Original Air Date: September 8, 2013
Is this goodbye forever? Will Dexter and Hannah escape Miami? Will Oliver come after Dexter’s loved ones? Will Oliver snitch on Dexter in Miami Metro’s confession room? Will we come to a big revelation that Dexter was Dexter speaking down to us from Purgatory this entire time? Will we realize that Tom Matthews has been in on Dexter’s secret all along? Things get real in this treatment for season 8, episode 10: “Goodbye Miami.”
Edit: September 13, 2013. A major oversight on my part is taken into consideration about Dexter’s first and last kill room.
Our Mother Who Art In Hell
It is evident that Daniel Vogel, alias Oliver Saxon, has it out for his mother. Although he is in his mid-forties, we see that the rage and jealousy fuel his juvenile desires to reconnect with his mother by eliminating Dexter Morgan, the son who is always chosen over him. Oliver is enraged for several reasons: his mother paid more attention to Richard (his younger brother); when he killed Richard, desperately seeking attention and help, Vogel institutionalized him back in England; not only did she do this, but she never visited him or tried to make contact whatsoever; Oliver discovers that his mother did for Dexter what he wished she would have done for him, her biological and blood son; even when threatening her life and intimidating her, Vogel still chooses Dexter; she agrees to help Oliver live the live which Dexter lives, but then violates that promise by arranging for Dexter to kill Oliver. If I were Oliver, I might be murderous myself.
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The issue lies in the fact that Evelyn Vogel is straddling two worlds – the one of the in-denial, empathetic mother (“My son isn’t going to harm me … I just [know].”Dexter also had to show Vogel the video of Oliver cutting into Zack’s brain to get the idea through her head – pun intended – that Oliver enjoys killing), and the one of the closed-off, experimental Neuropsychiatrist – a decision against which she warned Dexter. A decision which led to her own death because she “chose the wrong son” again. Oliver had given her this ultimatum earlier on in the episode: “Choose right this time;” however, Evelyn’s definition of “right” changed depending on whom she was standing in front of. I was not convinced of the genuine nature of Evelyn’s emotions up until this very episode. I was under the impression that she has been acting solely to manipulate Dexter – perhaps it is the intensity of Charlotte Rampling’s gaze that threw me off; however, she was purely genuine – believably genuine – for the first time this entire season.
Dr. Vogel agrees to help Oliver, but fails both herself and her son in the fact that she tells Oliver she intends on finding a better institution for him that the one to which he was first sent. It was clear to us that Oliver wanted to live in the way Dexter does, but somehow Evelyn cannot consider it an option for her own son. Oliver did persuade her, but it was under the conditions of being on his operation chair, in the kill room which resembled where he would be taken to, strapped down, and force-fed pills, which was only the “highlight of [his] day.” (On a side note: this is the second time Dr. Vogel has been taken captive, against her will, by a serial killer. First we have Yates, sizing up which of her toes to break, and now we have Oliver, half a step away from strapping her in and slicing her skull open.
Oliver was a significant wake-up call for Evelyn. She was proud of her work with Dexter. She did not mind treating other psychopaths and performing experiments to see if she could shape these creatures of nature. Why? Because nobody she loved – none of her family – was being directly affected by her actions, by her practices, teachings, and mantras. Evelyn clearly favors Dexter over Oliver because Dexter did not kill Richard: Daniel did. She cannot forgive Oliver, nor does she trust him. She, therefore, must classify Oliver as the worst kind of psychopath – the one we thought of when we heard the word before we started watching Dexter. Dexter is the best kind of psychopath because he takes out other psychopaths, or “people who deserve to die.” Her other subjects may have been the lesser psychopaths because of the unorthodox treatments she used on them.
Oliver sees Dexter as a threat and his mortal enemy because Evelyn gave him the tools to succeed in the world, existing as he is (the Code), and because his mother chose Dexter when he was spending his time in the severely corrupt institution. He also is aware of the relationship his mother has built up with Dexter over the course of this season, so he knows Dexter automatically is ahead in the mother-winning game. Oliver is aware that Evelyn takes pride in what she made Dexter into, or else he would not be so hung up over Dexter. Furthermore, Oliver also saw Zack as a threat. He took out Zack because he knew Dexter and his mother were trying to recreate what he so desperately wanted for himself – Dexter’s life.
Dexter, strangely, sees Oliver as a man of which to be jealous. Dr. Vogel has expressed to Dexter on several occasions how he is “perfect as he is” – in his “natural state as a psychopath.” I may be paraphrasing here, but the bottom line is that there has been a noticeable change in the way in which he operated pre-Hannah and post-Hannah, both in the scheme of the series, and over the course of season 8. Dexter was on-target and focused until Hannah showed her pretty little face in Miami. Ever since then, he’s been a deranged puppy chasing his own tail, and then Hannah’s. Although at times it seems as though Dexter has everything under control, it is clear that he cannot escape this series without losing many of the people he loves. He’s already lost Vogel – it is now time to see whether he can avenge her death, while also making it out of Miami before the hurricane comes in and permanently grounds him and his family (Hannah and Harrison) and guarantees Hannah’s capturing. Dexter wonders: “is [Oliver] the perfect psychopath [he] once was?” It seems as though this question haunts Dexter. At some points, it seems as though he is proud of his serial killer-to-human progress. Other times, like this one, Dexter seems to mourn the loss of the emotionless self that accompanied the Dark Passenger on these stalk-hunt-kill rituals.
Personally, it is painful to watch Oliver beg his mother to help him become “someone [she] can love” – the way she loves Dexter. He asks her: “As your son … Please help me.” Although I have often viewed Vogel as the Master Manipulator (and Hannah McKay named Dexter the Master Manipulator), Oliver usurps this position of power in this position. She is in his kill room after all. All in all, he just wanted his mother to understand the rejection he experienced because she was incapable of handling what he was at that point in time. Once he is scorned once again, he takes out his own mother, out of both anger and vengeance against Dexter. He wants Dexter, too, to feel the loss and pain he endured without Dr. Evelyn Vogel, their mother.
In Dr. Vogel’s final scene (not counting the one in which she is killed and lying on the ground in a pool of her own blood – a theme we revisit time and time again, from Laura Moser to Rita to Cassie), I would like to draw attention to the lighting and the chosen wardrobe. We have Oliver Saxon, our dark and mysterious character, dressed in black, lurking in the shadows. And then we have Dr. Evelyn Vogel, the woman who tried “playing God,” wearing all white, with the spotlight shining on her. The glow of death is already upon her as her hair and skin become more washed out than her age allows for. It is clear that Vogel is seeing the light at the end of a tunnel – the afterlife. Whether or not it is Heaven is debatable, if you want to go the religious route.
To run with the idea of “playing God,” we see Oliver and Vogel drinking from silver-rimmed tea cups. This immediately brought the idea of Gods drinking from golden goblets on Mount Olympus. I do not know why. This just serves to remind me, and it should remind you, that these are people we are dealing with. Not gods. The things in which they dabble (killing, treatment and facilitation of psychopaths) are dangerous trades.
Similarly, Dexter has been offered the ultimatum which will determine how this series ends up: his “real” family, meaning Debra and Vogel (of course before she was dead – so carrying out vengeance on Oliver); or his “created” family, meaning Hannah (I do not count Harrison into this equation. He goes where Dexter goes). Dexter, in attempts to make everyone happy (as he is so apt to do) has difficulties straddling his own two worlds (both the ones of the public man and the private serial killer, and the ones of Miami and Argentina).
Dexter: From Serial Killer to Man
Dexter’s conversation with Harry in the kill room he prepares for Saxon is a throwback to how he used to operate: pictures of victims on the wall, precisely placed plastic sheets, his roll of knives, and of course his kill outfit. He states to Harry that he has changed quite a bit since the last time he was “here.” Some people have taken this to mean that this is the first kill room we ever saw Dexter in (Jaworoski’s? The minister or pastor’s?), but I do not know if there is substantial evidence for this (EDIT: Someone said it is blatantly said that it is the choir director’s kill room. My bad. See what lack of sleep does to you? Thank you, Billy! He points out to me that this is a great bookend, and I agree.). I took this “here” to mean that the last time he put up pictures and performed the ritual – both are true in their own right.
Dr. Vogel believes that Dexter is using her as an excuse to kill Oliver. She is still operating under the assumption that deep down, Dexter is still the psychopath he always was and always will be. Dexter’s internalized Harry says the same thing to him time and time again. Harry is even more direct with him – which could mean one of two things: Dexter is thinking of what his father would say to him, OR Dexter’s subconscious is speaking to him through what he perceives as what his father would say (meaning Dexter is 100% aware of the fact that he will always be a psychopath and he cannot change it or run away from it for as long as he lives). Harry highlights for Dexter that moving to Argentina is not akin to moving away from his Dark Passenger. His Dark Passenger will always lie in wait, within him. Harry says: “Going to Argentina isn’t going to change who you are … I just don’t want you to have any unrealistic expectations about whatever happens next.” I think that is setting us up for a bookend along these lines: In season 1, we heard Dexter say: “If I could have feelings for anyone at all, it would be Debra.” Meaning – if he wasn’t a psychopath, things would be different.
On the flip side – Harry says Dexter is “choosing to be afraid (when going after Oliver) for the first time in [his] life. [He] think[s] [he’s] got something to lose. Is that who you wanna be?” I am confused as to what Harry / Dexter’s subconscious is suggesting here. All along Harry was pushing Dexter to be normal, act normal, pretend. Harry effectively made Dexter want a normal life, and here we are. And yet his internalized dead father is persuading him against it? This is why I am unsure as to whether Harry is an apparition speaking from the grave, a “what would Harry do” situation troubleshooter, or Dexter’s subconscious speaking through Harry. For those who do not believe that Dexter has changed, look at how Dexter sobs over Evelyn Vogel’s dead body. I think that speaks volumes. Remember how Dexter refused to blink when watching a movie with Rita so that he could be “crying” with her? Dexter likes to think he’s changed, and so do we. But is it true, or have we all been fooled, Dexter included?
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When discussing Argentina, Hannah expresses her interest in a “fresh start” – for both herself and Dexter. This indubitably means that neither of them plan on committing any felonies while in Argentina, including (serial) killing. On several occasions, I have wondered whether Hannah realizes the extent to which Dexter is a killer. We all know that she said to him, while on his Table, “Do what you gotta do,” but does she realize that he is a psychopath? We know she is cognizant of this – Dexter discussed Harry’s past with Evelyn, and how she came into his life years ago without his knowledge – but has she grasped the concept fully? Hannah questions Dexter in this episode when he says he “feels” he needs to kill Oliver, for she knows that “When it comes down to [Dexter] and killing, feelings ever enter the equation.” My point is that Hannah may be asking Dexter to give up the part of himself that is unshakable.
She asks Dexter why he’s going after Oliver. Dexter responds: “It’s what I do. It’s who I am. It’s all I know.” Is this true? I don’t think it is, and I don’t know if Dexter even buys this. We’ve seen him act as though he isn’t just a serial killer. Why the sudden lack of confidence? Hannah urges: “Dexter, you’re more than that.” We know he’s more than that. At least we hope he is.
What frustrates me most about this season is the fact that Dexter is more of a dad and a lover than a serial killer. What infuriates me is the fact that Dexter is so blinded by Hannah’s pretty blonde hair that he fails to realize that upping and leaving the country at the same time Hannah McKay was suspected to be in Miami is the most suspicious thing he could ever do. Perhaps he thinks he is invincible, given all of the things he has gotten away with over the years. If he was smart, he would wait for a long while and then leave months later to join Hannah in Argentina. The thought of letting Hannah go again is too much for Dex to handle, and here he is, like a puppy dog, running after her with his tail wagging and tongue hanging out, panting. If you recall, Jordan Chase’s buddies and partners in crime in season 5 tried skipping town, but Chase advised them against such suspicious activity. Dexter should know better than anyone that what he is doing is a grave mistake.
What is even more absurd is the fact that Dexter brings up Rita’s death as a reason why he’s leaving Miami. Rita died four years ago and we all know damn well that he was not nearly as impacted by her death as he was by the possibility of Hannah leaving forever. Perhaps Rita’s death triggered something within Dexter that made him realize that he never wants to lose another woman like Rita (or Hannah) again. But Rita’s death happened four years ago. We all know Batista is too much of a heart-felt guy to question this though.
Debra is a lioness, protecting her cub (Harrison). She’s pissed, to say the least, at Dexter for deciding to pick up and leave. She’s not even pointing out to him that what he is doing will look highly suspicious. Deb has taken the hint from Hannah – she is finally supporting Dex in whatever she thinks will make him happy, although her initial response is selfish. Her response to the sight of Dexter, Hannah, and Harrison is always a painful one – she doesn’t feel like she belongs, nor does she know how she will live without Dexter. “You’ve always been there. Moving on without you feels like jumping off a cliff.” We already know that Deb does not want to find out what life would be like without Dexter in it because she already tried getting rid of him (via killing him in a car crash), but decided against letting him drown at the last second. She says: “I don’t know what my life looks like without you.” We hear her talk about how Dex has always been there, “for better or worse,” which sound more like marriage vows than brothers and sisters’ commitments to each other. “Here she goes with the incest again,” you all say, shaking your heads and rolling your eyes (Speaking of that topic – did anyone catch the implication of Hannah signing Debra’s name and calling herself Harrison’s mother – um HELLO! It’s RIGHT THERE.). In a way, it sounds like Debra is about to take the suicidal route again, but since Quinn is back in her life, I have a feeling she will lean on him rather than go bat-shit crazy.
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Despite all of this, Debra continuously proves her unconditional love for her brother. Not only has she allowed Hannah, her mortal enemy, to cohabit with her, but now she’s lying to Deputy Marshal Clayton about Dexter and Hannah’s involvement and whereabouts. The case can be made that by throwing Hannah under the bus, she is also throwing herself under the bus – but even so, Deb warns Hannah about Clayton’s whereabouts and suspicions. She’s being a good sister.
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It is because of this selfishness that Debra will be able to move on with her life and return to Miami Metro, become a detective again, and do “something good for a change.” Dexter will not be around to compromise her integrity or her position.
It’s been a long time coming, Jamie and Quinn’s break-up. The way in which Deb and Quinn get back together is very soap opera-y, as were many things this season; however, it’s nice to see the two of them back in action, both in the field and romantically. I say this mainly because Deb looks happy again. The light has reentered her eyes – she’s doing something she loves, working with the people she loves, doing something good for Miami. Here’s the thing – people are complaining about how Deb didn’t show feelings for Quinn the past several years, but they fail to see that Debra says: “I used to feel like something was holding me back.” That “something” is DEXTER. She just let go of the idea/dream/notion of her being romantically involved with Dexter. She is finally coming to the terms with the fact that Dexter will not always be in her life like he has been. She understands that he is in love with Hannah and that he intends on making a life with her. Since she has let that go, any reservations she had about Quinn have gone away, or at least she is willing to go back to what she already had that was so great. Quinn and Deb were a really great couple when they were together and I have no doubt about their future together beyond the series’ conclusion. It’s foolish to say that this was not inevitable or that it made no sense.
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Jamie is getting screwed by the Morgans left and right: Not only will Dexter no longer need her employment, but he’s taking Harrison from her; Debra inadvertently stole her man. Or are they doing her a favor? She is free to go to wherever it was that wanted to interview her for a job. She can finally start her career.
Personally, I felt it would have been more fitting for Evelyn’s skull to have been sawed open and her anterior insular cortex scooped out. That would have been how I saw Evelyn’s death – however, this was more personal than any other death we saw this season. It seems as though draining the blood from Dexter’s loved ones is the way the Dexter writers prefer to take them out: Rudy Cooper / Brian ‘Biney’ Moser (side note: my typo read “Brain Moser”) was sliced through the carotid artery, Sweeney Todd style (minus the cannibalism – Ron Galuzzo is already dead), as was Dr. Evelyn Vogel; his blood mother, Laura Moser’s blood drained out and formed a pool in which Brian and Dexter sat in for days; Rita’s leg was sliced and her blood drained into the bathtub.
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What was bizarre was the fact that Dexter ran up to and smashed himself against the window as Oliver killed Evelyn in front of him – which, not to mention, had to have been a traumatic experience to see yet another one of his mothers killed before his eyes. If he’s not consuming the ones he loves, he’s watching the blood drain out of their veins and bodies.
The light was on – couldn’t the neighbors see Oliver slicing Vogel’s neck?
Lemmegetinyourpantry asked me this week about the possibility of Dr. Evelyn Vogel and Tom Matthews being married at one point. I do not think that this is the case after re-watching the episode. If you take a look at the way in which they greeted each other – the cordial, distanced handshake – it does not seem like the greeting ex-spouses would give each other. It seems like an old friendship more than it does divorcees saying hello. Matthews when discussing Zack Hamilton’s disappearance with Evelyn, appeals to Evelyn’s motherhood. He says “you know what it’s like to lose a child.” He would have said “you and I both know what it’s like to lose a child” if they had been married. I do think there is more awaiting Matthews as far as the plot goes. I still stand by the idea that Matthews may very well know what Dexter is and what Evelyn did for both him and Zack. She asks Evelyn to open up about Zack and what she knew about him that could possibly help them track the boy down, but perhaps he already knows the reason for his treatment. Matthews knows a lot more than he should, and covers up a lot more than he should.
It will be rather complicated when Deputy Marshal Clayton shows up to Debra’s house and finds that she’s been hiding away Hannah McKay. I’m glad Harrison didn’t mention Hannah when Deb sent him inside the first time Clayton paid them a visit, but we know they are going to find Hannah and Deb together. My best guess is that Elway is going to send someone over to Deb’s house with the stuff they packed up from her office, just as he promised, and discover Hannah there. I will bet my left kidney on this. It’s an obvious prediction, but I take pride in the little things in life.
I always like looking at what the cast of Dexter is wearing. Ever since “Dress Code,” for some reason I feel inclined to keep watching out for what the costume designers have to say about the relationships between the characters, their situations, and each other.
Vogel has been a central figure throughout the season. She’s been in pale colors (as was Hannah – they both had secrets to hide, and they had to fly under the radar, Vogel with her practices, and Hannah with being in Miami). Vogel was in pink in both 809 and 810, which links her to Hannah and Dexter. Her connection to Dexter is more obvious, but pink seems to be the color things turn when they are in big trouble (Hannah was in a pink dress the day that she and Dexter went to Arlene’s house to get the stashed away money, which was also the day Clayton stopped by – Vogel was in pink when she has breakfast with Oliver, I believe).
Vogel donned a lovely royal blue dress, both to remind us that she regal, but also to connect her to Debra and Dexter. This is the familial connection – she has a line of family that she wants to remain connected to (even Oliver).
If you have noticed, Debra has been in blue/jean-colored button-down shirts, which look a lot like the shirts her brother wears day in and day out. Although she has always donned this kind of look, she was much more into stripes and plaid in seasons past. She’s changed. She’s tainted, just like Dexter is. It seems as though her wardrobe has been mocking her brothers this entire season. She even has a pair of khaki-colored skinny jeans that she’s worn in several episodes which look like Dexter’s usual pair of khaki work pants.
Dexter: A Comedy
- Deb: “I don’t know what my life looks like without you.”
- Dex: “Maybe it looks better.”
- Deb: “Hanging out with two serial killers – doesn’t get better than that.”
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- Deb: “Did you break up with her because of me?”
- Quinn: “No – yes – I mean no and yes. Don’t get mad. Your face gets all red when you’re mad.”
- Deb: “No it doesn’t.”
(Side note – do you notice how Quinn knows Deb better than he probably knows Jamie. I don’t even think he’s paid as much attention to Jamie as he did Deb.)
- Deb: “Hey, Jamie.”
- Jamie: “Go fuck yourself.”
- Deb: “… what?”
We all know Dexter too well to think that he won’t go after Saxon. It is clear that Dexter is going to track him down, because the preview for 811-812 shows Oliver’s picture being spread on the news, and then him ending up in the confession room at Miami Metro. This should remind us all of the fact that he turned in Hannah. Hannah did not snitch on Dexter because she loved him. Oliver, however, has nothing to lose. He even says to Dexter that he, a father, brother, and lover, has “a lot to lose” – I think Dexter is going to be taken down, or at least another tempt to take him down will be made. I’m sure Oliver has his sources, so of course he has hard proof – his mother’s files – that Dexter is a serial killer and that he was trained to be one.
Deep down, as I’ve mentioned before, I am hoping that Matthews knew of Vogel and Harry’s involvement back in the day when they were creating Dexter. We see Quinn yelling at Batista about something in the previews – could this be Quinn defending the Morgans? Protecting Debra? Fighting Batista about something? I have a feeling that everyone will find out what the Morgans have been up to. I think it feels right if everyone were to find out everything. I think this show has a lot to offer thematically. It proves that in dire situations, as Hannah tells us, people do crazy things. Dexter is very telling about humanity.
What we do know from the preview:
Deb is going to shoot someone.
Quinn flips out at Batista.
Dex and Elway are going to duke it out in the hospital – I have a feeling Debra will be in the hospital (I saw a picture she tweeted weeks ago which gave that away). Whether it will be from the hurricane, or by her own self-loathing, we will find out.
Oliver gives Dexter an ultimatum: “I’m giving you a choice. Go on with your life, or come after me.” We all know Dexter wants both, and so he will choose both.
Dexter will be in the hospital going after someone, and someone from behind him says “DROP IT.” We cannot hear very clearly who is behind him, but Dex looks absolutely mortified. It could be Batista – it could be Elway – it could be Clayton – it could even be Quinn, or someone else.
One thing is for certain: SHIT. IS. GOING. TO. GO. DOWN.
We do hear one final thing in the preview: Dexter saying “It’s all my fault.”
Hell yes it is.
I think Dexter will make it on the plane with Hannah and Harrison, and then get a call that Deb is in the hospital, and will have to get off the plane because he thinks his sister is dying. I think that will be what goes down. Family first.
We began season 8 with Debra a tornado; we are now ending season 8 with a Hurricane. Will Deb finally go down?
I think we will find that our bookend in season 8 will say that he is and always will be a psychopath. Perhaps he feels connection – perhaps he conjured that connection, as Vogel suspected all along. Perhaps he feels no real emotion at all.
We began Dexter with Dexter’s biological brother trying to get him to kill Debra. Could Oliver try killing Debra?
We began by discovering that Dexter’s mother was murdered in front of Dexter; Evelyn Vogel was murdered in front of him in this episode.
And now to put a “number” on this episode. Dexterity (neat-handedness, puns, trickery, clever sayings, placements, etc.) will judge all of the small things that I pick up on. The higher the score, the more fun I had picking apart the episode for hidden clues. Entertainment (how much I laughed and enjoyed the episode) will judge how excited I was on average throughout the episode, as well as after it for the upcoming episodes. Xtremity (how dramatic, but also how believable the episode was, edge-of-the-seat, white knuckles, the “holy shit” factor) will judge just how jaw-dropping the episode was. This is my rating, or as I like to call it, the “DEX-factor.”
Nothing stood out to me in this episode that was intentionally put there, although Billy said there was a shake weight somewhere in Deb’s apartment in this episode. I gave it a 6 instead of a 5 for that reason.
Because VOGEL DIED. WHY, MOMMY, WHY?
Because … Vogel died.