Entertainment Magazine

Review #3071: Dexter 6.3: “Smokey and the Bandit”

Posted on the 18 October 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

At first, I was a bit worried when I realized that this episode would heavily feature another one of Dexter’s regular kills. But given the great ending scene that seems to guarantee a heavier focus on the Travis and Gellar side of things, and how well the stand-alone elements worked, I’m rather satisfied with the episode overall. Dexter’s trip to a retirement community to find and kill an aging serial killer from his youth ended up being pretty entertaining, and allowed Dexter some useful introspection.

Review #3071: Dexter 6.3: “Smokey and the Bandit”

And how did I not recognize Ronny Cox as Walter Kenny? Sure, it’s been a while since “Robocop”, but I remember Cox pretty well from his “Stargate SG-1″ days. I guess it’s just that Kenny is such a different character than what I’m used to seeing Cox play. Instead of a slimy corporate/government type, Kenny is just a bitter, angry old man who likes porn and has no friends whatsoever. And yet, the episode succeeds at making him pretty sympathetic. Even Dexter starts to feel sorry for Kenny. Though, it’s hard to tell whether his decision to make Kenny’s death look like a heart attack was more for Kenny’s benefit or Kenny’s son.

The parallels the episode makes between Kenny and Dexter are not subtle, but neither are they supposed to be. Dexter openly wonders whether or not Kenny represents a possible future version of himself. The experience once again reminds him of his own mortality, and that time is running out for him to decide what to pass on to Harrison. Interestingly, given the general thematic approach of the season, there are no religious elements present in the Walter Kenny story. But it does serve to remind the audience of exactly why it is that Dexter is so interested in understanding religion.

The fact that Brother Samuel is still involved in the story is slightly suspicious. I’d rather he didn’t turn out to be unexpectedly evil and not what he appears, but I suppose there is that possibility. We know he’s going to have to play into the season’s events somehow. Whether Samuel can be trusted or not, it looks as though we’ll be seeing more of Dexter (and Harrison) socializing with Samuel, and possibly some of his “flock”. It will be interesting to see whether this turns out to be a good thing or a bad thing.

The usual non-Dexter subplots are in play, with Deb now struggling with her new position of authority. Deb can be an extremely grating character, but somehow she remains reasonably sympathetic. Her relationship issues with Quinn are a bit annoying (and I hate to see Quinn reverting to a state more like his pre-season 5 personality), but I liked seeing Deb stand up to the loathsome LaGuerta. And I like the idea of Deb hiring a new detective of her choice. Masuka’s subplot is becoming more complicated as well. I should have guessed that Ryan Chambers was just a little too perfect. It’s hard to tell what she’s up to, but it doesn’t seem good. And to put it harshly, I hope that bitch pays for manipulating Masuka; if that is, indeed, what she is doing.

The Travis and Gellar scenes were as interesting as usual this week. I’d assumed that the jogger Travis attacked at the end of the previous episode would simply be killed outright and used in some similar way to how the first victim was used. But apparently, unlike the other victim, it’s important that this one first confess his sins and be “spiritually” saved. I could see it making sense. There’s obviously some reason that this ritual requires a person who will be saved, though how a terror-induced confession could be considered legitimate seems like stupidity on Gellar’s part.

Regardless, the final scene with the four horses riding through town with the four riders composed of the jogger’s body parts and the mannequin parts seen in the second episode (which even a layperson will recognize as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalpyse) is sure to make the desired impression. And that seems to be the whole point. Travis and Gellar may believe themselves to be the Two Witnesses, but I no longer believe that they intend these murders to be anything more than an attempt to warn people about the coming Apocalypse, so more people will turn to God and be saved.

This episode seems like it’s the last one during the “calm before the storm” phase. It’s a relatively low-key episode overall, with a heavy focus on Dexter’s “kill-of-the-week”, but things begin to build behind the scenes until the impressive final scene of the episode, which surely has to signal the start of a new phase of the season. If this season of “Dexter” could be said to utilize some sort of three act structure, then this must be the end of the first act.

Rating: 8/10

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