Stars: Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Lauren Velez, Desmond Harrington, C.S. Lee, David Zayas, James Remar, Aimee Garcia, Geoff Pierson, Edward James Olmos, Colin Hanks, Billy Brown, Josh Cooke
Writers: Jace Richdale & Lauren Gussis & Scott Reynolds, series based on the books by Jeff Lindsay
Director: Michael Lehmann
Network: Showtime, Sundays @ 9 PM
Release Date: December 4, 2011
DEXTER has had a slow build through its sixth season, but with “Ricochet Rabbit,” it finally hits its stride. Although the journey hasn’t been as smooth as we might have wished, with “Ricochet Rabbit,” we’re at the point where the seasonal arc gives Dexter (Michael C. Hall) a new, and in this case unwelcome, perspective on his own obsessions. At the same time, there’s also a threat that hasn’t turned up on the series before, namely a villain with the intent and means to take out the whole Miami Metro Police Department.
After Dexter realizes that seemingly remorseful Travis (Colin Hanks) is actually a schizophrenic who years ago killed the man he appeared to be following, Professor Gellar (Edward James Olmos), and has kept the body in an ice chest. Dexter overhears Travis’ side of a conversation with Gellar, who of course isn’t really there. Dexter’s vision of his adoptive father Harry (James Remar) sardonically comments on Travis’ habit of talking to himself.
Travis bolts from his erstwhile lair at the abandoned church. Dexter is unwilling to call the police, despite Harry’s urgings to do so. Instead, Dexter cuts off Gellar’s hand and uses it to put fingerprints all over the church so that the cops will think Gellar is still out there; if it’s discovered that Travis is acting on his own, he may be arrested, which will thwart Dexter’s intention of killing Travis himself.
Dexter is unusually determined, as he feels betrayed on a whole new level. He thought he could free Travis of his dark passenger, but Travis fooled him and Dexter, like Mother Nature, doesn’t like being fooled. Dexter figures out that Travis, who sees Dexter as a false prophet, is likely to go after Holly, the intended victim who Travis had earlier freed, back when he was listening to Dexter.
Meanwhile, Travis acquires a husband-and-wife pair of disciples. Holly is hiding out on her boyfriend’s boat, christened the Ricochet Rabbit, and Travis unfortunately finds her before Dexter does. Travis brews up a batch of “wormwood” – poison gas. By the time Dexter finds the boat, Holly is dead. Dexter grapples with and kills a figure who’s wearing a Hazmat suit, but it’s Travis’ male disciple, not Travis himself. Dexter finds the makings of a deadly gas mixture and realizes that Travis plans to kill a lot of people at once. Although it’s against his normal practice, Dexter takes the advice of Harry (the hallucination) and anonymously calls the police so that they can find the yacht and the elements of the poison gas.
What Dexter doesn’t know is that Quinn (Desmond Harrington) is so hung over and generally messed up that Batista (David Zayas) is in the field without his partner. When the Doomsday Killer investigation leads Batista to the door of Travis’ disciple, the wife lets Batista in and she and Travis knock him unconscious. Batista’s badge inspires Travis to decide to unleash Wormwood at the Miami Metro Police headquarters.
If this wasn’t enough, Deborah (Jennifer Carpenter) is re-investigating the death of a prostitute who overdosed and was then abandoned by her john. Deborah is horrified when she discovers the john is her boss, Deputy Police Chief Tom Matthews (Geoff Pierson). Masuka’s assistant Louis (Josh Cooke), who hero-worships Dexter’s forensic expertise, is crushed when Dexter is outright offended by the serial killer videogame Louis has designed.
There is so much going on here that “Ricochet Rabbit” may be worth rewatching for plot dynamics alone. Batista is in mortal danger. Deb may be in mortal danger. Heck, everyone at Miami Metro Police is likely in mortal danger. What the hell is going on with Louis, who seems to have his own dangerous weirdness concealed behind a sweet techie veneer?
As far as Dexter himself goes, Travis poses a profound threat that goes far beyond the physical. Here is someone who has parallels to Dexter that make him really uncomfortable. Like Dexter, Travis has a rationale for what he’s doing and, like Dexter, he has a father figure who he talks to out loud. Of course, unlike Dexter, Travis in actuality murdered his father figure, who thought Travis was insane. Indeed one of the nastiest things Dexter does is tie the actually innocent and deceased Gellar to Travis’ crimes, ruining the man’s reputation forever.
Dexter the character seems to be going off the sanity rails a bit this season. This kind of loss of temper would have been more expected last season, when Dexter was reeling from Rita’s death – that it was expected is no doubt one reason that the series’ makers opted not to do it then. Dexter can still be going through his own version of PTSD. Come to that, when poor Deb reminds us of everything she’s been through, courtesy of her psychiatric sessions, it’s amazing she’s still functioning, let alone as a police lieutenant.
It’s good to see an episode of DEXTER where so many different things, and people, that we care about all get thrown into the mix. It works on levels of both drama and suspense, and leaves us impatient to see what will happen next.
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Article: TV Review – DEXTER – Season 6 – “Ricochet Rabbit”