Entertainment Magazine

Review #3182: Dexter 6.11: “Talk to the Hand”

Posted on the 13 December 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

“Talk to the Hand” feels a hell of a lot like the first part of a two-part finale. The Wormwood chemical attack (which I thought was supposed to be the final tableau, and therefore assumed that it would occur in the finale) is taken care of by around the one-third mark. Surprisingly, no one besides Travis’s female suicide attacker/pawn is killed. Actually, it’s not all that surprising, given the placement of this event. I’m expecting one or more regular character deaths in the finale, though.

Review #3182: Dexter 6.11: “Talk to the Hand”

“Talk to the Hand” does a pretty solid job of raising the level of suspense and building up to the finale, but there are some core problems that remain. Travis simply isn’t an interesting enough antagonist to carry the weight of these final episodes on his own. Wouldn’t it have been more compelling to have an antagonist who does all these horrible things in the name of religion, and is completely sane? And sympathetic? Apparently it wasn’t enough for Travis to just be religiously-motivated. No, he has to be religiously-motivated, and INSANE. Boring.

I’m basically re-iterating some thoughts from earlier reviews (as I seem so apt to do), but it disappoints me that the main story has become so simplified. If the goal was to slowly bring us to the conclusion that religion is this great evil that causes hate and violence, then they didn’t really succeed, and that’s coming from someone who already thinks that. Travis is insane and already has a penchant for violence, and religion is just his excuse; it’s incidental to the story, so the season ends up saying nothing about religion. All I’m getting from it is that insane people kill people, which is no different than any of the other seasons.

That said, there’s some enjoyment to be found in seeing Dexter go up against Travis, and in seeing Travis go about his grisly plans. I particularly liked how Dexter started using Travis’s beliefs against him by taking on the role of the Beast of Revelation. The show has actually been hinting at the idea of Dexter as the Beast. So though Dexter may not really be fulfilling any prophecy, he’s certainly convincing enough for Travis. One of these days I hope fiction will start adopting 616 as the number of the Beast, rather than 666, given that either one is about as likely to be the original number, based on existing manuscripts.

This whole trope of federal agencies just swooping in and taking over an investigation is such a tiresome cliche, and it’s also not how it works in the real world. Sure, local law enforcement can often be a bit paranoid about this kind of thing, but federal agencies will usually try to combine resources with local law enforcement. In this type of case, they’d probably form a task force or something, so every agency gets to stay involved in the investigation. I’m sure there are exceptions to this, of course. But the reason it’s used here in “Dexter” is because most shows and movies these days latch onto unrealistic tropes such as these (like someone being effortlessly knocked unconscious by a blow to the head, and then remaining unconscious for an extended period of time with no adverse health effects).

Debra’s subplot is becoming very, very weird and a bit unsettling. I started to become suspicious of this therapist a few episodes back, and my suspicions have only grown since then. Honestly, I can’t yet tell whether she’s genuinely helping Deb or simply messing with her head for some sinister motivation. Deb has been in a pretty vulnerable place ever since she broke up with Quinn. My gut reaction to this idea that Deb has had this subconscious longing for Dexter all this time is pretty similar to Deb’s. I find it incredibly creepy, having grown used to Dexter and Deb’s bro/sis relationship. And yet I can vaguely understand the logic of the shrink. And that’s why that scene is such a surprisingly effective and chilling part of the episode.

I find this creepy subplot with Debra to be one of the more interesting and redeeming aspects of recent episodes, because I get the sense that it might actually have some major consequences. But I’m even more intrigued by this even weirder subplot with Louis. The fact that Louis continues to worship Dexter no matter what he does or says to him is highly significant, and I think that’s the feeling shared by most fans. Really, I’m a lot more interested in where this subplot is going now than anything to do with Travis. I still can’t for the life of me figure out what is going on with Louis. And it still seems like too big of a coincidence that Ryan Chambers and Louis Green share the same obsession with Ice Truck Killer memorabilia.

Whatever happens in the finale, I’m now much more interested in how it might play into the final two seasons (if it does). I’ve been a bit disappointed in this season in the second half, but knowing that the show has an end date basically confirms that I’ll be sticking with it until the end. I’ve stuck with the show this far (except for most of season 3), so I can take the good with the bad for just two more seasons. There’s a lot of potential here for the finale to spark off the final leg of Dexter’s journey, if only the writers/showrunners are willing to take advantage of it. “Dexter” might not quite be the show that it once was, but it’s had enough greatness in it (most notably including Michael C. Hall’s career-defining performance) that it deserves to end on a high note.

Rating: 7/10

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