Dexter “Once Upon a Time…” Review
*WARNING: Spoilers Ahead! Read at your own risk!*
After a solid start to the sixth season of Dexter last week, this week’s episode continues on the same trend. A relatively tame episode overall, the focus of “Once Upon a Time…” was on the building of Dexter’s characters more than anything else. While use of the word “tame” may lead most people to think “boring”, I found that it was actually a welcome change of pace.
For our leading male, this episode found him dealing with a new challenge as a father. Now that Harrison is getting older, he’s starting to put small things together such as “daddy’s box”. Upon hearing his son speak the words that could one day blow his cover, Dex realizes that he can longer let Harrison see the real him and must proceed with even greater caution from here on out. As for the target of Dexter’s hunt, this episode found Dex tracking down Brother Sam. Sam is an ex-con, now reformed man of the clothe, who runs an auto shop to help other ex-convicts get back on their feet. Not believing for a second that a murderer could be as changed as this one, Dex stalks his prey looking for proof. However, just when he thinks he’s found it, it turns out that Dex has had the wrong target all along. Setting his sights on the real killer, Dex carries out his form of justice. While I did find that this hunt was pretty week in comparison to others the series has had, it does leave its mark on Dex. The dialogue between Dex and Sam leaves Dexter to question that if a criminal can change, “What about a monster?”.
As for our new villainous duo, Travis and Gellar, we got a little more insight into their overall relationship. In last week’s episode, the hints of a master-student relationship were very prominent. This week seemed to evolve their relationship into that of a father looking out for his son. It’s a very creepy father-son bond, but one nevertheless. For example, after Travis misses an appointment with Gellar due to him spending the evening with his sister, Gellar proceeds to burn his own arm with a red hot iron bar exclaiming “Don’t you know I’m the only one who really cares about you!”. This bring Travis to his knees as he begs Gellar to stop. After agreeing to no longer visit his sister, Gellar forgives Travis for his wrongdoings. The episode ends with Travis faking a sprained ankle and knocking out a runner who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Travis then brings the unconscious victim back to Gellar. As for what they’ll do to him, we’ll surely find out next week. The only beef I’m having with these two is that we still know next to nothing about them. While I’m sure all the meaty facts will come over the course of the season, I wouldn’t mind a bone to tide me over.
Now we come to the core of this episode, Debra Morgan. In last week’s review I stated that Deb is by far my favourite character on this show and that she has had some of the best character development of the entire cast. I feel that this episode could have been called “Debra’s Decisions” because that is really what this episode was about. Upon waking to Quinn making breakfast for her, she is immediately shocked when she opens the fridge and finds the engagement ring. Having no idea of how to respond to this gesture she promptly tells Quinn, who’s down on one knee, to “Get the f**k up!”. Well, isn’t that just the most romantic response in the world. Saying that she needs to think about it, Quinn reassures her with a kiss and tells her to take all the time she needs. Upon arriving to the office, she finds out that a video of her arresting the shooter that ruined Quinn’s initial proposal attempt has gone viral over the internet. Seen as a hero in the eyes of the citizens, Matthews then approaches Deb in private and offers her the role of lieutenant. With so many thing happening all in one day, Deb proceeds to have a heart to heart with her brother over a couple of beers. It’s there that we see another great moment for Deb. She says that up to this point she would always look to Harry if she ever needed to know what it meant to be a good detective. But, if she takes this position, she would finally be on her own as Harry never made it to lieutenant. With nothing to compare herself too, since she clearly states she does not want to be like Maria, we can see that it scares her slightly. At the same time though, we also see how passionate she is and how badly she want this.
As happy as she is to be offered this position, the one big thing on her mind regarding taking the job is Batista. There’s a nice moment where Deb confronts Batista over coffee and tells him that “there’s no way I can take this job without your blessing”. Batista tells her how proud he is of her and even though we can see the disappointment on his face, I believe that his words are truly genuine. The only member of Miami Metro who does not seem impressed with this news is LaGuerta. Hopeful to have her ex-hubby leading the reigns of homicide, she is absolutely pissed off upon learning the news. I knew that the blackmailing of Matthews would have came back to get Maria. I just didn’t expect it to come so soon. I’m actually really anticipating this potential rivalry between Deb and Maria. While they have never been on the best of this terms, Maria, being the way that she is, is not just going to let this go. With her decision to take the job, we see Debra return home to tell Quinn the news. When she stumbles into a romantic Chinese take-out dinner for two, she tells Quinn that her answer to the proposal is no. When she tries to explain that she would like some things to stay the same, Quinn tells her that he wants more than that and the two break up. At start of the episode, I thought that maybe Deb’s answer could have been yes. However, after the inclusion of the “Do I take the job of Lieutenant?” decision, it became pretty obvious that this way the only way for the proposal to go. It will be interesting to see going ahead how Deb will tackle this new role in Homicide. One thing is for certain though. Dexter will definitely have to watch himself now that his sister is in charge.
Being the fan that I am, I’m not against the fact that this was a very focused Debisode. Still, it would have been nice to have a little bit more progression into the mystery of Travis and Gellar. There is promise that this new structure of the Miami Metro homicide division will bring quite a lot of changes to the table and I find myself still eager as ever for next week’s episode.
Dexter airs Sundays on Showtime at 9pm.