Spoilers after the jump.
Another sloppy episode in what's increasingly clear is a past-it series. Maybe if I watched all of these in one go as I've done in every season except the other most disappointing one - Season 3 - it would make a difference. I am very curious about certain aspects of the show this year.
One of them being Travis Marshall, who doesn't really have much to do in this episode but it was very informative of... something. Last episode he kidnapped a street-walker he intends to brand as the Whore of Babylon, but appears to have trouble building up the nerve. So he goes what any self-respecting serial killer would do, visit his sister (Molly Parker). She embraces him and fusses over him and hyperbolically extols his virtues to her class. Little does she know of his other life as she waxes poetic with him over the potential futures of the kids.
Coincidentally in this episode, Deb is talking to her soon-to-be full-time therapist Michelle Ross (played by someone who looks very familiar) about how close she and Dexter have always been. She has had a habit of unloading her feelings about everyone and everything upon him and when he offers little to nothing in return, she'll think, "Well, that's just Dex". I suspect Lisa Marshall's relationship with her brother is very similar.
Professor Gellar, doing a great job once again of failing to interact with anything in this warned Travis in a previous episode about seeing his sister, perhaps fearing that she would have a humanizing influence on him with her vitality, but it doesn't seem to have affected Dexter in that way - indeed, it seems that not until he has been with his sister is he able to work up the mettle to do what the Professor has commanded of him. I don't know enough about psychology or hidden television subtleties to figure all of this out, but it's like compartmentalization - so as Dexter displays one face to the world and another to his victims, so is Travis learning this art.
Dexter has problems of his own - Brother Sam, as a guy he could identify and learn from dies and through some neat detective work, figures out the real killer, a friend of Sam's. Sam's dying wish was for Dexter to forgive this Nick, but after Nick does an ill-advised crazy laugh upon realizing that there were no witnesses and its his word against Dexter's, Dex gets Hulked up and drowns the kid in the water - I certainly don't remember seeing anything like that from him in the past. Even people like Lila and
After the killing, Dexter is greeted by monstrous brother Brian, congratulating him on giving over to dark impulses but I'd argue it's a more human act than any other killing he has performed - the slides may be filled the blood of those supposedly killed in the name of justice, but really it was all to feed the sick part of himself. The murder of Nick is more like the murder of Brian - as Brian was murdered to protect Deb, Nick is murdered to avenge Dexter's friend, one he had a mutual respect for that he has never had with anyone outside his family.
While writing up the fourth episode a couple of weeks ago, I found myself getting angrier and angrier. Here, I find myself thinking, hey maybe this episode wasn't so bad. Then I remember Quinn's scene at Deb's housewarming. C'mon, man! He went from zero to wrecked and then sensitive again in about a ten minute span. It was actually quite funny, which I gather wasn't the intention. Then Batista sucker-punched him (what a fake punch btw) just to make sure everyone knows who the cool one on the show is. LaGuerta also popped up for her obligatory minute of irrelevance.
It didn't seem like a whole lot really happened in this episode other than Sam dying. At times it felt not disjointed, but more like a joint between episodes - presumably there'll be a lot more to come soon. I certainly hope so 'cause it's not been up to the high standard it has set for itself so far.
"Dexter" airs Sundays on Showtime at 9:00pm EST.