Dexter (2006–2013)
5 user 3 critic

Once Upon a Time... 

Dexter decides to look into the activities of an ex-con named Sam, while Debra receives some news that may upset Batista.


S.J. Clarkson


James Manos Jr. (developed for television by), Jeff Lindsay (based on the novel "Darkly Dreaming Dexter" by) | 2 more credits »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Michael C. Hall ... Dexter Morgan
Jennifer Carpenter ... Debra Morgan
Desmond Harrington ... Det. Joseph 'Joey' Quinn
C.S. Lee ... Vince Masuka
Luna Lauren Velez ... Capt. Maria LaGuerta (as Lauren Velez)
David Zayas ... Sgt. Angel Batista
James Remar ... Harry Morgan
Colin Hanks ... Travis Marshall
Yasiin Bey ... Brother Sam (as Mos)
Edward James Olmos ... Prof. James Gellar
Geoff Pierson ... Deputy Chief Tom Matthews
Aimee Garcia ... Jamie Batista
Molly Parker ... Lisa Marshall
David Monahan ... Nathan Roberts
Brea Grant ... Ryan Chambers


Dexter lines up his next victim, Brother Sam a criminal who claims to have found religion and while still running his body repair shop, gives other ex-cons a chance at rehabilitation. Dexter isn't buying any of it and is certain that Sam will be his worthy next victim. Doesn't quite turn out that way. The investigation into the dead man with the snakes put into his torso advances when one of the students finds heavy metals in their system. The two men responsible for that killing continue their preparations. Deb meanwhile has a day to remember. Still getting praise from her colleagues over the restaurant shooting, Quinn has a surprise waiting for her in the refrigerator. It's left to Deputy Chief Tom Matthews to spring the biggest surprise of all however. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

9 October 2011 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Yasiin Bey, formerly known as 'Mos Def' is a hip-hop/rap artist, and has appeared in several films and TV shows. See more »


In the stand-off between Brother Sam, Dexter and Julio, the gun pointed at Brother Sam switches from his head and his chest in different angles. See more »


[first lines]
Dexter Morgan: [narrating] Until a few days ago I was convinced there was nothing I believed in. But I was wrong. There *is* something I truly believe. Everything's better after a bubble bath.
[sudsing Harrison in the tub]
Dexter Morgan: Rituals are important. Not just for a serial killer, but also for a 2-year-old - if you want him to go to bed on time. Not that I mind. This ritual has become my favorite bedtime. Alone with my son, being myself.
See more »


Inca Trail
Written by Mark Edward Smith and Ramon Stagnaro
Administered by Bob Mair
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User Reviews

Missing Lumen, awkward restart, naughty Masuka, pivotal Deb arc, under exploited fairytale, some questionable acting, promising sister and Brother Sam
11 October 2011 | by igoatabaseSee all my reviews

This episode had a similar impact on me than Remains to be Seen, season 4 episode 2. An impression of déjà vu and the relative lack of desire to watch the upcoming episode. However despite its flaws it wasn't so bad and even convinced me to give "Smokey and the Bandit" a chance, next week's installment. The problem is that thanks to Lumen (Julia Stiles) season 5 felt so incredibly refreshing, heartbreaking, intelligent and inspiring that I can't believe Dex hasn't mentioned her. One year later and he has already moved on apparently. Come on writers you should know better ! It's like if they were desperately trying to reinvent the wheel when I'm convinced a better approach would be to interconnect the seasons to make the character development stronger, more authentic and empathic. Take Deb and Quinn for instance. Why should we care about these two love birds ? Things are different with Batista because his relationship with LaGuerta provoked collateral damages. Moreover there's something friendly about him so I really cared for him this episode.

It leads us to Masuka because as usual our favorite funny monk was back with his barrel of kinky monkeys. The butt dance sequence was hilarious and beside the annoying LaGuerta I don't understand the comments or reviews criticizing the show's secondary characters. Still individually they have potential and all performers do a good job but I think it's their connections that can be weak. As for Deb in the premiere I missed her Shakespearean verbiage but this time I couldn't help giggling every time she swore or that Jennifer Carpenter's gummy face did a cute grimace. Moreover the opportunity she ceased could dramatically affect her relationships with most characters, Dex included. It reminded me of how closed she was to catch him and Lumen in the finale ! Let's hope season 6 will exploit this element again because their scene couldn't have been edgier. Maybe it's time to whip the whole writing department !

But to go back to the impression of déjà vu I mentioned earlier I won't say the show is jumping the shark but at some rare times it nearly feels like it. The soapy conflicts, the recurrent jokes, Dex's rehashed lines and thoughts… It's specially the last that I worry about because season 5's spirit was reminiscent of season 1. Once an episode was over I spent a whole week thinking and dreaming about it. Thanks to Lumen our favorite serial killer became a monster with a heart and this propelled the show in a new direction. It's not that religion is dated or less interesting but for the moment I don't see how such a conventional topic, that has already been covered by many other productions, will allow this season to top the previous ones. With such a title, Once Upon a Time, I was expecting a heavy fairytale-driven story but the theme was under exploited and most scenes featuring the baby boy didn't work. The running gag fell flat compared to season 5's "Die! Die!".

As for casting Colin Hanks as Travis Marshall I question it because his acting wasn't convincing enough. I mean wasn't there a better young match for Edward James Olmos ? We also have to consider that he'll probably face Michael C. Hall in a few weeks ! The anecdotic way their arc is covered also doesn't help for the moment but things should improve once they're really part of the story. Moreover Travis relationship with his sister has potential because I couldn't help imagining all the possible outcomes. Will she become this season Christine Hill (Courtney Ford) ? Last but not least Brother Sam was probably this episode moment of grace. His arc was reminiscent of Lumen's introduction because it took a while to determine if she could be saved or was definitely broken. As an atheist it's harder to relate to him and comprehend all the religious substance in general but at least the writers proved their point by dedicating a whole episode to a new character. They were serious about it and it showed from beginning to end despite the flaws I pointed out. Therefore his profile, so different than an Arthur Mitchell or Jordan Chase, could contribute to make this season a success. I'm still skeptical about it but we have to consider that season 5 really took off with its fourth installment, Beauty and the Beast, so we'll see if patience is really a virtue because on Dexter a split second of inattention can quickly turn into a deadly vicious mistake !

Note : This review was first posted on Kritikenstein, my weblog.

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