Tuesday, November 01, 2011

My Review of Dexter's 6x02: "Once Upon A Time"

Written by Tim Schlattmann
Directed by SJ Clarkson

Dexter: “So that darkness inside you is gone?”
Brother Sam: “No. It’s still there but I’m fighting it’s ass everyday. I don’t really have a choice. I sacrificed the bad part of my soul to make up for some of the pain I’ve caused.”

Okay, can what Brother Sam said actually be true, please? I know this was his first episode and all and I’ll be surprised if he makes it past this season alive but I think it would be nice for someone with such an abhorrent past like Brother Sam’s to actually be a person who has redeemed themselves.

I mean if Dexter can have such a dark side and still be a good man in some ways, can’t Brother Sam be the same? Do we really need another Big Bad this year anyways? It’s just that it seems predictable for Sam to pretend to be rehabilitated only to have him later turn bad and Dexter seems to have enough on his plate anyways.

Though, much as I like Brother Sam, I can’t exactly blame anyone for being sceptical around the guy. Quinn viewed him with total contempt and Angel himself was pretty sceptical when Sam couldn’t actually help with his enquiries either and all that was before Dexter decided to do some digging himself.

I loved Dexter and Brother Sam’s first scene in the latter’s place of work – definitely the most honest scene Dexter has had with a potential kill and I even enjoyed the subversion of having Brother Sam appear to be kidnapping a young guy when it turned out that he was trying to help him instead.

It does make me wonder that perhaps some people can change and it would be an interesting thing for the show to run with. It could even be a bit of a contrast to the current plot with Travis and Gellar as well too. Even Dexter seemed open to the idea that Brother Sam might have turned over a new leaf after all.

As for Travis and Gellar, I’m glad I didn’t write them off just yet because this episode certainly piqued my interest in both of the characters, particularly Travis. It might be clichéd that Travis has some conflict and is being partially manipulated by Gellar but I think it helps with the character quite a bit though.

Travis still showed some humanity in him with his sister, Lisa (nice casting with Molly Parker there) when he relented and had a home cooked meal with her but Gellar also seems to have an impressive sway over him as well when he burned himself because Travis didn’t show up to one of their little meetings.

The religious overtones to this plot (and likewise with Brother Sam’s too) will not win points for subtlety but it’s effective though. Gellar does seem to have a weird notion that only him and Travis can be saved and that the world is coming to an end. They also ended this episode with killing yet another poor guy as well. I wonder if there are more baby snakes that are left over from the previous episode.

Bad guys and religion aside, it’s nice to see the showing using the fact that Harrison is at that age where he picks up on everything almost immediately and for Dexter, it meant that he needed to take a little caution into the things that Harrison would be exposed to. It’s also one of those incidents that we really didn’t need Harry pointing it out either.

Still, good work on Dexter’s part for dealing with Harrison’s curiosity in some rather neat but easily simple ways, though serial killer or not, there are far worse fathers out there than Dexter Morgan as far as I’m concerned. Not that I’m recommending being a serial killer for dads out there. Look how that panned out in Hollyoaks recently.

Meanwhile – am I the only one who is actually pleased that Deb got promoted to Lieutenant? I know that Angel probably deserved it more and the only reason that Matthews actually gave the job to Deb was to get back at Maria but I do actually think that age/experience issues aside that Deb could very well be a rather decent Lieutenant as well.

I also liked the fact that although Angel was pissed he didn’t get the job, he didn’t take it on Deb. It said a lot about his character and also about their friendship but I’m not sure if taking it out on Maria was wise either. I would’ve rather seen him air his issues out to Mathews rather than his ex-wife though.

However the idea of Deb being everyone’s boss couldn’t have come at a worse time. Not only should it make things somewhat more complicated for Dexter but it’s probably not the thing Quinn needed to hear as well. It’s amazing that this episode made me feel both bad for Quinn and also annoyed by him at the same time.

I felt a bit bad for him because Deb really could’ve handled his proposal better and she could’ve turned him down a bit better but I was also annoyed with him because he seemed to blame it on Dexter in the end. I really don’t want Quinn to start investigating Dexter again but for some reason, I could actually see that happening once again.

Also in “Once Upon A Time”

Harrison asking about ‘daddy’s box’ and for a ‘monster story’ was amusing and worrying in equal measures. He’s a perceptive little boy alright.

Dexter: “I always knew this day would come, just not so soon. I’m not sure how this next chapter goes.”

This episode proved that Ryan was more than a pretty face. Should Masuka be worried about his job?

Deb: “Are you insane?”
Quinn: “Come on, Deb. I’m trying to be fucking romantic here.”
Deb: “Romantic isn’t springing something like this on me. When have we ever talked about marriage?”

Angel: “Her blood is on your hands.”
Brother Sam: “There’s a lot more than that girl’s blood on my hands.”

Brother Sam is played by Mos Def, which is interesting casting. His real name is Samuel Wright and he’s got a dog named Eli. That might be going overboard with the religious theme.

Lisa: “You’re working too much. I can see it in your face.”
Travis: “I like to keep busy.”

Brother Sam: “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”
Dexter: “You don’t say.”

I do hope there’s going to be a bit more to Jamie than babysitting Harrison. I think there was an indicator where she didn’t seem fond of Deb.

Gellar (re Lisa): “It’s my job to take care of you, not hers.”
Travis: “Forgive me. I will do better. I will show you that I’m worthy.”

Dexter: “I’m not ready to call Julio a sign from God but I am grateful for the bounty I’m about to receive.”

With both Maria and Deb promoted in the first two episodes, is anyone else going to up the career ladder this season?

Masuka: “Please don’t sue.”
Ryan: “You like to watch? Good to know.”

Dexter: “Always the same ending because monsters don’t get to live happily ever after.”

Chronology: A few days since “Those Kinds Of Things”. Quinn mentioned that him and Deb had been dating for over a year as well.

This was definitely a stronger episode than the opening. “Once Upon A Time” played nicely enough with some fairytale concepts but this was another one about religion, which is definitely this year’s big theme. On the plus side, at least we’re getting interesting characters out of it.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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