Dexter - Episode 6.11 “Talk to the Hand” - Review

Dexter Episode 6.11 "Talk to the Hand" review by Kevin Fitzpatrick, Dexter season 6 returns to raise its tenth entry with this week’s devastating “Talk to the Hand,” as our favorite serial killer races against time to find Travis Marshall before the Doomsday Killer can stage his next deadly tableau, and Deb comes to an frightening realization about her relationship with her brother in therapy. "Talk to the Hand" may have some wriggling in discomfort, but ultimately does a good job setting up the climax of Dexter's sixth season.

Okay, so let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way.Dexter and Debra made out, or at least in her dreams they made out, because Deb’s therapist planted the idea in her mind that she might be in love with her brother. Yes, this is really happening, and happening just as we’d finally stopped shuddering from the image of Boardwalk Empire’s Jimmy Darmody f$%king his own mother last week. Read more after the jump below...

Once you get past the obvious squick (and curiosity what would push the Dexter writers to create such a bizarre story for Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter to play, given their fairly recent divorce), we have to look at the deeper implications. I don’t for a second believe that the Dexter writers would honestly expect us to buy into a story about Debra legitimately falling in love with her brother (even after they expected us to be surprised Gellar wasn’t real), but rather that their extremely close (now borderline incestuous) relationship allows Debra to come around to a new way of thinking on morality.

Dexter fans have chomped at the bit for Debra to finally learn the secret of her brother’s murderous night job, and putting a microscope to Dexter and Deb’s relationship this season has lain some important groundwork for the big reveal. Several episodes now we’ve been teased with the idea of what a sister (like Lisa Marshall) might do knowing a sibling commits murder, and twice in “Talk To The Hand” we see Dexter attempting to coax Debra into a new state of mind. In the first instance even prior to therapy, Dexter implores Debra not to dwell on Matthews’ call-girl case, noting that “there are worse secrets you can have,” something she takes to heart by ultimately agreeing to let her boss and mentor off the hook.

In the second instance during Deb’s disturbing dream, Dexter reminds his sister that “everything isn’t always so black and white.” Could the message really be that once we’ve put aside the ridiculous notion* of the two becoming an item, Dexter and Debra’s relationship might have evolved to the point that she could accept, even (platonically) love her brother as a killer? That perhaps their bond has grown past brother and sister, to the point of understanding, and embracing the insanity?

(*) And before everyone flies off the handle about Dexter introducing such a strange plot development so close to the end of the season, remember what a tricky business TV writing can be. When you introduce a thread too late, people will complain it wasn’t built up enough, and when you introduce a thread too early people will dismiss it as a one-season gimmick. Everybody breathe, until next week.

The burden of “Talk To The Hand” mostly lies in carrying us to the epic finale, and a final showdown with Dexter and Travis, making things in the meantime seem somewhat like an exercise in futility. We know the writers will save the best for last, and certainly won’t wrap up the main storyline for another week. It’s of interest though, that “Talk to the Hand” actually goes as far as to stage Travis’ seventh tableau, meaning next week’s “This is the Way the World Ends” will focus entirely on Travis’ presumed defeat, and realization that his efforts to create the apocalypse have failed.

Certainly, “Talk to the Hand” does an excellent job of ramping up the tension by creating such personal threats to our main characters and even going as far as invoking Homeland Security, though I wish Wormwood itself had proved a little more deadly than simply taking Beth (Jordana Spiro) with it. Granted this isn’t 24, and I’m not certain how Beth and Travis’ slow-spreading gas mechanism could have caused more damage, but given the ominous tone struck for Miami Metro in “Ricochet Rabbit,” I had hoped the tableau might have at least destroyed property*, or taken a few redshirts with it. With the true nature of Travis and Gellar finally out in the open, there’s a palpable sense of excitement and dread for season 6’s climax, sorely lacking before.

(*) Dexter pointed out last week that Travis wasn’t exactly performing literal interpretations of the seven tableaus, but the “meteor” mentioned in Wormwood, and the gas’ preparation on the boat had me believing their plan was to crash the “Ricochet Rabbit” into Miami Metro from its dockside entrance, which might have been a little over budget for the show.

Even the side stories don’t seem as woefully tangential this week, as we’ve finally put a cap to the call-girl case and Deputy Matthews sinister game, LaGuerta having outed him herself in a power-play. From the very beginning of season 6 I’d wondered how LaGuerta would fit into the department after her promotion from Lieutenant, and with Matthews gone she’s right back in the seat of power, from a narrative standpoint. Similarly, I’m glad we’ve finally wrapped up Quinn’s spiral into drunken incompetence, even if the characters seem to have gotten off a bit lightly. We’d miss him terribly, but losing Batista to Quinn’s behavior and the Doomsday Killer might have given the season a little extra punch, and if we ended up losing Quinn instead…I think we’d all get on with our lives.

Unless they’re looking to speedily wrap up the thread next week, we’ve also still got Louis and his Ice Truck Killer fetish to address, here seen drawing palm lines on the hand and carefully mailing it to Dexter. Based on his video game design, and talk with Dexter about wanting to get off the sidelines in life, perhaps we’re looking at a potential student for Dexter to train in his dark arts? I’m still fuzzy on what Ryan (Brea Grant) had to do with things in the first place, as the first to express interest in the hand, but hopefully the writers take their time in constructing their plans for Louis, an admittedly intriguing character now.

It’s safe to say that Dexter should have quite a bit to answer for next week, why the Doomsday killer would have absconded with his boat, or have painted a portrait of Dexter as the devil (assuming someone finds it), so here’s hoping our creepy shock at Deb’s sudden affection for her brother has not been in vain.

Bring on the end of the world!


Post a Comment

  1. I think Lois might be a pontential Serial killer and not an aprentice for dexter's dark art

  2. The only reason I'm even still watching this SERIES (not just season) is for Louis.

    This episode was filled with enough awful writing to make the rest of this seasons episodes blush. You never got the sense Angel was in real danger. And when travis had the chance to kill Angel and escape he...decides not to shoot him...but to attempt to burn him while Quinn was CLEARLY seconds away???

    The whole Wormwood thingw as a debacle. It was a great opportunity to kill off a semi-main character (QUINN?! LAGUERTA?!) But instead, it poses no real threat to ANY characters and is forgotten about as quickly as it happens. Someone launches a terrorist attack on a POLICE DEPARTMENT and it gets swept under the rug in what...half a day?

    The Deb-loves-Dexter plotline is too ludicrous to even address and I hope the writers have had their fun with it at this point and that it doesnt drag down this series any further

    Finally, in Dex's encounter with Travis, u once again never feel like Dex is in any danger. Almost knowing EXACTLY how he's gonna escape.

    Also: How many connections does Dex have to Travis at this point that could implicate him? A fucking CELL PHONE VIDEO MESSAGE?!?!? REALLY??!

    Louis is the only remaining "smart" character on this show with a moderately unpredictable and intriguing storyline. Other than him, I'm angry at the writers of this show for dragging me so deep into the storyline through 5 seasons and then throwing this utter garbage at me.

  3. I think Louis can take over Dexter's role at some point in the future.. Or at least the writers have something like that in mind. It's like you say: Dexter is losing more of his cover, more and more out in the open, and it can't be long before he blows his own cover. Even though Dexter is going through all this, I still think this serie is gettin' better and better!! Can't wait to find out a little more next Sunday...

  4. To Anon at 10:06

    Stop watching the show. If you really hate it that much, just go away. Don't come onto the internet whining and kicking and hoping that someone will hear your stupidity and do things "your way".

    If you don't like something, walk away and move on. And above all, please spare us your ugly words.

    As far as Louis, he is the weak point of this season in my opinion. He is setting up to be the villain from "Double Dexter" - a guy who is going to be a Dexter Copycat.

  5. Anon at 11:48

    As i stated in my comment, I'm *frustrated* that i got sucked into a show through its first five seasons that is now NOTHING like what it was back then. I don't want to leave the show because i've committed five (now basically six) years to it, but I'm disgusted with the writing and I cant believe it's reached such depths

    As for Louis being the "weak point", im not sure how someone could watch six seasons of Dexter and find LOUIS the weak point of this season. I assume im in a vast majority of people who are clinging to Louis as the last glimmer of hope and excitement that the first 5 seasons promised so frequently.

    I assume, though, that you are probably one of those people that has just been waiting on the edge of their seat for 6 seasons for debra to kiss dex. only passingly aware that dexter actually kills people in his spare time and that without the villains there IS NO plot.

  6. "I don’t for a second believe that the Dexter writers would honestly expect us to buy into a story about Debra legitimately falling in love with her brother"

  7. Why don't you just go and write a show of your own and see how successful it is. It's easy to criticize, but that's just your opinion, and it seems to me that no one here, being FANS of the show, cares to hear yours. Just enjoy the show for what it is and let the writers, who have earned their titles, do what they do for our entertainment. You don't like it? Find something else to watch. Besides, wouldn't you get bored of watching the same thing every year without it ever evolving? Louis can be interesting if he is developed correctly, which, for the most part, he is. If he becomes a killer, I will have no problems with Dexter killing him, since this season taught him not to try to help other killers. Go back to the basics, Dex. I still love the show.

  8. Dexter season 6 is a very good season. Maybe it is not as well written as the first 4. But people must remember that there are only 12 episodes in a season and the writers have to pack everything from action to character developement in these 12 episodes. We don't have time to spend endless hours examining the for example the impact of the terrorist attack, the kill-off of a main character also takes a lot of time away. They cannot show us every single subplot.

  9. Anon at 11:55

    The end of the story cannot be the beginning of the story. This is like a television novel. This isn't Star Trek where every episode resets and the characters and plot is exactly the same at the end as it was at the beginning.

    Season 1 of Dexter was 'perfect' it can never be topped. A: It was filmed in Miami, which gave it a "movie" like quality. And B: The writers had a clear plot to adapt (the Novel) And C: The cast was perfect. Aside from Jen and Michael, Julie and Erik were AMAZING as Rita and Doakes. You can never replace two cast members like that. What they brought to the show is forever gone, not just their characters but the impact they had on everyone around them. When you remove a positive person from a work environment, it changes things in ways you can never predict.

    Most of the people who are doing the major bitching now, were the people who hated Rita.

    The show now is never going to be the show then. But if you are willing to take the journey and not stay stuck in the past, the whole thing will have a nice quality to it.

    If you don't want to take the journey, get off the bus and stop bothering the rest of us.

  10. To Anon 12:45:

    "Why dont you go write a show of your own and see how successful it is"

    That's like telling the fans of a bad sports team they dont have the right to complain and should instead "go play the sport on your own and see how good you do". Ya, that type of thinking is what we refer to as asinine in the commentary business.

    To Anon 12:54:

    Go watch The Wire and then come back and tell me you cant have character development or analysis in TWELVE episodes. Realize what youre saying. The writers have something like TEN HOURS each season to analyze situations and develop characters and what have they wasted much of this time on? Oh yeah, thats right, they wasted it on 1 - Quinn being drunk and 2 - focusing on a guy who D.I.D. N.O.T. E.X.I.S.T. Then they don't have time to analyze a TERRORIST ATTACK!? Ok....

  11. To Anon 1:44

    All right you've got a point. The Gellar dead storyline was indeed a waste of time, this whole Professor Gellar story could have been rapped up in one or two episodes, not nine or ten.

  12. To Anon 10:06am and 1:44pm (I think your the same person, if not, sorry)

    "throwing this utter garbage at me" garbage? The ratings for this season have been great! So either fans of Dexter must love "garbage" or Showtime is lying about the rating results. Numbers dont lie! This season has been ballsy and continues to be, especially after last nites Deb/Dexer storyline. You have to give the writers some credit in what they have done in the universe of Dexter. This is a unique show about a serial killer, remember we are in love with a serial killer. C'mon you have to admitt that writting for this show is no stroll in the park. 'The Wire' had so much to explore and work with. Political systems, Schools, Drugs, media, each season tackled American social life. This show could of lasted for years. You could say the same about the Mad Men (NOT A FAN but it has been successful), its about the 60's, office politics, feminism, etc.., so much material to work from for its characters. BUT Dexter is about the life of a serial killer and his struggle to become "human", there is not alot to work with. The writers have been creative to brings us into the mind of killer. Yes some of it is distrubing and "unnerving" but is captivating. I love this season like all the others.
    AND you obviously missed the point with 1. Quinn and 2. Gellar not existing. I bet there are some ppl out there that can relate to Quinn (sure you can say they must be lame) But in reality and sad to write there are some ppl that cant deal with loss. Ppl have committed suicide because someone left them or over relationships. They go down a dark road of 'what the hell, I dont care anymore'. and 2. simple, Gellar and Travis shows us the contrast of Harry and Dexter and his Dark Passenger. This is no garbage.

  13. Okay, I stopped reading this 'review' when I came across two the first paragraph!

    - Dexter season 6 returns to raise its tenth entry (11th) with this week’s devastating “Talk to the Hand,” as our favorite serial killer races against time to find Travis Marshall before the Doomsday Killer can stage his next deadly tableau, and Deb comes to an (a) frightening realization about her relationship with her brother in therapy.


  14. I love Dexter, but I have to admit that I am getting frustrated with this season. Still entertained, yes but I am getting annoyed.
    I agree a lot with the person who posted December 12, 2011 10:06 AM. He is getting too sloppy . How come he didn’t disguise his voice when calling the police for the tip? And that VIDEO Message? WOW! I usually let stuff like this slide, but come one. They also didn't bother to explain if the blood in the fountain was real and if so WHOS blood?
    The most annoying thing about this season though - Dexter hasn't really done any (or many) of his ritual kills... He is too caught up in DDK and usually the side stories are great to watch and more exciting.
    I really hope they do something with Lois next season! I see a lot of potential there!
    OH and the Dex/Deb story, gross!

  15. I'm sorry folks, but either you never knew how good a show Dexter was or you are blinded by loyalty This season is almost cringe worthy at every turn, not only for the pitiful writing, character minimization( they all have no interaction or redeeming subplots) and a plot line plodding into the next unbelievable and head scratching development. The errors in the details are driving me insane but I will finish out the season if only to be able to know I gave it my best to see it through. Tsk tsk, what happened to the writers and producers pride?

  16. Anon at 11:24

    They should be full of pride they are writing the coolest funkiest show on television.

    Dexter is a cross between a crime thriller and horror/fantasy/dark humor, it has more in common with a 1940's pulp serial than it does anything like the Wire, or Sopranos. It's like a weird cross of True Blood and CSI, so pretending that anything in these plots has to be super realistic is pointless. It's pure escapism and absurdist and always has been.

    Even "drama's" like Sopranos, and The Wire are utterly ridiculous at times because that's essentially what fiction is... it is make believe, it is EXAGGERATION of reality.

    Something tells me you are one of those people who would fall asleep during a classic Hitchcock movie because it's "too old". Am I wrong?

    I don't think you have any room to come onto the internet ripping on professional writers and producers who have created one of the top cable shows in the history of TV. Say there are some things you don't like... but as for the rest. It's all just hyperbole.

  17. As a loyal dexter fan i have to agree with both arguements, the season has been sloppy (Is this to make Louis look better than Dexter next season????) and the first 8 or so episodes were far to slow, saying that it's becoming very good and i can't wait for the next episodes and up coming seasons, hopefully they continue past season 8, the Louis character is going to be the down fall of dexter i think with an on the run or cage ending, What do people think of an open ending to Dexter S8, I like the thought that they can go back for movies (Maybe Dexter on the run movie with Deb/Angel etc on his trail?????)

  18. To the trolls - stop coming on the internet to bitch and moan about this season. It really isn't that bad, I think it's much better than season 3...

    It started off slowly but there is a lot going on at this point and it is really good. I love Dexterrr

  19. "It really isn't that bad"
    "I think it's much better than Season 3"
    "I love Dexterrr"

    I believe Pen(Zero)r has really told those trolls how it is. I mean really, you can see her praise oozing like sunshine with her sincere defense.

    You know, this is how friends I know have managed to stay married so long despite divorce really have been a lifesaver they should have gone for...

    "She's really not a bitch all the time"
    "She's better than my mother"
    I love her...yeah I doooo.

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