Dexter: “Nebraska” episode review

25 Nov

Most of us have had at least one moment in our adult lives where we decide to throw caution to the wind and just go with the moment.  In this episode, Dexter finally throws caution to the wind and decides to see just what his life will be like if he ignores responsibility and goes only where his darkest desires (in his case, murder) take him.


Rudy  (Christian Camargo) replaces Harry (James Remar) as Dexter’s conscience and — little voice of unreason.  The super ego gone rotten.  Rudy’s sense of moralizing is about justifying the id’s needs and in this episode, it is all about Dexter as the id.  And whether or not his ego and moralizing super ego, Harry, can rectify his behavior back into what the viewers consider acceptable and justifiable killing by Dexter.

In “Nebraska” we get to see Dexter on the path to becoming an irredeemable killer.  His ability to identify with Rudy who is a full-fledged psychopath makes it fairly impossible for the viewer to even enjoy the ride because not all of us are psychopaths.  We might cathartically enjoy Dexter’s killings but that is because they have a code attached to them and Dexter must carefully reason out whether a death is morally justified.  The ‘hunt’ for Jonah (Brandon Eaton), the Trinity Killer‘s son, takes on the sort of tone you might find on a ‘couple on the run’ killing spree movie.  Because of Rudy, Natural Born Killers comes to mind.

While Dexter does many things out of character including blowing off Debra’s (Jennifer Carpenter) request that he stick around for work, and leaving his child for more than a night with the babysitter, he does something even more surprising while he is on his road trip:  sleeps with the convenience store clerk.  Yes, it might just be to steal her gun but this is so uncharacteristic of Dexter that it seems excessively – strange and immoral coming from him.  Even more disturbing is Dexter shooting up freeway signs under Rudy’s encouragement and guidance.  By this time I almost had to double-check and make sure I was actually watching a Dexter episode.

And that is really the point of this episode.  Dexter was in the throes of an morality and identity crisis with Brother Sam’s death.  It’s at this moment a character or a person in real life will end up taking a journey, either physically, metaphorically or both, to clarify their thinking and direction in life.  What is most important about the journey is that the character takes himself out of his normal surroundings, or at least the individuals he interacts with on a daily basis and thinks for a day or so about what motivates him and makes him happy and excited about life.  Or simply, what does he really want out of his life?  Are his current beliefs supporting those needs or does he need to rethink them?  Will Deb and Harrison and love win out or will nihilistic existence in the form of Rudy drive him into oblivion?

Once Dexter arrives in Nebraska, his problems only mount and his journey looks like it will be a rough one.  His gets a flat tire.  Norm (Scott Michael Campbell) doesn’t buy Dexter’s story about being a landscaper.  He offers to fix his flat tire but then steals his forensics kit and knife set.  In the meantime, Dexter talks to Jonah and knows he’s lying about his father, the Trinity Killer, being responsible for the deaths of his sister and mother because Dexter personally killed Trinity.  So Dexter does a bit more investigating in the house, is fairly certain that Jonah is following in his father’s footsteps but wants a bit more proof… when Jonah shows up at the house.  That situation doesn’t go so great and now Dexter feels one of them has to die… and it should probably be Jonah.

In the meantime Dexter regroups back at the hotel to get his knives, etc.  Norm tells Dexter he has the knife set and it will cost Dexter $10,000 to get it back.  Bad idea, Norm.  Dexter kills Norm with a pitchfork and is forced to dispose of the body in a grain silo.  He goes to meet Jonah.  Dexter reveals he killed Trinity and he knows Jonah is lying.  Jonah explains he found his sister dead in the tub – she’d killed herself and he did kill his mother but she had blamed them for Trinity’s disappearance and essentially emotionally tortured her kids.  That’s why Jonah killed her.  He begs Dexter to kill him.  Instead, Dexter tells Jonah to forgive himself then runs over Rudy with his car and stops to pick up Harry (James Remar) on the way back to Florida.

In Florida, Travis (Colin Hanks) does his best to release his version of Rudy, Professor Gellar (Edward James Olmos), but he doesn’t quite go away.  And instead of running from his sister as Dexter does, he runs to his sister.  Probably not the smartest move considering Professor Gellar is alive, breathing and out for blood…

One Response to “Dexter: “Nebraska” episode review”


  1. Dexter: “Get Gellar” Review Indeed, the writing was on the wall. November 27, 2011 Level 18 by Matt Fowler « New Age - November 28, 2011

    […] Dexter: “Nebraska” episode review ( […]

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