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+.


@RealDiehl Travis took the yacht out of the marina, its in a completely different location now.


It's so funny, the reviewer thinks he knows what kind of plot would be better for the show. Don't forget - there is a reason you're just a reviewer, and a poor one.


Dexter might have himself a little problem. He called the police to the Marina. The same marina whose video surveillance system he himself just used the previous night. It only stands to reason that the police are going to want to look at the surveillance videos, it's standard operating procedure. If you ask me, Louis is probably the one they'll have looking at the video logs. If he recognizes Dexter, then Dexter is gonna (insert Cuban accent here) "have some splainin' to do" (end Cuban accent). The question is... Will Louis tell the rest of the squad about it? Or, will Louis take a page out of Dexter's book and confront Dexter himself? Possible blackmail scenario? Maybe... But hey, this is the magical world of TV, so chances are the marina security videos will not be included in the investigation which will inevitably lead to someone commenting next week on how unrealistic the whole thing is because said surveillance video was not referenced. Regardless of how things play out, I'm looking forward to the last couple episodes. Because, as Matt pointed out, things have become more tense and the stage is being set right now for next season.


Jill- that would be an amazing twist! Good thinking!
I don't know if I would have figured out the Geller twist had I not read about it online.
As a whole, this season has been pretty slow- Dexter has only killed, what, 4 people or so?- but there's a lot of potential for these last few episodes.

Strawberry fields

Good episode. Looks like Travis finally decided which side he's on. Between the gas thing, Batista getting hit in the head and Louis continuing to creep me out, I'd say the final two episodes can be really good. I loved the scene with Louis asking Dexter for opinion about the game. Dexter was so serious here. He is very sensitive about who he is but this was different than his usual line of questions: "am I evil?", "can I ever stop killing?", "do I have to be alone?", "can someone handle the truth about me?". This time it was more like: "I didn't choose this, and it's not fun". Deb is really interesting this season. @Dexter Idolizer - yes, I wouldn't be surprised if the therapist read something more in the lines of Deb's feelings for Dex. I wouldn't even be surprised if there really was something there. The way she talks about him is very significant. Didn't the creators say before the season started that we will focus more on Dex/Deb relationship this year? I guess the plan was to remind us that they are not actually related. There have been complaints about this season (not the first time), but it's all relative. My sister loves this season and I have to say I rather like it so far too. Much more than season three. Or even season two to be honest (the whole Lila thing seriously pissed me off). I love how theatrical crimes are here and the religion theme in general, I love Deb as a lieutenant, I liked Brother Sam, I'm enjoying Travis a lot. Dexter's final fight with Harry was great. He obviously took Travis fiasco very personally (probably because he really wanted to help someone like himself) and decided to go on the hunt alone. But the fact that eventually he called 911 says a lot.


Finally, an episode this season that left me feeling anxious over what will happen next week. With any luck, only LaGuerta will be left in the building when the poison gas goes off. She's awful! I think there is going to be a big twist with Louis. That whole search engine that he recommeneded to Dexter - I think that's his program and he tracks everything that Dexter does on that computer. They make it a point to show the screen that says "Eliot" every time Dex searches for something. Not sure if he's FBI or just some kook, I guess we'll see. But there is definitely something there.


Donnie: I like your hypothesis about where the Louis storyline could go. Intriguing and logical. I doubt Louis will be around that long, but who knows? At least we know they won't follow the books in revealing Dexter's Dark Passenger to be an actual demon.


Ho hum.. boring again. The writers are getting desperate to try to show Dexter battling his good and bad "passengers" with Harry. Harry might as well take over the show - call it "Harry, used to be Dexter". So lets see how this seasons plot is different from ALL the other seasons: 1. Dexter is a serial killer who is "likeable" - well, that's the same.
2. Dexter is in danger of having his secret revealed - well, that's the same.
3. Dexter is battling another serial killer who is not likeable - well, first season didn't have that plot line, but other then that.. every season since - same old, same old.
4. His sister almost figures out that he's a serial killer - well, that's the same.
5. Someone in the homicide bureau is twigging to his little hobby - well, that's the same.
6. He battles the other serial killer - well, that's the same.
7. He wins. Bet that's gonna be the same. All the other luggage the writers are dragging in is to distract the viewer from the fact that the series only has one story line - and season after seaon - it's the same old, same old. I actually don't look forward to the next two seasons since it's gonna be the same stuff. They should have killed it a season or two ago - but I guess as long as it keeps bringing viewers to Showtime, they'll keep beating the horse.


@Donnie I find the Louis thing very random because the only reason Louis even knows Dexter is because coincidentally the two interns before him were fired. That is just way too coincidental. The only way I can see the storyline working is if they reveal that he plotted to get the female intern fired by telling her he would give her a lot of money if she stole the ITK's hand. Also, that he drugged the first intern so he would pass out on the job... It's the only way this show stops relying on coincidences and starts actually writing a coherent story!


Interesting episode. Batista should be a good storyline for the remainder of the season, but what really intrigues me is Louis. I was surprised you didn't make a mention of him in your review. I have a strong feeling that he is going to play an important role in the future and the seeds of discontent are just being sown now. What I really enjoy about the Louis angle is that there are subtle and deliberate scenes that hint at his knowledge of Dexter's dark passenger and past. I'll be curious to see how all of that plays out, but as a wild and crazy series finale guess for way down the road I am predicting that Louis becomes the new Dexter 2.0 by putting Dexter on the his table at the end of the series then taking Dexter's job as a blood spatter analyst in Miami Metro. Crazy, out of leftfield perdiction, but I'm just throwing it out there. Louis makes me nervous for Dexter because he won't even see it most of Dexter's victims.

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