All due respect to Mr. Checker (though none for Mr. Ballard), but a twist is only as good as the show that surrounds it. Don’t get me wrong, a good twist is one exciting thing to witness; not only surprising and delighting in its own right, but re-contextualizing all the action that’s come before it. But a clumsy, obvious twist is a bit like a train wreck without the fascination; horrific in its own right and, if you’re not careful, leaving a swath of collateral damage behind it. Wise DJs will make the twist just one dance among many; if it goes well, great; if not, then there’s still lots of other fun to be had. While the Dexter writing room has proven itself devoid of any van Buurens this season, this episode may prove that there are a few Jazzy Jeff’s in there struggling against the din.
Now that I’ve achieved the awesome feat of working American Bandstand and A State of Trance into the same strained metaphor, I’ll move on to say that maybe, just maybe, the whole Gellar is Travis (gasp!) thing might finally be done sucking the life out of the season. There’s still plenty of sucking going on here, but the conclusion of “Sin of Omission” gives me hope that things might actually get better from here on.
Like anyone else who’s been paying attention, I’m profoundly not invested in the Travis vs. Gellar storyline but, if I had to guess, I’d say that it can’t even be that interesting for the people who take it at face value. For them, Travis has been an accomplice to kidnapping, torture, murder, and mutilation and while there’s story to be had in such a man’s love for his sister and yearning for a normal life,* we simply don’t know enough about this guy to really care. We’ve been given the Cliff’s Notes to the motivation for his crime a sketch of his relationship with his sister, but there’s really nothing here to make us like Travis and want him to find redemption.
I’m assuming that the assumption in the writer’s room is that the twist is going to make up for all this hollow characterization. They’re sadly mistaken. Even if they do manage to fool some people, Travis’ fight for sanity plays no better than his fight against Gellar. Travis isn’t just an accomplice, but the sole perpetrator of these heinous crimes and his ignorance of that fact doesn’t garner much more sympathy. And, again, the fact that we don’t know enough about this guy makes his internal struggle even less fruit-for-drama than his external one. There’s just no tension in watching Travis and Gellar argue because we know a) Travis’ inability to recognize the delusion means that he isn’t actually getting better and b) the one and only DDK is going to finish the season on Dexter’s table.
The one thing in this episode that might actually have some juice for the future is the Dexter/Travis team up. This is the right way to build to a twist; those who don’t see it coming can enjoy these two hunting Gellar while those who do can appreciate the tension of Dexter letting Travis stand behind him. There won’t be any shock when the betrayal comes, but there’s still some potential fun to be had in the anticipation. It’s a testament to how far this series has sunk that I consider this its best hope for an exciting conclusion.
*The parallels with Dexter have some serious potential here, but Dex hasn’t really yearned for a “normal life” since Rita died. He seems quite content to continue being a monster.
So, Deb’s finally starting to take stock of her relationship with her brother. Too little, too late.
Damnit, I thought Quinn was going to finally start becoming less of an unwatchable asshole. No one cares about your pain! Oh well, maybe Deb will fire him and this subplot can be put out of our misery.
No voiceover during Sam’s funeral, nice touch.
Wouldn’t Batista want his sister to date the non-threatening lab geek? And isn’t implying that she’s a slut the sort of thing an overprotective brother wouldn’t do? It doesn’t make any sense… unless he’s a cartoon now. Okay, now I get it.
Brian, please come back.