Dexter Review: The Lowest Form of Storytelling

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Don't worry, Masuka, I braced myself for awful before Dexter aired tonight.

And, boy, did "Get Gellar" deliver just that, finally revealing the most obvious "shocker" in all of television: Professor Gellar is dead and Travis has been acting alone this entire time. The show has been airing scenes on a weekly basis that only took place inside Travis' warped mind.

A New Victim

I will try to be as succinct and as calm about this as possible, but this is simply storytelling at its worst and at its laziest. It's one thing to build toward a surprising reveal that is well-paced and nearly impossible to predict. Take The Sixth Sense, for instance, a clear model for this Dexter storyline.

At no point in that movie are we watching a character who does not exist. We are not purposely being misled by the writers, just so they can come back later and try to pull an "a-ha!" moment that changes the game. It's an intelligent movie, one with an engrossing plot that would have held up even Bruce Willis' character was NOT proven to be dead the whole time (ummm... spoiler alert?). The conclusion was not needed to make the movie; it was just needed to make the movie into the epic tale it has become. But the audience was never duped. Everything was witnessed was really happening. That is how one writes a true surprise. This, conversely, is the perfect example of a desperate, cheap imitation.

Let's forget the fact that Gellar's non-existence was more predictable than the Deputy Chief being the John in the room with last week's overdosed prostitute. Instead, let's just focus on how boring and uneventful the season has been, and how that's obviously been due to the fact that the writers were just waiting to play this pathetic ace in the manipulative hole.

Unlike The Sixth Sense, this season has been about nothing but this surprise. It's been a build-up to a development that everyone saw coming and one that makes it clear the producers are out of ideas.

You are entitled to disagree. If you found this to be a legitimately shocking moment, if you have no problem knowing you watched countless scenes with a character who wasn't actually there and if you don't agree this is writing at its absolute laziest... then I envy you. You will enjoy the rest of the season.

I, however, will be stuck wondering what happened to one of my favorite shows on television. But, hey, at least we have that enthralling Batista/Quinn feud to look forward to next week! Wasn't it hilarious when that stripper turned out to be an old, ugly mother?!? Hmmm... or did she? Perhaps Quinn was still drunk and that woman doesn't really exist...

What did you think of Dexter's big reveal?


Editor Rating: 1.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.4 / 5.0 (282 Votes)

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


Matt, I'm glad you managed to stay calm. Please...relax and don't get so amped up. It's a TV series. I know none of us are as smart as you, but just do your reviews and move on.


The show is bad since the beginning. I could not pass three episodes. It was so cheesy and predictable that I started watching The Twilight zone instead, (man that was a good show) You want good shows, watch Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, or the Walking Dead. Dexter seems to be directed to people with low IQ's and a cheap taste of suspense.


I hadn't seen this show since season 4 because of illness. I came back and watched PART of the first episode of season 7. it was so BORING I couldn't even finish it. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO THIS SHOW?????!!!!!!!


This show has been nothing but drive since they changed the whole format in Season 4. The lighting is bad, the directing is bad the writing seems like it might have been done by junior high school kids, who maybe WANT to be writers someday. The show used to be the BEST drama EVER. After the "big change" in season four it has been as dull as dirty dish water. The only thing that would save it is to have Dexter wake up from a very long, boring dream and be at home with Rita and the kids. And bring back the old crew of writers, directors, etc.


"Unlike The Sixth Sense, this season has been about nothing but this surprise" I think the biggest twist in this season was Deb finding out about Dexter. We did know it was coming, we were practically told. However, the timing monologue and, hell - I'll say it everything about that last scene was perfect. When you watched season 4 did you think the biggest twist was that the Trinity Killer - killed in 4's the whole time... Or that Rita gets murdered by him, because of Dexter's actions. Were you not excited to see his reaction in season 5? That was my personal favourite moment on television. You didn't even 'review' the character arcs or anything, just the one, semi obvious? twist - Even that, is a load of crap. In one scene this season Dexter is in the car with Travis, trying to prevent Gellar from killing that professor, Travis points him out and says there he is, I can't remember if dexter was looking the other way or not, but it certainly seemed as though he saw him too. Obviously he didn't but that's what I took away from that shot, So when he found Gellar dead, I said "WTF, he saw him alive only a few episodes ago". This isn't the only example of ways they hid the twist from us if you truly did see it coming, maybe it's your fault for not paying attention to the mise en scene. I thought the season was great, not the best, but absolutley not the wrost, and worth of atleast 3 and 1/2 stars, maybe 4. Your review however!
- Not at all objective.
-Focused on one point of the season.
-Failed to recognise the point of a review, to evaluate - that means good and bad qualities, and for a season, it needs more information than just one arc reference. Epic Fail.


why do most people hate it, I loved it


I guessed the sixth sense EASILY! It was soooooooo obvious! He got shot in the stomach, a death sentence straight off the bat, then he is back on bis feet with no explanation, people don't interaxt with him, only the kid who sees dead people, he doesn't physically interact with anyone, doesn't touch his wife, she doesn't acknowledge'd have to be a retard to claim that was a surprise twist.


HORRID review. Snarky comments from someone who liked the Sixth Sense? Can't believe I wasted even a mili-second of my time on this review or this website - WHAT A LAUGH.


Alex, your personal experiences determine what is "ridiculously obvious", which is why you shouldn't expect everyone to pick up on the signs. I love Homeland too, but when it manages to achieve what Dexter has achieved, which is maintain a decent audience for 6 seasons (or even LAST for 6 seasons), then there really is no comparison. It's hilarious that you pity the Dexter writers and find them pathetic. Even with a so-called bad script, they've managed to get you to post more than 10 comments on a single forum! Some would call that a stroke of genius!


I haven't read all of the comments here, so I apologize if this is redundant. I did not predict the twist. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine mentioned that this theory about Travis having D.I.D. was going around, and it instantly made sense, but I dismissed it. Continuing to watch the show, I started to come around to it and realized that it most certainly had to be true (because of the increasing obviousness of the clues). Nevertheless, I still wished that it was not the case and am disappointed in this choice on the part of the writers. Here's why I don't like it -- This represents a major departure from the normal narrative perspective of the show. I generally think of Dexter as limited third person omniscient, in that the viewers can see everything happening in the real world, independent of Dexter's perspective, but they can also see into Dexter's mind. The important point here, though, is that it is ONLY Dexter's mind into which the viewers can peer. As far as I can remember (and please correct me if I am incorrect), there has never been a case where another person's inner thoughts have been expressed to the viewer. I recognize that D.I.D. is perhaps a special circumstance, that Gellar was so real to Travis that it warranted a corporeal representation on screen, but to me this was a betrayal of the narrative 'world' that is 'Dexter.' I like to think that this is why I did not initially suspect that Gellar was not real, and it is certainly why this whole story line feels off to me. Perhaps this speaks to the spiritual awakening that is the 6th season of Dexter. Up until now, Dexter's hunts and revelations have been defined by logic and science, by things he could see and know. What we see this season, all of the evidence that would lead to answers, happens in a place untouched by tangibility and reason -- somewhere Dexter cannot go. I don't even want to know what this means for Dexter's way of thinking. Will he start to doubt himself? Am I reading too much into this? I hope so, because that would be a pretty crappy turn for the show. Let's hope next season brings us back to the narrative style we know and love.

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