Something extraordinary happened on “Dexter” this week. As Dexter split into two personas as he struggled to hang on to his remaining humanity, a show that’s been MIA suddenly reported ready for duty.
It’s as if the death of Brother Sam (Mos Def) last week performed a ritual cleansing of all that was wrong with “Dexter’s” sixth season. Gone is the ceaseless God talk, the ill-advised forays into slapstick comedy — serial-killer slapstick golf, really? — and even a super-tardy entry into the Manic Pixie Dream Girl sweepstakes.
Brother Sam’s murder also quashed any hope that Dexter (Michael C. Hall) had in redemption, as it led to the rebirth of the ghost of Dexter’s brother Brian (Christian Camargo), a killer who Dexter himself killed in the show’s first season. Brian is here to remind Dex of some core principles, such as “You don’t turn the other cheek — you slice it.”
Brian’s monstrous effect on Dexter runs parallel to Travis’ attempts to free himself of the monstrous Professor Gellar (Edward James Olmos). And you know what? Salon readers discussing the show in the comments were probably right. There probably is no Professor Gellar. The Apocalypse-crazed installation artist may actually be Travis’ killer alter-ego. It would have been nice if it hadn’t taken six episodes to get to this fascinating juncture, but let’s not dwell. Instead, let’s appreciate how this episode didn’t feel like the writers dutifully hitting plot points they didn’t care much about. About how director Romeo Tirone favored long, moody takes of this gifted cast.
You can read the rest of Matt’s recap of Dexter here at Salon.
Matt Zoller Seitz is the co-founder and publisher of Press Play.