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Dexter Review of Season (6) Episode (4): A Horse of a Different Color
How is Colin Hanks doing as Travis Marshall?
By: Time Spiral
October 24th, 2011, Tampa - **SPOILERS**
Previously, on Dexter ... In my review of Episode (3) Smokey in the Bandit, Dexter goes off on a side-mission to hunt down the Tooth Fairy. Travis and his Dark Shepherd terrorize their victim and then mutilate his body for their next display. The Brother Sam story arc was largely ignored. And Dexter drops his box!
In Dexter's 6th Season, Episode (4): A Horse of a Different Color we see a few trends. (1) Episodes with Brother Sam tend to be better than ones where his arc is downplayed. (2) The Doomsday killer(s) are pretty hard to take seriously and (3) Quinn is reverting to a near comedy-relief role. Now, let's dive into an Episode that I thought pulled some momentum back into this season.
The Dark Shepherd, also known as Professor Gellar.
Dexter is called onto the scene. Four horses, adorned with grotesque mannequins and dead-jogger amalgamations, shocks Dexter upon his arrival. The shock and awe (of a truly spectacular scene!) quickly steps aside and allows elation, and even inspiration, to creep onto Dexter's face. Dexter is learning that this new killer is wildly imaginative and it thrills him!
The team finally learns that they're dealing with a Biblical nut obsessed with the Book of Revelations. Some clever investigation work, and likely a little luck, leads them right to the wacko Professor James Gellar himself. He even comes equipped with a nut-job website and an ancient Biblical sword!
The Doomsday duo is not really working for me ...
My favorite part, and what I think could be the saving grace here, about the Travis / Professor relationship is that it is obviously being strained by Travis' apparent super-naivete. Several episodes have revealed him as a human, with very human needs and desires, with a near 100% disconnect from his murderous zealot-like tendencies. This is strange, but the strain it is causing on his relationship with Gellar is very interesting to me!
The latest killing by the Doomsday killer(s), the falling angel, is just riddled with problems. And maybe this is not a bad thing, but the chink in their armor that will allow Dexter to catch them. For instance:
- They didn't kill the girl. They rigged a trap.
- The killing was 100% reliant on them walking through that one entrance and then tripping one of the wires. What if that didn't happen? What if they came in the side, or spotted the wires? They'd be identified and shut down so quick.
- Such egregious errors seem very unlikely for such methodical and meticulous killers.
- They killed a girl who was publicly seen with Travis. She was literally with Travis the night before and now she is dead. That is a direct relationship that should be easy enough to uncover.
- Travis was at the crime scene! WTF?
There is clearly some big Revelations-inspired plot going on here, but what is it? Does Gellar think that they are going to usher in the end of days? I mean ... Come on. What is really motivating them? Travis seems like a complete and total tool. Why is he so motivated by Gellar? I don't get it. The whole concept behind this killers is taking a little too long to make sense. But, maybe that is by design and everything will come together as they get closer to these wackos.
Deb is doing well, and Quinn is, well ... comedy relief?
Deb, surprisingly, is knocking it out of the park. Mike Anderson, her new detective is sharp, professional, and already earning brownie points. During the press conference she drops the F-bomb, cuts straight to the chase, and inadvertently increases her prestige with the DC. All of this to the chagrin of LaGuerta who is getting what is coming to her.
Quinn ... Oh, Quinn. If you've read my previous reviews, you know that I'm waiting for Quinn to pick back up on Dexter's trail. It's such an obvious plot-point. It almost makes less sense that he would give it up, especially now that he and Deb are through, than it does that he is just willing to let it go. Or, am I really being led to believe that he bought into Dexter's flimsy ploy in the last season and truly thinks he had it wrong all along?
Who knows ... What we do know is that Quinn has been shuffled to the back burner in this episode and is essentially serving as comedy relief and a stressor for Mike Anderson. But, the scene with him and Batista toking on the grass was pretty ridiculous and I got a good laugh out of it. But, I want Quinn back on Dexter's trail! But, it looks like my theory my be a bust.
Brother Sam and Dexter making deals with the ...
The strongest element of the Horse of a Different Color episode was the Brother Sam story arc. Mos Def (playing Brother Sam) is doing a fantastic job and his interplay with Hall (Dexter) is genuine and believable.This season is pushing Dexter into new character territory. He cares more for his son and his legacy than ever before.
Dexter's son gets appendicitis. It is a fairly common, but brutally painful condition. They rush to the hospital. Brother Sam catches wind of the incident and heads to the hospital by his own volition. Dexter is vulnerable and touched by the unexpected company. While waiting, and after hearing an extremely revealing story about Brother Sam's tortured past, Dexter makes a deal with God in his lowest moment. God happily responds and lets Dexter drink his coffee.
But did he make a deal with God? Is something or someone going to force his hand? Dexter dropped his box in the last episode and that was left completely untouched in this episode. I was a little disappointed by that, but maybe this is a representation of the chaos brought about by that event.
Closing thoughts on a Horse of a Different Color
As I was wrong about my Quinn theory, it appears I am also incorrect about Brother Sam. It appeared, for a while, that he was merely a wolf in sheep's clothing. But now, he appears to be positioned as a Biblical expert, one that Dexter will almost certainly call upon to help him catch the Doomsday Killer(s).
The Doomsday Killer(s) are getting sloppy and Colin Hanks (playing Travis Marshall) is utterly unimpressive in his role. I simply don't buy it. He is murdering people with ancient swords and managing his love and family life all with the same demeanor. It just feels so disingenuous. But, then again, that is pretty psychopathic. However, the interesting dynamic discovered by Dexter is that one of them is inherently sloppy and aggressive, while the other is fastidiously concerned with detail and perfection. But which is which?
My guess is that Travis is the sloppy one. But, it could go either way. I feel like this episode was stronger than last weeks and is pushing the series in a stronger direction, but next week really, strongly, needs to work on defining the Doomsday killers and why they're doing what they're doing.
Be peaceful on your way,
Closing thoughts and looking forward ...
- CG locusts? That felt really weird.
- So, Quinn is just lost and confused? He's really abandoning the Dexter trail?
- Well, the hot intern arc completely fizzled as a non-issue. Oh well.
- Is Deb getting propped up as a fall-guy? What's the deal here?
- Is Colin Hanks doing well in his role? What do you think?
- See you next week!