Dexter Review: Oh, Brothers

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It may be contrived, but I'll take it.

This week, Dexter viewers finally watched the title character get prominently involved in the most significant, gruesome serial-killing case the show has ever portrayed. It's been incredibly odd to see Dexter so obsessed with Brother Sam and some notion of light versus dark that he essentially overlooked the sort of case that would typically grab his attention.

Deb on the Job

And, even now, it's unclear why he's working against the police instead of with them. As I've noted before, there's no reason for Dexter to be on his own in this instance. In the past, he only took it upon himself to track down killers when the cops have failed, or when there's something especially personal at stake (e.g. Trinity). But here? Of course he's committing a "Sin of Omission," there's simply no rational reason - or any Dark Passenger-related reason - for why he wouldn't tell everyone else about Travis.

So, yes, it's forced suspense. But, hey, it's suspense nonetheless. I certainly moved toward the edge of my seat when Dexter entered the abandoned church, didn't you?

My favorite aspect of the episode, though, actually did not focus on DDK. In the main one of three arcs that focused on brothers and sisters, Dexter and Deb dealt a bit with their communication problems. It was a nice change of pace for a relationship that, as the therapist pointed out, has remained constantly strong... and constantly comprised of Deb spilling her guts to her sibling.

Fans will likely start speculating now on whether this means Deb might start digging around her brother's life more and perhaps, finally, discover his secret. But Dexter just got picked up for two more seasons. I can't see this major angle playing out any time soon, unfortunately. I'm all ready for it at least. It's the shot of adrenaline and change-of-pace Dexter needs.

Because - while it was nice to see Dexter involved with the main investigation - other aspects of "Sin of Omission" were a major snooze. I'm sorry, but does anyone care to see Quinn drunk again? What happened to last week's apology and that sweet, sober exchange in Deb's office? It's like it never happened.

And does anyone care about Batista protecting his sister? Or LaGuerta protecting who we have to assume is the Deputy Chief? I know Michael C. Hall can't be in every scene, but the show comes to a stand still when it dedicates any time at all to side characters that aren't at least related to Dexter.

As far as I can tell, too, there's no such thing as Elliott Search Engine. I mean, Google is "so five minutes ago," intern guy?!? Pretty sure Google is only just beginning to take over the world (it launched Google Music this week). That was just a very strange, extraneous mention, wasn't it?

Overall? Definitely a step in the intriguing direction this week. Dexter used to bible to manipulate Travis, not to take a boring look inside of himself. I appreciated that. Let's do away with the light and the dark and the religion and the psychobabble. Of course Dexter has some light inside of him, look at how he cares about Harrison and, of course, how he doesn't just kill innocent people. I'm not sure why he's still questioning that so many seasons later.

I just want to see him set his sights on a target and for obstacles to arise that make that target difficult and dangerous to strap down. Teaming up with Travis and having Gellar make eye contact with Dexter? I think we've arrived at that fun point.

(P.S. I am aware of the popular theory that Gellar is merely a figment of Travis' imagination, and I'm aware that this episode played into it big time (having Gellar stop to look down at Travis and Dexter above the church; the mere way Travis talked about how he can't be controlled)... but this would be such an insulting, idiotic storyline to actually follow through on - the lowest form of storytelling possible, to dupe the audience via scenes/characters that don't actually exist - that I refuse to give it any credence until we actually learn whether it's valid.

PLEASE, Dexter writers, do not tell me you're this desperate for supposed shock value.)


Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (57 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


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Maybe the "Google" comment was just excellent writing. Knowing that a google search wouldnt return the details they were searching for, they invented a newer more sophisticated web search that would...


My son and I were watching this past Sunday's ep and although I have been of the opinion that Geller is a fig of Travis' imagination, my son also caught on to the fact that Geller just kinda pops in out of nowhere and seemed to be supernaturally elusive....I guess I don't mind the whole (possible) play at duality but I think it might be time to solve this mystery and move on to more pressing items at hand like who is LaGuerta covering up for? Will Quinn get over Deb? Will Deb and the new detective from Chicago hook up? And is it me or does Jennifer Carpenter show real fury during her scenes with her real life ex-hubby? As a woman who has been there done that, I can feel Ms. Carpenter's pain come through loud and clear during her one on ones with Mr. Hall......


Gellar is real. Early in the episode, outside Travis' sister's house, Gellar and Travis have a brief exchange of words and Gellar says something subtle yet very revealing. I can't remember enough to write it verbatim, but in a disdainful way, he gestures toward the kitchen window and says something about a BREAKFAST THAT SOMEONE HAD COOKED FOR HIM. As we had just seen, TRAVIS was the one that had cooked breakfast for his sister. If Gellar was in Travis' mind he would not have made that mistake.


If Gellar is Travis dark passenger ( ahh i never ever thought about that until i read this - not happy) i think that would be a good storyline! Why not???


I felt like this was the episode that will pickup and be the episode that leads into a much bigger, better and badder story.
I also have to agree with you reviewer. I simply didn't care about the other plots. I simply only cared for Dexter and Debra.
Drunk Quinn, Tough Batista, Comedy-relief Masuka and I-have-nothing-better-to-do-with-my-day-than-check-in-on-my-old-job-LaGuerta are simply irrelevant and wasted development on their characters. Furthermore, it's a waste of the writers talent.


Boy wish I'd had an inside line to tell me buy "" before this episode aired. Can you imagine the hits it's gotten in 24hrs! I'm kind of bored with this season but it's all the things you mention and none of them as well. It's like I can't quite put my finger on it but somethings missing.


Also, like some people here have already pointed out, Dexter doesn't want Travis caught because he kidnapped Travis and Travis recognized him, and seems aware that Dexter planned on killing him... and wants to personally murder Gellar.


The current problem with Dexter has nothing to do with it's characters, or the story given to us... it has to do with the story and character development we're being given getting padded out to fill 12 episodes. Dexter is sticking itself with it's serialized story-a-season format, and it's hurting for it. If we look back at seasons past that weren't as good as others, you can really see it. If Dexter could alter the structure of it's seasons, it could pull itself out of it's rut. There's two possible solutions: 1. The X-Files method. I'm talking about stringing together strong, stand alone stories while also maintaining an underlying story in the season. Serialized dramas like X-Files (at least in that show's early days) did this beautifully, and it could work perfectly for a show like Dexter. Devote an episode or two at a time to, say, a dilemma in Dexter's life, one that could be resolved in a few episodes, or an interesting killer, or something else fresh and exciting. Interestingly, Dexter's first season SORT OF did this at first; we were treated to a lot of stand alone stories (whether of Dexter's targets or of his past) some of which weren't necessarily tied straight into the main plot. The season was better for it. These stories actually helped build up the main story when it began to grow. 2. Shorter story arcs. Another option would be to have more than one episode arc in one season, and this also seems like something that could have fixed this season. Look at the overall arc of this season and tell me that, with how it's looking now, that this isn't 6 episodes of content being stretched to fill 12 episodes. This isn't necessarily a BAD story... it's just not one that should be told in 12 episodes. Had this story line been condensed, and then made way for another one after it (God forbid there be DOUBLE the plot and character development in a single season of Dexter,) it would have actually been more compelling, concise, and we wouldn't be complaining about many of the things we are... If Dexter's ramblings of religion hadn't lasted for so long and had been more concise and gotten to the point quicker, they would have been not only better writing wise, but also something we could all get over easily if we didn't like it. Also... killing Rita has necessitated a change in the show's format. With only his relationship with his sister and his baby son to focus on, there really isn't much for him to do outside the main story. If season 4 hadn't had Dexter trying to cope with suburban fatherhood and being a daddy to Harrison, Astor and Cody, we would have had the Trinity case stretched obnoxiously in a way similar to this one... and I'm sure even that great season would have suffered for it. I'd also like to point out that Season 4 is the only season of this show that has successfully pulled off an amazing plot line while allowing it to completely take up it's season. Even the great season 1 was padded out with origin stories and little detours. And that was perfectly fine. The right way to pad things out in writing is to add extra, interesting content... not to stretch the content that you have till it's so thin that we can see right through it. Unless the writers can come up with another story as good as the Trinity killer plot line (I doubt they will until they come to the big Dexter-Deb reveal and/or the end of the show... whenever the hell that will happen,) they need to not focus each season entirely on one story line. It isn't working.


If it pans out with test audiences, I think Brother Sam will become Dexter's new voice of conscious. *shrug* It will give Mos Def a semi-permanent job. Wow, I'm so dense - I never considered that Gellar was imaginary until reading this review. D'oh! It does make sense. What doesn't make sense is Dexter essentially giving Travis a free pass, as if he isn't as culpable as (imaginary?) Gellar for these murders. Like he's essentially an innocent bystander?? Not a loose cannon? Any other season Dexter would have sliced-and-diced Travis to draw Gellar out. Plus bringing Jonah/Trinity back into the storyline, just to literally drop it. Lazy, lazy writing!

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