Dexter: Nebraska

Brian: "How do you feel?"
Dexter: "Like anything is possible."

On the surface, this episode was about a road trip to Nebraska. But it was actually more of a side trip inside Dexter's mind. And it was just fascinating.

When Dexter killed Nick and saw Brian standing there, it felt like a psychotic break. I don't think it was, though. Dexter always knew Brian wasn't real. Brian was just the visible, audible embodiment of Dexter's dark passenger, just as "Harry" is the embodiment of his good side, the Code of Harry. But I thought it was just fascinating that Brian was so real. He was tossing luggage around, eating constantly the way Dexter does, throwing body parts off the side of Dexter's boat. (At least he never drove the rental car, because that would be pushing it.)

So Dexter is always tempted to just go nuts and kill indiscriminately. If Jonah had turned out to be guilty, would it have happened? Would Dexter have just kept going with his invisible co-pilot brother, driving around and killing until he was caught or killed, abandoning Harrison to his sister? Hard to tell, but I don't think so. I think Dexter really just needed a vacation, and that always includes killing. I absolutely loved Dexter running over Brian and then stopping to pick up "Harry," who was waiting for him at the Miami city limits.

Poor Jonah. I kept thinking that Dexter killing him would have done him a favor. That poor kid will never have a normal life, and it's doubtful he'll ever find peace or stop hating himself for being the son of a monster. Dexter observed that if he wasn't careful, Harrison could turn out like Jonah.

What happened to Dexter here is similar to what happened to Travis, except that the psychotic break may be real. Gellar – or Travis' imaginary version of Gellar – thinks that he talks directly to God, and it's all the evil in the world that has made him determined to end it all. Last week, I was semi-certain Gellar was imaginary, but it's still possible that the writers are playing with us and Gellar is really there. If so, Travis had better get his sister to take a road trip to Nebraska, because she's in danger of winding up dead in a tableau. Maybe we're heading for a moment much like the one at the end of the first season when Dexter had to choose between Brian and Deb. I hope Travis doesn't end up killing his own sister.

Quinn's apology was truly sweet. I can almost see what Deb saw in him. I was proud of her for saying no to Quinn. She desperately needed reassurance and comfort, Dexter was nowhere to be found, and it would have been so easy for her to say yes. She might have in the past, but she's taking her new responsibilities seriously. I hope she ends up with credit for the Doomsday Killer. Gotta pump up those dismal stats. Are murder solve rates really that low? That's deeply disturbing.

Season one of Dexter was special, one of the best seasons of television I've ever seen, and Christian Camargo as Brian was a big reason why. He did a terrific job in this episode, and he and Michael C. Hall even look a bit like brothers. This was probably the most scenes they've ever had together. Dexter and Brian dressed similarly, and when Dexter was talking to other people, Brian often stood right next to him in a similar position. And I loved the American Gothic moment after Dexter killed Norm with the pitchfork.

Bits and pieces:

-- Dexter's weird flirtation with the convenience store clerk ended with a quickie instead of a death. That alone should have told us that Dexter wasn't ready to give up the code and start killing innocents.

-- Holly the non-whore of Babylon is safely in the hospital and said she heard Travis and Gellar talking. (Of course, that could have been Travis talking to himself.) She was forced to drink what sounded like blood. That explains Travis's blood and the refrigerator. Gag.

-- Lewis Green the intern is now fooling around with Jamie, which means he's hanging out in Dexter's apartment. Not good.

-- Dexter was outright sloppy in this episode, which is unlike him. He told a total stranger about his mother's death. He stole a gun in a way that could have been traced. He left his forensic kit and his knives in the car trunk for Norm to find. And shooting at the traffic signs was so movie kill spree.

-- Shady Norm the motel owner/pot grower/blackmailer knew Dexter wasn't kosher but he didn't know why. Drawing a gun on Dexter made it self-defense. Sort of.

Quotes:

Brian: "Guess you don't turn the other cheek. You slice it. Brother Sam doesn't know you like brother Brian does."

Brian: "When has love ever kept people from killing each other?"

Dexter: (to Jonah) "I wanted to be a hero, but it was stupid and selfish. And it's what got Rita killed." Total truth there.

Angel: "Said she was chained up for a few days with some one called the professor."
Deb: "Was her name Maryann or Ginger?"

Brian: "This place would turn anyone into a homicidal maniac."

Deb: "I would kill myself, but it would add to my murder total for the month."

Brian: "If you could go somewhere else, where would it be?"
Dexter: "I've never been to Portland."
Brian: "It's a little predictable, isn't it? Isn't that where all serial killers go?"

Dexter: (answering phone) "Jamie? What's wrong?"
Deb: "Where in fucktopia are you?"

Brian: "It's the midwest. Nobody locks their doors."
But... Trinity killer? I think Jonah would lock his door.

Four out of four pitchforks,

Billie
---
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

9 comments:

ra1nm4n said...

Great review Billie !! And yeah, I am also beginning to see that Professor Gellar may be real after all. For example, the girl heard two people talking and in the next week preview we see Gellar creating the next tableau all by himself. But I am a bit disappointed to see the end of Brian. It was kind of fascinating to see Dexter wreaking havoc with Brian, wasn't it ?

topher darling said...

This season hasn't really resonated with me although this episode hit home, literally. I spent most of my 20's in Kearney, Nebraska. They captured the essence of it and it's true, not everybody locks their doors. Also, I've lived in Portland for the last 10 years so having both of my homesteads mentioned in an episode of Dexter kind of blew my mind.

Regardless, I'm still not invested in this season. It would have been interesting to see Brian stick around longer as the arch-nemesis this season, someone that puts Dexter in jeopardy, even if he is in his head. Travis and Gellar just aren't that spectacular and Dexter has not personal interest in them like he has developed with all of the killers, victims or crazy English women from the previous seasons. I realize this season's more spiritual (as that has been beat into us repeatedly) which means that it is more of a private journey for Dexter but it's such a departure from the other seasons. Really, I'm more interested in watching Deb grow this season than Dexter.

Also, Jonah now is out there, crazed with grief and anguish and knows that Dexter is a killer. I'm kind of surprised Dexter admitted killing to him and just let him go, twice. He's gotten a whole lot more careless this season.

Anonymous said...

This episode was better than the previous and it was amazing seeing Brian again. I too feel sorry for Jonah, he will never have a normal life. But I still think Gellar is imaginary.

Annie said...

"Shady Norm" from the Shady Lane Motel... Oh, Billie, your brand of humour is spot on, superb and as effortless as always! *rolls on the floor giggling*

There was something smarmy about Norm from the moment we first saw him... I got his up-to-no-good vibe right off the bat. And his eager interest in Dexter's affairs was also a big clue. I mean, who takes that much notice of a perfect stranger unless they've got something to hide? Oh, and kudos to the cinematographers, because that shot of Norm slowly sinking beneath the grain in the silo was unsettling and eerie, yet beautifully filmed.

Moving along to Dexter. Wow, sloppy work indeed, sir. I cannot believe how quickly our antihero has gone from perfectionist to perfunctory. I'm beginning to think the writers are deliberately setting him up for a big fall, in case this is the last season. And the random, out-of-character sex-and-gun-theft in the mini-market? Double wow. I do hope he put a helmet on his soldier before marching into battle. STDs are killers, too, Dexter.

Christian Camargo was excellent. He injected Brian with all the attitude, irreverence and evil glee that we've come to expect from Brian Moser - and he was thoroughly mesmerising to watch. I also liked how the writers gave him a real-life feel (the interactions, the food) even though Dexter (and we) always knew he wasn't really there.

A bit of a detour in the journey, as you said, Billie, but still a good episode.

Patryk said...

While it was fun the episode felt off and at the end we're exactly in the same place we were at the end of ep 5. Feels like filler to get up to 12 episodes.

Holly mentioned two people,but she never quoted anything the professor said. Also Geller has a penchant for using Travis' name so if he talked she would probably know it. She was blindfolded, wasn't she?

Mark said...

I can't believe nobody's mentioned Dexter taking the pen from the motel! I have to believe that's going to come back and bite him. The director ensured we saw it listed the name of the hotel and city.

Billie Doux said...

Good news, everyone! It was just announced that Dexter is getting two more seasons. Eight! That is amazing.

http://www.tvline.com/2011/11/showtime-dexter-renewed-season-7-8/

Patryk said...

It will be amazing if those will be the two last seasons and will take the story to it's natural conclusion. Showime is a cable channel but they treat Dexter just like House or Smallville with these endless renewals.

Harry Earle said...

Yahoooooooo! The best episode of Dexter all season, along with the best Dexter news we could have gotten. Two more seasons. So Juicy. I wonder if the antagonist for season 7 will carry over into season 8 too? I wonder if Deb will find out about Dex at the end of season 7 and spend season 8 dealing with it? It seems somehow blasphemous to say this, but I hope season 8 is the final season. That gives the writers two years to build a truly epic conclusion to a wonderful series. Besides, Michael C Hall must be so tired of killing people.

The Brian storyline was a joy to watch, but I'll be disappointed if that's the last we see of him. As the embodiment of Dex's Dark Passenger, he should stick around, and be able to play off Harry. They've firmly established Harry as his Light Passenger in this episode, so why give a human voice to the light but not the dark. Please bring Brian back! If this is all the Brian we get, I will be deeply disappointed. As the face of the Dark Passenger, Dexter should banish/kill him in the final episode of the series, not midway through a middling season.

The Jonah story added extra weight to an already Special Episode, but I didn't buy his confession. It's not that I think he was lying, I just don't think the story or the acting was that realistic. Maybe if there had been stronger hints about the mother being in thrall to Trinity, but they didn't set that up during Season 4 when they should have thought about it. I hope Jonah returns, and it seems a little more likely given that he is the only person who knows Dexter killed Trinity.

Annie's comment last week got me thinking about ways to end Dexter in a manner that is satisfying to most fans. Jonah likely now sees Dex as a vigilante killer with moral motives. Deb saw Dex and Lumen in the same way last season, that's why she let them go without making them reveal themselves to her. This all makes it more likely that when Dexter is finally discovered, it could be that it'll be as a heroic vigilante rather than a serial killer.

Great review Billie, and some fantastic comments too.