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'Dexter' recap: The false prophet

December 4, 2011 | 10:00 pm

DexterTravisGellarOh brother (Sam). As I’ve read other recaps over the past several weeks, I’ve sensed that I’ve been more positive than most critics have regarding this season of “Dexter.” But I’m going to have to put down my pompoms right about here. Tonight’s episode just felt messy compared with the best Dexter’s been, slack where it should have been taut and ridiculous when previously I’ve been willing to go along for the ride.  

Picking up from last week, Dexter finds Popsicle Gellar. Then ensues some of the clunkiest, most redundant exposition I’ve ever seen on this show. “Travis! You killed Gellar!” Dexter says unnecessarily. Then, Travis and Gellar have a “conversation” that fills us in with all the subtlety of a jackhammer. “You killed me, Travis,” Gellar says. “Then you stuck me in the freezer.” “I have to stop him,” Dexter says, in case we weren’t sure what exactly he’d plan on doing next.

I liked the angle that Dexter wants to kill Travis as much for personal revenge as to catch a criminal, but his methods of throwing off the police (using a disembodied hand to put prints on Travis’ sword) and trying to trap Travis (by posting on Gellar’s blog) just struck me as tremendous time-wasters. What happened to Dexter the ruthless tracker and killer? These seemed more like Scooby-Doo type traps.


Travis, newly committed to recapturing Holly Benson and setting about the end of the world, recruits some help in the form of disciples Steve Dorsey and his wife, Beth, (played, disconcertingly, by My Boys’ Jordana Spiro). They catch Holly (who seems pretty well-adjusted after having been kidnapped, forced to drink blood and let go) on her boyfriend’s yacht, the Ricochet Rabbit, where Steve and Travis kill her. Travis also gets to work on his newest project, something called Wormwood, which will finally end the world. I was slightly disappointed that after the displays of the falling blood and stomach-snakes and dead angels, Wormwood is apparently just going to be a plain old poisonous gas bomb. Hey Travis, where and when did you get that hazmat suit and bomb-making material, anyway? Oh, nevermind.

It’s too bad Batista let his partner be a totally useless detective for so long, because now it’s really come around to bite him in the tuchus. In the last several episodes, Joey Quinn has gone from merely troubled to an easy punchline of a jerk. After sleeping in his car and then later his desk, he’s unrepentant when Batista orders him to get his act together. And now, Quinn’s the ultimate bad partner. After tracking down Beth, Batista gets nailed by a cross when Travis attacks him with a crucifix. Bastista’s all alone with no backup: Quinn’s nowhere to be seen, after failing to meet up with his partner. I can’t believe that the writers missed the chance for Travis and Beth to freak out over the fact that they have a fallen Angel on their hands.

I’m still not positive what’s going to happen to Deb Morgan. Other critics are positive she’s going to be ejected as Lieutenant thanks to LaGuerta and Matthews. I’m still holding onto the theory, though, that Dexter will serve Travis up on a plate for her and she’ll hold onto her job because she’ll be the hero who caught the Doomsday Killer. I really hope she’s not pregnant, per Dexter’s suggestion that that was what caused her panic attack in the church. I’m not completely sure about the timeline of the season, but I do think it’s been more than a month since she and Quinn broke up and tonight’s episode. If, god forbid, that is the case, and she gets terminated, maybe she can file a discrimination suit if she gets fired for being pregnant. I don’t know what to think anymore. I do imagine a pregnant Deb Morgan would swear even more than non-pregnant Deb.

Chasing down Travis, Dexter wastes some more time by looking at security videos of the stolen Ricochet Rabbit. Finally, he reaches the boat but, thinking he’s killing his prey, he murders Steve, who’s now wearing the hazmat suit instead. “No! I’m just supposed to set things right!” exclaims Dexter. “Wormwood can’t be stopped!” Steve promises before dying. Harry advises Dexter just to turn this one over to the cops, but Dexter temporarily resists, blaming his father for the murderous pickle he’s in. Finally, in an echo from the first episode of the season, Dexter picks up the phone and dials 911.

Aside from the 911 callback, there were a few other parts of the episode that I found clever, like Harry mocking Travis (and Dexter at the same time) for “talking to someone who isn’t there.” I thought it was cute that Harrison was watching a cat-and-mouse cartoon in the middle of Dexter’s hunt for Travis. And I am going to try to see if I can work the term “slampig” into my everyday conversation from here on out. But overall, I was disappointed with how the episode picked up from “Get Gellar.”  Did this episode also feel “off” to you? What do you think will happen to Deb, Travis and Batista? Also, how do you think the intern’s storyline will pay off when the season ends? I think there must be a reason why we always see Dexter opening and closing that special search engine of his...

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— Claire Zulkey
twitter.com/Zulkey

Photo: Edward James Olmos as Professor Gellar and Colin Hanks as Travis Marshall. Photo: Randy Tepper/Showtime.

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