Dexter: A Light Against Darkness
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?
RANDOM BLOOD SPLATTERS:
... 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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