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?
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.
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?
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,
- 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.