'Dexter' recap: Gellar’s been got
If you predicted the twist in tonight’s episode, how did realizing you were right make you feel? Pretty smart or slightly let down? I realized that with (A) Everything being as it seemed, and (B) What actually happened, I would have actually preferred (C) Something entirely different that would have caught me completely off-guard. Being right isn’t always fun.
Maybe because I semi-knew what was coming (thanks to Showtime opting not to release a screener of the episode, I figured there was a huge twist coming), I felt a little let down by tonight’s A story. Although waiting for the shocker in the last 10 minutes was fun, I felt some Dark Passenger fatigue. I prefer it when Dexter’s a happy killer, satisfied in his ability to compartmentalize his lives as a murderer, blood analyst, brother and father. I enjoyed the Brother Sam story earlier in the season, but tonight I felt frustrated by Dexter’s continued interest in other people’s redemption. It seemed so foolish of him to trust Travis. Even if Travis expressed remorse over helping Gellar kill those people, he still helped Gellar kill those people. Didn’t Dexter help Lumen murder the accomplices in her assault last season? His newfound willingness to trust was getting exasperating. There’s a difference between being forgiving and just being dumb.
Anyway, in the episode, Travis promises to help Dexter find Gellar. Dexter thinks he’s discovered Gellar’s next victim, an avowedly atheist professor, so Dexter sets out to find him (by calling the university and playing a student who is at once disgruntled with his grade yet who also claims not to know where his class is). Dexter and Travis try to intercept Gellar before he gets to professor Casey, but wouldn’t you know it, Dexter closes his eyes at the exact moment Travis sees Gellar and then also happens to get trapped in an elevator for about the amount of time it would take for a murder to occur. Casey ends up dead, and eventually Miami Metro gets splattered with buckets of blood, “Carrie”-style.
Another “surprise” in tonight’s episode that wasn’t such a surprise was the discovery that it was Deputy Chief Matthews, after all, who was behind the dead-call-girl case that LaGuerta pressured Deb to close. How could Matthews have been so foolish and careless? And why didn’t LaGuerta just let him fall? She’s already gotten a promotion out of him for knowing about old dirty laundry of his, so what more could she get out of protecting him? We’ll see what LaGuerta will do to stop Deb.
Also, what’s up with these creepy interns? Why can’t Masuka pick non-weirdos to work for him? Maybe his inability to recognize freaks means he’s not actually a freak.
I do continue to like “New Deb.” Thanks to her therapist. Debra realizes that she can’t change Dexter and seems willing to accept that. The therapist also gently suggests that Deb can change her pattern of unfortunate choices: “I know that I am broken,” Deb says, and she hears back, “Do you know that you don’t have to be?” It was interesting that in tonight’s episode Harry got raked over the coals, both as Deb’s absent father and as a role model upon whom Dexter can improve, for Harrison’s sake.
Eventually, Dexter chases down Gellar in the church. He finds Travis unconscious on the floor and discovers a hatch that leads to an area below the altar. In the crawlspace, Dexter discovers a deep freezer holding the — wait for it! — dead frozen body of professor Gellar. That’s right, kids, he’s been dead the whole time. Travis is Gellar (and Finkle is Einhorn.) And now Travis is coming after Dexter.
The one theme I did pick up on in the episode that I hope to see more of is less the idea of sin and redemption than that of dark, scary, torturous hell. I noticed that when Dexter was tracking down professor Casey, he said “Stay behind me” to Travis, which could be a play on “Get thee behind me, Satan.” And then there’s the whole image of Dexter going below ground to find Gellar, not to mention the contrast of the good influence of the happy nuns at Harrison’s school. Maybe I’m reaching here, or maybe it’s my Catholic upbringing that just gave me the heebie-jeebies during the scary dark church scenes. Light and dark is a simple topic that Dexter’s already handled: I’d like to see how he’d wrestle with the devil himself.
— Claire Zulkey
Photo: Jennifer Carpenter as Debora Morgan, Michael C. Hall as Dexter, C.S. Lee as Vince Masuka and David Zayas as Angel Batista (Season 6, Episode 9). Photo credit: Randy Tepper/Showtime.