Tuesday, 8 November 2011

DEXTER, 6.6 – "Just Let Go"

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

"If you don't let that darkness go, it won't let go of you."

It's often the case that seasons of Dexter take a positive turn at the halfway point, making previous episodes look like shaky build-up. That's mostly true of "Just Let Go", which concluded the Brother Sam (Mos) storyline in fine style and appears to have unleashed a gremlin with the return of Dexter's illusory brother Brian (Christian Camago). A great episode on many levels, this went some way to making me more hopeful this season's on the precipice of getting much better, even if they've yet to just admit Professor Gellar (Edward Jame Olmos) isn't a real person as everyone suspects.

Most of this episode focused on Dexter's (Michael C. Hall) attempt to find Brother Sam's shooter, especially as he's reasoned his "Dark Passenger" is responsible for the chain of events leading to Sam being in a coma. Like the bloodhound that he is, it didn't take long for Dex to deduce that Sam's baptized friend Nick was the gunman, but before he could exact his revenge he found himself with a quandary. Sam, having temporarily roused from his coma, wants Dexter to forgive rather than punish. It's the Christian thing to do, but can Dex go against his own beliefs and deny his Dark Passenger some blood and vengeance? It certainly didn't look likely, given how the show would probably be forced to end if Dexter was ever rehabilitated, but Dexter's attempt was still fascinating to watch. Having taken Nick to a deserted beach to make him see the error of his ways, the news of Sam's death and his pious forgiveness didn't have the desired humbling effect. Nick saw only a lucky escape, complete with a fortunate your-word-against-mine stalemate with Dexter. And despite Dex's best efforts to control his inner rage, he was soon drowning Nick in the sea for his crime and lack of repentance. Interestingly, an act that appeared to erase the pragmatic illusion of his father Harry (James Remar), replacing him with a devilish vision of his late-brother Brian—aka The Ice Truck Killer.

I'm sure the return of Brian appearance gave longtime fans of Dexter a thrill because it was so unexpected, but it also explains why this season's been mentioning The Ice Truck Killer so often—to assumedly help those who weren't watching the series back in season 1, as next week's episode will probably clarify who he is.

This playful use of Dexter's hallucination (with a "demon" replacing the "angel" on his shoulder) also seems to suggest that we're right to see echoes of Dexter's psychosis in Travis (Colin Hanks), with Gellar being a similar example of the same delusion. Amusingly, as Dex failed to "do the right thing" regarding Nick, because his Dark Passenger was just too strong to disobey, Travis went in the opposite direction here and decided to let a woman he captured with Gellar's help go free, rather than be used in their upcoming "Whore Of Babylon" tableau. I'm sure she'll be very helpful when she inevitably goes to the cops, as it's in the TV rulebook that she'll have heard or smelt something that will reveal the exact whereabouts of the Doomsday Killer's lair.

It's now interesting to theorize that the rest of this season might see Dexter walking deeper into pure darkness (with Brian tempting him into heinous deeds), while bad guy Travis instead steps into the light. A scene where Travis sat in with his sister's class at school, watching the kids paint outside, clearly existed to signal Travis is beginning to doubt the logic of Gellar's plan for ushering in an apocalypse. "So full of dreams, and all the time in the world to make them come true," is how his sister describes the children, but that wouldn't be the case if the Revelation Killings were successful in their intent.

Now that Brother Sam's dead (a sad fact, given the subtlety of Mos' performance and his touching scenes with Hall this year), I wonder if Travis will survive the season because Dex will manage to find forgiveness in his heart. That would also avoid the show's biggest cliche, that every season villain ends up being killed by Dexter while wrapped in plastic.

To cover the subplots briefly, which is all they ever deserve, there was trouble for Quinn (Desmond Harrington) when Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) learned that he's slept with a person of interest—namely Carissa Porter (Marianna Klaveno)—and may have thus tainted their investigation into her ex-lover Gellar; Angel (David Zayas) discovered that the Revelation Killings are a "code" to bring about the end of the world; Deb began to open up to her appointed psychologist Michelle Ross about the social problems surrounding her new promotion; and Masuka's new intern developed a man-crush on Dex after seeing him in action at a crime scene. (Oh, if you only you knew he also secretly solves most of the actual crimes a few hours later, too!)

One of the better episode of this season, which has actually been more enjoyable than season 5 when you directly compare them. It's just that Dexter as a whole sometimes runs into problems, stemming from the fact it's become more predictable over time. Maybe season 6 is about to go seriously off-the-rails (and not in a good way) now that Dexter's got his dead brother whispering evil in his ear, we'll have to see... but it's a prospect I can't deny has some appeal.


  • If Debra keeps going to see her shrink, do you think it's possible their sessions will start chipping away at the truth of her brother's activities? Given the role that ex-boyfriend Brian's now playing on the show, it seems like a good time for Deb to start wondering about the weirdness that she found out the Ice Truck Killer was Dexter's biological brother in season 4. It's always infuriated me that this led nowhere in season 5, but maybe it's going to resurface in therapy...
  • Can we add an extra 6 to the season/episode number, to truly evoke the Number Of The Beast? That would be fitting, given the season's Book of Revelation theme and return of Brian Moser.
written by Jace Richdale / directed by John Dahl / 6 November 2011 / Showtime