Entertainment Magazine

Review #3083: Dexter 6.4: “A Horse of a Different Color”

Posted on the 25 October 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

Things are definitely heating up in this season of “Dexter”. The gruesome spectacle of the Four Horsemen seems to have been just a prelude to even more grisly events. “Dexter” has had its share of gruesome kills, but that final scene was easily one of the more shocking moments of the show so far, due in large part to the fact that the victim was still alive when she was discovered (well, at first anyway).

Review #3083: Dexter 6.4: “A Horse of a Different Color”

Likewise, Dexter’s personal journey seems to have reached a new level, with the intensity of Harrison’s medical condition pushing Dexter to, if not outright embrace religion, at least start experimenting with it more directly. I was slightly more annoyed by Dexter and Sam’s commentary/discussions on religion than usual. It felt like the writer was relying too heavily on a lot of overused rhetoric to defend religion. And I thought that the previous episodes straddled the line between being critical of religion and being sympathetic to it a bit better than this episode did (though Dexter’s “Why would anybody want to believe this stuff?” comment was an amusing critique, given the imagery in the book of Revelation).

“You’d think science would have made religion obsolete, but it hasn’t,” Dexter’s internal monolog ponders. Of course, there are those of us who would argue that science actually has made religion obsolete. But I understand Dexter’s sentiment. It is pretty surprising, given all the enormous scientific advances, that religion still remains such a defining aspect of human culture. If that’s what Dexter means, then I can’t disagree. People are uncomfortable with the idea that science doesn’t immediately have all the answers, and that every fact in science is subject to change. People want answers to the bigger questions, and they want truths that are more absolute and unchanging, and religion lets them feel that they have that.

Of course, you didn’t come here to read my critiques of religion. What matters is how well this episode of “Dexter” works as a piece of storytelling. Obviously, given my personal tastes and opinions, I’d prefer that the show be a bit more critical of religion. And at times (this episode, more so than ever) it does feel a little unbelievable that Dexter would be so open to religion, given Dexter’s generally scientific approach to life. But the stress of going through Harrison’s operation helps add to the believability, making it work much better than it would have otherwise. And it helps that Sam is on hand to continue being such a sympathetic religious figure, who doesn’t take offense whenever Dexter doesn’t “get” religion.

“You may say that I can’t prove that God exists… you can’t prove he doesn’t.” I can’t bring myself to agree with any of Sam’s logic, but I think it really says something about the character that he can remain so tremendously likable even while he tries to convince Dexter of the value of religion. Sam still only seems to connect to the season through his friendship with Dexter, and it seems inevitable that his connection to the season’s events will become more direct at some point. But right now, there’s not even a hint of anything sinister in Sam. Perhaps Sam’s purpose this season is to be the sacrificial lamb, first aiding Dexter in his pursuit of the killers, and then sacrificing himself to end the threat.

Those numbers (1237 and 1242) remained a mystery to me until Dexter came to realize that they represented days. Now it seems likely that this is all leading up to day 1260. Take a look at this verse from Revelation: “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” (Revelation 12:14) It seems like more than a coincidence that a woman given eagle-like wings (remember the victim?) appears in the only verse in Revelation (the other is in Daniel) to use the “a time and times and half a time” phrase. A time is equal to a year, a times to two years, and a half a time to half a year. Add all that up (taking into account a 360-day year), and you get 1260 days.

Of course, the church I use to go to would then say that those 1260 days represent 1260 literal years. But I have no idea if that is what most mainstream Christian scholars believe. I like how this adds a ticking clock aspect to the season. Obviously, nothing supernatural will occur on the 1260th day. But Travis and Gellar must have something big planned for that day, which is arriving only 18 days after the Four Horsemen murder. This gives it the potential to align pretty nicely with the end of the season.

I like the addition of Mike quite a lot so far. I like the professionalism he brings to the table and his somewhat offbeat relationship with Deb (though I really hope nothing romantic comes of it). I have no idea where things are going with the Masuka/Ryan Chambers subplot, but I was glad to see Masuka wasn’t afraid to fire Chambers for screwing with him. She did seem genuinely hurt when Masuka accused her of using him. It’s hard to say whether she had any real feelings for him or not, but stealing evidence and selling it online is pretty low even by itself.

LaGuerta is still, annoyingly, part of the show. But what I like is that this season she is finally being put in an antagonistic role. I’ve always found LaGuerta to be cutthroat, unsympathetic, and unlikable, so I think this utilization of her is much more fitting. I liked that her plan to ruin Deb by convincing her to be herself in front of the press completely backfired, as I predicted it would. It’s not surprising at all that people would respond well to Deb’s “no BS” attitude, when the general public has become so disillusioned by the slimy rhetoric of other public/political figures. And it makes sense for the show to continue developing Deb’s celebrity status after the first act of heroism put her in the public spotlight.

“Dexter’s” fear of upsetting the status quo has long been a major drawback of the show. But getting to the end of each season can still be an impressive ride. So far, this season has skilfully placed its pieces on the board, and I’m enjoying the feeling of not knowing how it will all play out. The intensity of the season is increasing exactly at the desired pace. I do feel that the religious elements weren’t quite as well-handled as in previous episodes, but I’m still interested in seeing where they ultimately go with Dexter’s exploration of religion, and what the season’s final word on the subject is.

Rating: 8/10

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