Episode Title: "A Horse of a Different Color"
Writer: Lauren Gussis
Director: John Dahl
Previously on "Dexter":
Dexter (Michael C. Hall) began to increasingly question his lack of faith in part to the influence of Brother Sam (Mos), whom Dexter befriended after determining that Sam had truly transformed through the power of his belief in God. Meanwhile, Dexter's sister Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) struggled to assume the role of lieutenant after her friend, Sgt. Angel Batista (David Zayas) was passed over in favor of her. Elsewhere, Vince Masuka (C.S. Lee) continued to hit on his beautiful new assistant, Ryan (Brea Grant), unaware that she stole a critical piece of evidence from the Ice Cream Truck killer case which he had shown her earlier.
Away from the radar of the police, Travis Marshall (Colin Hanks) and his mentor Professor Gellar (Edward James Olmos) captured and tortured a man into confessing his sins. Once the man was finally broken, they apparently cut up his body and attached the parts to four different mannequins. And then to the horror of Miami's residents, the grotesque mannequins were sent riding into town on four horses.
At the beginning, Dexter accepts Brother Sam's invitation to witness the baptism of the man he and Dexter saved in the first episode of the season. Dexter even brings his young son, Harrison with him as they join the reformed criminals in celebration. Dexter even notes the look fulfillment on Brother Sam's face which shows that his faith is genuine. Afterwards, Brother Sam speaks with Dexter as Harrison plays on the beach before Dexter is called into work by Debra. Naturally, the case is the dismembered body spotted in the closing moments of the last episode. The brutality (and imagination) of the killing reminds both Dexter and Debra of the Ice Cream Truck killer.
Debra once again has difficultly adjusting to being in charge as Angel, Masuka and Detective Joey Quinn (Desmond Harrington) come at her at the same time to brief her. She introduces them to the new detective, Mike Anderson (Billy Brown) who already has a theory that the killer is trying to send an apocalyptic message with his version of the four horsemen from the book of Revelation. At the station, most of the detectives scoff at Anderson's theory, but Dexter backs him up and Masuka discovers that the body contained traces of ion that suggest he was killed by a very old weapon.
As the detectives begin questioning religious experts and extremists, Travis and Professor Gellar eat at a local diner where the waitress, Lisa Marshall (Molly Parker) catches Travis' eye. In the police lab, Masuka learns that Ryan is into roller derby and into him as well as they make plans together. But he eventually fields a call from an online bidder that a severed hand from the Ice Cream truck killer case has shown up for sale online. Realizing that Ryan is behind the sale, Masuka quickly bids over $1,200 to prevent the item from falling to another bidder and he angrily berates Ryan before firing her.
Prior to a press conference to brief the public on the "Doomsday Killer," Maria LaGuerta (Lauren Vélez) gives Debra one of her hideous necklaces to wear and offers her advice. However, LaGuerta looks pleased when Debra fumbles during the conference and drops an F-bomb while stating her desire to catch the killer. Inside the police lab, Dexter determines that there may be more than one killer from the way the body was brutally dismembered and then carefully attached to the mannequin parts. Elsewhere, Travis tells Gellar that he is going on a date with Lisa; which Gellar accepts as long as Travis is ready for the consequences of his actions.
Travis has a successful date and he sleeps with Lisa as Gellar watches. Meanwhile, Jamie Batista (Aimee Garcia) alerts Dexter that Harrison is gravely ill. At the hospital, they learn that Harrison needs an appendectomy. Dexter keeps a vigil in the hospital waiting room alongside Jamie, Debra and even Brother Sam, who stands by his new friend in his hour of need. Dexter even prays in his own way for God's aid in saving Harrison; which is seemingly answered when Harrison pulls through. In the morning, Debra is told by her boss that the public loves her candor despite her colorful language. And Travis wakes up to discover Lisa tied and bound by Gellar, who says that Travis must accept what needs to be done.
Around the same time, Angel and Quinn fixate on Gellar as a potential suspect, thanks in part to his disappearance after stealing a sword that supposedly belonged to John The Revelator, the author of the Book of Revelation. Some time later, Debra calls in Dexter to examine a new crime scene with blood but no body. Dexter quickly spots a trail and he leads the detectives to a nearby building where Lisa is strung up in an apparatus. Before Debra can prevent it, Lisa is killed when one of the cops activates a tripwire and a horde of locusts are released. As everyone tries to swat off the locusts, Dexter sees Travis for the first time as he watches the events unfold. And Dexter realizes that Travis must be one of the Doomsday Killers.
I've noticed that I'm not the only one who thinks that Professor Gellar exists only in Travis' head. This episode actually had the most overt evidence towards that theory. First, while in the restaurant, Lisa only acknowledges Travis' presence and she doesn't even look at Gellar. And later in the episode, Gellar strokes Lisa's hair and she doesn't react. Her eyes are squarely on Travis.
That's not to say that there wasn't a Professor Gellar at one point, as Angel and Quinn have discovered. But at some point Gellar must have either died or been murdered by Travis, who seems to live only to see Gellar's will done.
And while I'm not totally sold on Travis and Gellar as the main villains of the season, I have to come to realize that Travis is basically Dexter's counterpart. They both have imaginary father figures guiding their actions and they both have sisters who are clueless to their true natures. In some ways, Travis actually seems more human than Dexter because he has more need for companionship than Dexter does. However, Travis also has fewer problems killing innocent people; which makes him more of a monster..
The friendship between Brother Sam and Dexter is oddly touching and compelling… which can mean only one thing: Brother Sam is doomed. Either Brother Sam will wind up dead by Travis' hands or Dexter will decide that Brother Sam somehow deceived him and put him on the table after all. I'd rather Brother Sam stick around for a while, but given the fate of anyone who gets close to Dexter like his wife Rita or Miguel Prado… that usually means a bad end for them. Only Lumen made it out alive and if she ever came back, who knows how long that would last?
In his own way, Dexter is so much more human around Harrison than he realizes. He actually cries for his son when he couldn't cry for his dead wife and Dexter even tries to bargain with God over Harrison's fate. As much as Dexter attempts to emulate normal human emotions, he's finally reached a point that his affection for his son isn't an act. Dexter also seems to be increasingly intrigued by the idea of believing in God; which will probably just make him a better killer in the longer run. Again, that's really the only way that Dexter knows how to react. There was no more perfect Dexter moment early in the episode than when he was astounded by the imagination of the Doomsday killers as Debra was repulsed by the brutality. To Dexter, death is beautiful. And if Dexter finds faith, death is ultimately what he's been worshiping.
Some of Debra's struggles as the new lieutenant were fun, like her press conference flub and the look of horror on her face as LaGuerta put the necklace on her. But it really is pushing belief that Debra didn't get reprimanded for swearing in the press conference. Putting her in LaGuerta style clothing also didn't work, but that may have been an intentional decision by the producers.
The least effective scene of the episode was Angel and Quinn getting baked while killing time. There was really nothing better for these characters to be doing then sitting around getting high? It wasn't funny and it felt like a waste of time. Similarly, Masuka's story with Ryan seems to be a dead end even before it really gets started. Although I did chuckle when Masuka had to bid an insanely high amount to win the auction for the severed hand.
We're four episodes into the new season and "Dexter" doesn't feel like it's quite figured out where it's going to go this season. I have a hard time believing that the Doomsday Killers will be able to go on for another eight weeks now that Dexter has seen Travis and the cops know that Gellar was involved (even if they don't know whether he's still alive or not). Regardless, there's enough here to enjoy until "Dexter" finds itself again.
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.