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Dexter, Review Episode (6) Just Let Go - (Season )
By Time Spiral
November 7th, 2011, Tampa - **SPOILERS**
Previously, on Dexter ... The pre-mid-season Dexter Episode (5) of Season (6) The Angel of Death closed strong with two blood-chilling scenes. Dexter confronts Travis, his face reflecting red brake lights in a symbolically powerful interrogation, and Brother Sam is betrayed in the sanctity of his workplace. We're left wondering - will Brother Sam live? What will this do to Dexter? Quinn and Batista uncover some incredibly damning evidence, and Quinn decides to taint it all (literally).
Now, for Dexter's episode (6) of season (6): Just let go. Blood on one shelf, bologna on the other. The dog, man. The dog. Do they really need to make it that obvious? And Deb's stressed out confessions all appear to be symptoms of Dexter being in somewhat of a mid-season lull. However, the fact that this episode was a little slow, does not mean it is without significant weight. Travis is losing his cool. A likely twist ends up striking a dissonant chord with Dexter. And once again, an otherwise slow-paced episode rocks us with two profound scenes/arcs.
Thumb on the rumor's pulse: Professor Gellar
That's a lot of blood, and the Gellar Rumors
Travis was not spooked enough by Dexter to flat out abandon the city, and leave Gellar in the dust, but he is certainly coming unraveled at the seams. Walking through a market, gathering materials for the Whore of Babylon killing, he reveals to Gellar that his conviction is wavering. For the first time we here Gellar utter, "we are the chosen ones," as opposed to only referring to Travis (you) as the chosen one.
The soon-to-be whore of Babylon is in agony. Bound, blind, and broken she sits in captivity. Her cries of pain grate on Travis's nerves as he skillfully lets blood into a large jar. He can hardly contain himself. Reluctantly he leaves a plate of food at his captive's feet and turns away, leaving her pleas in the dark.
The rumors circulating about Gellar need to be addressed in the open.
Certainly, unless this is the only review series you're keeping tabs on, you've heard the rumors, that fans, and reviewers alike, seem to think Professor Gellar is dead, or simply a figment of Travis' imagination. It's a fine theory, and may very well prove to be true, but I don't think it is rock solid. I'm not really on board with it.
As I alluded to in the beginning of this season, they are clearly setting up Travis and Gellar as a "shadow boss-fight" for Dexter, where he is essentially up against himself. It's extremely obvious: Travis leads two lives, has a loving sister, and is apparently enthralled with a dark passenger of his own (who I referred to as a dark shepherd until he was revealed by the show as the professor). But does that have to mean that his dark passenger is also a figment of his imagination, like Harry?
Believers of the rumors feel it is all too obvious. You never actually see Gellar committing the crimes, or interacting with anyone but Travis, they say, but then again, we haven't seen any of the killings yet. Believers will say Gellar does not interact with doors (read: real objects) but that is not entirely true. He's interacted with a car door, you see him painting with utensils, or doing other activities in the lair. In this episode, he specifically references himself and is using a brush (you hear the brush hit the table when he places it down).
What's my take?
I'm not sure. I've included a bonus pic from the next episode. Gellar might be dead, and I'm going to be a little disappointed. But, he might be alive, and still be a figment, I don't know. The one element that makes no sense to me right now is why Professor Porter has a box of handwritten journals detailing the entire plan ... Gellar, except under extreme circumstances, would never leave such a valuable artifact behind.
However, this could be an elaborate trick by the writers. The believers have said it is "too obvious." But then they've (writers) also left breadcrumbs that it may not be what it seems. Dexter already noticed, behaviorally, that there must be two people. Gellar has manipulated objects, like car doors and items in the lair. Could Gellar just be insulating himself from the crimes? Is Gellar alive an well, just not there physically? Or did/does professor Porter play a more critical role in Gellar's disappearance?
Sorry for such a long section, I just wanted to address the rumors that are pretty rampant right now.
Oh, Brother Sam. Why art thou dead?
You remember Brother Sam getting gunned down in his garage. You can still feel the pit in your stomach drop as you were either effected on a character-level, or upset on a meta-show level. Either way, I'm sure Brother Sam getting shot like a dog affected you. See what I did there?
I mentioned the dog. In my last review one of my readers commented on how obvious it was that the dog did not bark or engage the attacker. Well, in case you didn't catch it in the previous episode, this episode made it so freaking obvious that Dexter was after the wrong guy and we were all taken back to the days of Lassie (come on, people). The dog barks and tells everybody that something bad happened. *sigh*
Dexter knows. His blood is boiling with rage. The code is being muddled, grayed, even forgotten. It is being replaced by emotion, by revenge. Brother Sam, having found genuine friendship in Dexter, calls him into the room after coming to from his mortal injuries.
Brother Sam is on the verge of death and he knows it. Dexter reaches out to him and shares his knowledge. Brother Sam can see the darkness within Dexter. A similar darkness he once felt and was able to fight off. "Forgive him," Brother Sam utters. "Tell him, that I forgive him."
"Just let go," says Brother Sam.
Dexter, baffled, waits in the lobby until he sees the doctor come out. He knows the news the family just received. He's been there a hundred times before. Confused, and uncomfortably emotional, Dexter leaves the hospital and runs into Ricky. "Let's go for a ride," says Dexter.
Rate the Dexter Episode (6) Just Let Go (Season )
Deb, Quinn, and the others ...
Deb spills the beans to the counselor again and gets some sagely advise to just, "be yourself." Quinn and Batista learn that Professor Porter might be more involved than they originally suspected and try to tip-toe around the obvious ridiculousness of Quinn's misconduct. Mike Anderson, being bad as hell, gets on the shot-caller's trail at about the same speed as super-detective, Dexter. He puts together a strong case, quickly, reminding the rest of the team how much like hack-jobs they are. Deb throws a party and Quinn acts the fool.
I love side stories. I love supporting characters. They are like the drum and base in a musical song. They can make a good song great, or a potentially great song very ordinary, forgettable, or even bad. So far these side stories are almost completely forgettable. I theorized in my first few reviews that maybe they were propping up some interesting storyline potentials, but it is not looking like that right now.
How in the hell have the detectives on the Doomsday case NOT asked how or why Professor Porter has such a damning box of Gellar's, ostensibly, very personal items? Did they really just find a picture book of all the Doomsday murders in this lady's apartment and not immediately arrest her and demand to know how she has these items? Come on. That's just bad.
So, we traded the cute sticky-fingered blonde for a nerdy game developer, posing as a forensic intern, who's obsessed with Dexter and sweater-vests? Ouch. Will he have any bearing on the plot? No more than the blonde did, who apparently only affected the storyline enough to bring in this meaningless dweeb. Oh well.
TL;DR - Deb's upset, and Dexter is nowhere to be found. She calls the shrink. Batista and Quinn are hacks. None of the secondary arcs really mean anything or have any connection to Dexter.
Strong closers, again!
Dexter dropped his box. His slides are out of order and unknown to him. He can feel the chaos swarming in around him. He's making mistakes, and he knows it. He was wrong about Brother Sam, the wolf in sheep's clothing, instead, he's a beacon of light for a possible salvation. Travis is weak. Gellar is the dominant one in the relationship and Travis is starting to feel the pressure.
He pulls the brand from the flames. It's red. He imagines the terrorized screams of the girl. He predicts the smell of burning flesh. As the helpless victim sits alone, in pain, in the dark, she hears her captor enter the room. Something's different, she knows, when he doesn't say anything. But she can feel the heat emanating off the red-hot brand. Now she knows. It's over.
Travis, emboldened by rebellion and guilt, decides to let the would-be Whore of Babylon go. "You're free," he says as he releases her in a park nearby and proceeds to drive away. Everything is different now.
You half-expected this to happen, but weren't sure. And that feeling is one of the takeaway gems from this episode. You were left in suspense. Travis' character was believable enough for you to genuinely wonder what would happen. And when it did, you sensed a truly important event just happened. He has openly betrayed Gellar. Can this schism be repaired? What will be his price? I think we know ...
The fork in the road.
Dexter is more confused about life than he's ever been. His dark passenger, an idea now infected by Brother Sam's benevolent message, is reminding Dexter of his light, lamenting that he never saw it in Dexter himself. Dexter cannot see it, or if he can, it's a flicker in an otherwise blackness as dark as holes within a memory (Kudos for identifying the homage).
"Explain yourself," commands Dexter as the waves gently roll onto the moonlit beach. Ricky, suspecting malfeasance, refuses to talk. Dexter prods him and informs him that he's now a murderer because Sam is dead. "But he forgives you," says Dexter. "Sam forgives you." The kid breaks down. With his face in his hands Dexter wonders if he is truly touched by Brother Sam's forgiveness. But Ricky is not thinking of anyone but himself.
He is certainly unaware of how important his next action is to Dexter. Falsely labeling Dexter as naive, and impotent, the kid starts cracking up and rejoicing in the genius happenstance of his perfect crime. Suddenly, in an outburst of rage, Dexter explodes onto the kid. Like a predator would take down a calf, the filthy villain thrashes around under water ... the same water he was reborn in. Dexter takes that life back, and snuffs it out.
His uncharacteristic rage gets a standing ovation, from his brother, Brian (dead).
Sloppy, yet refreshing.
This is twice now that Dexter has committed incredibly sloppy murders. There were several witnesses to the Tooth Fairy incident, plus he left the body to be found and examined. Several people would have seen him leave the hospital with Ricky. The beaches in South Florida are all but barren on a beautiful moonlit night. Certainly someone would have seen them. Dexter did not even look around before he tore the life force from the cocky kid's breast.
We've seen Dexter pulled into areas he has not been before. While this type of character exploration is similar to storylines in the past, rarely do we see them affecting fundamental behavior like this. Things are changing within Dexter and what more powerful a way to show it than for his dark passenger to abandon him, only to be replaced by someone far more sinister.
I'm going on record - Dexter must be punished for this sloppy behavior. We know that Travis' open rebellion against professor Gellar will be his ultimate downfall, but does Dexter share a similar fate?
In light of full disclosure ...
I came in to Dexter on Season (4). I have not seen Seasons (1), (2), or (3). While I get mixed reviews about season (2) and (3) I've heard nothing but great things about Season (1). There has not been time to go back and watch it, but I was literally left clueless when Dexter received the standing ovation from some guy on the beach. I soon learned that it was the previously referenced, Brian, the Ice Truck Killer.
So, after this season I will go back and watch season (1) but I hate spoilers, and I just feel like I won't be able to enjoy it much. Thoughts?
Conclusion and closing thoughts
This episode was pretty slow, and somewhat jarring. But overall, we're in a mid-season slump. Several arcs seem watered down, left open ended, or logically inconsistent to the point where you feel a little disappointed that the arc didn't get more attention.
But, carefully placed within the lull are moments of sheer suspense, acting brilliance, and a general sense that you cannot wait for the next episode. I just cannot wait until we get through this trough and instead of being excited about the next week and then let down save a few scenes, I'm blown away by the whole episode and actually need to see the next one.
Be peaceful on your way,
- Is Gellar alive or a figment of Travis' imagination?
- Other reviewers are spending a lot of space on this argument, and are doing a fine job, so I will leave that to them. While I may not agree that they are right, they are making a strong case. It just seems a little too obvious, and doesn't smell right.
- What is all that freaking blood for, sitting on the shelf above lunch? *shudders*
- Dexter is in emotional turmoil, he's making mistakes, his dark passenger may have left him ... but he has avoided any and all peril. He is not being threatened at all. Will that change? Will his lose-ends and mistakes make the second half of this season even more stressful for Dexter?
- What is with the dweeby sweater-vest intern guy? I wish the side-stories related to Dexter a little more than not at all.
- Will Travis ultimately pay the price for his betrayal with his Sister's life? Or will she be saved, and live to tell the tale?
- Is everyone else enjoying Mike Anderson as much as I am? He's more like "bad ass" relief, whereas Quinn and Batista are the buffoonish comedy relief team.
- Did anyone else feel a little sexual tension between Deb and the Doc? Is Showtime trying to tap into a new demographic here?
- Will Dexter eventually be more involved in Doomsday? Right now they almost feel like an unrelated plot line. Dexter's inner struggle and his relationship with Brother Sam have basically been the entire season so far.
- See you next week!