This review contains spoilers.
I was never of the opinion that season four wasn’t a complete story, or that season one needed an epilogue. But the writers of Dexter didn’t feel that way, and this episode appears to have been an attempt to tidy up some stuff that, frankly, I didn’t think needed addressing.
That said, the appearance of dead Brother Brian as a dark mentor put a rather different twist on things, and for the most part this was another remarkably watchable slice of sociopathic soap. Much of this I’m going to hang on Christian Camargo who plays Brian, who provided some alternative motivation to the unscheduled road trip Dexter and he take.
Dexter really is like a moth drawn to a flame on occasion, and the reappearance of the Trinity killer is the sort of impossibility he just can’t resist. From that point onwards the story is a constant battle between the very basic instincts of Brian to kill everyone they meet, because it would be ‘fun’, and Dexter’s moral code about generally having a reason and some justification for creating body parts.
It’s a battle that Brian eventually loses, somewhat predictably, and a redemption point for Dexter, as he finally accepts that for the darkness to exist there must be some light in him. I was actually sad to see Brian go, as his return was far too brief. My son had a whacky idea, which I can’t resist sharing with you, that if Dexter eventually embraces the light that Brian, Harry and Brother Sam should all appear with a blue glow around them smiling from the nearest mangrove swamp. But that’s probably been done before, somewhere.
The way that Harry returned was almost as kitsch as that notion, but rather touching in the context of the show: waiting patiently by the side of the highway, waiting to be let back into Dexter’s life.
What this sub story contributed, along with some laughs, was that it demonstrated how the dark passenger persona can be seen to be interacting with people, where it’s not them. The very clever sequence where Brian kills the motel manager with a pitchfork, only for the camera to change angles to show that it’s actually Dexter that’s attacked him. This is rather important to the other story thread, Travis and Professor Gellar, where Travis sees Gellar do things that probably are done by Travis. Or are they?
The oddness of that situation was slightly elevated for me this week by the scenes between Travis and his sister. There’s a definite sexual overtone here; they don’t act like brother and sister, but much more like they have a physical relationship. Is that going to be a revelation at some point? I’d put money that she ends up in one of Gellar’s tableaus, even if that isn’t the case.
Overall, Nebraska was a nice interlude, almost a stand-alone story, which gives the narrative time to draw breath before the sprint to the line, one that we’re rapidly approaching. Having let the wheels spin this week somewhat, I think that the show needs to move up a gear in episode eight if it’s to get to top speed by the end of the season.
Dexter‘s been good this year so far, but I’m missing the unchained craziness of previous seasons. They need to start push the Dexter button marked ‘overload’ soon, and I’m hoping they will next week.
Read our review of episode six, Just Let Go, here.