DEXTER 6.12 ‘This is the Way the World Ends’

Dexter's final confrontation with Travis Marshall doesn't go as smoothly as he hoped.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "This is the Way the World Ends"

Writers: Scott Buck & Wendy West

Director: John Dahl

Previously on "Dexter":

Episode 6.11: "Talk to the Hand"


Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) is adrift in the ocean after the Doomsday Killer aka Travis Marshall (Colin Hanks) tried to kill him with his "Lake of Fire" stunt several miles off the coast of Florida. Several hours after the incident, Dexter seems to be succumbing to exhaustion when a boat full of illegal immigrants spots him and helps Dexter aboard. As Dexter recovers his senses, the owner of the boat tries to rob his helpless charges before he takes them any further into U.S. waters. But Dexter kills the man and he pilots the boat the rest of the way himself, before borrowing a cell phone from someone at the beach.

Dexter reaches out to Jamie (Aimee Garcia); who brings him home to his son, Harrison and helps him get resettled. Later, Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) arrives at Dexter's apartment and she tells her adopted brother that she was frightened when his boat washed ashore. Debra is also overemotional when Dexter says "I love you" to her for the first time in his life. Meanwhile, Travis relaxes in the home of his latest victims, whose decomposition odor is annoying him. Thinking that his work is at an end for the coming apocalypse, Travis prepares for the solar eclipse later that day.

Debra and Dexter are called to the scene of a double homicide; which is actually Travis' latest hideout. Conveniently, none of the other cops bother to check the other rooms and Dexter destroys the likeness of his face painted which Travis added to the devil. Outside, Travis is dismayed that his hideout has been discovered, but he takes solace in having Dexter's keys and apartment to himself. Back at Miami Metro, Police intern, Louis Greene (Josh Cooke) asks Masuka (C.S. Lee) if he can stay on beyond his scheduled end date and Masuka condescendingly replies that he isn't ready for the big leagues before saying that he may be able to give Louis some consulting work.

In a briefing, Debra, Dexter, Mike Anderson (Billy Brown) and the rest of the detectives theorize that Travis will watch the world end during the eclipse from one of Miami's tallest skyscrapers, but only Dexter figures out which one. Debra also asks Dexter to do one more sweep of Professor Gellar's abandoned church; which he promises to do after Harrison's pageant. Elsewhere, Sgt. Angel Batista (David Zayas) confronts Detective Joey Quinn (Desmond Harrington) about his dangerously erratic job performance and informs him that he is having Quinn transferred out of the department.

At Dexter's apartment, Travis makes himself at home and he hides when Jamie unexpectedly enters the living room. Travis then discovers that Harrison is Dexter's son and he notes that Harrison will be at the school pageant that night. Travis also opens the package with the severed hand that was sent to Dexter by Louis. From a command station, Debra oversees several officers positioned on Miami's tallest buildings. Shortly thereafter, Quinn tells Batista that he isn't transferring because he'll be getting treatment for alcoholism; which Batista regards as bulls***. 

Debra realizes that Gellar's last drawings may indicate that Travis has one more murder planned. At the pageant, Dexter discovers that Travis has walked off with Harrison. Dexter catches up to them at the Transcorp building, where Travis has already killed the cop stationed there. Dexter convinces Travis to let him exchange himself for Harrison's life, but Dexter tricks Travis and finally renders him unconscious. Realizing that their officer hasn't checked in after the eclipse, Debra and her officers race over to find their officer dead and Travis gone.

Inconsolable about Travis' latest escape, Debra gets some unexpected encouragement from the second most evil person in Miami, Captain Maria LaGuerta (Lauren Velez). Are we sure that was really LaGuerta? She almost seemed human… Meanwhile, Dexter drops Harrison off at home with Jamie while he leaves Travis drugged in his trunk. At the police station, Debra drops in on her therapist and says that she wants to openly talk with Dexter about these romantic feelings that she's developed for him,

Sometime later, Travis awakens strapped to Dexter's table inside the abandoned church. As Dexter ridicules the way that Travis used religion to justify his actions, Debra arrives looking for Dexter and she turns the corner just in time to see him fatally stab Travis. At her horrified gasp, Dexter turns and realizes that his sister has finally seen him for who he really is.


For all of the inherent problems within the current season of "Dexter," I did enjoy the climatic scene where his sister discovered that he was a murderer. But I enjoyed it more the first time that almost happened… in the fifth season finale.

After copping out of that ending in last year's finale, the producers of "Dexter" finally pulled the trigger on one of the show's most anticipated storylines. There's no way that they can convincingly walk that back. I'd be really excited about the next season… if Debra and Dexter weren't also involved in this year's most misguided potential romance.

Despite the rationalization that Debra and Dexter aren't actually brother and sister by blood, the entire angle seems incredibly skeevy. Who wants to see Debra make out with her brother? Prior to seeing Dexter commit a ritual killing, Debra seemed very interested in gauging her brother's response to see if he was into her. My suspicion is that Dexter wouldn't love Debra in that way, but even if he was, that's a huge scandal just waiting to happen. No one among their friends and co-workers is ever going to say "Aww… I knew Deb and Dexter would figure it out eventually!" And if Debra thinks she had bad publicity before…wait until the media hears about this.

The thing is, Debra doesn't really love Dexter. Debra loves the man that she thinks he is… or rather, thought he was. Up to this point, Dexter has hidden his dark passenger from Debra and she's only had a glimpse of his best qualities: he was a good father, a relatively good husband and he has an analytical mind that would have made him into a great detective. Still, most people wouldn't develop romantic feelings for their siblings no matter how much they admired them. Clearly, Debra is somewhat deviant herself.

There are only a few ways that this can play out next year. Either Debra covers for her brother and becomes complicit in his crimes or she will attempt to expose him  and he'll either make her look crazy or he'll compel her to keep quiet. The most screwed up thing that could happen would be if Dexter has a romance with Debra just to get her to go along with his killing ritual. I don't that think that "Dexter" would ever go there… but then again, I never thought that incest would be a major angle on this show until last week.

As for the episode itself, the Doomsday Killer storyline was ultimately unfulfilling after a full season to build it up. I'm not sure there are even words to describe the contortions used by the "Dexter" writers to fruitlessly extend the arc during the season. Everyone seemed to guess the Professor Gellar twist weeks before it happened and once that was finally out in the open, Travis no longer acted in a way consistent with his portrayal before that point. Colin Hanks was more enjoyable to watch as a conflicted Travis earlier in the season. Once Travis went full madman, he just wasn't as entertaining.

The only redemptive thing about Travis' story is that he's the first victim Dexter has killed while his sister was watching. And that's it. Everything else seemed like an enormous waste of time and the conclusion of Dexter's struggle with Travis wasn't exactly riveting television. It's also amazing the way that the other subplots of the season fizzled out. Quinn and Batista ended on a circular note and the Louis storyline went nowhere. When Travis opened the package with the severed hand, it seemed like Louis' actions might finally have an impact on the main story. But it was discarded almost as soon as it was brought up again.

The job of any good season finale is to get the audience invested in coming back again for the next season. In that regard, "This is the Way the World Ends" was a success. On almost every other level it was another failure from a very weak season for "Dexter." The show may have another two seasons locked in from Showtime, but it feels like "Dexter" is running out of steam.

Crave Online Rating: 6.5 out of 10.