Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Video: Top 10 TV Shows You Like The Best, a Tumblr Meme

Tumblr Meme: 10 Days of Television - 10 TV Shows You Like The Best

On Tumblr, the meme that this video was birthed from is actually supposed to be 10 different graphics made, one for each TV show, but I am a lazy person... so I decided to spend weeks hunting down clips, piecing them together, finding quotes, and adding sound design instead.

Since this is a blog, here's a little behind the scenes of 10 TV Shows You Like The Best (in order of appearance):

  • Better Off Ted: Quirky, off-the-wall, but generally heartfelt -- even if that heart was being turned into an experimental weapon -- "Better Off Ted" exemplified a kind of sitcom that elevated past its genre. It gets the honor of being a favorite thanks to killer dialogue, that the actors were able to deliver flawlessly every time. The characters were all just enough aware of their own oddities to keep the reactions greatly wry. Plus, Portia de Rossi. It was cancelled after two seasons, and I think it could've picked up steam with more.

  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer: This Joss Whedon classic was a staple of my teenage years, filling many a VHS tapes when I'd rush home to capture it. Witty dialogue has no better place than at the end of Whedon's pen. But Buffy had equal parts action, sentiment, and conflict. The titular character was both a hero and a woman, who grew up too fast for her life but at a pace where viewers could feel connected to her through the years. Plus, Spike. It ended on a seven year run, coming to a slightly sped up but at least planned conclusion.

  • Dollhouse: Another of Whedon's, "Dollhouse" was an examination in a humanity much more sinister than Buffy's. The truths of behavior and questions of morality it dug into were spectacular watching -- and there was some eye-candy to go along with it. Perhaps the best thing "Dollhouse" had to offer was its two unaired "Epitaph" episodes, showing what happened to the world after the events of the show, very apocalyptic-style. It was cancelled after two seasons.

  • Community: "Community" is a special snowflake full of wit, wry, and pop-culture weirdness. Epically self-aware and endlessly bemused by its own mythology, it's a whip-fast show that manages to be out-there but then pull you back with the all too realistic neuroses of its characters. Extreme things might happen, but there's a sense of actual personality in the denizens of Greendale that puts it past other shows just looking for a punchline. (Anyone sensing the theme of 'witty dialogue' in these yet?) Community is on-going. For now. Maybe.

  • Life: Representing the beloved genre of cop shows, "Life" takes the story of a former cop who's been wrongfully imprisoned for twelve years. On getting out, he returns right to the job, causing many people to question his motives -- and sanity. Damian Lewis carries this show with an amazing stride, assisted by a smooth story arc and quirky episode-to-episode crimes to solve. His odd behavior is a good sell, letting him be both sunny and then suddenly remind you that he's been in prison for over a decade. Also starring Sarah Shahi with a badge, so. It was cancelled after two seasons. (Pattern?)

  • Lost: "Lost" was its own little world for most. But I didn't come upon it from the beginning, instead being enticed in by a glimpse of what could be. Of course, then the epic mythology, symbolism, and intense adventure captured me whole-heartedly. It has its flaws, and its question, but "Lost" is a show you can really talk about. And talk about, and theorize about, and argue for and against; it outlives even its six seasons. Highlights include: Michael Emerson, Michael Emerson, Michael Emerson, and Henry Ian Cusick. And some other people.

  • Fringe: "Fringe" perfects a style of procedural mystery blended with overarcing story. It grips you into its science-fiction world and never lets go. Anna Torv, John Noble, Joshua Jackson, and the gang deliver masterful performances even when talking odd science gibberish. In this show is crafted a wonderful escape, while also humanizing it with the characters that have to discover these mysteries. Olivia Dunham is an FBI agent tasked with a phenomenon known as the "Pattern", odd unexplainable occurrences. She hires on Noble's Walter Bishop and son Peter, but it all proves a lot bigger than them -- or does it. "Fringe" is in its fourth season.

  • Carnivale: Speaking of sprawling worlds, "Carnivale" takes place in the Dust Bowl Era, which it artistically recreates with great scenery and effects. But all is not the same in this world as ours, for powerful supernatural forces are at work. This show has an amazingly deep background and expansive character development, but is not for those who need a thrill each episode. It has a definite slow-burn, day-to-day pace that will bore some. But the ride is worth it. Also, hey, it's pre-"White Collar" Tim DeKay (and so many other cool people). It was cancelled after two seasons (wtf), and it's obvious that it wasn't supposed to.

  • Pushing Daisies: Another quirky little piece that stands in its own genre, really. From creator Bryan Fuller (Wonderfalls), "Pushing Daisies" is about a guy who can raise the dead, but that's about as morbid as it gets. Rather, PD relies on bright colors, fanciful outfits, and alliteration. It exists in a world trapped between modern times and the past, with occasional new technology paired alongside 50s outfits or language. The dialogue is again something to pay attention to, as each turn of the phrase is cleverly worked together. It was cancelled-- can you guess? After two seasons.

  • The 4400: 4400 people are abducted, and then returned on the same day, none having aged a moment since they left. That's the premise that "The 4400" purports. Each of these people return to very different problems, trying to return to life -- but they also have to deal with their newfound superhuman abilities. "The 4400" never tries to become too much, always grounded in the humanity of its characters, and the difficult decisions that must face a changing world where some are new and ostracized. The abilities -- while awesome -- are used more as a vehicle than a spectacle. Its finale remains my favorite episode of any to date. It was cancelled after four seasons; a strange blessing.

Picking ten television shows out of everything I watch was a difficult enough feat -- not to mention that new shows are starting every season, mid-season, and summer. But the 10 here will likely stand the test of time, and should all be tried at least for 1-4 episodes in.

If anyone's wondering how I picked "Where The Streets Have No Name" by U2 as the song... it goes like this: I was driving, thinking about this meme, and the song came on the radio. I didn't know what it was, but I could imagine sweeping visuals to it. When I got back to work, I couldn't remember the lyrics for the life of me and spent a good fifteen minutes or more on the radio station's website, desperately clicking through pages of songs to try and see if any stuck out. Just as I was about to give up, the last page I clicked on yielded the U2 hit and I immediately knew. That felt enough like fate to use. (My remembering of the lyric was something like: 'go different way' or something about a river)

TV Recap: Dexter, S610 "Ricochet Rabbit"

Parallels continue to build, as Dexter is forced to confront the truth about Travis. The show's tenth episode, "Ricochet Rabbit" focuses on Dexter's attempts to regain the ground he lost by falling for the young man's act of repentance. In a way, Dexter continues to lash out at a vision of himself: man and father figure, versus man and father figure. The episode opens with the disillusioned killer's revelation about Gellar in the freezer, as Travis looks down on him from above.

"Travis, you killed Gellar." But Travis doesn't want to hear it, and he locks Dexter inside, stumbling out to the lawn. He falls down outside where Dexter can conveniently see him talk to the invisible Gellar. "Talking to someone who isn't there," mocks Dexter's father who isn't there. Gellar's spirit says that he called Travis delusional, that it was Travis' religious delusion all along. That he thought he'd survived the stabbing. Travis may be a parallel for Dexter in that he follows the guidance of an invisible father, but his code is all his own, and Gellar was only a vehicle for that. He seems to have been birthed from a justification of Travis' mind, attempting to make itself feel right with what's happening. Sound familiar? Harry's code is no big leap from there. For sociopaths, they're both rather indentured to these visions of reason (even deluded reason).

But in this, Travis has gone from innocence to full-on psycho. He seems to have forgotten that, a second ago, he felt bad for all that he'd gone through. The truth must have broken his head. Dexter recognizes this, as Harry questions "What happened to saving him?" Dexter identifies Travis as being like him, accusing Brother Sam of leading him astray. The situation has clearly affected Dexter, personally. He cuts off Gellar's frozen hand and leaves fingerprints on items around the church so that the police won't stop looking for him (just another way he undermines his own team), then morbidly keeps the hand for a 'rainy day'.

He posts on Gellar's blog as Gellar saying that he was 'wrong'. In an internet cafe somewhere, Travis isn't too pleased, calling Dexter's post out as a "false prophet" then moving on to the convenient videos of his fans. Travis is out there proving the danger of meeting people on the internet.

The cops make it into the church and don't have to do much -- or any -- digging to know that this is the Doomsday's place. But as she looks around, Debra begins freaking out. She leaves to get 'air'. Which is universal language for 'some space to freak out'.

Quinn's continuing to costar in 'Dude Where's My Car', with the car. He wakes up with a leg out the window, a shoe on the lawn, and no spare shirt.

Dexter arrives and Debra tells him how she's feeling -- Dexter actually shares, comparing this incident with his panic attack in the hotel room full of blood, and manages to make her ease up. Dexter and Masuka pair off to examine some jars of blood, leading Dexter to think: "Now that I've done my job, I can get on with my work." His separation of church and state is his constant mistake.

Louis is having some worries about showing Dexter his video-game, but Jamie convinces him to just go for it. Her argument is that Dexter's just a puppy-dog under that hard, emotionless facade thanks to having seen him sing children's songs to his son. Because a man will always treat a complete stranger with a weird fixation the same way he does his baby son. Yes.

At the station, LaGuerta decides to run the meeting and Debra decides to not stand for that. During this feminine ball-measuring contest, Dexter wonders if the girl he let go is Travis' next victim. But as he goes to find her, Louis tries to talk to him. However, the nerd proves easier to blow off than Debra.

Dexter's search for Holly leads him to a yacht called "The Title Of This Episode", which Travis has found first with his new congregation: Steve Dorsey the Super Fan (Doomsday Adam, played by a guy who didn't even get his credit on IMDB) and his adoring wife, Beth (Jordana Spiro). Holly seems to be doing well for herself, for a woman who was held captive and made to drink blood. Good until Travis introduces himself to her doorway. Team Religion proves its worth by cornering her at the other exits.

Angel and Quinn do some slapstick partner stuff.

"His sister seemed so convinced he was a good guy." Irony continues to doggedly pursue Debra and Dexter at the crime scenes, and Debra takes that unresolved tension back to her continually ominous therapist. They discuss how Dexter merely being there calmed Debra down, leading to the decision that he's her "safe place"; Debra reminisces very sweetly on when she would sneak into his room at night when they were kids. Maybe it's selfish, but her dependence going away would feel like a loss.

On the boat (a motherfucking boat), Travis has fully embraced his Gellar side, leading his Super Fan Steve to Holly. Beth's having some doubts but Travis waxes on that familiar speech about how killing her will absolve her of her sins -- it's a kind of love, what they're doing. It's hauntingly echoing of Gellar's own arguments to Travis. And it works. As Travis slits Holly's throat right in front of the audience, Steve relishes his own 'love' by giving her a good stab.

At his house, Dexter also has a fan. Louis shows him his game about being a serial killer. "You can be the Bay Harbor Butcher." Dexter shoots him the hell down, causing Louis to cancel his date and giving Dexter time to hunt down the yacht's location which -- surprise -- has a security camera. Dexter does the mature thing and sets off a car alarm so he can sneak into the security office and have a look-see.

Debra follows a lead left on her desk and discovers the secret of Chief Matthews' rendezvous. The first person she calls is Dexter, but he's off on 'personal business', which Debra manages not to freak out about. She seems to be straddling the fine line of leaning less on Dexter while also identifying that she likes leaning on Dexter.

Louis shows them freaky fan's video claiming that they've been chosen, and that he's already figured out who he is. They've definitely been leaning on this intern a lot. Angel can't get ahold of his partner, however, so he soldiers on as the lone Stooge this time, entering Super Fan's home by way of Steve's wife. Beth puts up a good front for Angel, claiming the videos were only an internet joke. But Angel's a detective, so he gets an intuition, causing Travis to have to smack him over the head with a cross. Travis decides that Angel's badge is a sign for where to release his poison.

Dexter tracks down the yacht and, despite seeing a man wearing a Hazmat suit, decides it's a good idea to walk in without any kind of protection at all. He wrestles down his victim, only to see that it is Super Fan and not Travis at all. Oh, and Wormwood is out. Sorry, Dexter; it's not the end of the season yet. Hearing something outside the boat, Dexter pulls up the anchor, upon which is skewered Holly's body. His father questions if he should call the police, meaning that Dexter is wondering if he should call the police -- progress. But in his anger, he kicks aside a sheet and finds the poison, and his anger causes him to lash out at his invisible, internal father. And then call the police. This is a big step for Dexter, who's always, as these recaps have pointed out, been too selfish to give Miami Metro a hand. But now he calls into 911, leaving an anonymous tip that would probably be more actually anonymous if he didn't have an incredibly distinctive voice.

What do you think: does Debra's increasing tolerance for a brother she's realizing is her rock and solid place make her the most effective new target now that Rita's gone? All those therapy sessions have to be adding up to something.

Monday, December 5, 2011

TV Recap: The Walking Dead 207, "Pretty Much Dead Already"

The conflict of The Walking Dead's midseason finale "Pretty Much Dead Already" comes from each leader -- or wannabe leader -- feeling the standstill of their situation come to a boiling point. Hershel's secret is out, putting pressure on Rick to challenge their host's belief structure, while Rick is continuously undermined by Shane's impatience towards their sitting still. It's probably the only thing that Shane shares with the viewing audience. Even Glenn's feeling the strain of his former complacency, and the scene opens on his inability to not act.

Camp's quiet, in the aftermath of secrets spilled, and everyone sits in contemplative quiet with the slow-burn of anxiety and Andrea's persistent whet stone. Til Glenn drops the bomb, partly, it seems, by Dale's influence. A quick hop-skip over to the barn ensues, where Shane decides to stick his face right up to it. Shane proposes leaving -- he's sick of looking for a girl who's got no chance -- which gets even Darryl to call him out being an asshole. Ah, the familiar sound of internal squabbles and punches being thrown. "I was going to tell you this morning, but Glenn wanted to be the one" explains Dale over why he knew already. Good thing nobody asked how long Glenn's known. Their yelling clearly upsets the zombies, who don't like to hear mommy and daddy fighting.

But as the action returns-- there is no action. Just Shane getting some scouting out around the barn, deciding that sticking his face into it once wasn't enough. He's pretty keen on opening it up. Glenn goes to talk to Maggie, but sort of gives himself a bad start by already starting out on the other side of a literal fence. He wants to talk; she breaks an egg over his head. It's going well.

In the other neck of the woods, Carl continues to ask the difficult questions. Which is probably more entertaining than the homework he's doing. Even the apocalypse can't stop math. But while he's disillusioned towards Shane, he's not lost hope in Sophia.

Sophia's mother catches Darryl heading out on another probably stolen horse while still injured. She expresses doubt for the first time, confessing that she's come to care for Darryl, and losing him while Sophia's already gone would wreck her. But emotion makes Darryl cranky, so he calls her a bitch and retreats to where he can pretend he has no heart.

In the RV, Dale expresses his doubts towards Shane to Andrea. She's caught in the allure of Shane's ability to turn off his emotions-- her own twisted and burdensome to her. "He's not a victim," she tells Dale, who remains unconvinced. For as much as she says she doesn't like his concern, when Dale says he's calling it quits, Andrea can't quite let it go. But she leaves anyway, to hang out with her bald hunnybunny. Dale hovers rather suspiciously over his bag o'guns as he tells Glenn to give him a moment.

Hershel's enjoying a lunch and light read when Rick arrives. Hershel tells him to leave, and Rick tries to reason with him, telling him that there's only two kinds of people out there in the world. You either get dead, or become "something a lot less than the person you once were." He gives Hershel a state of the world address, trying to convince the stubborn patriarch that the physical cocoon he's embalmed his family in here has blinded him to how harsh conditions truly are. When Hershel seems unwavering, Rick lays the last card on the table: by the way, my wife's pregnant, you insensitive bastard. Not in so many words. Hershel sends him out, but the damage is done on the nerve of eavesdropper Maggie. Storming outside, Rick manages not to get into it with Shane about sleeping with his wife, just everything else.

Maggie pleads the case with Hershel, but they're interrupted by "it". What is it? Hershel comes upon Rick planning a new course of action over Sophia, and asks for Rick's help with "it", denying Andrea's assistance. With the husband away, Shane confronts Lori, calling Rick out: "He ain't built for this world" and claiming that he's saved Lori's life more than Rick ever has. Which... is a weird grading system. Even though the world's gone to shit, Lori wants more than a bulldog; she wants a husband. Shane wants the baby to be his. Shane gets no leniency anywhere; Carl even tells him what's what, and that his attitude is full of crap. That's about as much as Shane wants to put up with, but when he storms into the RV, he discovers the guns are missing. So's Dale. Convenient.

Hershel brings Rick to a swamp where walkers often get stuck, testing him by asking him to help rescue the walkers out who are trapped there. The swamp is apparently a dangerous place. It's also the chosen hiding place of Dale -- except that Shane's already found him. Dale levels a gun on Shane but is unable to pull the trigger. When Shane takes the weapons, Dale defends his actions. "When the world goes to shit, I didn't let it take me down with it." Dale's moral stability continues to make him a candidate for early death.

Darryl and Sophia's Mum have a heart to heart where Darryl proves less allergic to his own one. "What else I got to do," is how he puts it. Rick struggles with steering a walker out of the swamp. Glenn tries to talk to Maggie, finally defending his own action "I'm sick of secrets; secrets get you killed." He has it out, finally realizing that he's been treating the apocalypse like a video-game but that doesn't mean his view is less valid than Maggie's. Walkers are dangerous. But they also get you some action, apparently, since his newfound balls have Maggie forgiving him pretty quick. Only Glenn is getting any.

Oh yeah, there's a black guy in this. He walks up just in time for Shane to give a call to arms -- and some arms. He even tries to give Carl a gun, before everybody spots Rick herding the new walkers in with Hershel. This pretty much is about all Shane can take. So he flips his lid and shoots the walker Hershel's been herding. Then he decides all the walkers in the barn should join the party. As he breaks the locks and walkers begin to wander out, the rest of Rick's camp step up to the shooting gallery, each taking their stance of survival -- Glenn shooting a look to Maggie for permission to put a lead one in the face of her loved ones. Opening fire, they determinedly gun down every single one of them until there's only a pile of corpses as Hershel and his family stare on in mute shock, their precious world stability crumbled like so many downed walkers.

There's just one more moan to attend to. The tiny shuffling feet belong to none other than Sophia, who emerges from the barn with white hungry eyes to the horror of everyone looking on. And looking on is all they do. Previously trigger happy, the band stand there like hypocrites when it comes to as efficiently taking out one of their home. Sophia is left to hobble over the bodies of the others until Rick's face hardens. He purposefully moves past each other person to confront Sophia -- confront the task -- straight-on with a practical but empathetic stare. He shoots. Sophia falls. No one else would.

This is why Rick's the leader.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

TV Recap: Dexter, 6x09 "Get Gellar"

Open on Dexter and Travis right where we left them -- chained to a church, and trying to unchain him from the church. Dexter notices a painting marked with '2LOT' which he later deduces to be the book of a famed atheist hated by Gellar, and likely the angry professor's next target. Since Travis is a wanted man, and basically useless, Dexter sets him up in a hotel. His sister is in with her psychiatrist. Again. After dropping the Brian and Lundy bombs, it's even suggested that they begin meeting more than once a week. There's something vaguely sinister about the way this therapist turns Debra's thinking, even if she needs it.

Arriving at the station, Debra uses her freshly found sentiments to call Dexter a chair and then tell everybody to get their shit together. Which is kind of how all these meetings are sounding. Oh, and Quinn's not there, which Masuka blames on the strip club they visited which, as he clearly remembers, had such highlights as the errant detective attempting to propose to the dancers.

Angel goes to bust Quinn's ball, being the great partner that he is. But as they start to get ready for work without even letting Quinn change his shirt -- you really want to be in the car with that, Angel? -- they notice that Quinn's gun is missing. Oops. Good thing he already had some kind of GPS history pulled up on his web browser that would pinpoint where he must've left it. They visit the house, only to have the hot teen who answers the door call for her far less Barbie-looking mother. So Quinn slept with a homely lady or something. Angel and Quinn are relegated to some kind of side-show Odd Couple storyline, where even Angel's car breaks down. Though it allows Quinn some valuable time to insult every aspect of Angel's life, leading to a fist-fight where Angel probably would've broken his nose if a lady hadn't threatened to call the police. Great partners.

The badge gang notice Gellar's updated blog, and all the fun fanatics who posted that they support him, including convenient video-posts where they show their faces very clearly to the authorities. Better With You (Louis) thinks he can get to the IP address. After some of his smooth-tapping fingers -- interrupted briefly by Masuka with some bizarre love advice, "In matters of the heart, always think with your dick" -- he gets them within viewing distance of a church. Debra orders uniform to fan out and canvas the area.

Later inside, Debra's visited by Jessica Moore's father, asking her to reopen the case, but he's unable to explain why he has some pretty specific details of the case. Thanks to a particularly motivated session with her therapist, Debra tells LaGuerta that she's 'breaking the cycle' of their arguments to opening the case, whether LaGuerta likes her not -- and if not, she can fire her. LaGuerta slips off to a covert meeting with the illicit man she holds blackmail over, none other than the Chief who gave Debra the job. Whoops. On a whole, this situation feels like a sadly deprived way to keep LaGuerta in business -- certainly not relevant, as she continues on the same path she's always held, one of arrogance and holding secrets over other people's heads. Sullying the one person who was above her feels like a possibly cheap way to advance her, as she was already promoted once on dirty information from the same plentiful source.

Meanwhile, Dexter continues to follow his own leads, including a rather overly suitable comment that he's pulling against his own team -- you're a little late to that realization, Dexter. Your entire existence has been to try and cheat the police out of their arrests so that you can have the pleasure of a kill and feel better about yourself, while leaving them in the professional lurch. Gellar's no different, but he acts as though he were. This, in some way, to endear us to his quest to help the unfortunate Travis. So, he visits upon the good Professor Casey, famed atheist, and tries to warn him he's in danger. No dice.

Deciding to be proactive, Dexter brings Travis to the school and they stakeout until Travis sees Gellar entering the building. Dexter tells Travis to hold the stairs while he takes the elevator to cut Gellar off, only to have it grind to a halt less conveniently in-between floors. Being a ninja, Dexter is only slightly put-off. But as he gets to the upper doors, Travis pries them open and they search the office only to find that Gellar has already gotten to Casey. And another one bites the dust.

Despairing that this is his fault, Travis seems to have lost most of his steam, which Dexter reignites by telling him to reach out to Gellar on his blog, pretending to be repentant so they can lure Gellar in. Too late, though, to save Casey, when Dexter is called to the scene where the professor's body lies on the very stage he taught upon. One hand is missing, and so is everything inside. As Dexter raises his eyes to the heavens, Masuka raises the stumpy arm -- triggering the buckets above which overturn, raining blood and manly professor guts down upon the detectives. Drenched in an innocent man's blood, Dexter makes a rare messy figure, drenched in the liquid of his profession, but sneering -- seeing, as you will, red. He promises wrath on Gellar, and we believe him.

Meanwhile-meanwhile, things are heating up for Louis, the tall nerdy intern, when he resolves to bring hot Jamie home to show her his collection -- and then his bedroom. And the audience gets to see his prized Ice Truck Killer hand. And the impression of Aimee Garcia's naked legs.

Debra goes straight to the one person she thinks she can talk to -- her therapist -- to talk about what just happened. Does this woman have no other patients? They discuss Debra's trend of bad decisions when it comes to relationships, notably not bringing up the latest and greatest, Quinn, whose brutal fist-match with Angel has been left with less resolution. These therapist visits are clearly leaving quite an impression on the young lieutenant, who greets Dexter's next attempt to ask her how she's doing with a snarky comment and a nice view of her back. Even though the therapist was talking about Debra's romantic relationships being unhealthy and changeable, she seems to continue to inspire sister and brother to connect less and less, a depressing venture when it was the one relationship always able to bring around Dexter's lament for real human emotions. Now, he swears in the name of Harrison.

It's this Harrison that he claims to be working for, when his Obi-Wan-Kenobi vision of his father questions him at the church later. "I want to be better", Dexter claims. Not a better person, which he believes to be beyond his grasp, but a better father. Dexter, my friend, we're not sure those two things are mutually exclusive.

This confrontation is thanks to Travis waking up from a fretful sleep to find that Gellar has written "BRING THE FALSE PROPHET TO THE CHURCH" on the bathroom wall in blood, and lent him a hand. Travis calls Dexter, telling him that the message came from the blog. Once at the church, Dexter tells Travis to go in first. He does, confronting Gellar whose menacing comments about second chances and repentance do not bode well for the tearful Travis. Stepping into Gellar's out-stretched grasp seems to spell no more than his doom -- one that would wreak a grave unhappiness in Dexter, as he relies on Travis to prove that second chances away from Dark Passengers is possible. But when he stalks into the church, neither man is anywhere in sight. He eventually spots Travis on the ground, still breathing, but out of it. A search for Gellar shows him a secret door in the floor under the altar table, and Dexter descends.

He finds a basement, filled with trinkets. And a giant freezer. And in the freezer is Gellar's long dead and respectfully preserved body. Above, Travis' eyes open. Dexter comes to the heavy conclusion that Gellar is dead, has always been dead, and it's Travis who's been killing all along: he's made a "grave mistake". Dexter runs to the passage entrance to see his nemesis there -- for, truly now, Travis and Dexter are equals, haunted both by Dark Passengers and father figures who appear to them as if real. Only Travis' two figures are the same, leading him astray in a darker code than Dexter's attempt towards the light. As the episode closes, Dexter will find himself with a hard purpose: stop Travis, who he put so much stock in saving.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

TV Recap: American Horror Story, S108 "Rubberman"

Once again, an aptly named episode rolls around as "American Horror Story" begins its eighth episode, promising "Rubberman" for all. The opening shot is no less than the titular character, stalking the hallways as he's been apt to doing lately in small glimpses. The fear of the Rubberman so far has been in his few, subtle -- and a not-so-subtle encounter with Vivien -- appearances, lending a brooding quality to his appeal so that the shit's proximity to the fan can be measured by if that shiny bit of latex has appeared down the hall. Like when you can tell a boss battle is about to start in your video-game because suddenly everybody's dropping health items. So, when the identity is revealed...

But first, we see the real estate woman looking inappropriately unhappy about the fact that she's sliding that 'Sold' sign up above the For Sale post she probably keeps in her trunk for this house. Inside, there's somewhat less than the owners stalking about. Unless you count being irrepressibly possessive after death as proof of ownership. In what is likely a christening for new owners, the doctor's wife -- this episode was riddled with me forgetting everyone's name -- wanders around insulting the gross decoration choices that have taken over her house. We can't see who she's talking to but he lays on her a sympathetic hand, acknowledging her lonesome wail: "Where's my baby?"

A timely flashback to the Rubberman introducing himself to Vivien seems to point a big shiny arrow: here. Here is your baby. We even doubled your order for you. After the reminiscing on baby-making, we get to follow the rubber-clad baby-daddy to the bathroom where he disrobes at the face, revealing that of Tate. And all before the credits that I consistently skip through.

While the audience has had time during commercials to drive over to Twitter and express their shock/awe/disappointment/general feeling of let-down at seeing the previously enigmatic and frighteningly inhuman representation of our inner sado-masochism given a human face, Vivien is still pretty riled up about everything that's been going on with her. Marcy (that's her name!) feels free to blame it on hormones, since mockery is always a good way to approach a pregnant lady, but Moira gets a bit snippy over the real estate agent's close-mindedness.

In the next of what will be a series of smooth transitions, we're shown the one who has Zachary Quinto's face lamenting that he also feels crazy -- and cheated on, and unloved, and generally paranoid -- proving that the house has decided that he's the woman in the relationship. And no one's surprised. His best girlie friend lays on him the truth that relationships have to be fought for, especially ones with hunky guys from old lawyer shows, but her advice seemed slightly off: hey, you're uncomfortable with kinky behavior? Well, better get over it if you want to kowtow to your cheating boyfriend's needs. That's a way to to a healthy relationship right there.

But Zachary Quinto -- oh, Chad, thank you, dialogue -- is a gamely fellow, so he does the open-minded boyfriend thing and visits a fetish shop. When he says he's not into pain, the rather casual and intuitive shop-keep suggests that maybe Patrick wants to top for once, oh, and here's a full-body latex suit that you may never be able to get out of once you're in. Because, really, can you imagine sweating in that thing? Anyway, ZQ-Chad buys the suit. Obviously.

Back in Avenue Q, the dead mistress of the cheating dad (naaaames) decides it's time to lay the truth on the original lady ghost because it's incredibly tiring listening to her cry all the time. Gotta say, the girlfriend has come to terms with this all fairly quickly. Her tale of here's-the-facts reveals how some of the ghosts spend their time when they're not on-camera, including that Moira and the girlfriend have some issues with each other's lifestyles, and Hayden (oh, hey, girlfriend's name) may have some deep-seated unresolved issues versus cheating husbands that she takes out on Constance's former flame Eric-Close's-face by sexing and then repeatedly stabbing him. It turns out, this gets pretty unsatisfactory pretty fast when she lies down to cuddle with the dead body only to have it wake up and decide he's peckish. Through all this, she convinces the lady ghost that they need to take back what's rightfully theirs: some babies. Her plan? Prove that Vivien's crazy so she's never able to keep them. Hayden should probably use some of her dead down time to come up with a back-up that doesn't involve the baby's mother leaving the house before she ever gives birth. Oh, and, Vivien was totally right earlier about who was trying to steal her life.

Hayden begins enacting her plan just after that with all the regular signs, proving that she's a classic horror fan. Stuff breaks, lights flicker, and laughter echoes down the corridor. As Vivien staggers and gasps and runs about, she makes a loop back to the bathroom and sees the rubber mask lying there in wait. It's appearance cues another smooth transition to Tate sliding the face mask on right before he goes to dispose of Chad in the bobbing for apples bin. Seen that. But this time, we're treated to his slightly longer struggle with Patrick, whose constant days at the gym can't save him from getting his head bashed against the table. We can only hope that's what killed him, and not Tate's instant instinct to roll him over and tug his pants down while holding a fire-place poker...

Jump to Patrick's body dropping down the basement stands into lady ghost's proximity. She decides not to comment on the nice view of blood on Patrick's backside, so neither will we. Instead, she wants to know what's up from Tate, who reveals that he offed the unhappy couple because they were backing out on their plans to have a baby, and he's bound and determined to get her one. Mommy issues, etc, etc. By now, the mood is quite set for his purpose with Vivien later, but we're given an interlude into Violet trying to play fetch with Beau. Ben catches her talking to thin air and summons her upstairs for a 'talk' about how she's been missing school, the naughty girl. As Violet grows defensive, Ben goes into therapy-mode, which is probably the last thing you want to do to your daughter. Violet throws his affair in his face -- at which point she mentions that Moira is an old lady in her eyes, but Ben doesn't have time to pick up on that fact when she storms moodily out.

Speaking of Moira, she's fixing Vivien some of that tea she promised way back in their first scene, listening to Vivien blame the drugs she's been taking. Instead of drugs, Moira has a better answer: men. "Since the beginning of time, men find reasons to lock women away," she laments, recalling the tale of "The Yellow Wallpaper" and some creepy things that happened to creepy people once. After expounding liberally on the faults of men, including the estranged Mister of the house, Moira asks: "May I speak freely, Mrs. Harmon?" As opposed to... what he's been doing this entire time? 'Free speech', as it is, turns into a confession that there's spirits in the house, and if Vivien knows what's good for her and her babies, she'll book it.

In a shockingly un-television-like move, Vivien listens. Immediately. So immediately that she springs upon Violet in her bed and announces that they're up and out of there. They even get so far as the car before Violet notices Tate giving her the sad-face. She gets in the car, but, surprise! There're some dead home intruders in the back-seat. Violet and Vivien bolt back into the house and Hayden's ghost smiles, clearly quite pleased with herself and how well she seems to have tamed the other ghosts into caring about her angry quest.

Ben's first reaction to this is to bitch about how Vivien was trying to separate him from his family, the horrible wench, managing to completely ignore that there were crazy people in the car. It's a good thing Vivien has a track-record for being crazy now or he might look like a terrible person. When Vivien comes to her own defense, Ben begins to therapy her too, because he remembers how well that worked with his daughter. It works really well with Vivien, too, obviously. She suggests he talk to said daughter to prove her point.

So. Apparently, Violet and Tate had some sex while we weren't looking. A rather prudish and cheap out for the typically unabashed show. Speaking on the very nature of his being, Tate reassures her that he'll "always be here", if that's what she wants. I'm willing to venture that this is true even if she didn't want it, as he didn't do a very good job of leaving her alone back when she was less committed about this relationship. Violet has a better concern: "They'll always be here, too, won't they?" But Tate claims that they can't hurt them. He clearly hasn't been kept abreast of Hayden's fun-ventures. In fact, he's pretty adamant that Violet not reveal her crazy belief in ghosts so that she isn't taken away from him to the funny farm.

Just in time for Violet to be called downstairs to be witness to her mother's defense. Fresh off her post-coital sharing time with Tate, Violet lies through her teeth about having seen the dead people. Ben excuses her, and demands to stay the night, following Vivien's insistence that she's seen Hayden around. She accuses Ben of being in cahoots with his former fling and of leaving the rubber mask around. Ben reveals that he's never worn the suit; he threw it out. Dun dun.

Hayden's little game moves onto Tate after all. But he's having none of her climbing into his lap, claiming 'love' as his out. This doesn't rub Hayden too well, probably because she's spiteful towards all relationship things, and men in general. There's gotta be a reason she keeps sex-stabbing Eric Close. Besides the fact that she clearly was kind of unstable to start. But it's probably just the undead baby hormones, right! Actually... there could be a whole situation there relating to those women who steal other people's babies after losing one because of their depression -- and other things that should probably be researched before being referenced...

Vivien decides she's taking things into her own hands when she invites Marcy over to tell her that they're leaving tomorrow, and that's it. Her really rather brutal verbal abuse of Marcy gets called out and they start to fight, but Vivien collapses in the throes of pregnancy illness. Excep-- psych! As Marcy's off to fetch her water, Vivien steals something from the agent's purse and asks that she get some time to lie down. Marcy lets herself out, and we see that Vivien has stolen her gun. Good things are on the horizon, clearly.

In the bedroom, Vivien goes through the checklist of all small children everywhere: she checks under the bed, behind the curtains, and in the closet for monsters. She's barely into the covers -- in fact, she's just perfectly comfortable when it happens; ghosts are bastards -- when there's a noise. Rubberman! Vivien presses the panic button, helping to pay for the security guard's luxurious lifestyle (has that been used in every episode now?), and then proceeds to shoot her husband. See! Good things.

A patched-up Ben seems to be recovering just fine, though, when Luke barges in and gets super on his case. It's fairly obvious where his bias lies, as he spills all of Ben's secrets to the police who start to wonder if they've let this guy drug his wife after all. Ben has a right to be suspicious of the situation, but he's utterly tactless about leaping down Ben's throats, earning him no points for not remaining reasonable for a single second.

Vivien's drugged, so what does she care. Except that Hayden is there to wake her up with a startling yell. Vivien tries to agree with her, but it comes down to what Hayden wants -- "what's in your womb." Vivien's having none of this: "You're sick," she says, but Hayden counters, "No, I'm dead!" and introduces her to the father of her children: Rubberman! Tate wrestles Vivien into the position only for him to suddenly turn into Ben. Oh, and Luke is there, too. Just in time to listen to Vivien freak out about two people being there who aren't there.

The whole room becomes silent like a funeral, as the policemen step pointedly inside. No words, but the cool dawning on Vivien what is occurring. Violet stands in, a wide-eyed witness to her mother's trial -- one that she helped lead her to -- a veritable Judas, staring at what she's done but unable to speak up, even as Vivien is escorted out of the room and down the stairs. Slow-motion lets us watch the wash of relief or acceptance as Vivien descends the stairs, finally taken from a house she could not escape by her own power, until she lost it all, even over her own mind.

Violet watches, and is given the last reassurance every lying teenager wants to hear from a proud father: "You told the truth." Whoops. It'll weigh heavy on her, this betrayal of parent for boyfriend. Speaking of: Tate approaches from behind, fluidly stepping in as Ben steps out -- Violet's one life replaced by the one she's chosen. "It's okay; I'm here," says Tate, and the house's architecture frames the happy couple.

The epilogue is no surprise, but a cool commentary, punctuating a purpose, as Tate hauls Chad into the basement and causes him to stir. He and Moira coldly discuss the purpose of framing the job as a murder/suicide while Chad reaches poignantly out for his dead boyfriend's hand. Murder heals all grievances for a moment. Until Tate brutally sends the bullet through his chest, trapping him forever in a cycle of paranoia and disgust for the boyfriend whose hand he can never grasp.

Can't say that Hayden's plan seems particularly sound... but only more episodes will show for sure -- and, well. The fact that the writers can basically have it work out however they need, despite. All in all, "Rubberman" tells a fluid story, revealing many missing scenes and gaps, but the unmasking of its most iconic and inhuman menace can't help but feel like a slight let-down, as "American Horror Story" begins to unfold more as a story about the craze that descends on people in relationships than strictly supernatural forces.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

TV Recap: The Walking Dead S206, "Secrets"

"Everything's food for something else." From the mouths of babes. It's Carl's flippant air of survivalist nature that runs as catalyst for Lori's inevitable decision in The Walking Dead's episode 6, "Secrets". There has never been a more appropriate episode title. But, as we found out, Walking Dead writers aren't interested in stringing us painfully along with secrets that shamble on like the walkers that are so prevalently missing from the show -- they're interested in exploring what effect these secrets have on the people who must work with them. We're shown a bevy of secret-keepers, and how they deal with their pesky issues.

First up is Glenn, who couldn't lie to save his life, but at least he's honest about it -- although, really, at that point, what choice does he have. The problem with Glenn's inability to lie is that he also has an ability to look like he isn't covering something up. He's easy prey for Dale's cool intuitiveness, which we'll explore in more depth later. Glenn's progression is an interesting one, as he offers a hand to Lori, acting in both the interest of the child and of his perceived friendship with the woman. Nevermind that she asked him to go pick up some birth control pills.

Taking Maggie along on the venture with him proves troublesome when she's angry at him, then disagreeing with him, then bitching about his friends, then almost killed. But at least after she's done chucking things at Lori, she admits she has feelings for him. The most notable point comes from this last confrontation, where Maggie gives Glenn's passive character the kick in the ass he's been needing: "You're walker bait," she says, after telling him he's a better leader than he lets the team give him credit for. She also uses the term "walker", which she had, minutes ago, denounced him for saying.

Glenn's dangerously fraught journey into the town with Maggie didn't just allow her to express her feelings, but demonstrated the continued tension of one lifestyle versus the other. Directly after Maggie described the walkers as "people", she was attacked by one. In saving her, Glenn also seemed to be pointing out the flaws in her point-of-view; though he has been seen as the "weakest" member of his own group, to those with Hershel's blinders on, he is still a brutal killer, who is able to do what it takes to survive. (Although, can we take a second to wonder, again, why the shelves are so low in the pharmacy? Some things are understandable, but how many other women seriously needed to raid the pregnancy test collection before Lori.)

Off elsewhere, Rick and the menfolk are making plans. They huddle over a map, still absorbed in the task of determining where a frightened Sophia might be hiding. Based on Darryl's discovery last episode, they have a point to work from. But don't expect to hear much from Darryl on that; after a tiny apology from Andrea, he won't be showing up again.

We should be honestly surprised any of them allowed guns after what happened before, but okay. They've promised to behave so clearly things'll be different, right? Sure. At least Rick demonstrates that he's the only television character who learns from the previous episode by requiring all supposedly Hershel-approved endeavors to be run by Hershel. Revolutionary.

This leads us to Lori's protest that Carl be allowed to learn how to fire. At this point, the kid's already been shot -- as she herself says -- he might as well know how to fire. The odds are fairly high that the need will come up eventually, and a kid who's trained is better than a kid flopping around traumatized by the thought of a weapon. Learning to use one doesn't mean he has to walk around with one in his pants (sorry, Carl). We are, however, left wondering how actually comforting it is to hear that Shane used to teach younger kids how to fire. The argument makes Lori have to be the 'bad guy' again, but she folds, insisting that Carl treat this as serious as it is.

Once they get firing, Andrea proves herself to be a rather keen natural marksman, which presses all of Shane's manly buttons. Their courtship continues in the vein of Andrea seeking a bit of that danger and swagger that Shane projects, while Shane probes Andrea (not literally; yet) for a like-mind. When he gets her out alone and tests those boundaries by riling her up when she can't hit a moving target, Andrea balks. She's unable to surpass her sentimental psyche that says bringing up Amy is too sensitive in order to break into the survivalist, brutally uncaring world that Shane wants her to join him in. Also, at this point, I have to ask: at what point are they learning, and at what point are they just wasting bullets?

The courtship ritual moved on to Shane chasing Andrea down in his car -- this very familiar sight from more romantic venues was a surprising vision of the world they left behind. A man and a woman having an argument. It was as simple as that. Oh, until they journeyed into the walker-infested suburbia (social commentary?) and Andrea had to prove herself under fire. Or, that she could fire. Under fire. She proved it; and it's pretty obvious that she liked it. She even decided to show Shane just how much she liked it on the ride back. Regretfully, for some of us, that meant with sex, and not a bullet to the head.

Dale's the unexpected hero of this episode, emerging while everyone else is away having their own personal dramas or firing their guns off. Gleaning information from Glenn was perhaps not too difficult, but the cool, non-confrontational approach he takes when talking to Hershel about the walkers in the barn shows a sophistication the rest of the group sorely lacks. He even offers to contribute by making sure the area is secure, rather than jumping down Hershel's throat that they all be shot.

While everyone else blusters around, Dale is able to come at Hershel without that build-up of butting heads. Though Rick is docile and generally puppy-doggish, he's also a younger man, in his prime, and a leader who works towards the desires and benefits of his own group. This is a challenging picture to an older gentleman who just wants his own family and to do things his own way. However, no matter how calmly Dale presents his case, Hershel poses a question for both him and viewer: "Rick's a man of conscience; but are you so sure about everyone in your group?"

The magical power of Dale's intuition didn't stop there. He also smoothly approached the topic of Lori's pregnancy, expressing little actual surprise over her revelation that she'd been with Shane. Once again, he handled the passing of secrets with composure and sensitivity. He just wasn't able to reassure her that this was the best place to pop out a baby. Don't sweat that one, Dale. Instead, he moved onto the next person in need of a little intuitive wake-up call: Shane. Unfortunately, a romp in the front seat wasn't enough to mellow the cap-wearing cop once Dale approached in father-mode. Dale confronted Shane over the possibility that Otis hadn't 'died in the way Shane suggested. "I know what kind of man you are" he levels. Shane's own "a little boy lived because of what went down that night" condemned him as well as anything else -- his non-specificity pointing a giant glaring headlight at his lie of omission. And, yes: we think you're the kind of guy who threatens other guys while trying to sound insulted that it's suggested you're that kind of guy.

Last on the stop of the secret train was Lori's conflict with telling Rick that she was pregnant, and if she wanted to have the baby. Flying by the highly controversial abortion attempt, more of note was her confrontation with her husband earlier: "Were you gonna tell me?" accuses Lori, when Rick is revealed to have concealed the information that Hershel wants them gone. That one'll come back to bite her later. Testing the waters of trust isn't exactly wise when you're holding onto a big one, yourself. In fact, she had the balls to ask "Does it matter?" when Rick asked her how long she'd been keeping the secret of her pregnancy from him. Really, she of all people should have known that was an extremely stupid question.

Perhaps the single most amazing thing about "Secrets", however, (besides Dale and his magic) was that things got said. Not a lot else happened, as is theme with this current season -- but secrets were outed, and people acted responsibly about them. Rick tried to reason out why his wife slept with another man. Possibly because he is made out of empathy and eats understanding for breakfast. There is likely to be fall-out from this in the next episode, but that's what makes The Walking Dead's explorations continue to be quality writing: people learn, people evolve (except you, Shane), secrets get to be said, and then we know that we'll get to watch how that affects everyone.

Till next time: exactly how much did Glenn's vaguely foreshadowing-sounding "I always do [come back]" alarm you?

TV Recap: Dexter, "Sin Of Omission" S6E8

Dexter's characteristic narrative picks up the episode expunging on the innocent nature of children -- trusting everything and everyone -- but maybe what he really should have been expounding on is the relationship between a brother and sister. That's certainly what Dexter's Season 6, Episode 8, "Sin Of Omission" seemed to be circling around, while Dexter circled the DDK killer.

Having newly returned from his unscheduled hiatus in Nebraska, Dexter attempts to apologize to his sister. He uses his newly minted -- and perished -- best friend's death, along with that of his wife, for his weepy doe-eyed defense, while Debra points out that his unauthorized but unpunished vacation will make it appear like he's being given preferential treatment. Plus, you know. The maniac out there offing people. But Dexter's careless use of Debra's blinders when it comes to her brother is more the touchy subject. And it's truly a tough situation for both of them. Their pointedness, and her sighing acceptance of his apology (how many of you could tell she knew she was going to forgive him?) continues their relationship as one of the better parts of the show.

But things aren't going to be getting easier. Because let's jump to Travis being affectionately adorable with his own sister -- a clear indicator that everything's going to end poorly. It's a tried and true process, especially since Professor Gellar has nothing better to do than stand around in people's backyards. He's clearly suffering some kind of separation anxiety, but Travis wants none to do with it. His age-old attempt to get his sister to take an impromptu vacation tanks on the usual note. Because that worked out so well for Dexter, too.

Meanwhile, our sad sister-lying anti-hero has found himself at a funeral where he gains a particular twitchy nose as Brother Sam's ashes are spread. It looks vaguely like he may be feeling emotions. And is drastically allergic to them. Also, his curiously proud thought that Sam's message may have helped him because he didn't kill Jonah seems to fall vaguely flat when considering that he did, in fact, kill Kyle, the actual person Sam asked him to forgive. But good try, Dex. But... no.

So Dexter decides to use his newfound powers of not killing certain people when it's emotionally convenient to approach Travis, laying out such blatant lies as "I'll take care of it" and that the police don't need to know. Gives you strange visions of a future where Dexter works for hire. Got a problem? Not anymore you won't!

At this juncture, "Sin Of Omission" offers us a side case to take a breather on. A call-girl has gotten herself dead, thanks in all part to the solid combination of drugs and slippery surfaces. Dexter proves that he's still actually really good at his job when he decides to show up, and new black detective proves that he's starting to fit in by showing displeasure at LaGuerta's surprise appearance. For lecturing Debra so hard on how a lieutenant doesn't go to the crime scenes, she's not really setting a great example. No one's surprised.

Back at homebase, some things happen with Dexter's new fanboy -- that guy from the righteously cancelled "Better With You" -- which are mostly throwaway, and even more likely to have bearing later when things explode in a dark and morbid fashion. This is "Dexter", after all, and lest we not forget that Fanboy is working on an alarmingly accurate 3D version of the station. More importantly for our episode theme, however, Batista's sister arrives with an agenda her overprotective brother can't quite accept. Their banter is somewhat predictable, but continues the thread of siblings and their -- occasionally convoluted -- attempts to shelter one another. But whereas Dexter or Travis' is born of the need to shield from darkness, Batista is shouldered with the common dating problem.

As Dexter indulged in a bit of illicit research, concerned over the police's ability to actually do their jobs, it has to be pondered how poorly Dexter's habits reflect on the station. His somewhat selfish aim to off the city's most infamous serial killers continuously leaves the police out in the cold, appearing crippingly unable to catch even the slightest one. He should possibly be concerned with how the public is going to run him and everyone else out of there with pitchforks if they don't catch somebody once in a while.

In some filler, LaGuerta confronts Debra with some more of her passive-aggressive bullshit, and Travis is forcefully reunited with his mentor, but the most poignant, again, is Debra's questioning of Travis' sister. In just a few words, the woman gets across exactly what situation Debra can look forward to -- is in now. It should've been slapping her across the face. When faced with early trauma, brother shuts himself off and won't speak up about his feelings? Debra thinks that the woman probably knows something -- not necessarily that Travis is a killer -- but is hiding it? Does this blind-spot for a brother's darkness resonate at all with her? Cause it should. Her later joke with the therapist about believing Dexter will one day kill her can be laughed off, but not by the viewing audience, who might feel a bit of a jar for that potential foreshadowing. "Sin Of Omission" makes it feel as though we are temptingly growing closer to that inevitable moment when Debra accepts -- because, in a way, don't you think she knows something's up? -- that her brother is not who she thinks he is. Oh, and he kills people.

And, of course, her therapist has a point -- but not one that will serve Dexter. Driving Debra home to give her brother some potential venting time only causes her to see him as he leaves for parts unknown, unable to explain to her where he's going. His continued "something's come up" and "gotta go somewhere" are no longer going to cut it, as Debra feels increasingly let down by a relationship she's coming to depend too heartily on. Her need to stand over Dexter and vent to him every single tiny frustration in her life gives her a crutch that she'll soon pick up and beat him over the head with for not reciprocating. It feels definitely like she's no longer going to let him get away with as much shit as before.

But this episode manages to mix the sweet with the bitter. Her emotional "It's not a burden for me to be there for you" rings heartfelt and thoughtful to the family condition. Too bad she forgot that she has an emotionless lump for a brother. Dexter hasn't though; he has no compunctions leaving her in the lurch to go hunt down Gellar. On the bright side, he manages to phrase it as going to "rescue Travis", so we manage not to hold it too much against him. This time. Or else we are merely reminded that we are rooting for a guy whose urges to kill are stronger than his human feelings.

Oh, and, Quinn is drunk (he should realize he's at his lowest point when even Masuka displays more restraint and better judgment), LaGuerta has some dirty laundry (no one's surprised), and Batista scares Better With You off of his sister.

But perhaps the most gut-wrenching part was also the most inevitable: the reveal of Travis' sister as the whore of Babylon, Gellar's latest victim. The episode strung it out as long as possible, pulling away at the curtain, only to have her trussed up in a mask. Debra's reaction was meant to be our own: a gasp of recognition and guilt. And here ends the line of Travis' attempts to protect his sister, the last powerful emotion he was able to cling to, and begins an even more dangerous one: vengeance. In trying to get back his disciple, Gellar has created a powerful enemy -- whose allegiance with Dexter marks the end of the episode.

One sister down. What does this say about Debra's chances?