Dexter - Episode 6.02 "Once Upon A Time" - 'Best of' Recap

Dexter Season 6 Episode 2 'best of' recap by Chase Gamradt. "This week on Dexter, a new consultant is brought in to help decipher the religious clues of the fruit stand murder, and Deb has to handle two big proposals. So polish your crosses and grab your rosary for this week's episode. Read more after the jump below...

Change is in the Air

Dexter is back at home with Harrison who is starting to learn more and more about "daddy's box." This is a source of concern for any father, but in most cases it's a bulk of pornography that the dad is trying to hide, not blood slides of murder victims. While Dexter is worrying about that, the creepy duo of Travis and Prof. Gellar are busy moving mannequin parts into an old church.

Deb has a whole other set of problems to deal with. She wakes up to Quinn making her breakfast and find an engagement ring in the fridge. It's a good thing Quinn didn't do a jumbotron proposal, because Deb says she needs more time to answer and leaves. At the station, she is asked by Dep. Chief Matthews to become the Lieutenant of the Homicide Division, which she tries to rebuff because she wants Batista to have the job. Once again, she says she needs more time to answer. Brother Sam is being questioned in the office about the death of fruit stand guy, Omar. Dexter thinks that Sam is involved and begins his personal quest for justice.

Brotherly Love

Deb is having a brother-sister moment with Dexter and explains the fear she has of becoming Lt. Morgan. Like a good brother, he gives her words of encouragement. Creepy Travis is also having a brother-sister moment with his seemingly normal sister who made him dinner. She tells him to stay the night (not in that way) because they haven't seen each other in such a long time.

Dexter decides that the only way he can get close to Brother Sam is by smashing the rear end of his car into a dumpster to get it fixed at Sam's auto shop. It is at the shop where Dexter has a nice little talk about Sam who freely admits to killing a guy and getting away with it. It's an unorthodox selling strategy by Sam. "If I can convince you that I'm a good guy who got off for murder, your estimate is free!" Sam is then interrupted about a fellow co-worker named Nick not showing up for work.

Wrong Impressions

Deb takes Batista out for coffee to let him know that she will be taking the job that he thought would be his. He takes it very well, and gives Deb his blessing. Batista is later confronted by LaGuerta who says that the promotion was out of her hands, to which Batista replies by yelling the F-word at her. It looks like Batista is taking the news a little bit harder than he let on.

That night, Dexter follows Brother Sam to a house and hears gunshots. Sam then emerges with a body and goes back to the auto shop. I guess the place could be called a "chop shop" now, am I right? (rim shot) Bad jokes aside, Dexter tries to go inside to kill Sam only to be confronted by Eli, the guard dog. Sam comes out and Dexter tells him that he left something in his car and came back to get it. Sam lets him inside and lo and behold, the body that Sam took is still alive. It's Nick, the missing co-worker who Sam went to get out of a drug house. It seems that Nick was so touched by his caring boss's actions that he shot at him and got knocked out.

Back to creepy Travis and Gellar, the Professor is mad at Travis for not showing up for work because he was with his sister. He then burns himself with a piece of steel and says that he has to cleanse Travis' sins. It looks like the professor has the worst PTO benefits of any employer in the world.

Picking the Right Suitor

Deb goes back home to talk to Quinn about him asking her to marry him. She finds the holy trinity of romance waiting for her. Candles, flowers, and Chinese food. She explains to him that she loves being with him, but doesn't want things to change. Quinn on the other hand wants to create a positive change by marrying her. She says no and he kicks her out.

The next morning, the press is called into the office and everyone is wondering what is happening. That's when Deb is officially made Lieutenant of homicide to the surprise of everyone but Batista and Dexter.

Killing in the Name Of

Before Dexter can put all the pieces together at the car shop, a car full of gangsters shows up to get Nick back from Sam. I think that the gang they are in is the Cableguys. You can tell because they all wear shirts without sleeves. They threaten to shoot Sam, but Dexter steps in and says he's with the police so they leave. It looks like Dexter has a new victim to go after. The next night, Dexter tracks down gang leader Julio, and kills him for the murder of a barber a few weeks earlier. It seems like Dexter isn't the only person out hunting in the night because Travis tricks a jogger into helping him, only to knock him out.

by Chase Gamradt

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  1. I'm going to commit a little heresy and say that watching the Breaking Bad finale and then Dexter right after lowered my opinion of our little show.

    Particularly this season it's felt like Dexter is getting very expository. Brother Sam spontaneous giving his life story to cut Dexter's research time down seemed very forced. Also, did anyone think that Mos Def would turn out to be a baddy? There was no tension when Dexter was following him either that he would turn out to be a villian or even that Dexter would misunderstand and kill him unnecessarily.

    It's not Dexter's fault but Breaking Bad is really good. I think watching them in close proximity just highlighted some of the flaws.

  2. I sort of understand what you're saying but i don't quite agree. I mean you're comparing Breaking Bad's season finale with episode 2 of Dexter's season. There's got to be a difference in the intensity.

    I personally think this new episode is a HUGE leap in quality from the gimmicky Season premiere which at times required viewers to take their suspension of disbelief to ridiculous levels. Okay, this episode had Debra skipping a rank to become Lt. but thats nothing compared to the whole ambulance scene, the ridiculous scenario of Dexter finding out the truth about Janet Walker's Death (The police can't be THAT dumb to know about the blood under the fingernails and NOT test the husband's blood, seriously), and a whole lot of other things.

    I actually feel its necessary for the show to be expository, as long as it feels natural (at least the episode wasn't expository in the way the show has been of late, making the characters state obvious facts like the audience isn't smart enough to figure them out, thereby losing all sense of subtlety). Its good to have a natural, steady and organic character development, and the supporting characters finally are seeming to have some proper, interesting story lines (well, more interesting than usual).

    I didn't really find Brother Sam telling his story all that forced. He seems to be a character who is heavily burdened, his past actions and their consequences being a heavy burden for his conscience, so when he sees a person asking about the meaning of the phrase "Good Shepherd" (you know, i'm not an American, but i'm guessing most men of Dexter's age there have SOME idea about that phrase) him taking the opportunity to share his story with a person who seems to be genuinely curious seems natural. Plus the believable dialogue and nice acting helped.

    I completely agree with you that the scene with Dexter pusuing Sam wasn't suspenseful at all. However what i liked about the episode was that they DID NOT EVEN TRY to inject artificial suspense and drama into the scene or the episode. I mean all of us know nothing game changing REALLY happens storywise in the beginning usually (there's a difference, of couse between events like Dexter finding a barbie doll's head on his fridge in season 1 and the car crash at the end of Season 4 premiere). Narrative misdirection like we saw in the 1st episode (OMG!!! Dexter's been STABBED!!!!!) has been done to death, and is really cheap. I'd rather see a slow, steady buildup of tension as long as we see some REAL payoffs in the end.

    Remember, the 1st halves of Season 3 and Season 4 of Breaking Bad weren't exactly thrill rides either (MANY people said it was boring even), but they were CRUCIAL story wise, and look what we got in the end. I know since the end of Season 4, Dexter hasn't quite matched the awesomeness of Breaking Bad, but episode 2 i think has steadily started to bring the show back on the right track. The casting of Mos Def as Brother Sam was perfect. Really interested to know what happens next. With Travis/Gellar, Brother Sam, and of course Dexter, i think Season 6 will turn out to be pretty amazing, we just have to be a bit patient. :D

  3. All great points. Also the strong way Breaking Bad ended can have the effect of artificially over-shadowing everything on TV right now. Dexter has time to get its footing and it's natural for the beginning to feel very set-upish.

    I am worried about the term paper feel to this season though. I can't remember a theme so obviously and narrowly drawn in the previous seasons. They are clearly all about Dexter's emotional development: How can I be a good father? How can I reconcile my demons with my life? But this season Dexter seems less inspired by events than events are being crafted in a clumsy way to match what's suppose to be going on internally.

    In the first episode Dexter faces a religious question with his son's school, gets a guy on a table with a religious tattoo, and then finds a religious-inspired murder at a crime scene. That just feels like a contrived confluence of events to drive the point home. I'd have rather seen the big bads raise questions in Dexter's mind than have what is in Dexter's mind played out for him. I hope that lets up as the season goes on.

  4. @Anonymous, yes i agree with you. The writing could've been more subtle. It wouldn't have bothered me if the writing was always like this, but it wasn't....remember how subtle the writers were when they incorporated questions of morality implicitly in Season 2? just one example.

    Also, as far as i know, none of the writers this season (as i saw them in the showtime promo "the writer's room") are new....most of them were there from season 2..and as far as i know, at least one writer is there from season 1. Scott Buck himself is there from Season 2. The viewers just expect better.

    Still, one thing that was good about the whole thing is that the introduction to the new themes are done and over with (although in haste and clumsily) and we can finally get on with the story.

    At least episode 2 had MUCH better writing (some found it slow, but its much better to have a natural, steady pace in the beginning, imo) than episode 1 and most of Season 5. I still have high hopes for the season.

    Season 4 also didn't have a top notch 1st half, but the 2nd half more than made up for it....lets see what happens this season, and they better be thinking of an endgame here...they should definitely think of ending the show on a high note with a BANG in season 7 (okay, some may want one more...but not more than that) instead of a whimper.

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