Dexter, Review Episode (5) The Angel of Death [Season (6) by Time Spiral]

By: Time Spiral
October 31st, Tampa, FL - **SPOILERS**

Previously on Dexter ... In Episode (4) A Horse of a Different Color (read my review) Professor Gellar is revealed as a Biblical nut obsessed with the Book of Revelations. Deb's team discovers he stole an ancient artifact that they think could be the murder weapon. Is Travis really a psycho killer, Dexter's doppelganger, or just a naive kid looking to date and live the life? Travis's date, a nice girl, is slaughtered in an angel outfit by a diabolical trap. And of course, Quinn and Batista are relegated to comedy relief.

Angel of Death, Episode (5) of Dexter's 6th Season, on Showtime, delivers in a big way. The episode starts off a little slow, suffers from some weird pacing, then kicks it into high-Dexter gear. Brother Sam galvanizes his relationship with Dexter, Batista and Quinn play a serious role, Mike Anderson is here to stay, and we finally get to dig in deep with the Doomsday killers. Best of all though, are the two chilling scenes that wrap up this episode and leave us wanting Episode (6) more than ever!

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A walk on the docks with Doomsday Killers

Deb's team is hot on the Doomsday killer's trail now (If only they had the detective chops of our favorite vigilante!). Forensically the team hits a relative dead end on the angel killing but they have other avenues to explore. Batista and Quinn are sent to Tallahassee (which is quite a friggin' drive from Miami metro!) to investigate Gellar's old colleagues.

Angel of Death opens with an odd scene. Travis and Gellar are standing before their alter. Gellar is speaking and Travis glances at his Professor. The screen flashes. You're not sure what you saw, but you think to yourself, was that blood? But it is glossed over quickly. They have work to do. It is time to go hunting.

Travis and Gellar stalk some prey at a local marina's bar scene and are quickly shut down when Travis notices the newspaper's headline, "The Doomsday Killer (pic of Gellar)." The Professor smartly leaves the scene and Travis is left to capture the prey on his own. He fails miserably as a hopelessly wasted woman in high-heels gets the best of him. He's forced to flee after being spotted.

Finally, Travis is starting to make sense to me!

I've been waiting for a while for Colin Hanks (Travis Marshall) to get the chance to really show us his character. He does so quite well in this episode. He desperately wants to impress his mentor, but is battling with his own humanity, his own doubt. He doesn't hear God. He's failing to do God's work. He cannot even capture a pathetic whore who can barely stand on her own. He is shamed. He's pathetic ... Gellar is the glue that is holding his volition together, but will his doubt be the solvent that breaks the two apart?

Travis is stalking his prey after Gellar is dispelled from the mission by Deb's play at putting his pacture in the paper. This poor, potential Whore of Babylon is in big trouble.
Travis is stalking his prey after Gellar is dispelled from the mission by Deb's play at putting his pacture in the paper. This poor, potential Whore of Babylon is in big trouble.

So I guess now me and Brother Sam are going to hang out.

Dexter's on his way out of the station when Brother Sam unexpectedly calls out to him. Unwittingly, in a smalltalk situation we're all familiar with, Dexter invites Brother Sam over to his house to check up on Dexter's son.

Brother Sam is a saint, Dexter is thinking to himself. The son responds well to Sam's offering of a cute gift. After the little one is put to bed Dexter realizes that with his son sleeping the only thing left to do is to hang out over a cold sixer. Dexter finds himself opening up to Brother Sam. They have a meaningful conversation.

Every scene with Brother Sam has been gold in this season. From the beginning, when you're left uncertain about whether or not he is a Wolf in sheep's clothing, to recently when he is serving as an anchor to the light-world for Dexter. Their scenes are largely conversation and really allows Def and Hall to show off their acting chops. Their bond is strengthened even further over a nice six-pack which builds the perfect foundation for one of the most powerful scenes in the season - which happens later.

Good ol' Quinn, and Batista! Is Deb losing it? Nah, Anderson has her back.

Batista and Quinn, charged with meeting Gellar's old assistant, make the treacherous drive to Florida's capitol city, Tallahassee. Quinn is instantly intrigued by the old colleague, an attractive woman, and scores a date (much to Batista's chagrin!). Over the course of the brief vetting process they learn that she and the professor were more than just colleagues.

Batista knocks on the now-professor's door, the following morning, to retrieve Quinn and cannot help but snoop through a box conveniently labeled, Gellar. Quinn and the professor are called into the room as Batista thumbs through an incredibly damning journal ostensibly authored by Gellar. The professor is stunned, and doesn't know how to respond, but after she is berated by a passionate Batista, she concedes to the reality. The Team gets a huge break in the case.

I was happy to see Quinn and Batista playing a more serious role in this episode. Quinn is trying to get back to his roots, but I feel like his character is getting lost in the shuffle this season. Batista is a genuine character with several sides. He is caring, as we've seen with him and Deb, but he is deeply dedicated to his job which is reinforced by his performance in this episode. He knocks it out of the park in every scene.

Deb and Anderson

At first, I wasn't sure about Mike Anderson. Is he a stand-in? Is he a legit new role? It's hard to say. But it appears that him and Deb, two incredibly competent detectives, have more in common than they think. The murder Anderson is called out to investigate serves two functions, (1) it exposes him to the unexpected genius of Dexter (which may play a role later), and (2) clears the way for Deb to get her own space, which is desperately needed, as we learn from her breakdown with the shrink.

Batista, shocked by the discovery of Gellar's journal, get ready to unleash on Gellar's previously 'innocent' colleague.
Batista, shocked by the discovery of Gellar's journal, get ready to unleash on Gellar's previously 'innocent' colleague.

Red, and Dead? Two chilling scenes close the episode.

Dexter is a remarkable detective! His clever deduction skills have finally created enough momentum to put him in the right place at the right time. A seemingly lucky break in the back room of the museum exposes all he needs to put Travis on the path to his table. Dexter's ready, but is Travis?

Travis, distraught over his failure, routinely enters his vehicle. Suddenly, a thin wire bites into his neck and he's pulled into the back of his seat. Instincts kick in, he grabs for the wire. It's impossible. He hears the voice of a dark passenger behind him, cloaked in red break lights. Travis is dead. He knows it. He follows the succinct instructions given by his captor and finally responds to the diatribe. "I'm a failure! God does not talk to me ..."

This scene is brilliant. Everything about it. The scene is bathed in a primal, crimson red. Half of everything is shadow. As Travis engages in a terrifying discourse with Dexter, the meat of the scene is shot in the rear view mirror. Dexter is shrouded in darkness, highlights red as blood on his face. Towards the end of the scene Dexter rubs his face up against the side of the seat, so he can speak softer, deeper ... closer. The two interact superbly. Travis finally reveals everything we need to know about his character and we can feel the disappointment in Dexter.

This scene, and the rest of the episode, elucidated a depth into Travis Marshall that I've been waiting for this whole season. I'm legitimately excited about this character now.

Doing God's work

Brother Sam doesn't run. He's been given a charge. After a fine evening, spent with a new friend, Brother Sam slides the doors wide to his garage. Dust particles fill the pillars of light filtering through the bullet holes, a grim reminder of his dangerous locale. He doesn't care. He is not afraid. He's doing God's work.

A dark figure is hiding in the shadows. Brother Sam is shocked. A split second and thunderous boom later he finds a bullet in his gut, then another. He falls to the ground, then there is a third shot. The shadowy figure, confident his work is done, calmly leaves as Brother Sam's dog walks up to the lifeless body.

Coming off the coattails of that spectacular scene with Travis and Dexter in the car, I don't even realize that I'm on the edge of my seat while this scene is starting. I'm truly stunned when I hear the gun shots and see the look on Brother Sam's face. I feel it in my gut. I have a connection with this character and I can feel the pit in my stomach sinking with him as he falls to the ground and the third shot seals the deal. What? I think to myself. Are you kidding me?! I repeat, in mere disbelief as I ponder Sam's still body ... lifeless?

There is a dark passenger hiding, waiting. Travis, unsuspecting, is suddenly at the whim of his captor. He's terrified. You can hear it. You can feel it. His terror melts away any defenses and he reveals his impotence, his failure.
There is a dark passenger hiding, waiting. Travis, unsuspecting, is suddenly at the whim of his captor. He's terrified. You can hear it. You can feel it. His terror melts away any defenses and he reveals his impotence, his failure.

Conclusion, and looking forward

Sometimes I won't even watch the "next week, on SHOW-TITLE," segments because they are essentially just spoilers intended for the casual viewer who needs precise expectations, but I couldn't help myself. I needed to know if Brother Sam was alive!

As some of you know, I've been having trouble with the Doomsday Killers. I needed more to feel connected. Travis especially felt a little hollow, and ill-defined. All of that has changed with this episode, with this fantastic episode. I'm more excited about Episode (6) than I was the season premiere, and that's a good sign! Will I see you next week?

Be peaceful on your way,

Time_Spiraling

  • Is Professor Gellar's old squeeze somehow involved in the murders?
  • The Whore of Babylon killing looks pretty gruesome. Will it be another trap or another magnificent display?
  • Does Brother Sam live?
  • What will this attack do to Dexter? Is this the payback God requires for Dexter's deal?
  • Travis is in big trouble. He's terrified. He's a failure. Is he losing faith in God? Does he have faith in God, or is he losing faith in Gellar?
  • Will Travis ultimately stand in the way of Gellar and Dexter's table?
  • Let's find out together, next week, on Dexter.

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6 comments

rorshak sobchak 5 years ago

Great hub! You did an excellent job with your write up. I am currently hooked on this show called Breaking Bad.


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Time Spiral 5 years ago from Florida Author

Thanks, Rorshak! I hope to see you next week.


starryeyed 5 years ago

Your blog is now the first place I go after watching the current Dexter episode online. I have to say I wasn't shocked Brother Sam got shot though I thought it was going to be a few more episodes. I hope he lives because, like you, I am enjoying their interplay. It will be interesting to see how Dexter interprets the attack on Brother Sam. In the preview, we hear him question if it is his fault because he killed the likely murderer's predecessor. Will he think about his bargain with God now that his new friend is in mortal peril?

oh, and when Deb opened Quinn's desk to return the ring, I was waiting for there to be an envelope labeled "Dexter" with evidence inside it. But that would be too easy. And there still hasn't been any blowback on Dexter from the sloppy tooth fairy killing. Waiting & wondering if the writers are going to just let Dexter skate this season.......


Time Spiral profile image

Time Spiral 5 years ago from Florida Author

Glad to have you, Starryeyed.

Good thoughts.

See you next week!


blackwidow8 5 years ago

Another great analysis, Time Spiral! Meant to have a response posted long before today but its almost like it was fated that I not see this weeks episode. The power went out in part of my house Sunday evening at 8:50! 10 minutes before Dexter! And of course it had to be the part of the house that runs the satellite, television, DVR etc. Ugh! So, I had to get the electricity fixed (apparently one outlet can short out and then, very much in Christmas bulb fashion, keep everything beyond the broken outlet from working - I never knew that) ... then wait for Dexter to be broadcast again so the DVR could record it ... then find time to watch it!

But anyway ... I completely and totally agree with you on the brilliance of the Dexter/Travis scene and love your description of it! A scene "bathed in blood" and viewed "in reflection" ... this scene is telling us so much more than we can imagine.

I've thought a bit about the questions you posed ... here are my responses:

• Is Professor Gellar's old squeeze somehow involved in the murders?

I doubt it. Mostly, I figure that she is just a way to obtain damning evidence that points the police in Gellar’s direction. BTW - I think this entire storyline is playing out too easily and I really think we should question what we think we “know” about Gellar and Doomsday. That being said … she WAS awfully quick to speak up with “Gellar has nothing to do with those murders” even though she wasn’t specifically asked about Gellar in relation to the murders (although I supposed it would be relatively easy to put two and two together to determine why the Miami PD was asking about Gellar). And then we have the box marked “Gellar” just sitting out in the open for Batista to find without much snooping. Now, I don’t know about you, but if some dude dumped me to take up with the “next pretty intern” … and then mysteriously “disappeared” for three years … I doubt the box of stuff that he left behind at my place would be sitting randomly by the desk in my house. That’s what attics or closets or dumpsters are for LOL! The explanation could be as simple as she knew Miami PD was coming to talk to her, she put two and two together and figured they would want any info on Gellar she had, so she dragged it out in advance.

If I wanted to, I’m sure could certainly create an interesting storyline that has Prof. Porter not only involved in the murders but also involved in the disappearance of Gellar … but in the end, I really think this character exists simply to advance the “Gellar is our primary person of interest” storyline in additional to making life as lieutenant more difficult for Deb (I’m no legal expert but I think one of the detectives sleeping with a witness just might cause some problems for the case) … oh, and probably also to drive a further wedge between Deb & Quinn.

• The Whore of Babylon killing looks pretty gruesome. Will it be another trap or another magnificent display?

I think it will be a magnificent display. And it will be interesting to see how they pull off the scarlet colored beast with seven heads and ten horns. (The full description of the Whore of Babylon can be found in the Book of Revelation 17: 1-18). I do have to say, while I cover my eyes for a lot of the killings in Dexter, the Doomsday murders are so impressive it is hard to not be fascinated by them. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse killing was absolutely extraordinary (as I believe you noted in your review of that episode) as was last week’s Angel of Death killing. Even the creepy, crawly snakes murder was morbidly captivating. Dexter should win some awards in art direction this year, that’s for sure!

• Does Brother Sam live?

I hope so, but unfortunately I think he will not. And I will miss this character. I truly enjoy every scene between Brother Sam and Dex. I would like to take a moment, however, to point out something from that scene that stood out glaringly (to me at least LOL) … the shooter was someone that knows Brother Sam and knows him well. If you remember, when Brother Sam was shot the dog did nothing … he didn’t bark, he didn’t attack … nothing. Ok now … I’m assuming that this is the same dog that almost ate Dexter on the night he showed up at Brother Sam’s garage to get his “garage door opener.” That dog would have ripped out Dexter’s throat if Sam didn’t call him off … or Dexter didn’t use his syringe first. If this was some random person come to get revenge for Julio … like is insinuated in the previews, do you really think that the dog would have been complacent about the intruder? Or would the dog have attacked, like he did when he went after Dexter a few episodes ago?

• What will this attack do to Dexter? Is this the payback God requires for Dexter's deal?

This is an interesting question. And will more than likely have an interesting outcome. Will we continue to see the rational, methodical serial killing Dexter who chooses his victims using Harry’s code? Or will we see a passionate Dexter seeking revenge? The more I think about this, the more interesting it gets. Dexter has always considered himself an outsider … as something not quite human. If you remember back to the beginning, Dexter’s internal monologue frequently dealt with his inability to feel emotion like the people around him. He was logical, rational (like Mr. Spock!) and studied human emotion so that he could “act” with the appropriate emotion that a particular situation called for. But this season, we are seeing Dexter reacting in very emotional ways … especially with regard to Harrison. And I think he feels a great protectiveness toward Brother Sam (as if Sam represents what Dexter wants to be … a monster who has changed his ways … battled to keep the monster at bay and is now on the side of light). If Dexter seeks vengeance for the shooting of Brother Sam … we very well could be seeing the devolution of the “monster” as Dexter slowly evolves as a human.

• Travis is in big trouble. He's terrified. He's a failure. Is he losing faith in God? Does he have faith in God, or is he losing faith in Gellar?

Travis is losing faith in Travis.

• Will Travis ultimately stand in the way of Gellar and Dexter's table?

Travis is the key to everything. In order to destroy Gellar, Dexter will have to eliminate Travis.

Have a great Friday! And if I don't see you before, a great weekend too!


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Time Spiral 5 years ago from Florida Author

@Blackwidow,

Excellent contribution to the discussion, as per usual! I think the observation about the dog is very astute. I'm not gonna lie though, the writers have slipped up a few times (Tooth Fairy killing) and not making the dog react to an intruder could very easily just be a cardinal mistake (I hope not).

If it's intentional, and it's an "inside job" then Julio's vigilante is a red herring, or Dexter's going to maybe find out that Brother Sam is closer with these goons than we're being led to believe. Maybe there's a sheep's outfit in Sam's closet after all?! Could this ultimately lead to a blow in Dexter's softening exterior to an idea like faith?

"The box labeled Gellar" could very well be a huge tell. Why on earth would she have such valuable and personal belongings to someone so ritualistic? Why does Gellar not have possession of a personal journal? *sigh* I really hope they don't go "I see dead people ..." on us. That would piss me off.

See you all Monday!

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