doesn’t really know what friendship is that this happens to him. That’s not true though, it is because he knows what friendship is innately – don’t we all? – that he falls for Miguel’s deception.
Deception, it could be argued, is the root of all ‘evil.’ If what Dexter is is truly evil in the sense that he is harmful to others and humanity. Miguel on the other hand, in his deception of the deceiver, Dexter, proves to be the bigger monster. The biggest tipping point of all is he has deceived himself or seems to have. It is because of his double cross deceits that Dexter is able to catch him in his own game. Once Dexter knows the rules of the game of his friendship with Miguel is a lying game, he proves to be the more efficient lier, but not the bigger monster.
Dexter, unlike Miguel, holds to a code. He can’t kill people who get in his way, even though he’d like to. He does make the exception for the child molester, but really, it can be argued that child molesting is equal to murder, and in that sense the child molester meets his code since he is intending to do it again, and is doing it again, by violating none other than Rita’s daughter, and Dexter’s, Astor.
Miguel, on the other hand, lives not by a code but by a drive. His drive is to be the best. At everything. Whether it’s the best attorney who always wins, the best husband who has the best wife (who on occasion needs his guidance as to how to be the best wife), the Best Man in Dexter’s wedding, the best secret keeper, the most vulnerable (giving Dexter the, albeit fake, bloodstained shirt), the best killer… but that’s where he gets out of his league.
Dexter gains the upper hand because of inspite of Harry’s warning that he reveals too much, he actually keeps the crucial fact of killing Miguel’s brother away from him, and it is because of that that their friendship is able to form in the first place. Therefore, in his own way, Dexter also builds his friendship with Miguel off lies, or at least not the whole truth. Again though, even his marriage is built on the sure foundation of Rita not sharing the whole truth with him (about her first husband that makes him her third and not her second).
Ultimately, Dexter’s whole life and world are built on hiding the full truth. His code is his only solid truth. The rest is flexible. If Miguel had a code and not just a drive flexing to his whims, he would still be alive, and Dexter and he would still be friends. There’s a price to knowing the truth. And rules that must be followed to keep that truth safe. Or so it would seem.