Episode Title: "Nebraska"
Writer: Wendy West
Director: Romeo Tirone
Previously on "Dexter":
Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) discovered that the Doomsday Killer (DDK), Professor Gellar (Edward James Olmos) had an apprentice named Travis Marshall (Colin Hanks), who could only act upon Gellar's orders. Twice... (TWICE!) Dexter had Travis within his grasp and was on the verge of showing the viewers at home whether Gellar is still a real person or all in Travis' mind. But instead of putting Travis on the table like he deserved, Dexter let him go to race to the bedside of his friend, Brother Sam (Mos) after he was found severely wounded by multiple gunshots.
Meanwhile, Detective Joey Quinn (Desmond Harrington) must have been going for Miami Metro's "A**hole of The Year Award" by not only sleeping with Gellar's former T.A., Professor Clarissa Morris (Mariana Klaveno) and potentially sabotaging the DDK case, he also showed up drunk at Debra Morgan's (Jennifer Carpenter) housewarming party and he hit on Jamie Batista (Aimee Garcia), the much younger sister of his partner, Sgt. Angel Batista (David Zayas). Elsewhere, Travis freed Gellar's latest victim and spared her from being "the whore of Babylon."
After learning that Brother Sam was shot by Nick (Germaine De Leon) — the man whom Brother Sam and Dexter had tried to save from gang life — Dexter was stunned when Brother Sam asked him to forgive Nick before he died. Reluctantly, Dexter passed on that message of forgiveness. But when Nick openly celebrated getting away with murder, Dexter drowned him in anger. Suddenly, the Ice Truck Killer aka Dexter's brother Brian Moser (Christian Camargo) appeared to him, despite the fact that Dexter had killed him years before.
On his boat, "Slice of Life," Dexter hangs out with hallucination of his dead brother Brian as he disposes of Nick's body in the waters. Dexter also says that he's relieved that Brother Sam was wrong about him and he doesn't have to pretend to have any light in him. The next day, Dexter seems happy at work until Debra calls him into her office to let him know that Trinity has struck again... which is a neat trick, since Dexter murdered Trinity years ago. As Dexter takes it in, Debra explains that Trinity killed his daughter in the bathtub and beat his wife to death before his son, Jonah Mitchell (Brando Eaton) fought him off.
Except Dexter knows the truth: Jonah must be following in his father's footsteps. Debra offers him some time off and Dexter eagerly takes it. Meanwhile, Travis bonds with his sister, Lisa (Molly Parker). And when Gellar shows up to get Travis back on the Apocalypse plan, Travis simply refuses to come. So, Gellar says that he will continue God's work until Travis comes to his senses. At home, Dexter looks at the evidence photos from the Mitchell home and he becomes even more convinced that Jonah is the new Trinity. So he leaves Harrison with Jaime and says that he will be gone for four or five days. He also leaves a message for Debra telling her the same thing.
Meanwhile, Debra is dealing with the most despicable, evil and vindictive person in Miami, her predecessor, Captain Maria LaGuerta (Lauren Velez). LaGuerta hammers Debra over her rate of murders solved during an official presentation of the numbers to the police brass. Realizing that she needs to have the Doomsday murders solved to help save her career, Debra calls Dexter and asks him not to take four days off. But Dexter is not only ducking her calls, he's following Brian's advice and hooking up with a young convenience store clerk so he can steal the gun behind her register. He even shoots traffic signs while speeding by, all to the encouragement of Brian.
At Miami Metro, Angel, Quinn and Debra interview Holly (Lacey Beeman), the woman who Travis released in the previous episode. She tells them that she had two captors, the weak one (Travis) and a man she didn't see who he called "Professor." She also relates that they made her drink blood. Finally in Nebraska, Dexter finds Jonah, who greets him with the words "Hello, Dexter Morgan" like his father did years before. As Dexter listens, Jonah relates the same story about seeing his father killing his family and he tells Dexter to return to Florida. At a local hotel, Dexter suffers a flat, so he makes an arrangement with the manager, Norm (Scott Michael Campbell) to get it fixed.
However, Norm acts suspiciously and he doesn't seem to buy Dexter's cover story as a landscaper. Dexter stumbles upon Norm's marijuana plants and understands some of his odd behavior. Back in Miami, Travis returns to Gellar's place and seems to spy on the older man as he works. Meanwhile, Debra is growing increasingly frustrated over her inability to reach Dexter. Debra finally calls him from his home number to get him to pick up. Dexter is surprised to hear from Debra and he tries to get off the phone as quickly as possible. Realizing that he has little time left to take out Jonah, he resolves to determine for certain whether he's following in his father's path.
After Norm finishes fixing the rental car's tire, Dexter pulls up to Jonah's home and finds that Norm has stolen his forensics kit and his knives from his trunk. So Dexter uses household chemicals as a test for blood and bleach. When Jonah arrives home, Dexter pokes the holes in his story and admits that he killed Trinity himself. This causes Jonah to flee the home as Dexter slowly walks after him. Upon returning to the hotel, Dexter finds Norm examining his knives and blackmailing him for $10,000 to get them back and forget he ever saw him. But when Norm pulls the clerk's gun on Dexter (from his car), Brian kills Norm with a pitchfork!
Except, there is no Brian, so it was actually Dexter with a pitchfork. And he's never seemed more evil than when he realizes that he can go beyond Harry's code and get away with it. Brian argues that guilt doesn't matter and Dexter can kill anyone he wants. Back at the station, Quinn apologizes to Debra for being a jackass and they kiss before she tells him that they can't. But this time they end the relationship definitively on good terms. Back in Nebraska, Jonah calls Debra to his hardware store to talk, but Dexter knows it's a trap. Once there, Dexter easily overpowers Jonah and prepares to kill him... until he realizes that Jonah wants to die.
He makes Jonah explain that his sister committed suicide after years of emotional abuse from his mother and when Jonah found her, he briefly went mad and beat his mother to death. The hallucination of Brian urges Dexter to kill Jonah, but instead Dexter leaves Brian behind and runs over his vision of Brian to make him go away. Jonah pleads with Dexter to kill him, but he tells Jonah to forgive himself. On the way back to Miami, the hallucination of Dexter's father, Harry (James Remar) appears as a hitchhiker and gets into the car. And in Miami Metro, Vince Masuka's (C.S. Lee) intern Louis has narrowed down the potential Doomsday accomplices from 2000 to 200... and Travis is among the former students whom the cops suspect.
It's unfortunate that Christian Camargo was only around for one full episode as Dexter's dead brother Brian, because he gave us a Dexter who was much darker than ever before. We've gotten so used to Dexter following the code of Harry that the audience largely gives Dexter a pass on his sociopathic behavior. Hey, as long as Dexter is killing murders, no harm, no foul. Right?
Except there is no ghost of Brian (or Harry), it's all in Dexter's mind. And nowhere was this more clear than the terrific sequence in which Brian's fatal actions towards Norm were actually performed by Dexter. And it wasn't alarming that Dexter killed the man, it was that he enjoyed it so much and he seemed to buy into Brian's philosophy that guilt didn't matter and he could kill anyone. Again, this is all coming from Dexter himself and he never seemed more evil than in that scene.
But the writers pulled back too quickly from giving us a truly villainous Dexter. Which is funny, because they've never pulled away from the violence of Dexter's double-life as a forensics expert and a serial killer. It's almost as if the writers are hesitant in making us afraid of what Dexter is capable of with Brian as his guide. Even Dexter's conveience store hookup seemed a little horrifying. Dexter's never really had much use for sex, so it was also surprising on that level... and by how easily he seduced the girl. Given enough time, Dexter could clearly become just as big a monster as the Ice Truck Killer ever was.
Obviously, that's not gonna happen. However, Dexter's darkness is apparently much darker than he's let on in previous years. That's also what made this such a good time to bring back the Trinity storyline. It was a little disappointing that Jonah wasn't the new Trinity, because Brando Eaton actually did a fair John Lithgow impression with his "Hello, Dexter Morgan." Jonah was also the living embodiment of Dexter's worst fear: passing along his dark passenger to Harrison.
Although I was less enthused about the way the story played out, Dexter's decision to spare Jonah was a redemptive moment and he actually forgave him. Maybe Brother Sam wasn't that far off after all. It was also a great scene when Harry reappeared as a hitchhiker. The only thing that would have been more appropriate would have been if Harry's hallucination could have come into contact with Brian's.
At this point, I'm wondering why the writers of "Dexter" haven't bothered to reveal that Gellar isn't real. Almost everyone who watches the show has come to that conclusion already and it feels like the Doomsday killer storyline has been pushed far past its expiration date. Once Dexter found Travis, the story should have been over. Instead it's been treading water and making the season feel drawn out.
I almost threw my notebook at the TV when Debra was kissing Quinn. Thank God that didn't go any further. Aside from being a huge backslide for Debra, it would have completely undercut her if she took Quinn back after all of the crap he pulled. And speaking of crap, LaGuerta was pretty full of it when she blamed her own horrible rate of closed murders on Debra. That's why LaGuerta is one of the most annoying characters on the show. Fortunately, she hasn't been around much this season; but LaGuerta still manages to drag down any scene in which she's in.
For a relatively stand alone episode of "Dexter," this was pretty decent. But for the overall season arc, it was kind of unnecessary. It feels like the sixth season is running out of steam with four episodes left. There just don't seem to be many interesting directions it can go in at this point.
Crave Online Rating: 7.5 out of 10.