Season six of Dexter continued tonight with “Horse of a Different Color,” and while nothing particularly Earth shattering happened, nothing outrageously bad did either. While it certainly served its purpose as a linking episode more than anything, there was a tinge of a signal from the writers’ room early on stating that they know what potential this show has and are going to finally make Dexter as truly great as it deserves to be. Let’s saddle-up and ride.
Tonight’s episode was written by Lauren Gussis (a writer for the show since the beginning, usually at the helm of character building episodes like season one’s “Shrink Wrap” and season four’s “If I Had a Hammer”) and directed by John Dahl (this season’s premiere, last season’s “Hello Bandit”) both longtime players on team Dexter which makes for the show’s overall logic being as strong as ever. As seen in the above clip, there’s a moment when Dexter is about mention the Ice Truck Killer when Deb cuts him off and reminds us (for perhaps the first time in five seasons) that she knows the Ice Truck Killer was Dexter’s brother. Finally, the show’s stopped ignoring Deb’s awareness of Dex’s ITK connection, which bodes well for the show’s history finally taking itself seriously. Later, between Deb not falling on her face after LaGuerta’s suggestion for the press conference actually worked, Masuka’s intern being well aware of the show’s two previous main Miami Metro investigations and Deb hearing suggestions but keeping her new subordinate in order, I’m convinced that the show is finally really paying attention to its own history as a means to both enhance the experience for longtime viewers and keep us going in directions we didn’t expect.
While it was a slower episode, “Horse of a Different Color” seemed to build a bridge made of solid character growth. “That Ishy” Quinn (as my Mother calls him, Happy Birthday Mom!) smoking a joint with Batista allowed for a certain release between the show’s two most frustrated characters, and them having no consequences for getting high on the job was a nice touch. Brother Sam (now credited as
Mos Def, Mos, yasiin bey) coming to the hospital to pray with Dex during Harrison’s appendectomy and revealing he had a similar death-related childhood trauma hammered home he’s one of the good(-ish) guys. Travis Marshall’s apocalyptic advisor Professor James Gellar was given an interesting background as a college professor who is an end-of-times nut and actually stole a weapon believed to be owned by John the Revealer who wrote the book of the Bible he’s obsessed with recreating. While there is sufficient evidence from the show that says he actually exists now (along with the backstory, the difference in Marshall’s crude bludgeons and his meticulous crime scenes), it wouldn’t surprise me if Gellar somehow was Marshall’s dark passenger. Speaking of surprises, as sad as it is to see Masuka’s intern go, I’m glad her red herring-ness only lasted two episodes. The auction was a satisfactory blowoff and gave us some Masuka with backbone.
Two little things I noticed tonight: 1) Masuka eating Deb’s Girl Scout Cookies while Quinn and Batista had the munchies and 2) was that Masuka’s intern in a commercial for a jar opener behind Dexter in the hospital? Those nuggets aside, tonight was largely about exposition but was handled much smoother than the season’s opener. The Green House kill was brutal and I’m guessing they’re slowly building a subplot about Deb needing to attend therapy for the trauma she’s been witnessing. Colin Hanks is doing a great job as Marshall, and while I found Dexter’s “bargaining with God” to be a tad cartoony for my tastes, the eventual showdown at the end of the season should be great.
We give “Horse of a Different Color” a Three Out of Five
So until next time…let’s agree to agree!