Dexter, Review of Episode (8) Sin of Omission (Season [6])

By Time Spiral
November 21st, 2011 **SPOILERS**

Read what happened previously, on Dexter Episode (7) Nebraska, Season (6).

I take a pull from my freshly poured Winter Lager. I marvel at the taste of such a wonderful beer as I flip through Dexter's title sequence. I'm eagerly anticipating jumping right into a thrilling episode that takes us deeper into the final half of Season (6). The episode was surprisingly slow feeling when you take into consideration all of the major things that happened.

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Gellar and his typical Houdini act

It's Sister-time! Travis continues to escalate his relationship with his Sister. She's surprised to see him cooking breakfast, and would be even more surprised if he saw his little encounter out by the garbage cans. Travis comes back into the house, obviously disturbed, still carrying the bag of garbage. He follows up that strangeness with an out-of-the-blue "Let's go to Disney land!" request.

Travis has a face to face with Dexter and decides it is imperative that he tell his Sister to get out of town. He's on his way to do just that when he sees a lady-cop walking down from his front doorstep. He continues riding and decides to met his Sister at school. He creepily hides behind some shed, on a school campus, and is surprised when Gellar shows up wielding a shovel. A quick snap of the wrist later and Travis is out.

Miami metro later finds Travis' sister propped in the middle of the schoolyard as the Whore of Babylon.

I was really expecting to see some major advancement in the "Gellar Mystery" in this episode, but we didn't get it. I knew since the first scene with Travis' Sister in it (Episode [1]) that she was going to play a major role in Travis' struggle against the clearly dominant Gellar, but I was unsure if she would survive. One thing I was sure of, I thought they would drag her storyline out, maybe even all the way to the finale. And rightfully so, I thought.

A few interesting moments, in regards to the Gellar mysteries, did happen in this episode. Gellar knocks out Travis with a shovel. Travis wakes and finds himself chained to the floor of their lair. Gellar tells him that his Sister is dead. Dexter actually chases Gellar down, but never actually sees him. This is all excruciatingly ambiguous as each incident could be metaphorical, and if it is, the writers are really pushing the boundaries of acceptable metaphor in TV programming. It's almost a betrayal of the viewer's trust in what they're seeing at this point.

Watch out, Louis! The LuGuerta Conspiracy, and poor Deb ...

Batista gets protective over his Sister's new interest in that sweater-vest guy who's got a man-crush on Dexter. He flashes his gat over a beer at dinner, flaunting a false bravado.

LaGuerta shows up to the crime scene of an ostensibly open-close case and asks to be copied on the medical examiner's report. She later meets Deb in the Lady's room and pushes for the case to be closed. Deb, obviously suspecting conspiracy, contacts Dexter and learns there could be more to the case.

Deb meets with the shrink again, completely frustrated with Dexter. She gets some sagely advice and realizes that maybe she's been pushing Dexter out. She decides an attempt to make amends and bridge the gap.

An inordinate amount of time was spent on the tertiary arcs in this episode. And incidentally, much of everything was related to "Sisters." Dexter's, Batista's, and Travis' Sisters all play critical roles in the delivery of this episode (no brothers, lol?). I personally just found it - odd. There was a clear focus on Deb's relationship with Dexter occurring at the same time Travis' is getting butchered, and I get that parallel, but why the inclusion of Batista's sister and this sweater-vest guy?! I don't know, seems like a waste of screen time.

Brother Sam teaches Dexter to speak Travis' language: The Word of God.

The vice is closing on Dexter's scheme. It's only a matter of time before Deb and her team put Travis in their cross-hairs, and ultimately, Gellar. Dexter infiltrates the museum (rather easily) and confronts Travis. Travis is terrified, but soon learns that Dexter has a dark side and is willing to use that to rid him of Gellar. They're cut short. Dexter does not get through to him.

Dexter receives a bloodied Holy Bible from Brother Sam's ash spreading ceremony. "All the answers are in this book," says the preacher-friend to Dexter. The book is blood-stained, worn, and well-annotated (by Sam). Dexter realizes that Brother Sam can help him at least one more time in his plan to "save Travis," as we hear him utter to himself as he flips through the pages. (This entire scene is filled with extraordinary imagery; very well done scene.)

Dexter, now Biblical Scholar, attempts to impress Travis with his new knowledge of God's word, but it doesn't work. Travis is unimpressed and ups Dexter's skill level by referencing the chapter, verse, and inherent meaning of the passage, which is also the episode title. Either way, driven by fear, Travis agrees to help Dexter catch Gellar.

The ordained.

Superb detective work (and some weird search engine plug) reveals the name of an old man. Dexter finds himself face-to-face with the ordained; an old catholic priest, far gone with dementia. Dexter turns to leave, "This man is far too gone," he says to himself.

"You must confess," says the old man, a glitter of sharpness remaining in his stern visage.

"I've killed people," Dexter says quietly. "Many people."

"Ahh, murder. A cardinal sin," says the old man. "I absolve you of all your sins."

In this spectacular scene we see Dexter once again amazed with what he finds in the alien world of religion. He learns that all he has to do is confess his sins and this old man is empowered to absolve him of those sins. Whether he likes it or not, whether he finds it insane or not, Dexter finds himself contemplating an aspect of himself thought to be completely impossible: the light. His inexperience with such things is succinctly demonstrated when he utters the line, "You can do that?" referencing the priest's ability to forgive sins.

Dexter's character really is treading new ground in this season. It's too bad that it's wrapped up in a primary story arc that is only mildly entertaining, if not more frustrating than anything.

Gellar is surprisingly agile!

Lighter in his step, Dexter prepares to find Gellar in the abandoned church. He's shocked to see Deb in his apartment cooking steaks (Normally a welcome surprise). Dexter is forced to blow her off so he can satiate his addiction, his sinister addiction. Deb, crippled by the repeated emotional berating from Dexter, pleas for him to see her, to be with her, to talk to her ... to stay.

Dexter hears the pleas, but also hears the summoning of his dark passenger. He leaves Deb at his apartment and mysteriously disappears into the night - to find Gellar.

Dexter finds Travis chained to the floor of his lair. His arms are burned badly. Travis gives away Gellar's location with an involuntary glance. Dexter turns, arms his M99, and darts up the stairs. He turns the corner. He smells blood in the water. He's got him! But Gellar is gone. There is a secret exit at the back of the loft.

Conclusion

Major things happen in this episode. There is a tremendous amount of character development potential. Dexter stresses his relationship with Deb to the max. He almost finds Gellar. He decides to save Travis. Dexter confesses, in the open, that he is a serial killer to a complete stranger. He shows his face, and his intention to Travis. Harry does not make a single appearance or utter a single line. How lost or found is Dexter, really?

Too bad all of these major developments are happening amidst some really strange pacing, narrative, and utterly unremarkable storytelling. Each episode this season is following the same unintended format: Two, maybe three scenes are done extremely, extremely well. The characters are in unfamiliar territory, and are growing. But every episode feels disjointed, suffers from awkward pacing, and do not tie into each other very well.

Dexter's season (6) is runing out of Episodes. Showtime has announced the signing of Michael C. Hall to Season's (7) and (8). Is Season (6) going down in the books as a bust? I hope not. There is still hope (pun intended).

Be peaceful on your way,

Time_Spiraling

  • How in the hell did Gellar set up that elaborate tableau in the middle of a schoolyard?!
  • Are they leading up to something with Dexter and Deb's relationship?
  • What was with that line, "do you think Dexter is going to kill you?" uttered by the shrink?
  • Aren't you dying to unravel the new LaGuerta conspiracy?
  • That sweater-vest guy is obsessed with Dexter. Will this side-character completely fizzle like that blonde chick? Yes.
  • Did Dexter actually say his goal is to "save" Travis? Yes. He did. WHAT. THE. F%$#.
  • So, doesn't it seem obvious now that the writers are being purposefully ambiguous with Gellar's mystery? How do they wrap this up?
  • Will you be tremendously disappointed if Gellar is imaginary? I will.
  • Oh yeah ... Quinn did stuff and got drunk. Forgot about that, lol.
  • See you next week!

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2 comments

HJP 5 years ago

Great review.


Time Spiral profile image

Time Spiral 5 years ago from Florida Author

Thanks, HJP!

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