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+.


When was Gellar killed? I'm still holding onto a spiderweb-thin rope that Gellar has not been dead this entire time. Travis could have killed him only hours before Dexter found his body in the freezer. Call it naivete on my part (or don't pull any punches and call it idiocy). 99 percent of me says Gellar has been dead the entire season. I just find it inconceivable -and insulting- that it would be so damn obvious. Was Dexter trapped in that elevator long enough for Travis to have incapacitated professor
Casey and hide the body? Speaking of Professor Casey, I found it funny when Dexter thought to himself how full of himself the evolution elicitor, Casey seemed. Casey is tame compared to one of my favorite authors, Richard Dawkins. The fact that Louis the intern bought that amputated arm however was a nice twist. Watching Batista struggling to keep a strait face in the house scene with Quinn was hilarious.


I desagree with this review. I haven't read any other reviews or seen any spoilers and, though I had the feeling that Travis was the real killer somehow, I did't espected Gellar's being dead. OK this is being a lower interesting season for me, mostly 'cause all God stuff and thinking. Moreover, Dexter is acting way too careless. There are 3 living people who know he is a killer, he goes around no matter people can see him doing "weird" things. He killed Nick in a beach!! How did he carry the body to his car without anyone seing him? Two seasons ago the writers tried to tell us he was losing control because he had to take care of his family, but now that he has to be there for Harrison I'd espected him to be even more careful than ever.


I think it should be worth noticing how the Ice Truck Killer is getting around in this. The intern with the forgettable name appears to be having the hand with the painted fingernails. This is shown in the same episode where Dexter explicitly mentions: "It looks like DDK took a page out of the ITK's book", with the blood and everything. I think it's not completely unlikely to see Travis and the intern working together in... some form.

Strawberry fields

Matt, I totally understand your point of view, but… Well let's just agree to disagree a bit. I wasn't really suprised by this twist either. Few episodes ago I said to my sister (we always watch the show together): "why Gellar is just walking around town when his face is all over newspapers and television?". Later that night, as I was lying in my bed, I thought to myself: "because he's not really there, that's why". I kind of liked Travis, so I tried to convince myself my theory was stupid. But the idea was already planted in my brain and when the twist came I was like: "jeah, I saw it coming". But that doesn't mean I didn't like it. Ok, maybe it was way easier to predict than "The Sixth Sense" ending (although I was like 15 when I first saw it, ten years and hundreds of movies later it's easier to see these things coming). I think the whole split personality thing is great. It actually reminds me more of "Fight Club" than "The Sixth Sense". I like the idea of a villain who is not really conscious of what he's doing. We never had that on "Dexter" before. One last thing - right from the start I knew there was something weird about the new intern. The guy creeps me out.


I never read anything about upcoming episodes or full blown discussions about possible outcomes of story lines because whats the point? it can reveal things id rather wait to be revealed for me. So after the twist in 'get gellar' it lead me to read some reviews on the episode. I was actually shocked to find that Gellar had been a figment of Travis' imagination for so long! Just things like it appeared Gellar had killed Travis' sister, plus gellars interaction with anyone besides travis was so minimal it was never obvious he wasnt really there. was genuinely surprised by the twist!


additionally, bollanoola's point about holly hearing two distinct voices (old man and young man) is intriguing. it seems obvious from the trailer and promos for next week that we're to assume gellar has been dead throughout most/all of this season. but holly's account brings that into question. unless that's just a messy story point due to lazy writing...which WOULD actually be a new level lazy writing if it turns out to be true.


As a fan, I imagine that this was a difficult review, let's faced, it was obvious that Gellar was imaginary, in a episode like this, "the big reveal" I expect a twist that would let me thinking "wtf just happened?!", not "Yes, go down there, find Gellar dead and get trapped." It's been obvious for too long... Dexter is an amazing show, and for that same reason, we always expect more and more from it, NEVER a plot like this one, it's disappointing. So, stop bashing the reviewer, and think about what Dexter used to be. That being said, there were a few things that got my interest, the hand on Louis home and the deputy chief reveal, we already knew laguerta was covering for someone, but never expected to be the deputy chief, I'm definitively curious of how they're going to stop Debra investigation and about Louis, who the hell is this guy!? And there's something else about Travis, does he realize that Gellar is dead and he is doing everything himself? I mean, there are situations that he really seems to believe Gellar is alive and threatening him, but other times he seems aware of everything, why would he lie to dexter on the phone about the message? and he seems to be unconscious when the killings happen (most of them at least, like her sister), maybe his "Dark Passenger" takes over from time to time...


i feel like everyone complaining about the laziness of the writers may have selective amnesia. i've looked past it in previous seasons (going all the way back to season one), but there have always been times where i thought to myself "um, there would definitely be a camera here" or "there's no way he could stand do XXXXXXX without someone accidentally seeing him." again, i would let it go in the past. and i still let it go. but please don't pretend like that problem didn't exist until later seasons.


I first realized Geller was imaginary when he and Travis were in the restaurant. There was no food /drink in front of Geller, and they way the waitress ignored him and started flirting with Travis struck me as odd.
From that point on, I was watching for any interaction between Geller and anyone other than Travis. The only time I had any doubt was when Dexter turned to look for Geller on the balcony at the church.


I didn't see the twist coming either. I do think that some of the characters are behaving "oddly" and Dexter has made soem serious errors. But... I have been intrigued with Travis & Gellar enough that the season has been very enjoyable. The reviewer is absolutely entitled to his opinions! Especially when it seem fair to say, he is a huge fan of the show. My opinion is that this review reads more like a blog entry with someone who woke up on the wrong side of the bed. It can be summarized by the following:

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