Since last we saw him, Dexter has been distracted from the longings of his own Dark Passenger by the workload of cleaning up after EJO’s, and has finally worked out how to dovetail the two. Once they cut Erin’s poor corpse down, Dexter is given the angel wings for forensic work up. He puzzles over the fact that the wings don’t contain any trace of forensic evidence such as DNA, sweat, or saliva, and I have to say, I’m with him on this point. Since Travis literally just bedded that girl the sheet she was wrapped in, I fail to see how he managed to keep everything sparkling clean. Are you telling me he didn’t leave behind so much as a drop of sweat or a short and curly? Please. Dexter does, however, find a spot on the wing that seems to have been very professionally repaired. Someone has some skills, huh Travis? Dexter plans to use this as a jumping-off point to locate the grinning fool he spotted in the crowd during the locust swarm. That’s a sentence I never thought I’d type.
Travis and EJO are praying together, as befitting their creepy bromance. EJO accuses Travis of paying attention to him instead of God, and wonders why he isn’t more on board with this whole killing people in the name of the Lord plan. Travis tells him that he’s been unable to hear God’s voice thus far, and it worries him that God remains silent, even though he’s been praying his little old heart out. EJO waves that away as incidental, and remarks that their next goal is to find the Whore of Babylon. This is Miami, so that shouldn’t be too tough.
So, do I get to throw her one first? You know, just to make sure she’s really a whore?
Dexter runs the data on the glue, and it turns out that it’s a special type used in ancient manuscript restoration. I assume this means he can look for somebody whose specialty is ancient manuscript restoration. I’m such a great detective. Before he can start in on that, Masuka bangs on the window, telling Dexter to hurry up and get his ass into the briefing room. According to Deb’s notes, Erin worked at a cafe at the Miami Cultural Center. This explains how she may have known Travis by name if in fact he is employed there…doing, maybe, ancient manuscript restoration? Dexter is right on board with my slick deductions. Deb doesn’t know a damn thing about any Travis character, though, and wants to focus on wallpapering the area with EJO’s picture.
Chicago Mike swoops in with some more Book of Revelation knowledge, and Deb wonders why the killer chose to have them trip the booby-trap, therefore denying himself the thrill of the kill. Dexter muses that the message seems more important than the thrill, but I think the message itself is the thrill for Travis and EJO. The actual kill is incidental, just a necessary step toward their goal; it’s the process of triggering Armageddon that makes them happy. And if Travis happens to get laid along the way, then that’s just the cherry on the sundae, so to speak.
Batista and Quinn report that spermicide was found inside of Erin. Again: spermicide, but no saliva or sweat, or anything else whatsoever from Travis? Was he actually there, or did he penetrate her from across the room with a condom-covered broomstick? Hey, it sounds weird, but considering some of the shit this guy has done so far, that’s actually kind of tame, don’t you think?
As far as Batista has been able to determine, Erin did not know EJO. He’s working on tracking down EJO’s teacher’s assistant from the university days, which means he and Quinn have to take a drive up to Tallahassee to question her. Buddy cop road trip!
Masuka has no leads on the locusts or fish, but he does have a shiny new intern, albeit one less fuckable than Ryan. He also has another number, fished out of Erin’s esophagus: 1244. The intern, Louis, has checked into the numerology in the Book of Revelations, and that number doesn’t match anything, of course. They’re probably on the wrong track with their number theories, but it’s a strange piece of the puzzle. Dexter lies and tells Deb there was nothing useful on the wings, and Deb dismisses everyone.
Louis turns out to be a computer geek, which is more useful than being a roller derby girl. Masuka attempts to employ his help in erasing all existence of the Ice Truck Killer hand bidding war (yet another sentence I never thought I’d write). The hand was apparently shipped to the webmaster or whoever before being posted for auction, and Masuka wants all evidence of the transaction removed from the internet. Honey, if it was that easy, everyone would do it, you know? Once something is online, whether it’s a transaction, a boob shot, or a forum post calling your mother-in-law a dumb, crazy whore, good luck making it go away.
Speaking of crazy whores, Quinn takes the prize for most awkward moment of the episode thus far when he asks Deb to hand over that rejected diamond. He wants to get his money back before the 30 day return policy is up, which is sort of hilarious and sad at the same time. Deb calls Jamie and basically treats her like a maid, not so nicely requesting she locate the ring from under whatever pile of laundry or filth she may have left if. Jamie had already had an ass full of Deb’s slovenly behavior, and the attitudes fly back and forth for a moment before Jamie learns that it takes more than sarcasm to out-bitch Deb. I love her, but I have the feeling she’d be really hard to live with in reality.
In the hallway, Dexter bumps into Brother Sam and somehow accidentally invites him over to the apartment to see Harrison. Wow, that was almost as awkward as the Quinn/Deb moment. You can tell Dexter isn’t exactly a fan of visitors…plus, hanging out with Sam always puts you in danger of another conversion attempt, and the last place you want to be when that happens is your house, because there’s no way to make an exit.
Sorry, I’d love to chat about Jesus, but I have to be getting home–Doh!
Anyway, Sam is at the MPD because someone did a drive-by on his garage, and the cops wouldn’t condescend to drive out to the ‘hood for a statement. Dexter tells him he should move to a better location, and Sam of course refuses, saying God put him where he is for a reason. Okay, but maybe the hail of gunfire was a sign from God to get thine holy ass to a safer locale? Just a theory.
Dexter has bigger fish to fry, however, and the next thing he does is scope out an exhibit at the Miami Cultural Center, feeding a really annoying docent some line about how he put his elbow through a painting and really needs to meet with someone who might help him restore it. Whatever could his motivation be? Instead of giving him a helpful list of names, the docent just acts like an asshole, clearly disgusted by somebody who would act so careless around innocent works of art. She leads him to a room where an educational video demonstration is playing on a loop, which I guess mean she expects him to just fix it his damn self. Dexter has to hang out in there to keep up appearances, but it’s not a waste of time after all, for whom does he see on the big screen but our very own Travis, anal retentively restoring some old book. Dexter recognizes his homely ass, but before he can plan his next move, he’s called to a crime scene.
“…and here we have a budding psychopath, dabbling in the fine art of book restoration. When you see him, just say ‘God Bless!’ and go about your business.”
After impressing Chicago Mike by immediately solving a murder-suicide at what has to be the cutest little beach house in South Florida, Dexter has an awkward moment when he reveals himself as Deb’s brother, after Mike made a roundabout crack at her police work. They’re interrupted by the fussiest, most insensitive landlord in the entire world, who wants to know when Mike will have the icky crime scene all cleared away and cleaned up. This goes over about as well as you’d expect.
We catch up with Travis and EJO in the most unexpected of places: a Miami hotspot, full of neon, alcoholic beverages, and scantily clad women. They’re drinking coffee, of course, because otherwise they might be within shouting distance a good time, and then where would we be? True to form, EJO must sanctimoniously spout about how it’s only natural Travis be attracted to the boobies, despite them being attached to sinful, unclean whores. Travis covers for himself by saying he was just filled with pity at the side of all these unsaved souls, and EJL once again compliments him on his sensitive heart. Right.
Travis then spots EJO’s mug on the front page of a newspaper. EJO seems unsurprised, but wisely states that he should lay low for a bit. This means Travis is responsible for selecting and capturing their Whore of Babylon. Fun times. Travis protests, but EJO informs him that he and God know Travis has it in him to be a complete lunatic, not to mention a felon.
In the privacy of his apartment, Dexter and Harrison spend some quality time together searching the Cultural Center’s website for Travis. It doesn’t take him long to hit pay dirt, and we see Travis holds the lofty title of Conservator of Paper and Bindings. He also has a totally clean police record and seems absolutely unlike the type of guy you’d expect to catch disemboweling fruit vendors.
Just a minute, buddy, Daddy is busy hunting people.
Before Dexter can further investigate his findings, Brother Sam appears, bearing a six pack and a stuffed lamb. Dexter plops Harrison and the lamb into bed, and proceeds to hang out and drink with Sam. Of course, their relationship is such that they are physically incapable of small talk, and they get into deep waters almost immediately. Sam asks how a nice guy like Dexter came to choose a career in homicide. Oh, Sam. If only you knew. Dexter habitually blames it on having a cop for a father, but when pressed tells Sam the story of his biological mother and how she was murdered before his eyes. Something like that, he says, stays with you, and he carries the darkness to this day. We’ve known that for a while, but it’s not often Dexter confides in anyone–in fact, everyone who ever learned his secret has ended up dead, with the exception of Lumen. Does this foreshadow a rough ending for Brother Sam (who doesn’t really seem too surprised)? I guess Sam has seen his share of evil in the world, and it takes more than that to rattle him.
Reposition that bottle when you’re talking about your mom, okay Dex? It gives the wrong impression.
Dexter falls into good memories of his mother, some of the first we’ve heard all series, and Sam says she is the light inside Dexter, the one he in turn passes to Harrison. That’s something we need to remember, in reference to this show and real life–no matter how evil a person might be, there probably a little bit of good in them. Sam says all you need is a little light to keep the darkness at bay, and Dexter seems to realize all over again that Harrison brings out the best in him. Not enough to quit with all the serial murder, but you have to start somewhere, I guess.
While we’re on the serial murder topic, we might as well see what Travis is up to. Oh look, he’s lurking around by the docks in a dark sweatshirt, alone and sinister and not at all creepy or conspicuous.
RAWR. Line forms behind me, ladies!
He spies a woman walking alone, dressed for partying and having a bit of trouble with her stilettos. Instead of doing the logical thing, which would be to approach her with some sexy talk and lure her away with the promise of Jello shots or cunnilingus, rank amateur Travis flat out grabs her and tries to haul her off like a sack of flour. This does not go over.
He did manage to sneak in a feel, though, so all was not lost.
Upon finding herself victimized, the girl does exactly what you’re supposed to do: raises fucking Hell. She struggles and kicks, making enough noise to alert a trio of frat boy types a few boats away. Travis, realizing he blew it, drops the girl and skedaddles off. Never go quietly, ladies–once they get you alone, your chance of survival takes a nosedive. Sure, she’ll probably end up being groped by one or more of the frats, but that beats having your skin flayed and flown from a flagpole, or whatever the fuck EJO has up his sleeve.
Speaking of EJO, now Travis must return to him empty-handed. Instead of yelling at him, EJO accepts that Travis makes a better underling than abductor. He promises to go with Travis the next night, police or no police; God won’t let anything stop them now, he says, not when they’re doing his holy work.
After a good night of rest, Travis seems chipper and alert as he leaves his apartment. What he doesn’t see is that he has a shadow–a shadow shaped very much like one Dexter Morgan. Yep, Dexter is through fucking around. It’s been at least several days since he smothered old Walter, and he’s ready to pass judgment on Travis and snuff out whatever light is left in that tender heart.
Dexter gains entrance to Travis’s fastidiously clean apartment and gathers evidence against him. Travis did indeed get a Master’s from U of Tallahassee, the same place at which EJO taught. He also has a couple shelves full of books on the Apocalypse; suspicious, but not enough to link him to the killings. Then Dexter spies another book: an antique Bible. And damned if there aren’t some page numbers clipped out. Dexter cuts one of the pages out (like Travis the book restorer won’t notice) and takes it back to the lab, where he confirms it matches the numbered paper slips found in the victims. We have a match!
Holy shit, it’s Quinn and Batista! I’d almost forgotten about that storyline. They’re in Tallahassee, scoping out Professor Porter, EJO’s former TA. As soon as he sees she’s hot, Quinn turns on that Irish smolder, and he and Batista pepper her with questions about EJO. She seems oddly protective of him, convinced he had nothing to do with the killings, and spends a lot of time defending his eccentricities as brilliance and whack job behavior as a way to make people think. Apparently he was well loved, and yes, in exactly the way you’re thinking as far as she’s concerned. Um, ick? Turns out, he had a habit of working his way through his TAs, because she actually shacked up with the guy until he dropped her for another cute brunette. Not Travis, I hope.
What a looker!
Back in Miami, Deb and Chicago Mike chat about the murder-suicide, and Deb laments about the ruined floors in that cute little house. Wow. Solving homicides day in and day out sure does kill a person’s soul, huh? Anyway, Mike gets nostalgic about Chicago, and Deb calls out Mike on his snobbery. Hey, the guy apparently caught Masuka jerking off in the lab, and Deb doesn’t even bat an eye at that news–can you blame him for questioning the department’s professionalism as a whole?
Quinn, obviously not put off by the concept of sloppy seconds, is in a bar with Porter, working his game. Batista is all business, wanting to call it a night, but Quinn is having none of it. He’s already spent like $80 on her, and wants to see his investment pay off. Which it does, of course, because pussy-whipped Quinn is a thing of the past.
Who can resist this face? Not Angel!
We segue from that straight into another tiff between Deb and Jamie. Jamie is pissed because Deb has all sorts of grotesque crime scene photos spread out in Harrison’s toddling space, and Deb just can’t take an ounce of criticism, especially when Jaime yells at her for leaving her choking hazard of an engagement ring in Harrison’s toy box. Good thing for Quinn the kid didn’t swallow it, or he’d have less than 30 days to go poking through Harrison’s turds, searching for a sparkle. Dexter walks in on the fight and sends Jamie home, then tells Deb she needs to get her shit together. Understatement.
EJO and Travis are staked out in a parking lot, passing judgment on couples waking by. See, total amateurs; if a whore was his target, Dexter would have made sure he was getting a whore, not just made assumptions. For all they know, these could be married, albeit poorly dressed, couples. When he sees a woman who looks sufficiently whorish, EJO stomps on the gas and runs into the couple. He orders a rattled Travis to put the dazed woman in the trunk, which he does.
Go bye bye!
Back in the state capital, Batista goes to collect Quinn, and takes a peek through Professor Porter’s stuff while she retrieves him from the shower. He finds a box conveniently marked “Gellar,” just sitting out with everything else. Come on, writers. Those two have presumably been broken up for at least three years–are we really supposed to believe she keeps a box of his old shit in the middle of her life like that? Lazy. Anyway, he finds this fucked up thing:
It’s basically an outline of EJO’s insanity, compete with hand-drawn murder scenes and the Alpha and Omega signs. Professor Porter sees him going through her stuff, but before she can rip into him he freaks out, demanding to know if the book is EJO’s. She appears surprised by the contents, as if she wouldn’t have obsessively read everything he left behind on his quest for new ‘tang. Also, why would he leave this particular book behind? It’s a fucking blueprint for his ultimate goal, yet he just buggered off without it? Not buying that one either, writers. You and Deb both should get your shit together.
Back in Deb’s office, she’s being ambushed by a therapist for her long overdue session concerning the restaurant shooting a million years ago. As they progress in the session, Deb finds herself confessing her recent troubles and stress–not triggered by the shooting, but by everything else: her promotion, her breakup with Quinn, the murders, couching at Dexter’s–all the little things that are wearing at her, bit by bit.
The therapist suggests she needs to start by getting her own space, so the next thing you know, Deb and Mike are strong-arming the asshole landlord of the cute little beach house into renting it to Deb. Nicely played. That settled, she returns to the station to drop off the ring in Quinn’s desk, and with that, Deb is officially moving on.
We check back in with Masuka and Louis, and there’s a bunch of inaccurate tech talk thrown around, the gist of which is that the trail leading from the hand back to Masuka has been scrubbed clean. Bullshit. Plus, Louis pimped out Masuka’a computer with some porn, so they have a little geek high five moment that’s as awkward as you’d expect. Looks like Louis is here to stay.
Unless he fucks something up. “Something” being the accessible porn.
That night, Travis is leaving work and makes the rookie mistake of getting into his car without checking the back seat. Seriously, have these people never seen Urban Legend? Instead of the Noxema girl, Travis’s back seat is filled with Dexter, who puts a choke cord on him and orders him to drive.
Instead of learning from his potential victim and raising a stink, Travis drives, all the while offering Dexter money and whatever else he can think of. Dexter doesn’t want those things, though–he wants Travis’s life. He wants it in exchange for the lives Travis took; the ones God told him to take. God doesn’t talk to him though, Travis insists–he speaks through EJO. Travis has been shown the Way and the Truth through EJO, but has been a failure. He wanted to kill, but couldn’t. Because of his sweet, gentle heart, I’m assuming. But didn’t he kill Omar, or am I forgetting something? We saw Travis walk up with a blade, and the next time we saw the fruit stand it was a crime scene. Correct me if I’m wrong, because it’s very possible this was covered and I just forgot.
Anyway, Dexter can’t bring himself to kill Travis, who has technically not killed anyone. Gellar is pulling Travis toward the darkness, he says, and Travis would be well advised to quit that bitch and claw his way back toward the light before it’s too late. Personally, I think Travis is sort of minimizing his role in the Doomsday tableaus. He may not have dealt and actual killing blows, but he sure has been responsible for some torture and kidnapping, and likely dismemberment…though it makes me wonder: in a previous episode, Dexter notes the difference in the precise, careful carvings made in Omar’s belly and the sloppy hack-n-slash job done on Nathan. At the time, I assumed Travis was the sloppy one, but in light of his job, that no longer makes sense. Could it be that EJO is the rank amateur here, hacking everything to bits, with no regard for aesthetics? I’d have thought he was far too practiced at this shit, but the other way doesn’t seem to fit anymore. Travis is an artist in his own right, and doesn’t seem the type to deviate from that. If anything, he’d cling to it even more in order to give himself some semblance of control in a completely out of control situation. Anyway, back to the action.
Dexter kicks Travis out of the car and tells him to beat feet. Travis, making a good decision for once, takes off without looking back, and Dexter vows to use him to track he who really deserves the wrath: EJO. Who Travis is calling that very minute, begging off the night’s work. Instead of detailing his near death experience, he plays sick, but EJO sees through it and warns Travis what happened to Jonah when Jonah tried to run from God.
Dexter ponders the constant struggle between light and dark in the world as he continues to stalk Travis the next day. Maybe Brother Sam is right, he thinks: Maybe the light can win out. Cut to Brother Sam, getting gunned down in his own garage, without so much as a yip from that useless dog of his. Wait, what?
Darkness usually prevails, Dexter says. And dogs like the taste of blood.
So, that was a surprise ending, huh? The shooter must have been someone the dog recognized, I’m guessing, given that it didn’t so much as twitch a nostril. And next week Dexter is sidetracked from his EJO hunt by his need to take vengeance on Sam’s shooter. Does Sam die? Will Deb kill Quinn for boning Professor Porter? Will Travis make his first kill, or defy EJO? Join me next week to find out!