Dexter: A Light Against Darkness

By Price Peterson

Oct 31, 2011

Last week's episode of Dexter contained some of the greatest writing and acting of Dexter's six-season run and concluded with one of the most audacious kills we've seen yet. So it shouldn't come as too much of a shock that this week's episode of Dexter was a bit of a letdown by comparison. While "The Angel of Death" certainly had its moments, this episode was exactly the sort of mid-season wheel-spinning that every season of Dexter has indulged in. So in other words, it was kind of a bummer, but there were still some highlights. Let's talk about them!

The best and most important plotline—that of the Doomsday Killer(s)—progressed the most, as Dexter sought and received confirmation of Travis's involvement in the Doomsday Killings. After spotting Travis at the crime scene last week and then discovering that the victims' angel wings were made using fine art bookbinding materials, Dexter investigated the local museum's staff listings. An unfriendly docent directed him to a screening room that just so happened to be showing an in-house documentary that contained footage of Travis restoring ancient books. What a time saver! So then Dexter broke into Travis's apartment and immediately discovered an antique Bible with rectangular cut-outs clearly matching the numbers planted inside the Doomsday Killer's victims' corpses. I guess because he'd saved so much time on those earlier steps, Dexter decided to waste tons of time by deciding to still take a sample page from the Bible back to the lab in order to match up the cut-outs? Oh well. If there's one thing this show loves to do, it's hammer a point home over and over long after we've already deduced what's going on. Classic Dexter, really.

Unfortunately, this Doomsday Killer plotline also led to the episode's biggest blunder: Dexter caught Travis but then let him go in order to nab Professor Gellar instead. First of all, since when does Dexter let suspected serial killers go? Don't they ALL claim to be innocent? Plus, remember that time Dexter neglected to finish off the Trinity Killer? We all saw how that turned out. So yeah, Travis's release just straight up didn't make sense. The worst part was, while we haven't gotten official confirmation yet, does anyone have any doubt that Professor Gellar isn't a figment of Travis's imagination? You commenters sussed this out pretty quickly during the first few episodes, but this particular episode was just FULL of hints that this is indeed the case. Once again Gellar interacted with nobody but Travis, opened no doors, did no driving. His picture was even published on the front page of the paper along with the headline "Doomsday Killer" (very ethical newspaper!), yet nobody even noticed him at a crowded nightclub. At this point, what was once a clever twist is now so expected it's verging on boring. That is, unless it's all misdirection and Gellar is actually real! I'm not betting on it, though.

The other highlight of the episode—if we can call a huge bummer a highlight—was the brutal shooting of Brother Sam by some shadowy hoodlum. While his screen time this week was limited to a brief front porch conversation at Dexter's pad, Mos Def continued to bring a stellar, nuanced presence to a show that desperately needs it. It's unclear whether Brother Sam will survive his (admittedly very serious) wounds, but I'm certainly hoping we haven't lost him just yet. He's so good! I could honestly watch Dexter and Brother Sam converse all day. Their discussion about bringing lightness to battle darkness was an elegant, simple summation of Dexter's struggle to balance the joy of fatherhood with the needs of his Dark Passenger. I have to say, when this season was advertised as being heavy on Dexter's religious explorations, I never expected it to be handled with such a light touch (so to speak). Brother Sam wasn't proselytizing, he was more just being a good, super-compassionate friend to a man who could really use one.

As for the goings-on at the world's worst law enforcement agency, Deb dipped her toe into self-improvement waters when she finally agreed to see the department psychologist. She'd been having a tough go of things since she got her promotion, a stress made worse by Quinn asking for the engagement ring back and also Deb getting chewed out by Dexter's nanny for leaving crime scene photos in Harry Jr.'s line of sight. (Don't you love how Dexter did the same thing only a few weeks back?) Anyway, the whole thing resulted in Deb finally renting her own place, a beachfront house still sticky with blood from a recent murder-suicide. (Febreze will NOT get that smell out.) At the same time, she forged an unsteady friendship with the (apparently married!) new detective, Anderson. All in all, Deb's storyline was fine, just not incredibly essential.

Slightly more essential was Batista and Quinn's road trip to interview a former teacher's assistant (and lover) of Professor Gellar's named Clarissa (hey look, it's Lorena from True Blood!). We learned some interesting things about Gellar, namely that Clarissa didn't believe it was possible that he could be the Doomsday Killer, and also that he was a bit of a womanizer. Plus, she kept a banker's box full of Gellar's possessions, including personal diaries and whatnot. I'm guessing these clues hinted at Clarissa's involvement in his murder (because he's totally dead, right?). Which is why it was just completely reprehensible when Quinn SLEPT WITH HER? What the—? Quinn is the worst! What is with these people?

Finally, Masuka had a new assistant in the lab to take over where Stickyfingers Ryan left off: Louis, a handsome computer geek who was also played by a recognizable TV actor (Josh Cooke). He used his computer savvy to help research the Book of Revelation, and later he used his (apparently magical?) computer to erase an eBay listing from the internet? Not sure, but it sounded impossible. Anyway, yeah, there was that guy.

So all in all, we learned a few more things about the killer(s) and now the fate of a character hangs in the balance, but otherwise not a lot else moved forward this week. I understand not every episode can have the jolts or pay-off that last week's did, so I'm cautiously optimistic that this week won't feel like merely wheel-spinning once we see where it's all headed.

What did you think of the episode?


... Does anyone know the meaning of Clarissa's tramp stamp symbol? It looked similar to the auspiciously placed book on her bookshelf. Are we dealing with a crazy person of a different faith here?

... Ryan couldn't be gone that easily, could she?

... Were you super sad that LaGuerta was M.I.A.?

... Is it TOO obvious that Gellar is imaginary, or does this show have a trick up its sleeve?

... Any predictions about Brother Sam's fate? Get well soon, you O.G. for G-O-D!


Longtime Dexter fans will NOT want to miss next week's episode. Let's just say the final scene sees the return of a familiar face, and it's a doozie. I've seen the screener so I know who it is, but guesses and speculation are welcome below!

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  • vitakato Jan 03, 2012

    Argh I was so disappointed by this episode.

    1) Brother Sam -- UM! How can you go and shoot *the best* character ever? I've just been blown away by Mos Def, and I love the dialogue between Sam and Dexter.

    2) Ryan -- Erm. No. Come on, bring her back! Or at least connect the dots (between her and Louis, and THENNNNNN bring her back)

    3) Quinn -- I just hate that guy.

  • NunoAzevedo0 Nov 07, 2011

    Impossible for Gellar to be Travis' imagination, doesn't make any sense.

    Really poor judgment there, sorry. Gellar has never been portrayed as maybe not being there, people not talking to him in a night club is perfectly normal and happens to Travis.

    You would neet to look deeper than that, like the fact that Gellar stands alone thinking about everything, looking at paintings, and Travis isn't even there, he's going about his life. How could Gellar been imagination??

    ANd with that, you understand that Travis is just being made to do it, it's not finding an excuse to do it, he really doesn't want it, he's just stupid enough to belive GOD makes them do it.

  • UltraTraveler Nov 04, 2011

    By the code, Dexter only kills one who commits the actual killing. Travis' role in Doomsday killing is unconfirmed. As for Gellar, let's find out later if the phone call Travis made to Gellar was real or not.

  • Nairobbery Nov 02, 2011

    ~ I've always believed Gellar was Travis' imagination. Ever since they chained that guy (horseman)

    ~I thought Stickyfingers Ryan would be part of the storyline somehow, ending up uncovering Dexter's dark passenger

    ~I doubt brother Sam dies, but am sure someone out there has it coming (read: Bay Habour Butcher), Brother Sam was becoming like Harry to Dexter. There talks are good times

    ~I am not a big LaGuerta fan though, her manipulating ways were a good riddance

  • GreenyFool Nov 02, 2011

    I disagree with you, The Sam/Dexter dialogue is awful, I can't help but roll my eyes every time those two speak to each other about good/evil/religion.

    And yes, totally silly that Dexter let Travis go. Harry's code involves not getting caught, it's like the main part, the basis of the code, yet he let Travis go after he could have seen his face in the mirror, and heard his voice. Dexter is so out of character this season.

    Something you didn't pick up on: The Ice Truck Killer's hand - Louis said it was bought through a proxy, and whomever bought it didn't want to be found. Could Brother Sam be the buyer? Is that why he's so obsessed in discussing "dark passengers" with Dexter? Who is the REAL Sam? I'm certain he isn't genuine.

  • agibaer Nov 02, 2011

    Gellar being not real was a possibility but I think the writers just wanted to tease us a bit with that.

    On the other hand, I have suspicions that Brother Sam will be the one to reap Dexter, when the series ends. I think Dexter having a friend who isn't either a serial killer or a wannabe-apprentice is just not this shows normality.

  • lazarius12 Nov 02, 2011

    Well I stopped reading this review after three paragraphs. I had no clue Gellar being imaginary was a thought for anyone, so I would have loved that twist if it weren't ruined for me (if it becomes true that is)

  • Swinglabacase Nov 02, 2011

    What if Dexter has to face his greatest turmoil so far: should he kill Travis if he really did the murders as Gellar? How will Harry deal with this?

    As a side note: If someone with split personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

  • Zuhoffen Nov 02, 2011

    This comment has been removed.

  • Swinglabacase Nov 02, 2011


    Haaa! You must be right then...

    We won't do it anymore.

  • orifalcon12 Nov 02, 2011

    I had a couple problems with this episode, and the Doomsday Killer angle as a whole.

    1) Once again, Dexter's self-described philosophy of only going after killers who have escaped justice is write out the window. by just doing his actual job and telling Deb about the wings, the police could probably quickly find the obviously kinda crazy Travis.

    2) Gellar's dead, and Dexter's gonna find out that Travis is a split personality, capable of sounding innocent in his breakdown in the car and then murdering people. Dexter hasn't actually killed anyone before getting them to confess in the face of overwhelming evidence (except for the photographer, but that mistake was a major plot point). But everything is being telegraphed way too much.

  • Im_right_aint_i Nov 03, 2011

    1) Yeah, I had the same thought. I guess he feels the need to get the biggest killers for himself, even if they have a chance to get caught by a current police investigation.

    2) I didn't get your point, sorry !

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