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Dexter: Talk to the Hand

"Maybe it takes a beast to catch a beast."

I've been brooding obsessively about this episode since I saw it last night, but I haven't reached a verdict. It was exciting, funny, frustrating, and probably contained too much set-up for a penultimate episode. And there was the dream incest that wasn't really incest. Although it felt like incest to me.

Dr. Ross was watching Dexter and Deb interact after the gas attack, and she saw something between them that she felt compelled to bring up with Deb. (Should she have brought it up? Is this something you're supposed to say to a patient?) Dr. Ross is certainly correct that Deb loves Dexter a great deal. She smiles when she talks about him, she thinks the world of him, she constantly seeks out his counsel and advice, and she knows he'll always be there for her. The best relationship scenes in the series right from the beginning have always been between Dexter and Deb. Am I right or am I right?

Was Dr. Ross correct that Deb keeps picking inappropriate men because she can't have Dexter? But didn't she originally set him up with Rita? Would she do that if part of her wanted him for herself? Deb completely rejected Dr. Ross's suggestion, but then her subconscious went and ran with it. Hilariously, they aired the very first, and possibly only, Dexter/Deb love scene the very week that the Hall/Carpenter divorce was finalized.

At the very least, it's an interesting twist, because I just spent several paragraphs discussing it. It could be a fascinating mess if they do it right. It could also be a great big jump-the-shark moment. I just don't know yet.

Meanwhile, getting back to the kill spree, were Steve and Beth Dorsey the stupidest couple ever? I kept saying, Wake up and smell the decaf, Beth! Maybe there's something to those Darwin awards, huh? Colin Hanks is doing a good job; his eyes absolutely glow with homicidal and/or religious mania. (Or maybe it's the camera angle.) But here we are in the penultimate episode, and I'm thinking that Edward James Olmos did the heavy lifting in the first eight episodes, and Colin Hanks may not quite achieve the level set by Christian Camargo, Jonny Lee Miller, and John Lithgow. (Granted, these are difficult shoes to fill.)

At least Dexter's decision to call the cops saved Angel's life, and his quick thinking and obsessive research saved everyone in Miami Metro from the poison gas. When Travis didn't kill Angel outright, I knew Angel would be okay, and sure enough, Quinn arrived just in time to save Angel from a horrible flamey death. Although Angel wouldn't have been in danger if Quinn had been doing his freaking job. (I really enjoyed Deb handing his ass to him. She was so angry that she was practically shaking.)

But Dexter sees himself as superhuman and he refused to go to the hospital when he needed to go. And because of that, Travis got away again and Dexter was nearly immolated in a jury-rigged lake o' fire, and two more innocent bystanders died. Dexter might lose the Slice of Life, too. All those happy memories and body parts. That would be sad. And Dexter is now in one of Travis's paintings. Interestingly, since Dexter saved everyone in Miami Metro from Wormwood, there might be cover for Dexter there.

(Um, I just remembered that Lila did a great big painting of Dexter, too. It's not good when a great show repeats itself.)

Hands, hands, hands. Dexter climbing up the fountain with Gellar's hand in a baggie hanging from his mouth was hilarious. I laughed out loud. Why did Greene send Brian's prosthetic hand to Dexter? Why the palm-reading lines? Did he discover that Brian was Dexter's brother, or was he just thinking he'd freak Dexter out? (Good luck with that.) Or was it Greene's first step in his new career as a serial killer in real life? Note that Dexter got stabbed in the hand, as well. Nope, no Christian symbolism going on here at all.

Finally, I suppose we need to talk about "My dinner with Matthews." Matthews was right that there wasn't anything he could have done; it's not like he killed Jessica Morris. But it's a compromise, an untruth, not something Deb would find it comfortable to live with. Unfortunately, LaGuerta used it to make herself captain. This is not going to be fun for Deb. Maybe Deb ought to consider going the blackmail route herself. No, she doesn't have it in her. Then again, I never thought Deb would go for Dexter, either.

Bits and pieces:

-- Did Dexter leave blood on the deck? I think he did. Not that it would matter, since his boat is docked right there and he has reason to be there.

-- Prayer actually did save Angel. That was cool.

-- Aimee Garcia, who plays Jamie the sweet babysitter, victimized an entire busload of school children in last week's episode of Hawaii Five-O. It's just an interesting contrast. She was definitely scary.

-- Time for Harrison to leave town. Because that worked so well with Rita. I'm sure Deb, Jamie or Harrison, or possibly all three, will be in danger in the finale.


Deb: "I don't get it. If Doomsday Adam was working with Travis and Gellar, then why kill him?"
Masuka: "Maybe he was done with him and the knife was his severance package."
Terrible pun. Terrible.

Dexter: "Unfortunately, Dorsey has led a squeaky clean life. Mostly. He's a potential mass murderer with eight outstanding parking tickets."

Dexter: "What did stalkers do before the internet?"
We all wonder, Dexter.

Deb: "How did you know that crazy bitch was a threat?"
Dexter: "Luck, I guess."
Deb: "Fuck luck. I'll take you."
Gee, don't broadcast the upcoming dream sequence or anything, Deb.

Masuka: "That hand is bad. I've had my tongue in places that smelled better."
Gag. Didn't he mean "worse"? Or maybe I'd better not parse that sentence.

Deb: "All of a sudden I have one of those, those moments where everything sorta comes together?"
Dexter: "An epiphany?"
Deb: "Exactly. And I realize that I have completely fucked myself into a corner."
I swear, Deb can get that word into pretty much any sentence. It's a gift.

I rewrote this review about five times, and now I'm done. I'm going to let you guys rate the episode. How many inappropriate and mildly incestuous romances out of four? And post a comment. Dex and Deb, creepy or intriguing?

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


  1. Great review, Billie!

    Dexter and Deb are somewhat creepy. It seemed forced to me, like a little nod to Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter's past marriage. It didn't seem to work as well for me as Jaime and Cersei Lannister do on GoT. But then again, I'm a fan of Quinn, so...

    With all the veteran actors on the show playing the Big Bads, I think Colin is doing a pretty good job. He may not be up to the same level as Miller, Lithgow or Camargo, but after watching him in Roawell, I think he's doing a great job.

  2. The writing this season has been so awful. I spend a good chunk of the episodes laughing at the sheer silliness and implausibility. (Good thing poison gas doesn't spill through cracks in doors, huh?)

    If Season 7 starts off as poorly as 6 has turned out, I'm done with the show. Which is sort of incredible considering how much I loved 4 and really enjoyed 5's change of pace and focus.

  3. When I was watching the Dexter and Deb scene I got extremely uncomfortable, so much so that I paused it and tried to figure out where it was going, what with all the scenes of Dexter's lips and such. Then I thought, it's going to be a dream, then I started it again. Sure enough it was Deb's creepy dream.

    The writers seem to be bored and are sticking to scriptwriting 101. Everything's too simple and predictable. Where's the cleverness, unpredictableness and humor 'Dexter' used to have?

    The best episode was, I've said before, 'Nebraska'. It contained a lot of those elements I became a fan of 'Dexter' for.

    Think outside the box writers/directors and stop being so obvious with everything! If I hear the word 'Dark Passenger' again... And what's with the scared, shaky Deb voice? Get some gumption, girlie! Where's the hunger? Is it gone with the fat paychecks?

    I give the episode a 2 1/2 out for 4.

  4. Is it awful that I actually found Deb's dream intense, rather than creepy? I really don't think they could pull off a Deb/Dexter relationship, but I do think that Deb at least wondering about her feelings for Dexter in such a way is not that out there. After all, she is sort of co-depedant when it comes to him, specially considering what she went through during S1.

    Also, it feels to me as if they're preparing the path of Deb finding about Dexter. Both the dream sequence and the conversation they had about Matthews mentioned the idea of hidden truths and not everything being black and white. This also goes well with Deb's character arc, since she was very much about catching the bad guys at the beggining and by the end of S5 she was letting vigilantes get away.

    As for Colin Hanks, I'm really liking him! It's hard to surpass the wonderful characters that have antogonized Dexter in the past, though, and I think the religious plot isn't helping. For some reason, shows always get weird when they try to take on religious/faith matters.

    I'm still liking this season better that S3, btw.

  5. Nice review Billie!
    For about three episodes now I've had a feeling about Louis(Lewis?) and this episode really finalized it - that he's setup for the next season. Somehow.
    Not sure I'm liking it 'cause that kind of makes this whole season feel like setup for the next season.

    I'm surprised that Deb didn't go on a ballistic swear-word-rant to Matthews though and make it ABSOLUTELY clear to him that she had nothing to do with his having to resign. I sure as hell would and I don't usually curse. Deb does.

    Anyway, looking forward to the final episode of the season - mostly because then this season will be over. It's sad to say but to me this has been like the season with Jimmy Smits - filler.

    Don't get me wrong, everyone is doing their job and doing it as well as they can - it's just not quite up to par, probably due to the writing. It's too obvious what'll happen and it's almost like Dexter is commenting everything that's happening by saying exactly what just happened, what we already know.

    Anyhoo, keep up the good work and merry x-mas in advance everyone!

  6. This season started out good but then it just became worse and worse. And now they´re focusing on Deb and Dex as a couple? That´s creepy!
    I agree with other comments that this season things are too simple and predictable. And once again, I´m gonna say this: I like Colin Hanks as the villain but I don´t buy the total switch. I still liked the episode but it has some glaring flaws.

    btw, I feel season 3 and 5 are underrated.

  7. Three out of four. Great episode, once again brilliant play by Jennifer Carpenter and a predictible episode final. We've seen better this season but still – the thrill remains at high level. I just wonder how much of the stuff that's presently happening will be continued in next season. It seems to me that all of the things won't be settled by the end of next episode.

  8. I always thought the closeness Deb feels toward Dexter just stems from the fact that he is the only family she has and has always tried to protect her. If a part of her feels stronger emotions for him it's understandable, considering he is pretty much the only guy in her life who hasn't let her down or abruptly left her. I wanna think that dream was a result of the shrink forcing her to question their relationship. This is all weird but somehow still interesting.

    As well as Colin Hanks has played Travis, he still seems a complete mystery to me. Where exactly did this religious fanaticism come from? Why did he kill his parents? Why did he have to believe Gellar was in charge and not himself (he seems to be doing just fine acting alone)? Maybe I missed something about it earlier.

    I also keep losing respect for Dexter a little bit more each season as he continues making the same terrible mistakes. For once doing things by the book helps, and he immediately gives into his homicidal desires, which literally gets him into hot water this time. Hope he's not too far out, that'd be quite a swim drugged and unbalanced. But then he is Dexter.

    Louis definitely seems like a potential villain for next season. And a particularly deadly one at that. I thought Travis was similar to Dexter, but Louis is practically Dexter 2.0. He knows what he really is, who he cares about, where he lives, also has the advantage of working for Miami Metro, and clearly admires he and his brother's work. His plans to make his fantasies a reality cannot bode well for anyone.

    I may now officially hate Maria.

    Glad Angel survived (like we all knew he would). Quinn's 'fuck you' response to Angel telling him to go after Travis made me laugh.

    I'm disappointed at how much the next teaser gave away. It'd better be pretty damn surprising. I usually like Dexter finales, though, so I don't know.

  9. Penultimate episodes of Dexter are usually way better than this. I sort of like the Deb/Dex stuff though, mostly because I have No idea where they're going with it and I've missed that feeling this season, which has been fairly simplistic and easy to work out even for my non-shrewd mind.

    I still love your reviews though Billie! Thanks for pointing out the stabbed in the hand symbolism, the parallels with Lila's pyromania and Dex painting, and the irony of the Hall/Carpenter divorce timing!

  10. There was something to like, but most of it was back to the pathethic.

    My god, there were so many Hindenburg-sized plot holes that I'm not even going to list them. I'll just mention the fact that the moment they talked about the consequences of breathing some of the gas, I knew at the end of the episode, at the exact worst moment, he would suffer them.

    That's writing of the worst caliber, and I hope they do a Walking Dead and fire the complete room for next season. This one has been a disgrace, and I have zero hope for the finale. We'll see what they come with.


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