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+.


Dexter has definitely jumped the shark. Last week Travis killed his sister in the the middle of a schoolyard in broad daylight, then he sets up an elaborate tableaux that would have taken hours to do without anybody noticing. This week Travis breaks an elevator, kills the professor, and sets up a complicated scene in the middle of a university auditorium that would have taken a day minimum, but Travis did it all in 15 minutes! And whilst setting up the tableaux, Travis didn't even get a drop of blood on himself! And he apparently even purified the blood! And the police said there was no tripwire, but there was one after all! And Dexter didn't suspect a thing! And in Dexter's world, there are no security cameras *anywhere*, unless one is needed to push the weak plot along.


I'm bewildered that no one has complained yet about Miami Metro using some intern to track an IP Address when the FBI has a whole branch dedicated to this sort of task. Not only that, but Colin Hanks played a member of this branch in "Untraceable".


Quite the race to the bottom on the part of Dexter's writers.To say this show "jumped the shark" would be giving it far too much credit. Since season four, the writers haven't even pretended to try. Dexter's no longer entertaining, either. How can one suspend their disbelief from something so abjectly absurd and contrived?
II'm no advocate of tortue, but hear me out. I firmly believe any individual who is profiting from this show should be drawn, quartered, and half-way hanged, only to be resuscitated, cut down and then waterboarded repeatedly in the public square. Only then can we put this sad shell of its former self out of its misery. OK, maybe just waterboarded.


Typically I annoy the hell out of my friends and family in predicting these things. In this case, I honestly did not see this coming. Perhaps it is because I don't think Dexter has had any sort of twist (not simple shock a la Rita's death) of this magnitude since Brian's introduction as the Ice Truck Killer. I didn't expect a twist (though in hindsight, it was very obvious, except for Dexter "seeing" Gellar last week). Anyway, in short, it was way more fun not seeing this coming...and if I did...I'd probably share your sentiment.


Who's there?
Dexter's Kill room!
Dexter's Kill room who?
Yeah, we've forgotten what that is, too. After season 5, we all whined about how off track Dexter was getting, and we hoped for a comeback for season 6. After giving it time with a very slow start this season, it became clear this season was just as disconnected as last year. Now, Dexter is tracking a phantom Gellar and the viewer is asked to ignore some pretty major plot stretches/holes and Dexter's complete laziness to get us to this point. Did Dexter really thing Gellar would be in that hidden basement area that was only accessed by moving that heavy table off the entrance? Perhaps there are multiple entrances, but if that's true, Dexter being down there isn't a real problem. He can just leave using a different route. Would the Dexter of seasons 1-4 really have given his telephone number to Travis, someone he knew Deb and all the rest of Miami Metro was looking for? Or run around a college with an ax knowing that every college in this country has security cameras? The main issue with all of that is Dexter was intense of not leaving a trail before and not being suspected of anything. Now, the writing has him being sloppy at least once an episode.
I guess I'm just frustrated that the biggest twist for me this episode involved a Waffle House.


I dont usually criticize other people´s reviews but Matt, what the hell???? This ain´t a review it´s a list of complaints about last 30(!!!!!) seconds of the show....Of course its your opinion but at least try and be objective..... This deserved at least 4 stars if not 4,5.....

Matt richenthal

@Sommerleigh Pollonais: We ran a poll about this very topic last week and I expressly said the only reason I didn't think it would happen is because it was just SO stupid that I couldn't imagine the writers going there.


I didn't see it coming but I believe those who say they did. I probably should have. But I think it nicely sets up the more interesting moral quandary that ties into Dexter's exploration of morality and religion (vs simply following a code designed to keep him from getting caught) - he now knows that Travis is not simply evil, but is truly schizophrenic and crazy, and in need of institutionalization. But Travis has seen his face now and knows him. To be free, Dex has to kill him. To kill him would be to violate the code and his new moral compass. That's a great quandary.

Sommerleigh pollonais

I didn't see this coming at all, and actually I think you didn't either. I love the fact that they brought in a a character, that has his own Dark Passenger, and I thought the reveal was well handled. That's just my opinion. (OH, and by the way, I figured out Sixth Sense - which left clues all over the damn place, Dexter didn't !)


For those wanting to know where this "twist" is going to take Dexter, here is a spoiler. Dexter makes his way back to where Brother Sam's ashes are spread, dips his toes in the water, finds a pair of water-skis and manages to jump the shark.

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