Let’s Talk About Dexter: Halftime
It’s days like these that I kind of wish I hadn’t decided to only do two or three Dexter posts this season and that one of them wasn’t going to be after episode 6, as it’s a terrible shame to deprive oneself of the opportunity to humbly brag about how you totally either called or in the very least ominously foreshadowed a bunch of shit that apparently was all going to happen in the same episode.
(Actually I kind of can. I have proof. Along with a couple of other people who are neat, including some from this very blog, many of the twists and turns of this episode had been at least vaguely anticipated in our Dexter podcast, Let’s Talk About Dex. Which you should check out. I’m going for a Nerds in Babeland bump).
Below you’ll find a quick recap of the season so far, along with several hypotheses for the future that may or may not be correct and the occasional bout of congratulating myself on being a master of the universe.
So for those of you who haven’t seen the most recent episode of Dexter yet, don’t ruin the most mind-blowing badass experience you may ever have watching an episode by clicking the jump. I know people like you are out there, and while I appreciate that you actually read these things at all, it would upset me to know that you’d completely ruined one of the few chances one has in life to react to a television show like Jack Donaghy reacts when receiving a cool toy as a child.
Strange things are afoot in Miami Metro this year, so I’m going to give you a really quick summary.
A REALLY QUICK SUMMARY.
Miami Metro is now the hunting ground for a new serial killing duo, the Doomsday Killer(s) (aka “Alpha Omega”). This duo, consisting of the older Professor Gellar (Edward James Olmos), who has notably amazing taste in sweaters, and the younger Travis Marshall (Colin Hanks), is out to bring about the end of the world via human sacrifice, believing they are the Two Witnesses spoken about in Revelations. (Actually I called that one weeks ago. According to my calculations, I called it by episode 3. Feel free to congratulate me in the comments for getting something right.)
Dexter, somewhat curious about the religious aspect of these crimes, approaches the supposed convict-turned-convert, Brother Sam (Mos). Initially intended as a victim, when Dexter decides Brother Sam is truly rehabilitated, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Perhaps because of his dark past, Brother Sam is more sympathetic to Dexter, and more able to bring out Dexter’s true self, than almost anybody since his brother. While it is clear that Dexter doesn’t understand religion, Brother Sam does seem to illuminate for him the fact that Dexter does have a lot of faith in a lot of things: Harry, for example (now in the form of an invisible father figure with whom he constantly converses).
Meanwhile, Quinn decides that the time has come to propose to Deb, who doesn’t take very well to the offer. In the same day she is made another offer: to become Homicide’s new Lieutenant, replacing LaGuerta. Deb rejects the first proposal and accepts the second just as Doomsday surfaces with more kills.
Quinn takes up sleeping with any women who will have him, including a person of interest in the Doomsday case. Masuka for a change takes up something less obviously self-destructive: teaching and hires intern after intern. The first turns out to be squeamish; the second (Brea Grant) steals a piece of Ice Truck Killer evidence and auctions it off; the third…well, he’s still around, but we’ll see, considering he’s currently nursing a huge fangirl boner for Dexter.
After recreating several tableaus ripped from the Book of Revelations, the crew at Miami Metro–helped by new hire Mike Anderson–is hot on Professor Gellar’s trail, but they appear completely unaware of the presence of a second killer. Dexter, as usual, has chosen to withhold some evidence to track down Doomsday #2 himself, which he does, though he chooses not to kill him after confronting him and deciding that Travis Marshall is not truly a bad man, even if his mentor is. Given some advice by Dexter that Gellar is leading him towards the darkness instead of the light, Travis chooses to let their next victim go.
Brother Sam is shot by an ex-con, Nick, whom he was trying to rehabilitate in his auto body shop, and his dying wish to Dexter is that, rather than exact the vengeance of which he knows Dexter is capable, Dexter should forgive him. When Dexter confronts Nick and asks him why he killed Brother Sam and suggests that he turn himself in, Nick just laughs at him. Dexter, in a monumental act of self-control, manages not to kill him after talking to him for like a solid five minutes, but when he finally impulsively drowns him in the ocean, he turns around to see that he has a witness: his brother.
HOLY MOLY. So what’s going on here?
Brian. Another point in my favor should be toward anticipating that something big was coming with Brian, though I suppose it’s not even really a full point since I think in the last episode of the podcast I explicitly stated that I had no idea what because it’s not exactly like there was anything else for anybody important to discover about Brian. But what’s going to happen here?
Nobody apart from Harry and Brian have ever appeared to Dexter in a ghost-like form (though this is actually not Brian’s first ghost appearance–he turned up early in season 2). Dexter’s past was always poised to come back and haunt him, though sometimes it seemed to be gone if not forgotten. Of all the elements of Dexter’s past, though, Brian seems to be the one that comes up the most frequently, perhaps because he brings with him the most baggage. Since Brian’s death, Dexter has, essentially, been trying to replace him. He never really sought companionship before. And this season, Brian has been present more than ever–in the return of the Ice Truck Killer’s evidence, in Doomsday’s style, even in Deb’s casual observation to the police therapist about how close she and her brother are. Suddenly, Brian’s return seems like the whole point of this season. But bringing Brian back was really only something that could happen once. But why in this particular moment?
The original problem with Brian was that, apart from the fact that he was too good to be true, he presented Dexter with a serious conflict: kill Deb, his nicer sister, or kill him, his brother with whom he had a lot more in common, but who happened to be a terrible person. This was always an element at play in the interactions between Dexter and the Ice Truck Killer, even when, back before we’d even seen Rudy onscreen, the Ice Truck Killer left Dexter a potential victim all wrapped up and ready to be killed and Dexter chose not to give into temptation. Brian was always that devil on his shoulder, urging him to go one step further than he thought he should, but until now, Dexter was pretty much always able to restrain himself, in part because he always stuck to Harry’s Code, and when Harry’s Code began to fail him, Ghost Harry. So–why not now? Defying the dying wish of a man you very much respected and killing an asshole who, quite frankly, deserves it would be delicious to Brian. It’s essentially what Brian was trying to get Dexter to do all along: just let go, as the episode title suggests. Why try to be half a decent person and half a serial killer if you’re already damned? If ever there was a time for Brian to reappear, this is it. In a season based around religion, what’s more perfect than having an angel over one shoulder and a devil over the other?
Travis & Professor Gellar. The predominant theory floating around regarding Travis and Gellar is that Gellar is, essentially, the Tyler Durden to Travis’s Narrator. While there’s enough evidence to prove that Professor Gellar did, at one time, exist, there is no concrete evidence that at this point in time he exists outside Travis Marshall’s imagination. Nobody ever talks to Gellar except Travis. Nobody ever seems to notice Gellar except Travis. For the most part, Gellar spends his time secluded in an abandoned church somewhere. Even when he goes out with his face on the front of every newspaper in town, nobody seems to notice him. And, while we often seen Travis without Gellar in the show, we have never seen Gellar without Travis. In a series that focuses on the origin stories of so many different killers, it’s somewhat suspicious, then, that we have yet to hear anything of how Travis and Gellar came to be Bible Buddies.
This is, of course, only one theory, and while I think there is a good chance that it’s true, I’m not going to say whether I’m really for or against it because whenever I take a stance on this shit I’m always, infallibly, incorrect. I do think that the writers of this show have shown us before–and have really shown us in this episode–that they are very smart people, though, and I’m inclined to doubt that, even if Gellar is a figment of Travis’s imagination, this is the whole and final twist. They are certainly making it very easy for us to think that, so much so that I think they’re relying on us to have figured it out as a group long before it’s revealed rather than trying to shock us with the information. They’re also smart enough to know that it would be unwise to duplicate Fight Club, so I think that if this theory is correct, they’re going to make an effort to stay away from that association. It will be necessarily attached, anyway, even if it’s almost entirely dissimilar. It has occurred to me that, if Gellar is in Travis’s mind, Travis behaves toward him much as Dexter does toward Harry, and perhaps Travis, likewise, is aware of the fiction he’s created, but, like Dexter, needs it too much to dispose of it.
The Bible. So much of this season revolves around the Book of Revelations. If you’re really into Dexter, now’s as good a time as any to give it a read, because I think it kind of only enhances the viewing experience here. There have been loads of religious killers in the past, so it’s interesting to see one dropped on the show and nice that they didn’t try it until the show was more mature because a religious theme can so easily go very, very awry.
Whatever the case, the progression Travis and Gellar are making toward the end of the world is a lot clearer if you’ve read the book. The seven-headed snake is “the Beast,” as in the 666 fellow, as in Satan. It precedes the arrival of the Two Witnesses, so it makes sense as their first kill. The four horsemen are an easy one and are harbingers of the rapture. And within Revelations, angels are more often than not bringers of destruction, including one who blows a trumpet and unleashes a plague of locusts just like Travis and Gellar’s third kill. (Though they seem to be taking liberties with the timeline; supposedly, the Two Witnesses appear after the Second Woe–basically, right after the Beast turns up–and the angel with the locusts is part of the First Woe. Possibly they meant her to be an angel with a bowl, which is like a more specific plague that wipes out more people. What can I say, there’s like seven angels that blow some trumpets, and seven angels that pour golden bowls of shit onto the people of Earth.)
The Two Witnesses, which again, it’s okay to congratulate me for figuring this one out ages ago, are essentially thought of in the Bible as prophets. While they don’t necessarily bring about the end of the world (though some readings, as in Gellar’s supposed reading, differ, and everyone seems to be in disagreement about who the Two Witnesses are anyway–lots of people seem to think they might be Enoch and Elijah, so feel free to factor this into your critical viewing of Boardwalk Empire), they do prophesy it for 3 and 1/2 years, and Biblically, the people hate them. 1260 days are in 3 and 1/2 years, by the way, which is the number Miami Metro has established that Doomsday is counting up to. (I actually also got this one right, but because I am apparently mathematically inept, I managed to somehow get some number slightly higher. No, I just checked it. I fucked it up on the fly because 3 and 1/2 years is actually exactly 1277 days, but 1260 is what it specifically says in the Bible and I just forgot. I think this is still close enough to merit some kudos, though, guys. Just saying. I don’t get kudos a lot. You can e-mail me at email@example.com to tell me how great I am.)
Also interestingly, the Two Witnesses are marked in some ways by wearing sackcloth, which would, I suppose both now and in Biblical times, be very obvious clothing. In the case of Travis and Gellar, I think their clothing is meant to reflect that, including some of the hits of Gellar’s sweater collection. Professor Gellar has also been “underground” for about 3 years, which fits in nicely with the 3 and 1/2 year timeline that the Two Witnesses have.
This 3 and 1/2 years is half of the 7 years of Tribulation. Tribulation is a kind of vague event, though supposed to be the event following the rapture (you guys remember this one, it was gonna happen in May and then again a couple of weeks ago), in which all of the nonbelievers are left on Earth. These two are given by God the power to bring death and destruction and plague, and the people of Earth fucking can’t stand them. But their 1260 days end not with the end of the world, but with their own death at the hands of the Beast, and the people of the world literally dance around their corpses for days (3 and 1/2 days, I guess one for each year!). Everybody has a great time partying over their dead bodies. That’s all, of course, before God resurrects them and freaks the fuck out of everybody remaining, and then proceeds to actually rain fire and brimstone on everybody, knocking out a huge chunk of the remaining population in a single earthquake.
The Whore of Babylon, who was intended to be Travis and Gellar’s next kill, is actually very close to the end, so if they intended to kill seven people as was mentioned in this past episode, I’m uncertain what they intend for numbers 5, 6, and 7. The Whore of Babylon is actually thought to pretty much just be Babylon the city, which is rather whorish, rather than a specific lady, but you can’t just sacrifice a city. (So I guess it makes sense that Travis and Gellar relocated to Miami. It certainly seems more Babylonian than Tallahassee.)
So, could the number they’re counting toward–1260–be the number toward their own deaths? This is actually why I decided the Two Witnesses seemed like a very Dexter-worthy theory before Gellar confirmed my suspicion that this is who they thought they were. The idea that the two were counting to the day of their own destruction rather than something as simple as the end of the world is a magically Dexter-like, so I hope that’s preserved, though I’m not sure if their plans will change now that Travis’s conscience is starting to get the better of him. And I’m also not sure if they intended to sit there and shout, “Come on, Beast! Kill me if you can, asshole!” or if they intended to be more proactive in their own deaths like they are in ending the world. Examining Gellar’s supposed cult and whatnot, the Alpha and Omega of the Enesserette, will not reveal any results because it is a Dexter invention, as far as I can ascertain. (Though I did Goggle it, as Walter Kenney would say.)
Keep in mind, while I have read this before and I did read it again specifically for the purposes of being more able to guess what was gonna happen on Dexter, you’re getting one non-believer’s perspective of the events of Revelation here, and a very simple one based on the stuff I actually bothered to write down several weeks ago at that. Then again, I’m not trying to interpret Revelations for you in general, here; I’m trying to interpret it specifically to illuminate the movements of the Doomsday Killer.
Other people. This section is easy because a bunch of this just got resolved. Deb never really loved Quinn, she bought an apartment, she yelled at Jamie, and she’s finding her stride as Lieutenant. LaGuerta and Matthews remain, as ever, douches.
Brother Sam, whose purpose in the grander scheme, now has a more obvious role in bringing out Brian. Also, he brought that really cute sheep stuffed animal to Harrison.
Masuka is going to get himself into progressively worse trouble with his interns. I don’t doubt that. His current one seems to have taken quite an interest in Dexter that may not end well, as Dexter doesn’t seem to take too kindly to being shadowed by anyone for any reason.
I thought Angel was going to go crazy and kick someone’s ass for a while, but then he bought a Trans-Am and he seems to be feeling like life, even if not amazing, is all right.
But what about Quinn? Now that Deb has revealed she didn’t feel the way about him that he felt about her, what shenanigans is he going to get up to? I really can’t quite predict what Quinn will do, but I know that it’s going to be douchey, and several of my fellow Let’s Talk About Dex podcasters and I have a bet on about whether or not Quinn is going to appear in front of a flatscreen in his underwear eating Cheetos, or crying in the shower with Cheetos, or anything with Cheetos, really. One thing I do know about Quinn is that he always surpasses my previous expectations of how douchey anyone could possibly get. I think the most important question here is–are he and Deb really over?
Mike Anderson seems like the biggest loose cannon to me. He seems to be good at his job, but I find it suspicious that he left Chicago if it was soooooo great for him in Chicago. Did his wife want him to move? I don’t know. I’m always suspicious of someone who’s good at his job and suddenly wants a transfer to a different city and then seems not to like the city very much but doesn’t try to go back to the first place. Is he a permanent fixture, or will he be gone by the end of this season? Stay tuned. I’m sure this is what everybody’s going to be wondering when they click on this post so I’ve saved it for last.
A really brief review in which I reveal my high opinion of season 6. I remember thinking, it would be impossible to top season 4.
But then Brian turned up.
(Oh yeah, and did I mention I host a Dexter podcast? Let’s Talk About Dex? That’s if you want to hear exciting things every week. One of my co-hosts is a founder of this very blog you’re reading right now. Another one makes up Dexter-themed recipes and cocktails every week, such as “Fuck Balls” and “Steak It Now.” We ask the tough questions, like: What would happen if the Dexter characters went to Disneyworld? And what, exactly, is the difference between hammer time and regular time? On our Twitter @DexEducation, we’re tweeting the rules of Travis & Gellar’s Arts & Crafts Club. [The first rule is, you don’t talk about Arts and Crafts Club.] And most importantly, we’re the #1 Google search result for “crotch asphyxiation!” If any of this appeals to you, check us out on iTunes.)
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