The bowls of wrath
Well, Natalie, my hunch was right, but I can’t say I am as pleased as I thought I’d be to see it so. I was worried that they’d drag out the “is he or isn’t he real” game for another episode or two, and in that regard I am glad to know once and for all where things stand with Gellar. That said, I kept hoping I might be wrong. Once the idea got in my head it started to seem so obvious, and then when only Travis sees Gellar outside the college and Dexter gets stuck in the elevator (and is freed by an ax-wielding Travis – good weapon to cut off a hand) for just long enough for the next victim to disappear it all seemed a bit embarrassing.The real question is why didn’t Dexter even suspect something weird might be going on? And why was he so quick to believe in Travis’ absolute innocence? The fact that Dexter kept referring to Gellar as Travis’ Dark Passenger seemed like a hint to the viewers, but maybe it was also a hint to Dexter himself. Maybe by thinking of Gellar this way it was Dexter’s own subconscious hint that Travis is wrestling against more than just flesh and blood. The most interesting thing I can imagine happening now is that watching Travis struggle against his own fragmented psyche will give Dexter a more profound look into his own brokenness. After all, Dexter also talks to ghosts/projections, sometimes doing what they say and sometimes not. He may not externalize his Dark Passenger as fully as Travis does in his Gellar personality, but he comes pretty close in Brian. Will Dexter be able to identify with Travis’ mental instability and what would that mean?
Maybe I am focusing on the subconscious themes because I also loved watching Deb in therapy. I don’t really love her therapist’s “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” pep talk (really, that is the best you can say given the litany of trauma Deb has just recounted?), but I do love watching Deb admit to her own train-wreck of a life and start to recognize the patterns of destruction for which she shares responsibility. I am not sure what I make of the new possibility of Deb figuring out the truth about Dexter, this time not through tracking him and Lumen, but through the psychologist’s couch. On the one hand, I can’t imagine what would follow if Deb found out the truth. On the other, I am getting frustrated by the almost but not quite game of deduction. If she figures it out or comes close I do kind of like that it would happen because of her own journey toward something like wholeness. Like you, Deb has become the emotional center of the show for me and there is beauty in thinking that this season is not really about Dexter’s spiritual journey or healing after all, but about Deb’s. And there is also something painfully fitting to imagine that her own healing would bring her to see just how broken Dexter really is, since part of her blindness is her own disastrous life.
On a less profound note, here are some wrap up thoughts: 1)I am not at all sure what is up with Quinn’s continued melt-down; 2) I am not sure I care about the Louis/ice truck killer hand plot. Is this headed somewhere? 3) I definitely don’t care about Matthews and LaGuerta right now, though I do suspect that their plot will not work out well for Deb.
I can’t wait to hear what you thought!
Yeah, I guess I was fundamentally disappointed with this episode. I found it boring and waaaay obvious. In addition to all the points you mention, as soon as Dex walked into the basement the presence of the freezer basically screamed, “Gellar’s in here!” His dead body might have well have been sitting in the middle of the floor. And I’m even more disappointed because the swelling music, overly-expositional voice-over, and pacing of the whole scene made it seem like the writers/producers thought this was a big reveal. In essence, it felt like an insult to us viewers – how out of it do they think we are that they thought that would be a shock? Yeah, disappointing all around.
The only thing that salvaged the Travis/Dexter/Dark Passengers plot for me was how much it veered into the horror genre. The creepy writing on the wall and, even, the freezer scene at the end were both accompanied with music and pacing more suitable for the horror genre, not the thriller one in which Dexter usually registers. And pacing the scenes as horror rather than thriller coated them somewhat with a supernatural patina (not just psychological). In a sense, the whole situation felt like a spiritual evil, rather than a psycho-evil…and the newness of that within the Dexter universe did peak my interest a little.
Even so, it continues to be Deb who holds my attention. But I have to say, I’ll be disappointed if the couch for her is all about discovering Dexter’s secret. Much more interesting would be using her therapy to evolve her character, to give her more of her own storylines. My friend Trish wrote to me tonight, though, to share her thoughts that the only reason Deb is even getting this increased narrative attention is because the writers want to play off of the public interest in their public divorce…and if that’s the case, that’s pretty gross.
As far as Lewis owning the hand – yeah, I don’t know. That would be really interesting if it gets tied in an interesting way. Or it could float out there like so many Dexter loose ends. The place where Lewis’ weird story and Quinn’s ongoing breakdown connect, though, is in Angel and his “control issues.” What do you want to bet that’s all going to reconnect back up with Maria and Matthews somehow?
If this season is all about redemption, then I’m giving it one more episode to redeem itself – and then I think I’m pretty much ready to write it off as the most irredeemable season so far! Bummer; I was excited about all this creepy apocalyptic stuff.
At least the “self-important asshole” got knocked off – that guy was getting on my nerves! Are there really biology professors who build their entire careers on dissing right wing Christians? God, I hope not! What an image of waste this show makes universities out to be.