Dexter's implausible reveal

"Dexter" builds to its season finale too neatly -- and with unneeded lowbrow humor

Published November 28, 2011 12:19PM (EST)


This recap contains spoilers for "Dexter" season six, episode nine; read at your own risk.

Typical, right? In a season defined by lowered expectations, the half-season-long tease regarding The Doomsday Killer’s true identity does not end with flair or fun.

No “She's my sister and my daughter!” or a “Soylent Green is people!” here. Instead of a crescendo of blood-freezing creepiness or even some honest kitsch showmanship, we get a couple shots of the real Professor Gellar frozen like an academic popsicle, and thank you, loyal "Dexter" viewers!

So yes, it’s been meek, mild, incest-crazed Travis all along. And forget the utter physical impossibility of his crimes; this is "Dexter," dude, where logic and geographic implausibility have disappeared like First Amendment rights at an Occupy Wall Street march.

It’s also a show that’s split into three totally discrete organisms.

There’s the mordant black comedy about an increasingly unlikely/unlikeable yet awesome Dad and spiritual serial killer (Michael C. Hall). And there’s another "Dexter," a lowbrow comedy which skirts the line of racial and gender stereotyping.

Finally, in another universe entirely, there’s a serious show about a real person, Dex’s non-biological sister, Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter). Increasingly, "Dexter" is really about Deb, her separation from her brother, her childhood, and her own limitations yet tentative-but-determined growth.

As “Get Gellar” opens, Dexter is obsessing over the idea that he can still use Brother Sam’s Bible teachings to save Travis from becoming a full-blown serial killer. (Apparently, with only three kills to date, Travis is still only partially blown.)

As you’ll recall, "Dexter’s" plots have been increasingly powered by a device I’ve dubbed “Miracle Clue.” Miracle Clue is like having a character fall out of a spaceship, say “Wow, it would be outstanding if I had a spacesuit!” and find one right in front of them next to a rock, along with the PIN for the bad guy’s nuke. Except "Dexter's" have been even less believable.

This week’s use of Miracle Clue was… hilarious.

Dexter and Travis are talking about what they assume will be Gellar’s next murderous installation artwork, the “Bowls of Wrath.” Dexter just happens to notice “2LOT” written in the painting. He rifles through the 50 odd manuscripts, books, and papers and one at random, thumbs through it and accidentally finds a parking stub that says “2LOT.”

Oh, it just gets better.

Dex apparently then does a computer search that brings him to the University of Miami and a web page that has to do with the Second Law of Thermo Dynamics. A couple clicks, and he locates a world famous scientist/atheist who Dexter immediately figures is Gellar’s next victim -- because “2LOT,” “Bowls of Wrath” and atheism just go together like… well, they don’t go together at all, but the show insists.

Now for some random observations, because at various junctures, especially when the narrative is building up steam, the writers randomly cut to the following. Why, I have no idea:

Masuka (C.S. Lee), the show’s resident pervert, teaches his intern Louis (Josh Greene) how to win over Jamie (Aimee Garcie), Dex’s nanny. “When it comes to matters of the heart always follow your dick.” And thank you, Masuka.

Quinn (Desmond Harrington) and Angel (David Zayas) go to a hot stripper’s house to find the gun Quinn left in her car after a long night of drinking. Except it’s not with the hottie — it’s with her fat mom! Because fat women are hilarious! Then they man-fight on a lawn regarding the size of their real and metaphorical testicles. There’s more stuff like this but I’m done — it’s too depressing.

And now  —show three. Deb in therapy. Seriously, does Showtime offer insurance for writer whiplash? Anyway, Carpenter hits everything outta the park. When the therapist notes that her problem is that she sees tables and kept trying to make them into chairs, Deb resists, but seeing a usable metaphor, you see the excitement grow at a new way of thinking. When she runs into Dexter she practically glows: “I get it, you’re a chair.”

Deb’s not mean, she’s just working this growth thing out. Process is fascinating to watch. Give this woman a show, already.

As for Dex and Travis — they play cat and mouse trying to find Gellar, who at this point is pretty obviously Not Real.

Meanwhile, the Miami P.D. locates The Doomsday Killer’s latest victim and yes, it is the Bowls of Wrath and yep, the victim is that atheist scientist (is there any other kind?).

He’s laying on a stage, missing a hand, his belly burned with Doomsday’s Alpha-Omega logo and emptied of innards. But it seems that “Gellar” is a big "Carrie" fan; while mucking about his body cavity, guts and blood rain gruesomely down on all assembled.

Wow! Gross, right? Show’s really building some steam, yeah?

Yeah… it is. Deb steam! Back at police headquarters, Captain Laguerta tells Deb not to open The Dead Callgirl Case. I’m not being obnoxious -- she calls it that. Remember when Laguerta was a textured, fascinating character? Not anymore. Deb tells her to stuff it.

Dexter, meanwhile, is freaked at being called a chair. He tries to smooth things out with Debra. No can do. “I don’t want a chair,” Deb says, “I want a table.” Dexter finally has the brains to look frightened. He’s losing her.

Unfortunately, season six randomness kicks in, as everything stops on a dime so we can watch Louis show off his cool hipster digs to Jamie. Seriously.

Then, finally, as if the show runners were annoyed they even had to get to it, we get the big reveal.  Travis looks dead. He isn’t. Dex chases “Gellar” around the church. He finds a door in the floor, opens it, and right there — a refrigerator. And inside — Gellar, frozen in his cardigan. Boo.

By Ian Grey


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