Dexter – Episode 5 “The Angel of Death” Recap and Review

Welcome once again party people to Popular  Opinion’s ongoing recap of Season 6 of Dexter. Usually this is about the time in previous seasons where we’ve thrown our hands up and asked ourselves “why am I still watching this show?” and so with very little to complain about thus far it’s surprising that we’re already at episode 5 “The Angel of Death.” I really hope I’m not jinxing anything when I say this season has seemingly become everything to everyone of its viewers*. It’s developed its characters, dropped the subplots nobody cares about, given us plenty of kills and brought back both a true sense of darkness while keeping Dex’s dry wit as sharp as ever. Tonight’s episode was primarily another exposition one, but along with the numerous scenes of slowburn storytelling we got the big revelation that Dexter takes places in the same universe as The Office. Don’t believe me? Take a look:

 

The Scranton Strangler Should Count His Lucky Stars.

Yes true believers, that is a Sabre printer in Dexter’s office. I had to rewind and check again, but I’m pretty sure Dwight just got a little less psychopathic. Crossover potential aside, we had a good episode and while it took its sweet time, really seems to be building to something special. “The Angel of Death” was directed by S.J. Clarkson (this season’s “Once Upon a Time”) and written by Scott Reynolds (who came up with the story of Rita’s death at the end of Season 4 and wrote last season’s excellent “In the Beginning” where Lumen and Dexter shared their first killroom). This is already our second repeat of a director this season, and it’s really kept a strong pace and sense of style for the show.

So, let’s recap what happened in order of least screentime to most:

– Masuka’s new assistant, while unable to retrieve/intercept the hand from the Ice Truck Killer case, did wipe all trace of the evidence auction from the internet.

– Deborah had her therapy, returned Quinn’s ring and got a new apartment.

– While sent on assignment to interview one of the Doomsday Killer’s former teaching assistants, “That Ishy” Quinn sleeps with her and we got a not-so-subtle full-screen shot of her back tattoo. (my only gripe with tonight’s direction)

– While having drinks in front of his apartment, Dexter reveals to Brother Sam that he got into bloodwork because he saw his mother killed in front of him. Brother Sam is later shot in the last scene of the show with no context given, other than earlier mentioning that his repair shop had been shot at after hours.

– Dexter tracks down Travis and in an unflinchingly dark fashion not seen since season one gets him to confess while choking him from the backseat of his car that he’s not a killer but does follow Professor Gellar who is doing all the killing. Dex then lets him go in hope Travis will lead him to Gellar.

So, lots of stuff. Right off the bat, the show continues to play directly to the actors’ strengths (especially scumbag Quinn) making for a much more entertaining show. Since we’re just about at the halfway point with no signs of LaGuerta, Harry or Cody & Aster for quite some time, the show isn’t dragging us into any rehashed subplots that they’ve done to death. We’ve even gone two weeks in a row without hearing the words “dark passenger!” What’s interesting is, because of the religious subject matter, half the fanbase is pleased that Dexter is seemingly going full camp while the other half is pleased the show is finally taking the writing seriously, and in a sense they’re both right. More than anything, this season we’ve gotten more of what we want and far less of what we don’t.

Ice Truck Friendster?

So what significance does tonight have? The tension in Dexter’s scene with Travis, while shorter than I’d have liked it, was all shades of darkly deconstructing Dexter not seen since the first season. Starting the season a year after the events of last year’s finale (as opposed to the last few seasons that have begun immediately after the previous season ended) really gave the show a believable breathing room for us to get something really fresh. I do like that Quinn set on self-destruct is somehow a better detective, and from the great camera angle where Deb put the ring back on his desk that it looks like they’re through. Making the new detective married will hopefully kill any chance of another “Deb dates the new guy on the show” storyline as well. Finally, I’m just about 100% certain that Gellar exists and is guiding Travis through all of this, so as much as they’re teasing he’s another dark passenger, I think that they’re building up to something much more shocking and fulfilling. Next week’s episode should be the big mid-season game changer we’ve come to expect, and with everything being this good so far I’m looking forward to where they take us from here.

We give “The Angel of Death” a Three Out of Five

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

*Word to Art Alexakis

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