Dexter Review: The Trail of Travis

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One week removed from the Most Obvious Twist in the History of Television, Dexter kicked off its final quarter of episodes with "Ricochet Rabbit," an hour that saw Dexter go on the hunt for Travis; Deb uncover a secret about her boss; and Quinn continue to drink.

Having already outlined my problems with the season in general last Sunday, I went into this outing with a clean slate, happy to give what has long been one of my favorite shows a fresh start for its final three episodes of the year.

And that mindset allowed me to mostly enjoy the most tense, tight installment of the season. It delivered an intriguing cliffhanger and left me legitimately anxious for what's next.

Travis vs. Travis

But it also left me regretful.

There was definitely missed potential here with Travis. If the writers had only aired the Gellar reveal after just a couple episodes, gotten Dexter more involved with Travis from the start and wasted less time contriving ways to delay the increasingly-clear fact that Gellar was dead... this storyline could have been saved. Travis could have gone around gathering more disciples to do the dirty work, Dexter could have felt ever more guilty about the mistake he made in trusting Travis, we wouldn't have spent as much time on Brother Sam and a fruitless visit to Nebraska...

Alas. Here we are, and at least it's someplace that might lead to an exciting conclusion. Batista's life in danger? The Miami Police Department as the target of a gas attack? Deb between a rock and a hard place? Or a hard Deputy Chief, to be more exact? All enticing build-ups for next week. There are actual stakes here.

Moreover, Dexter isn't wondering whether or not he can control his Dark Passenger anymore. He's not questioning whether or not there is a lighter side to his being. Both of those avenues have been explored to death (pun... intended!) and I've been urging the series all season long to just get to the action.

Here, he's accepting of his Passenger's presence and lashing out at the man largely responsible for it: Harry. This is an especially welcome development. Harry has become more and more of a narrative device over the years, seemingly around just to spell out for the audience exactly what his son is thinking. But now we see Dexter wonder why he even listens to the person who set him out on this path, which is a nice parallel to Travis telling off Gellar. Of course, we learned this week that Travis has been a mess since childhood and essentially used Gellar to justify his killings.

Has Dexter been doing the same with Harry? Might Dexter be afraid he'll end up like Travis someday, unable to listen to his rational father figure? Unable to abide The Code, his own type of Bible? Again, these are questions that could have been at the forefront of the season, if the show hadn't taken so long getting us to this point. Sorry, I'm back to being bitter, I know.

At least I can end on a positive: Deb. It seems hard to believe that her therapy sessions aren't setting viewers up for the only real storyline remaining on Dexter: the discovery of her brother's murderous secret. It makes the most sense for this to take place when she's at her most understanding and appreciative of Dexter, as she is now, in order for her to truly struggle with the revelation of who he really is.

We've been told that the final two episodes of the season will set the stage for the final two seasons of the series. Those kick off next Sunday. Meet me back here to discuss.


Editor Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (70 Votes)

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


Ya I get that, but Deb is just so smart it's not logical she would miss something like that. I guess it could factor in to the whole thing about her having a blindspot to everything Dex says or does.


@Tommy It could be explained that while the specifics of an early childhood trauma are repressed and locked away, certain events can trigger a strong response on a subconcious level. Good observation though, I totally missed that.


She never actually heard Gellar's voice....only heard Travis supposedly talking to someone else. It was an incredibly obvious twist, but they did at least cover as they went through...check back and you'll see


qn - if it was all in Travis' head, then how come Holly told the cops there were 2 ppl torturing younger and one older or sth?? what am i missing?


@Dexter Idolizer "As far as Deb's therapy goes, does anyone else foresee her therapist insinuating that Debra has trouble with men in the past, cos she's really in love with her brother? Not that I'm promoting incest relationships, but it seems to be where it's going in my opinion." This would be a pretty interesting direction considering the offscreen drama between the actors involved.


Anyone else notice that when Dex was telling Deb about his panic attack in the blood filled room he said it was b/c it made him think about his mother, but Deb found out who his real mother was in season 4 & up til then thought Dex's parents were killed in car crash.(& dex thought the same as far as she knew) When she told Dex about it outside Trinity's house he said he didn't know who Laura Moser was. So was this a mistake in plot by the writers? Or maybe Deb will realize later "hey dex wasn't supposed to know how his mom died or who his real mom even was back in season 1 so whats up with that?". That stuck out more than anything to me in this episode


i got a completely different vibe from the therapy sessions.. not that deb is going to figure her brother out but that the therapist is playin head games and getting deb to think she has feelings for her step brother... i could be wrong but i feel that its going there, not just from last sundays episode, the past few. I think louis is going to figure dexter out... and its going to lead into next seasons storyline... still love watching it, but it hasnt' been as good since season 4... and how could it, that season set the bar so high its hard to surpass


How is this a review? It's more like a set of random musings.


Doh! Thanks for clearing that up for me, CELESTE, and for smashing my theory into tiny, little pieces. LOL! Oh, well.


@duh, He's not just a reviewer, he's EDITOR-IN-CHIEF of TVFanatic! It's totally a big deal, I'm super serious. He's always compared the show to his own fan-fiction instead of sticking to reviewing the show. It's the main thing that ticks me off about the reviews. Anyway, I read that he's a fan of The Vampire Diaries which all but guarantees that his opinion is hardly worth anything.

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