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'Dexter' recap: The ultimate Judas

November 6, 2011 | 10:00 pm












I almost -- almost -- felt sorry for Joey Quinn in the latest episode. The dude is imploding, what with possibly botching the Doomsday Killer case to making a fool of himself in front of his ex-fiance/boss to goading his partner into punching him in the face. But as I’ve always said: I hate Quinn. Maybe it’s time for him to go to rehab. Rehab for jerks.

On to more pressing issues. After last week’s shooting, it turns out that Brother Sam is alive, but just barely. Dexter wants to avenge his friend’s death and makes it his mission to track down Leo Hernandez, who is now leading Julio’s gang (Dexter previously killed Julio, the former mentor of Nick, whom Sam baptized.) Before Dexter can track down Leo, Miamo Metro gets to him first, and Dexter’s would-be victim dies in a shootout. Looking at the garage surveillance video afterward, however, Dexter realizes that Nick, Brother Sam’s would-be prodigal son, is actually Sam’s killer. At the hospital, where Sam is on his deathbed, Dexter tells Sam that he knows who shot him, but perhaps unsurprisingly, Sam says: “Give Nick a message -- that I forgive him.” “You don’t know me,” Dexter protests, but Sam says “Yes, I do. I know about the darkness but I also see the light.” Harry appears to advise Dexter to heed his friend’s dying wish and just let go of the grudge.

There is another sign of mercy in this episode. Travis asks Gellar if he can give painkillers to the woman they’ve kidnapped (who pleads that she has a son) and Gellar accuses him of “slacking off” (and when it comes to “slacking off,” it possibly means failing to bring about the end of the world, which is a lot of pressure to put on poor, fragile Travis.)  Travis, possibly sick of blood and doom, goes and visits his sister, who is teaching a children’s art class. “They’re so full of dreams, and with all the time in the world to make them come true,” Lisa says, and Travis looks sad, as if he for some reason doesn’t want to see them all destroyed.

Back at the church, Professor Gellar questions Travis’ intentions, ordering him to brand his victim with the alpha/omega symbol. I wasn’t sure what we’d see next, but the professor’s painting of the whore of Babylon featured a woman with blood coming down from her head (sort of like what Travis saw on the professor’s head last week). I cringed, getting ready to hear some horrific “I’ve-just-been-branded!” screaming after Travis enters his victim’s cell, but he takes her out to the beach and lets her loose, telling her she has been freed. Maybe it had something to do with hanging out with those innocent little kids who all need their mommies, but is it possible that Travis saw the light?

Not so for Dexter. He confronts Nick about the murder, and Nick fesses up, saying that he killed Sam because: “He gave me hope, but nothing changed. He lied to me.” “Brother Sam forgives you for gunning him down,” Dexter says, and Nick is momentarily remorseful until he learns that Sam is dead and he literally is going to get away with murder, which fills him with glee. So Dexter, in a fit of fury, drowns him.

So how do you feel about Dexter disobeying Sam’s final wish? I think I should be disappointed in him for not being able to see the light, but I don’t think Sam thought Nick would turn out to be so inherently evil. Sam believed in Nick’s light, but he was wrong. Then again, I don’t watch this show because I want Dexter to become a better person. I watch him because he’s a murderer. I loved the irony of Dexter drowning Nick in the same waters in which he was baptized and I felt a strange sense of excitement to see Brian Moser, Dexter’s brother, show up as the embodiment of Dexter’s darkness. As much as I liked Brother Sam and was sorry to see him go, I still love the dark side of Dexter. I think Dexter does too.


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-- Claire Zulkey

Photo: Michael C. Hall as Dexter. Credit: Randy Tepper / Showtime