“Dexter:” Once Upon a Time Review

By Jordan Magrath

Last season, Sunday nights were reserved for “Dexter.”  I was a fan of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” but it’s short run didn’t do much to change my anticipation for my hour with Dexter Morgan.  However, I’ve acquired some new shows that fall on Sundays, and it was sad to see “Dexter” fall back to 3rd, or maybe even 4th in terms of excitement.

With AMC’s “Breaking Bad” Season 4 finale, “Dexter” became a meer afterthought this past week, especially when you consider HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” which had a better season than “Dexter’s” last one.  Mix in Showtime’s newest hit “Homeland,” and I am more interested in the suspense there then Miami Metro’s blood splatter analyst, especially if I were to judge them both on their first episodes (which both aired last Sunday).

However, the power rankings may have shifted back a bit.  Sure, “Breaking Bad,” is done-for now, but with “The Walking Dead” filling the gap, Dex still has to fight his way to the top.  “Boardwalk Empire,” had a season-one-like episode, but it’s overall story may be the most compelling left for Sunday night viewing.

I didn’t hold much back last week with my review of “Dexter’s” Season 6 premiere, titled “Those Kinds of Things.”  The writers seemed jet-set on shoving religion theme down our throats.  Dexter Morgan usually has well-timed quips that make him the character we love.  However, throughout the first two episodes, these narrated bits have mostly missed their mark.  Sprinkle one or two in, and it’s okay.  But, when you overuse this ploy, it gets tiresome.

“Dexter’s” newest installment, titled “Once Upon a Time,” raised the bar a bit after the weak premiere.  Although I’ll continue to criticize some of the writing, the introduction of Brother Sam (Mos) was a clear step forward.

Brother Sam, and ex con turned priest, is exactly what Dexter Morgan needs as a friend.  Once being on Dexter’s hit list, Brother Sam appears to be a changed man.  But, unlike most “changed men,” Brother Sam isn’t afraid to admit his “Dark Passenger,” is still alive within him.  This has, and continues to be, Dexter’s conflict.  He definitely realizes his Dark Passenger is within him, but has a problem admitting it to anyone else (except Miguel and Lumen).

Miguel, from Season 2, was actually one of my favorite characters, especially initially.  I felt like the latter half of the season tarnished my view of him, but I still loved the beginning.  On the contrary, I wasn’t a fan of Lumen’s character, from season 5.  From the looks of it, Brother Sam could turn into a fresh friend of Dexter, that will likely help Dexter change his ways, in a way different from the other Dexter sidekicks.

Now, where do we go from here?  Does Brother Sam truly change Dexter?  I doubt it.  Does he, himself, end up on Dexter’s table?  I hope not.  I would love to see a budding friendship that leads Dexter into revenge (perhaps Brother Sam ends up dead by the hands of someone else).  Then, Dexter will have to choose between his enlightened spiritually-changed self, or the murder-for-revenged past self.  This conflict is one that could be fresh and fun.

Other than Brother Sam, there were some other highlights to the episode. Batista continued to get the shaft because of his history with LaGuerta.  Instead of getting his due promotion, Deb received it instead.  My love for Batista grew this week, and he continues to stay humble despite his shitty situation.

Other than the promotion, Deb was left with another life-changing decision: Quinn’s proposal.  She ultimately said “no” (possibly just for now), and it once again continued my hatred for Deb’s love life.  I’d really hate to see her caught up with yet another man.  It’ll probably end up Batista, or Brother Sam (who the hell knows?).

Continuing on, Masuka’s (C.S. Lee) intern got a lengthy scene that really seemed unnecessary.  I could really care less about her, even if she brings a little humor into the show.

Lastly and probably (second most) importantly, was the progression of the killers.  They continued to work apart from Miami Metro, but their intentions are becoming clearer.  Last week, I hoped that they weren’t just doing “God’s work,” and it looks like this could be a wish come true.  Travis, the younger killer (Colin Hanks), appears to be in a cult-like situation with Professor Gellar (Edward James Olmos).  I’d originally thought they had equal control, but as the self-burning scene showed, Professor Gellar obviously has some control over Travis.  Their past and future is going to be fun to watch.

Alright, this review got a little ahead of itself, as it still has 10 episodes to go, but the building blocks seemed a little more in place this week compared to last.

Bring on episode 3!

Rating: B+

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