It was all a devil’s errand
Well, dear readers, it is confession time. Natalie and I both watched this episode much earlier in the day. I even watched it as it aired last night. But as we just discovered via disheartening emails to each other, neither one of us could come up with much to say. So I suppose that is something to say in itself.
In the interest of disciplined procrastanalysis I suppose I should say more than “ugh, how boring and predictable” even though that is pretty much all I felt. Let us start with the central question that irks me in the aftermath of this disaster: why, when faced with “religion” as a theme has the show lost all its balls regarding moral ambiguity? Dex’s struggle with light and dark, his own capacity for more light than he or Harry ever gave him credit for, his own willful choice to embrace the Dark Passenger – these are the hallmarks of what make the show great and what keeps the viewer in a unique position to Dexter’s violence. Enter religion. Dexter oscillates between “all religion sucks” to “maybe I can be religious, but only because of the saintly behavior of a murderer-made-good” back to “I never should have listened to Brother Sam.” I guess when he relents from his tirade and takes Harry’s advice to call the police we are supposed to think that maybe he will swing back to some middle of the road position, but frankly, by this point, I don’t really care. Because more than any other marker of his struggle with “being human,” Dexter’s wrestling with religion have aired toward trite, overblown, or stereotypical. And now it turns out that the really interesting parts – like Brother Sam – are going to get boiled down to stereotypes too – stark black and white.
I don’t even want to spend much time on how disappointing the Travis/Gellar reveal is turning out to be. Any hope I had that Travis’ mental illness would open a window for Dexter’s own reflexivity went out the window the moment Dexter went off all half-cocked in the church basement. And don’t get me started on the cult followers or the showdown building in Miami Metro.
The one story line that I still love is Deb, but even there the hints are piling up that Deb is finally going to learn something about Dex. In fact, if the season doesn’t end with Deb figuring out some if not all of the truth about Dexter I am not sure I want to watch the next season. That might be enough of a game changer to keep me hooked. If not, all these hints are just red herrings and they are going to feel like a big giant freezer in an abandoned church basement stuffed full of dead professor.
Anything to add to my stink-fest, Natalie? What about you gentle readers? Are we wrong? Was this episode not so bad? Is there hope after all? If nothing else, can someone please explain what we are supposed to make of the Louis side plot? predictions for why it matters?