Dexter 6.06 “Just Let Go” Review

Kevin Fitzpatrick November 6, 2011 25

Dexter - Just Let GoDexter season 6 returns to slice up its sixth entry with this week’s midway point ‘Just Let Go,’as our favorite serial killer struggles with his inner darkness in the wake of Brother Sam’s shooting, and Deb tries to keep her head above water with new responsibilities. The big sure-to-be-talked-about twist ending of ‘Just Let Go’certainly shocks its audience, but only time and care will determine how badly the episode rocks the boat of an otherwise strong season.

You know, as a critic I have the occasional access to early screeners, in this case having seen ‘Just Let Go’a number of weeks ago, but because of leaked reports on the episode I went in knowing that the final moments delivered a shocking twist that would polarize viewers, and Dexter fans alike. Because of that I was able to brace for impact, and remained somewhat unfazed by Dexter’s shocking re-introduction of Brian Moser, the Ice Truck Killer (Christian Camargo), largely because the show had been attempting all season to remind us of who the Ice Truck Killer was and what he represented for the series.

It took a minute of thought to reason out that Brian Moser wasn’t actually returned from the dead, rather just a stunt casting manifestation of Dexter’s renewed darkness, but Brian’s reappearance certainly sends Dexter season 6 in an intriguing new direction, one that will be on fans’lips for days to come. It undoubtedly piques interest to see how this development plays out, given how much Dexter’s sixth season already has on its plate between Deb, the Doomsday Killers and Brother Sam, but we’re left wondering what precipitated such a jarring turn.

Season 6 had a clear focus even with its minor diversions, and the appearance of Brian Moser calls to mind some of Dexter’s ruminations from the outset of ‘Just Let Go,’that ‘twists and turns challenge our sense of direction’when given free will. It almost sounds as if Dexter‘s writers had their own feelings to express on the nature of free will, creation and the paths they’ve chosen, but the fact remains that ‘Just Let Go’has introduced an incredibly significant new thread with its work cut out in justifying its place in the direction of season 6.

Another divisive point ‘Just Let Go’creates is the death of Brother Sam, arguably Dexter‘s best and most intriguing character since season 4′s Trinity Killer Arthur Mitchell. While season 6 never found any real means of connecting Brother Sam with the larger stories, I loved the questions their interactions raised philosophically and for the character himself, namely that Dexter could come to a self-awareness of how Harrison among other things had created a light within himself that could eclipse the Dark Passenger. Harry hits it on the nose by identifying Brother Sam as a ‘fellow traveller’straddling the line between light and darkness, and losing the character so quickly and senselessly destroys what could have been a multiple season recurring role. Death is always heartbreaking, but both Mos and Brother Sam earned a better role than what ended here.

Twists aside, ‘Just Let Go’still doesn’t'give us much development from our Doomsday Killers Travis and Professor Gellar, only the predictable schism of Travis deciding to let his innocent ‘Whore of Babylon’victim go rather than keep her in a branded agony until death. The problem here is the same problem that’s been nagging all season, namely that the drama feels hollow while we keep having to question whether or not Gellar actually exists. Yes, there’s a telling moment in which Gellar instructs Travis to pay for the whore’s dress rather than interact with the vendor himself, but one the episode just as easily refutes. Were Gellar a figment of Travis’imagination, would that mean that Travis had to imagine Gellar leaving the church for ‘further preparation,’before he could have a psychological window with which to set the girl free? The theory of Gellar being an imagined persona creates far too many logistical problems to not distract us from their effectiveness as Dexter‘s main villains.

Dexter - Just Let Go

Continually, for several episodes now Dexter has given increased spotlight to Debra, and her struggles to cope with the changes inherent with her new position, and while I like seeing a new side to Deb I’m still left wondering what it’s building toward. Showtime boss David Nevins stated long ago that season 6 would put the relationship between Dexter and Deb under the microscope, yet it increasingly seems the writers strive to keep Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter apart without losing screen time for either. Has season 6 got bigger plans in store for Deb, or fallen victim to the off-screen divorce of its lead actors?

Whatever the case with Deb’s arrested development may be, at least ‘Just Let Go’devotes more narrative to her than Quinn’s increasingly pathetic spiral, or other characters with nothing to invest in. I’ve never felt as untethered to a series as during Deb’s housewarming party, wherein I realized Dexter was attempting to invest our emotions in the innocent flirtations of Luke and Jaime, two characters whom we’d never even seen before a few episodes ago. In bringing up these points of undeserved attention I’ve almost diverted from the point as much as the series itself, but they paint a picture of a series that isn’t quite sure what to do with itself anymore, which we’ve all begun to notice.

And in the end, that’s what ‘Just Let Go’leaves us with. The death of Brother Sam, Nick’s confession, and Dexter’s brutal reaction to drown him almost exactly as he’d been baptized all provide entertaining food for thought, but it’s the episode’s final twists that really concern us with what we’ve just swallowed. We and Brother Sam both know that Dexter truly does have light in him, and another rage-filled emotional outburst won’t change that.

Color me intrigued to see how the return of the Ice Truck Killer plays out in the next few episodes, but fan apprehension is to be expected. After all, it’s the characters we expect to carry a sense of dread, not the audience.

And Another Thing…

  • As Dexter stalked Leo Hernandez’party, was anyone else reminded of Little Chino? Unintentional, or another of season 6′s continued efforts to evoke previous season nostalgia?
  • Her first bikini-clad appearance suggested the possibility of something between her and Dexter, but without it I’m still having trouble understanding why the show devotes such attention to Angel’s sister Jamie.
  • True Blood’s Maria Klaveno returns as Professor Gellar’s former TA, but boy if the detectives don’t just keep uncovering reasons to lock her up for obstruction!
  • ‘I could give a f$%k who you f$%k. Just don’t f$%k with my investigation, you f$%k!’Personal best, Deb!
  • THANK YOU Batista, for punching Quinn. Why would anyone have let him stay at the party in the first place, showing up like that?
  • Call me crazy, but we don’t explicitly know that Brother Sam is actually dead. The only information ‘Just Let Go’presents us with is that Sam was likely to die soon, and Dexter watching the doctor give an unheard distressing update from across the room.

What did you think?

  • Joe T

    Great article. All the analysis is dead on. Nailed it.

    • http://www.tvovermind.com/author/tvkevlance Kevin Fitzpatrick

      Great comment! All the praise is dead on. Nailed it.

  • KR1

    I think the reason that Jaime is being given such attention on the show is that she is a likely target for Gellar/Travis since Battista kept bringing up how she dresses (even though it's Miami).

  • Fission Mailed

    The Brother Sam story arc was an intriguing, fairly original concept for the series as a real fellow traveller to Dexter's dark passenger. Not just another adversary or bad influence trying to appeal to Dexter's dark side like his other shadow companions over the years.
    More importantly for me though, was that it didn't outstay it's welcome, something I find far too often with characters these days. A 6 episode arc leaving the void free to start building up the Doomsday killer, which also took an interesting turn this episode. I also find it hard to believe it's not just a coincidence Brother Sam took up half the season, with Brian appearing after his end… perhaps an omen for the tone of the latter half?

    I'm very interested to see where they go with the ghost of Brian, I feel they missed a trick from the source material when they killed him off completely. My only issue is I find it kind of treads over sacred ground with the voice of Harry, I know Brian was in Season 2 as a voice, but that was guilt and grief. This is… something else.

    As for fan dread, frankly only one thing has ever caused me that with this series and that was the casting of Julia Stiles for Season 5. I think my gut instinct won out on that fiasco!

    • Benson P

      'I also find it hard to believe it's not just a coincidence Brother Sam took up half the season, with Brian appearing after his end… perhaps an omen for the tone of the latter half? '

      God I hope so. We need more murders!!!
      I hate to say it, but I MAY be losing interest in this season…
      Until next week…

    • http://www.tvovermind.com/author/tvkevlance Kevin Fitzpatrick

      True, but if the show had left Brian Moser alive they'd probably have tried to bring him back long before now. I like your theory about Brian's ghost kicking off the latter half of the season, but I still think we haven't quite seen the last of Brother Sam yet, even if it's in a ghostly capacity.

      Why does everyone hate Julia Stiles?! I love her so. In fact, there are at least Ten Things I Love About Her.

  • CJJ

    I was definitely reminded of Little Chino's party!

    • http://www.tvovermind.com/author/tvkevlance Kevin Fitzpatrick

      I suppose Dexter's bound to stalk a gang member or two, and we shouldn't fault the show for setting up a familiar scene separated by four seasons.

  • Bill

    Brother Sam is definitely dead. I had the CC going and the Doctor told the group, "He's gone."

    • http://www.tvovermind.com/author/tvkevlance Kevin Fitzpatrick

      Oh, well LA DEE DA for your fancy captioning!!! What if the CC was wrong, and the doctor actually said "He's cool, mon!" With TV I go by the old adage of believing half of what you see, and none of what you hear.

      Sure, he's probably gone. But a man can dream, though! A man can dream.

  • John W

    I think Angel's sister is going to be a victim eventually, that's why she has so much screen time.

    I keep thinking Brother Sam is going to end up joining Dexter's father as the "voice" of reason. Wouldn't it be something if he had his real brother and Brother Sam fighting for his conscience. Kill or forgive?

    • http://www.tvovermind.com/author/tvkevlance Kevin Fitzpatrick

      Again, Jamie as a victim seems to be the popular theory, though i wouldn't mind it happening sooner rather than later.

      I know it won't happen, but I wish Mos could stay on in a much greater capacity as a voice in Dexter's head. Forgive!

  • http://www.squidprocrow.com Seth

    I think the appearance of Brian in Harry's usual role is a metaphor for Dexter turning his back on the light inside him and fully embracing his darkness. It's no coincidence that he shows up right at that moment.

    • http://www.tvovermind.com/author/tvkevlance Kevin Fitzpatrick

      True! But how long do you think it will last?

  • Ice Truck Chiller

    Returning Brian Moser is an excellent twist, and a much welcome one. I was disappointed when they killed him in the first season. I’d like to see Harry and Brian talking to Dexter at the same time, especially at times when Dexter is losing control. The writers did not capitalize on Dexter’s guilt for killing his own flesh and blood, and it might be too late now.

    Gellar as an imaginary character is a complete fail. His photo was published in the local newspaper. He had records in the university where he worked. He even had a fling with the key witness. C’mon people, it’s not that hard to follow.

    I’m thinking something along the lines of Se7en (7 signs, 7 tableaus), but Gellar as a villain is not sinister enough for my taste. Dexter’s best adversaries operated alone: Trinity, Ice Truck Killer, even his childhood idol the Tooth Fairy. Useless prediction: Gellar will kill Travis’s sister, Travis will die when he confronts Gellar, Quinn will die while trying to save Batista’s sister from Gellar’s clutches, new transfer cop will also die, another co-worker will be clued in on Dexter’s secret life, probably Masuka or Masuka’s intern.

    • http://www.tvovermind.com/author/tvkevlance Kevin Fitzpatrick

      It'd be interesting to see a conversation between Harry and Brian, even if it only takes place in Dexter's mind.

      The theory isn't that Gellar is COMPLETELY imaginary, but rather that he existed at one point, but what we see is a figment of Travis' imagination. All we know is that the real Gellar "went underground," three years ago, and the Gellar we've seen has yet to interact with single person besides Travis. Travis was once a student of Gellar's, it's very possible that Gellar died, or was even killed, and Travis assumed his identity as a form of split personality. When you look at the evidence, even in public the outside world seems to ignore Gellar in some very telling ways, IE the waitress at the restaurant.

      Either way, it does make sense that "Gellar" would go after Travis' sister, or that Jamie could find herself in danger at some point. I certainly hope Chicago Mike stays alive as we've barely gotten to know him, and how crazy would it be if Masu did find out about Dexter? Thanks for posting!

  • Joe

    This season has been slow. A lot of intriguing story lines but still slow. In the promos there was a quick seen that showed Quinn and Harrison sitting together so that tells me either Quinn is on Dexter's case again or he and Deb get back together. I wonder also if there is anything else for the Roller Blade intern. Finally we have reached the midway point and the story lines start making more sense. Once last think I don't think Trinity's son is the one who killed the mom and sister. It would be to easy.

    • http://www.tvovermind.com/author/tvkevlance Kevin Fitzpatrick

      To be fair, it is only halfway over. A lot can happen on Dexter very quickly, just look at Rita in season four! I haven't seen anything of Quinn and Harrison, but it's certainly possible they interact at some point. But you're absolutely right, it'd be a waste to not see Brea Grant again in some capacity. As for Trinity's son, all bets are off!

  • Andthenwhat?

    What if they now have the Dexter internal dialogue conducted with Bro Ice Truck (Id) arguing with Bro Sam (Super Ego) and Papa Harry (Ego) moderating the debate , kind of like Fred Flintstone used to have the devil on one shoulder whispering in his ear, and the angel on the other doing the same with different values and behavioral goals for Fred, ha! My favorite episode moment was MCH's response to the appearance of his brother: First, a faint raising of the eyebrows, which wasn't immediate, so I would interpret it as interest instead of surprise, followed by the glimmer of a smile around the corners of his mouth. I think he would rather embrace his inner monster than ban it.

    • http://www.tvovermind.com/author/tvkevlance Kevin Fitzpatrick

      Very intriguing analysis! I'd love to watch a documentary exploring the psychology of Dexter, a few books have even been written on the subject. Can't wait to see what happens with Brian!

      • markil

        Besides the book, The Psychology of Dexter, do you know specifically of any other books? I, too would love to see that documentary. I am using this topic as a graduate English class right now. The more information, the better.

        • http://www.tvovermind.com/author/tvkevlance Kevin Fitzpatrick

          I don't know specifically of any other books, but a google search of "dexter psychology" brings forth a multitude of articles and essays on the subject!

          • markil

            Thanks, I enjoyed your article! It's fun to do research on something you enjoy. I get to read interesting articles like this as part of my research!

    • thomas

      I thought the same hehe :) But i woulden say brother sam is superego, i think dexter dad is the super ego and dexter is the ego. And i agree that dexter brother is ID :P

  • eyal

    good stuff, next ep' is coming up. I liked the idea of Gellar being a voice, kinda fits with everything, but never really thought about that one before.

    we are told that travis is a great artiest, and yet, we see Gellar doing all the painting, another point, with the second death, dexter comments how the cuts seem to be made by a differant person than the rest of the work.

    if Gellar is a real person (and the delecate artiest) that would mean that travis did the cutting (and killing), but I don't think he would have lied about it like that when he told dexter he didn't kill anyone.

    It may be that he indeed has a split personality thingy, and does the killing as gellar.

    Would be interesting if/when he realizes that (and would probably be the reason dexter would kill him, as in a court of law, he would be found unfit for justice).

    maybe dexter will kill him while under police castoty?