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Dexter

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.

Review

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+.

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Aries93

I knew that this episode would open up in a good way leading to the finale. I think this was an exceptional pick-up from the past few episodes.
LaGuerta is just becoming pointless to me. Batista needs more screen time. Quinn needs to grow up. Masuka needs more investment.
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. The way she's been talking about Dexter seems as though the therapist will take it out of code. They always do.
With Dexter, I'm glad he snapped at Harry. Harry has always had bad calls. Not that he has never had bad ones, but he can be really terrible at times. I'm glad however that Dexter finally listened and called the cops. Travis has taken it too far and it's time for Dexter to let someone else in on this. He should have along time ago.

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There was a wink of dialogue where Deb questioned around Dexter how her sister didn't know and she legitimately believed Travis to be a really good person. I thought this episode was pretty good compared to the rest of the season. You're a little too harsh though. Dexter has always had minor problems. People complained about Rita incessantly before if you recall, yet people have nothing but admiration for Season 4 despite the fact that she was in it, despite the fact it had Batista/LaGuerta crap, and so forth. Also, to Alex, if he's fragile with multiple personalities, the dominant Gellar one would've taken over for the moment and safely resolved the situation to put him in a circumstance where he could have the moment to sort through the mental revelation. It's like going into fight-or-flight mode then only thinking about what's happened once the situation is done.

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This episode was just so all over the place. If I understand correctly, Travis had multiple identities. One of them was cold, conniving, murderous, violent and manifested as the deceased Professor Gellar trying to bring about the end of the world. The other was poor old Travis who was "too weak" to kill someone and more importantly had too much doubts of Professor Gellar's prophecy. But in this episode, the second Travis turned a whole 180 in character. I understand that he was affected by the reveal that Gellar was dead, but how did this remove the doubts he had in the first place? And how did this make him hate Dexter, the very man he plotted to take down Gellar with? I understand he's crazy, but are we just supposed to go along with it? The Travis we've got to know would have broke down in tears and started smashing tables while Dexter tried to explain he killed Gellar. Instead, he locked Dexter up... but why? He still hadn't had that conversation with "dead Gellar" and he still hadn't figured out what was going on. He just out of the blue decided he's on board with Gellar and ran away. Obviously, this was done to prolong the chase, but it is just really poor storytelling.

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