812: “Remember the Monsters”

Original Air Date: September 22, 2013

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[Image Credit: jennifer-perfection-carpenter]

After three months of grieving, I was finally able to return to the series finale of Dexter. I cried from the first minute all the way through the entire finale upon first viewing it, but I was able to keep it together the second time around and watch the finale for what it was artistically and thematically. Most people are outraged with the finale (well, the final four seasons of the series really); however, I am one of the few who is pleased and believe that this was how it had to happen (“it has to happen; again and again …”). Most of your mouths are agape now, I know, but hear me out. Here is why I firmly believe that the conclusion to Dexter was perfect in every sense.

Disclaimer: I know many non-viewers are curious as to why there was such uproar about the ending of our beloved series. I advise that you do not read this treatment if you have not watched the series. I believe that this series finale is best appreciated if you know, at least, the premise of the series, the consequences of Dexter’s actions (in each season), as well as who has been pulled under the currents of Dexter’s wake.

Come on in; the Water’s Fine

The “storm” that’s been a-brewin’ for the past several seasons has finally arrived. Between Hurricane Laura (recall: Laura Moser), Elway on Hannah McKay’s tail, Oliver Saxon, and Debra’s run-in with the Brain Surgeon, Dexter has his plate full, to say the least. The more roles Dexter has taken on over the course of these eight seasons, the more he has emerged as a person, a human being, not just a psychopath. Being a father, son, brother, mentor, guardian, and serial killer has taken its toll and someone had to pay the price.

From what I have read, the main complaints I have heard are (1) that Deb dies/that she and Joey were robbed of their happy ending and (2) that Dexter becomes a Lumberjack somewhere, leaving a sociopath (Hannah McKay, who almost everyone loathed by the end of this season) to raise his son. The fact of the matter is that the series could not possibly have a happy ending.

The writers repeatedly showed us, through Lila’s demise, Rita’s murder, and Vogel’s assassination, that a man like Dexter cannot get close to anyone without putting their lives at risk. As the anti-hero we have come to accept him as, he must live a life of solitude in order to be true to himself without harming anyone else. Spiderman must leave Mary Jane, for he loves her so much and cannot stand the thought of her getting hurt because “with great power comes great responsibility,” as is the case with every hero and anti-hero. It is only natural that the one he loves most – Deb – was to be taken out eventually by an antagonist. He’s just lucky that Debra was not taken from him sooner.

Dexter’s new profession – that of a lumberjack – is not his way of evading his responsibilities as a father to Harrison; rather, he his fulfilling his duty to him by ensuring his safety. So long as Dexter is in Harrison’s life, the boy is at risk. Although it is not clear whether Dexter is continuing the double life, lumberjack by day and serial killer by night, Lumberjackland (that’s what we’ll call it, since I have no idea what country he is in) serves as his mountain-filled Purgatory. For the rest of his life, Dexter will live in isolation with all the time in the world to ponder the consequences of his actions. His small living quarters do not indicate sources of distraction. All there remains are Dexter and his thoughts, and his plethora of plaid shirts to remind him of his sister every single day. Every time he looks at the mountains, he will remember his last conversation with his sister about hiking. Although he will be putting his precision and dissection skills to work on all that lumber, there is little blood in his future (note the beard). The sense of regret is profound in the last shot we see of bearded Dexter.

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[Image Credit: Google Images]

I began watching Dexter in May 2013 and watched all seven seasons before the live airing of season eight. Early on, in season three or four, I strongly felt that justice needed to be served. I wanted Dexter prosecuted or at least in jail. Perhaps this was a strong response to the fact that the show has been playing with my moral compass. But as Dexter’s needs evolved, so did my desire for justice. I needed Dexter to feel just as much as he wanted to feel.

Toward the end of season six, I felt that the best ending would be for Dexter to roam free, “taking out the trash” as he always did. In a way, it was wish fulfillment for all the scum in our world to be taken care of. I could sleep well at night.

But once I saw Debra’s demise at the beginning of this season, I found myself thinking “she would be better off dead.” The moment I thought this, that was when I knew Debra was not going to make it out of the series alive. As Sara Colleton, head of the writing team for Dexter asserts: “Deb, who was his touchstone and soulmate, died — and this was the only fitting punishment.

 

Balancing Act

Harry always told Dexter that he could not be both a serial killer and a father. As if his warnings about leading the double life were not enough, Vogel advised him on committing to one life as well. After several years of this balancing act, the knives he has been juggling are crashing down around him, killing the ones he loves before his very eyes. Dexter is angry with himself for letting things get out of hand, but he is just as mad at Saxon. I don’t know if any of you have ever seen RedEye with Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy, but Dexter’s “self-defense” against Saxon is taken straight from it (sorry for spoiling it for those of you have not seen it – you’ll still be squirming every moment of the movie until it happens though!). Regardless of how tense this episode was, the footage of Dexter’s kill and Joey and Batista’s reactions were possibly the funniest thing that happened all season. It’s proof that everyone who has ever questioned Dexter was right to do so, but also proof that everyone’s love for Dexter, and the fact that they “know” him would always outweigh any suspicion and/or circumstantial evidence. The writers have been trying to get across since season one that Dexter is human just like everyone else. The fact that Joey levels with Dexter (“I wish I could’ve done it myself”) is a testament to that fact. Dexter reminds us of our own Dark Passengers.

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[GIF Credit: pilgrimzainah]

This is the second time Dexter has neglected to “take care” of what he began with a dangerous person: his negligence with Trinity gave Arthur Mitchell the room to kill his wife and warp his child, and the revelation that he no longer “needs” to kill anyone allows Saxon the time and place to shoot Deb.

 

Dexter’s Final Kill

Although it was a bit extreme to show up to the hospital in his boat and kill suit, unplug Deb’s life support, and then wheel her out without anyone questioning what he was doing, it was even more extreme that he took her dead body onto his boat and drove her out into the middle of the ocean to give her a proper Titanic-esque send-off. But you know what? Debra is a victim of Dexter’s. Although she fit his code (she did kill LaGuerta), he did not ritualize her death. Dexter’s actions have victimized her ever since she learned about his Dark Passenger. Don’t forget about her PTSD at the beginning of this season. The real Debra died the moment she discovered the truth. The woman he tossed into the ocean was but a shell of the sister he once had. The send-off was symbolic more than anything. Although Dexter is selfish for providing his own funeral for his sister, we as an audience are given closure in seeing her body sink to the bottom of the ocean. We got to say goodbye (although it was against our will).

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[Image Credit: fuckyeahdex]

As we see in the flashback, Deb says that Dexter has “always taken care of [her]” and that he has “always been a great big brother.” Although Dexter feels she was wrong about this, he “takes care of her” in the sense that he refuses to let her live a vegetable for the rest of her life. It is in the few moments before he pulls the plug that he realizes that he has hung onto his sister for dear life ever since they were young. The flashback shows him doubting his ability to  be a father and looking to her for advice.

This ending is more like the Romeo and Juliet-esque type scenario I predicted early on in the season. Debra put her life on the line for Dexter when she went after Saxon; believing Debra was “dead” (and as a vegetable, she basically was), Dexter sought revenge, and then “kills himself” by faking his death and disappearing into the mountains.

Final Thoughts

Honestly, Hannah and Harrison have a happy ending. Although they are without their beloved boyfriend and father, they are safe and free to live their lives without Dexter’s enemies out to get them. It is because of Hannah that Dexter can finally protect the ones he loves, although it is too late for Deb. Without Deb relying on him, there is no reason for Dexter to stick around. Although he should have quit his trade while he was ahead after Rita’s death, he still had Harrison depending on him (and was under the impression that Deb relied on him, when in fact it was him relying on her).

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[Image Credit: h-e-l-l-o-dextermorgan]

A quick loophole or two: How important is Dexter that his death appears in the news? And how did he fake his death? It looked like he was driving right into the storm. (I’m sure he drove back to shore, and then set his boat off to be destroyed in the hurricane.) Will Harrison, an orphan born in blood, become a psychopath? A sociopath?

After much debate on Dexter’s origins, I feel that Dexter is a sociopath, not a psychopath. Psychopaths cannot feel – they are born without empathy. Dexter clearly feels at the end of this series. Although we saw it as more of an evolution, it was our perceptions that changed. In reality, we always feel like we are outsiders. I think Dexter is more of an introvert than he is an unfeeling psychopath. There is no evidence to point to the fact that his DNA, indeed, is of a psychopath, but being born in blood secures his position as a sociopath, just as Hannah is.

And now for the conclusion.

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[GIF Credit: calins]

Here’s the thing: the writers needed to go out with a bang. Giving Dexter a happy ending would not secure this show’s place in television series. Although you may hate the show after this, can you honestly say that a happy ending for Debra, Joey, Dexter, Hannah, and Harrison would have ben the way you wanted this show to end? Would you feel the same way about it? Who would actually remember a happy ending? Not I. I know Gilmore Girls ended happily, but I cannot tell you exactly what happened. The series finale didn’t leave any impression, and it actually tarnished the show for me. If one thing is for certain, it is that I will never forget Dexter’s final moments with her in the hospital, how he struggles to turn off life-support, how he cries, and finally tells her that he loves her; it is that I will never forget the ghostly gray-and-white body of Debra Morgan being tossed into the green-gray of the ocean and sinking down like a ghost into the abyss. And neither will you.

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[GIF Credit: Google Images]

[GIF Credit: winchestrbrothrs]

Overview

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.”

Dexterity: 10

Hurricane Laura; the symbolism of Dexter sending off Debra into the ocean; Dexter’s new profession.

Entertainment: 9

Some scenes (specifically those of Joey crying, despite how heart-wrenching they were) left me feeling anxious about what lay ahead. Sometimes I found myself watching the clock.

Xtremity: 10

Dexter sends her body off into the ocean, for Christ’s sake. Harrison and Hannah are in Argentina on their own. Dexter fakes his own death.

DEX-Factor:   9.7

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812: Remember the Monsters

After 3 months of space, I have finally rewatched the series finale of Dexter.

It is time for a treatment.

You will finally hear my take on the season 8 / series finale of Dexter, and what I thought of the much-debated ending.

You can expect that for Thursday, January 2, 2014!

Happy new year, all!

Predictions for 812: “Remember the Monsters?”

Predictions

[Note: These are lifted directly from this week’s treatment for 811: “Monkey in a Box,” which can be accessed here.]

Dexter’s ending monologue conveys his optimism for his future with Hannah and his ability to escape the country unscathed, despite all of the opposition he will face (Elway, Hurricane Laura, Deb being in the hospital, Saxon): “I used to live by night in the shadow of my Dark Passenger. I lived in shadows for so long until the dark became my world. The people in my life flipped on a light. At first I was blinded it was so bright. But over the years my eyes adjusted. I could see and now what is in focus is my future. Bright. Brighter than it’s ever been.” Although Dexter has high hopes, I do not. The storm is coming, as Elway keeps reminding us, and I don’t think anyone is going to get out alive (except for Harrison. You can’t kill the kid!).

I would absolutely love it if we discover that Matthews has been in on Dexter’s secret this entire time. I truly believe that he has been involved in enough sketchy practices that this would not be such a far-fetched concept. Matthews does seem to keep his eye out for Dexter and Debra, as if stepping in where Harry left off. Do you recall when Matthews refused to see LaGuerta’s claims through of Dexter’s suspicious activity? And also his own run-in with leaving the scene of a crime? And how protective he was over the Hamilton family? What about his knowledge of Vogel’s son’s death? I would really like to see that this is true – not only to be right about something for once in my life, but because it seems right. It will probably enrage many of you, though, if this is true.

I believe Debra Morgan will die. I do not want to see her have to endure a world without Dexter, especially if he is removed from her life by the electric chair or put in jail. When Dexter called up Debra so that she could be the “hero of Miami Metro” for finding Oliver Saxon, that was a huge red flag for me. LaGuerta was viewed as a hero for going against Estrada in a supposed “battle” in that shipping container. I have a feeling that Debra is going to die a hero, too.

Dexter says that he will leave the knives in the hospital for evidence when they were supposed to find Saxon; however, the situation did not go down as originally planned. I have the worst feeling that somebody is going to find these knives and draw them back to Dexter Morgan.

I think Miami Metro will be suddenly clued into Dexter and Debra’s suspicious activity. I have a feeling that Masuka’s daughter, Niki, will have something to do with that. Lindsay thought so as well.

Clayton was shaping up to be a huge threat to the Morgans, but we know for sure that Elway is going to take on the torch and continue on in his search for Hannah McKay all because he is in pursuit of money.

Oliver is still on the loose. We cannot forget that he is still a loose end and that he will be going after Debra, Hannah, and Harrison with the strongest vengeance possible. I don’t think Quinn will leave Deb’s side much, but I do think she will be the first one that Oliver goes after – if the beginning of the series is anything to judge by, I have a feeling that she will be the number-one target. I don’t know if Oliver will kill Harrison, but he may take out Hannah, too. All I know is – this last episode is going to be one huge bloodbath.

We know that Dexter ends up in the hospital somehow for long enough to ram Elway into the wall and be all macho about protecting Debra and Hannah. I have a feeling that the plane will never even leave the ground because of Hurricane Laura (we know that it develops into a Hurricane because of the previews). Laura Moser – the genetics of Dexter Morgan – chained Dexter to his Dark Passenger and his past. Hurricane Laura will continue to chain him to his past and to Miami. I just checked out the etymology of the name “Laura” – it is related to laurels, or the “victor’s garlands.” Laura is bound to trump Dexter and his efforts. Always has and always will.

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[Photo Credit: dexter.wikia.com]

When all is said and done, I have a feeling that our little Harrison Morgan will be left as an orphan – perhaps he will be sent to live with Paul Bennett’s parents with Astor and Cody. If Deb is going to die, and if Dexter is going to either be locked up or imprisoned, Hannah is certainly going with him. I think Harrison will be left in the mess of blood, all by himself, to fend for himself, just as this entire journey started out for Dexter.

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811: “Monkey in a Box”

Original Air Date: September 15, 2013

 

Time is ticking. There is only a single episode left. More things are coming full-circle, and Dexter must make decisions, and start making them quickly. Theories and literature have been weaved into this post in attempts to explain Dexter’s new pattern of behavior as well as to address the straddling of two lives: the one of the serial killer, and the one of the empathetic, “typical” brother/boyfriend/father. This treatment of season 8, episode 11: “Monkey in a Box,” was greatly aided and shaped by the wonderful ideas of Billy [CopaForever], Maria B. [redvsgreenmotiftheory], and Lindsay B.

Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina: The Evolution of Dexter Morgan

It finally sinks in that Dexter is moving; “it’s no longer pretend”: the Slice of Life is for sale, his apartment is on the market, his SUV is going to Astor (what a great step-dad!), and Harrison’s stuffed monkey is in a box. Harrison is clearly upset and Jamie is even more distraught. Aimee Garcia had said in her session on the Dexter Wrap-Up podcast for episode 5: “This Little Piggy,” Jamie is the one who loves both Dexter and Harrison unconditionally, and it certainly shows in her interaction with the young boy. It’s certainly a throwback to season 3 to see Sylvia Prado, Miguel Prado’s wife, back in the picture; when asking why he’s moving so suddenly, Dexter can only answer “Too many memories.” This reminds us that Dexter has too many skeletons in the closet … rather, slides in the (figurative) air conditioning unit, that could come back to bite him in the ass if he is not careful (did you see Dexter gaze sentimentally at the air conditioning unit where he kept his slide box?). Moving to Argentina will allow him a fresh start.

Angel’s send-off was surprisingly emotional – not just for us, but for Dexter as well. There was a marked quiver in his voice when he said that he’d miss everyone at Miami Metro. This is certainly unlike the pre-season 7 Dexter. As I’ve said before, Dexter has certainly changed, but it is becoming increasingly more apparent in this final season. His most recent kills have been nothing like what we have grown accustomed to: no plastic sheeting, trash bags, apron, or spatter helmet. His needs are changing, and his Dark Passenger is receding as his need for survival and preservation is trumping all else. I am reminded of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: at the most basic level are physiological needs (breathing, food, water, sleep). Those are met – those come before Dexter’s Dark Passenger, as we see in the intro. Dexter eats well. These needs are at the bottom of the pyramid, making them the most basic, but most important. If these needs are not met, all other concerns go out the window. At the next level is safety, encompassing the security of body, employment, resources, morality, family, health, and property. At this stage in the game, Dexter’s safety (of his family – meaning Hannah) has finally taken priority over his Dark Passenger, meaning the Dark Passenger is higher up in the pyramid than his physiological needs and need for safety. This is not to say that his concerns of safety are newly emerged. His Code is basically the second level of Maslow’s Hierarchy. The difference is the fact that family is now factored into the equation. Harry asks Dexter: “What happens when you get to Argentina?”, to which he responds: “I don’t know.” If they  do make it out of the country, I have a sneaking suspicion that once Dexter’s intense, passionate love for Hannah starts to die down, as does love with age and the passing of time, that the Dark Passenger will rise again, as will his need to kill and perpetuate the lifestyle in which he adapted as a teenager. For now, Harry leaves because he is no longer needed, and this send-off is even sadder than the one from Miami Metro, in my opinion. It marks the end of an era – the end of Dexter’s immediate connection to his roots (not to mention he’s leaving Deb behind, too).

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[GIF Credit: lloydgrints

With this in mind, it makes sense that Dexter has resorted to using any and all available resources to capture and get rid of Oliver Saxon because “there’s no time to [waste].” Dexter doesn’t even care of Saxon dies by his hand or someone else’s. It is imperative to keep in mind that Dexter is not satiating is Dark Passenger; rather, he is dealing with the issue. When Debra questions whether or not he wants Saxon for himself, Dexter says that he “just want[s] him taken care of,” which is “new coming from [Dexter].” The fact that the ritual no longer makes him happy, that it is more of a bother and a time-waster than a ceremonious experience speaks to the fact that his needs have changed. Although I am not entirely sold on the idea that Dexter’s Dark Passenger could have disintegrated entirely, I do believe that he has evolved over the course of eight seasons, and forty-something years of life. “That doesn’t sound like the old Dexter,” Harry says; “Maybe I’m not the old Dexter.” It’s built into the language – it’s a given that Dexter has transformed into something different than what he once was – the “old” Dexter.

Dexter seems to be cornered: even though Miami is his home territory, Oliver is at the advantage because he has nothing to lose. Each time he shows up, it’s salt to Dexter’s wound. When in the confession room at Miami Metro, Oliver begins saying how he loves Miami and how his business, friend, and family are all close by, which draws a visible reaction from Dexter. When he shows up to his apartment, mentioning how “moving is one of the big causes of stress … almost as much as divorce and death,” you can see how Oliver takes pleasure in creating and provoking his pain. We know that he’s cruising for a bruising – both Dexter and Oliver. Oliver is the biggest opponent since the Trinity killer, Arthur Mitchell. However, Oliver does bring up a valid point: “You already had one wife murdered – that must be an interesting story. But it’s gonna put you in a very awkward position if everyone else starts disappearing from your life.” He is right, which forces Dexter to act. I have a sneaking suspicion that Dexter will take the fall for his family if all hell breaks loose and he has the opportunity to do so. I think he would rather die for everyone than see his son be orphaned, or Hannah or Deb harmed. (I’ve been pushing the 301/Unholy Trinity idea so hard that I’ve actually fully bought into it – here’s Dexter, the warped Jesus, dying for his own sins, as well as the ones everyone else was forced into.)

 

The Challenges of Straddling Two Worlds

Dexter’s refusal to pick one world over another (the life of the serial killer and the life of the husband/boyfriend, son, brother) has proven, time after time, to be lethal. First it was Rita, left bloodless in a tub of blood; next was Vogel, in a pool of blood of her own; we see Deb lying in a pool of blood after Saxon shoots her, following Clayton’s inadvertent assist in his escape. It seems as though Dexter is only getting the hint now that he is jeopardizing everyone he loves so long as he lives in Miami, living the way he does. It’s sure as hell a good thing that he’s moving to Miami. I would hate to see Debra die because of his indiscretion. Dexter says in his monologue: “The last time I saw my mother in a pool of blood, I was too young to do anything about it. But I am no longer a child.” We have been constantly reminded since Rita’s murder in the season 4 finale that his past is pervasive; he will never be able to fully escape his genetics, nor his birth in blood. Laura Moser, Rita Bennett, and Evelyn Vogel all shared similar fates – each cut up in various ways and their blood drained from their systems. If he is to keep the vitality in those he loves, he must remove himself from their lives, which is proving difficult to do, given all that we’ve seen this season so far.

The opening scene of this episode pictures Dexter washing Vogel’s blood from his hands, ruminating over the fact that she warned him about straddling two worlds and the fact that “she paid the price” for his missteps. Dexter seems to have wanted to make this transition only because of Hannah’s situation. I do not think that Dexter would have made such a quick transformation – the jump from the straddled life to the life in Argentina – had she not been there. Of course, other lives would still be in jeopardy, but it is the fact that Hannah could possibly be taken in again that pushes him to act. In my opinion, this is absolutely bizarre. Debra’s downward spiral should have kicked him into gear – I wanted Dexter to pick up and leave Miami with Debra and Harrison immediately following the season 7 finale, but of course there was no such luck. Dexter finally admits to us and himself that what he is isn’t “who [he] want[s] to be.”

 

Debra

Deb seems to finally be coming to terms with the fact that her brother is leaving, and that it is the best thing for him and Harrison, even if it means Hannah raising her nephew and cohabiting with her brother. She seems to hand off her brother and nephew to Hannah the same way in which Dexter “agrees” to allow Quinn to date his sister.

Debra has been struggling with her integrity and her own strength since the moment she walked in on her brother in the church, about to kill Travis Marshall. This struggle revealed itself with Deb’s quick down-spiral and attempt at killing both herself and Dexter; although it seemed for a while as though she had come to accept both herself and Dexter, we see in the preview for 812 that she is still doubting whether she is a good person as she’s being rushed to the hospital in the ambulance. Despite the fact that during Dex and Deb’s final steak-and-beer night they had a heart-to-heart of the same nature, discussing her strength and resilience, which was meant to reassure her, Deb continues to doubt herself, which begs the question: Will she confess again to Quinn about all the things she’s done, about all the things Dexter has done? I’m not sure she will – although I’m not sure she won’t either.

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[GIF Credit: parangarico]

Billy pointed out that we see Debra in a white loose-fitting blouse and red over-shirt – he saw this as symbolic of the guilt, self-doubt, and secrecy she’s held in for so long finally coming out and being embraced, and the white undershirt as the good and purity radiating within her, despite all she has been through. I do agree with his interpretation, although I just saw it as a mimicking strategy of both her brother (the button-up in red) as well as Hannah McKay (the flowy whiteness that she has been trying to mock to win over her brother’s affections). The white even reminds me of the cream-and-whites that Vogel donned this entire season. With this said, Debra is not afraid to get her hands dirty anymore. She reassures Dexter that if she gets Saxon, she won’t be “handing him over to [Dexter].” This kill is personal, to both Dexter and Debra, but Dexter’s sudden epiphany about being freed from his Dark Passenger gets in the way of the two of them accomplishing that goal. The vitality has returned to Debra Morgan finally, as is evidenced by this response, because she is back in Miami Metro where she belongs – it’s her “home.”

Speaking of vitality – there is another kind of healthy glow in Debra Morgan’s cheeks, and his name is Joey Quinn. I just want to bring up the ring-in-the-top-drawer moment only for this reason: Quinn knows Debra  so well – last week, I pointed out how he made the keen observation about Deb’s face (and how it turns red) when she gets mad – this week, Quinn assumes that she’s looking for his stash of Thin Mints (because he’s also assuming that she’ll be stressed about having to catch up on so much when getting back to work at Miami Metro). This is a small detail that I haven’t forgotten over the seasons of Dexter. I cannot recall which season it was, but it was one of the very few times when Deb and LaGuerta actually were getting along. They were in the break area of Miami Metro and LaGuerta was asking her about how she copes with certain things, and she commented on how she eats a lot of frozen Thin Mints when she’s stressed. If the ring is any indication of Joey’s pining for Debra, the Thin Mints are the icing on the cake – it seems as though he stocked up on them just for Deb, or he’s had them for the few months that she wasn’t in the office. Although this does not satisfy those who were unhappy with the hasty revelation that Debra still had feelings for Dexter, it does reinforce the fact that Quinn has been, and would have continued, waiting for Deb to come back into his life.

 

Motifs

My friend, the lovely Maria B., brought to my attention that the red v. green theme appears in several works of literature – lucky for me, I found this red v. green when Dexter first scopes out the abandoned hospital that Oliver Saxon has been using. The colors in this entire sequence, from Dexter walking outside of to entering the building, was just fantastic color-wise. We see the abandoned building from an angle – the longest street-side of the building highlighted in green, and the other side highlighted in red. Maria listed these fabulous examples to me to validate this observation: Thor (red cape) v. Loki (green costume); Spiderman v. Green Lantern; Superman (red cape) v. Lex Luther (green armor); Gryffindor v. Slytherin; “Expelliarmus” (red light emitted) v. “Avada Kedavra”(green light emitted) (these are the go-to spells of Harry and Voldemort, conveniently); Sir Gawain (red attire) v. the Green Knight; Star Wars has a slight twist: Jedis with green and blue light sabers v. Sith with red light sabers.

The obvious opposition in this scene is Oliver Saxon v. Dexter. Because Dexter is wearing a green shirt, I want to categorize him with the “greens,” which would make him evil; however, he is the blood guy, which suggests that he straddles the good v. evil line – he is certainly a good character in many respects, but also “bad” in the sense that he is a serial killer (which is generally frowned upon in society outside of the fictional world). This relates back to the straddling-two-worlds point. Dexter wants to be good – but he still straddles; his morals and the Code keep him on the line, and he has walked the line for several years now.

To circle back to the opposition of Oliver v. Dexter – we are hit in the face with it once again, both in lighting and in wardrobe choices. When Oliver pays Dexter a visit, under the cover of a prospective buyer for his apartment, Dexter is clothed in black, located in the shadow of his apartment, and Oliver is clothed in white, the light from the window like a halo over his head. This is interesting considering the fact that Oliver was clothed in black and in the shadows in Vogel’s home in 810. Perhaps this is to remind us that Vogel is his biological mother, or at least of the familial connection. Perhaps this angelic appearance has something to do with the offer that he is laying out on the table for Dexter – “Walk away. We go our separate ways. Go on with your life or come after me. Choose poorly, like Mom, and you will lose. You have a lot more to lose than I do.” Saxon’s offer seems like a God-send, but Dexter takes this as a “veiled threat,” as is believable, judging by how he has become the guard dog for the Morgans and those whom he loves. Of course Oliver does move out of the light to level with Dexter in the shadow of his apartment. (I’m surprised that Saxon offered to buy Dexter’s apartment rather than his boat. I think the Slice of Life is more suited for Oliver than the guy worried about the size of the boat’s beer cooler.)

When Dexter enters into what he calls Oliver’s “Sanitarium,” we are overwhelmed by the blue of the Sanitarium, which is strange, considering I cannot figure out where the lighting is coming from. It looks like a scene right out of a horror film. The blue does echo the blue of Dexter’s apartment when he and Debra double-team Saxon and take him down (cue: Eiffel 65’s “I’m Blue”). I’m not all too sure what the blue represents other than the fact that it is a third-party force (like the Star Wars analogy). It seems to be the turf on which the green and red duel – Dexter trespasses on Saxon’s turf, as does Saxon when he breaks into Dexter’s apartment to come after him (recall that he broke into Dexter’s apartment to dump Zach Hamilton’s (yes, I am finally aware that I’ve been spelling his name wrong this entire time – thank you, close up of the file on Saxon’s laptop) body. Dexter invades the Sanitarium once again when he straps Oliver into his own chair. The moment when he should have killed Saxon (but couldn’t because there is still the season finale left).

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 [Gif Credit: tongihts-thenight]

 

Reflections and Bookends

There is a strange similarity between the styling of hair and scruff on both Dexter and Oliver Saxon – although there are not that many ways in which men can style their hair, this look struck me when Oliver and Dexter stood in Dex’s apartment together. The back-and-forth provided a comparison, as if the two were brothers – and in a way, they are. They are the same “Mother.” Speaking of brothers – we began Dexter with brothers and sibling rivalry – Brian “Biney” Moser (alias Rudy Cooper) tried to make Dexter choose him, a blood sibling, over Debra, his adopted sibling. Their mother, Laura Moser, and her death shaped their relationship with the world as well as each other. It is because of what they witnessed that the two have issues coping with and/or controlling blood – both their own and others’. Their genetics also made them into the psychopaths they are/were. The startling truth about their mother brought them together, but is also what split them apart, leading to Brian’s death. Here we are now, Oliver providing his “brother” with an ultimatum, and a face-off. Will he choose his spiritual brother and “walk away” or will he choose his biological, chosen family and kill Oliver? Evelyn, the shared mother in this instance, drove them together. Now that Evelyn is out of the picture, they are at odds, just as Brian and Dexter were.

Both brother pairings deal with issues of parentage and upbringing: Brian and Oliver both embraced the standard view of psychopaths – they kill because they want to, without standards and without stooping to anyone’s rules. Whereas Brian tried to get Dexter to cross over into the lifestyle of the typical psychopath, tempting him to kill his own sister, Oliver begged Evelyn to teach him how to function in society and still be what he is, just like Dexter. Although this seems to be a great complimentary bookend – we are informed by the man who’s buying Dexter’s boat that Tropical Storm Laura is heading into Miami. This indubitably is meant to remind us of Laura Moser, Dexter’s birth mother. She is the storm that created what he is, and could very well be the storm that ends all that he is. Laura Moser: the be-all and end-all of Dexter Morgan. Billy suggested that the hurricane could be simply a baptism into a life without the Dark Passenger in it, or at least a reminder of Dexter’s origins. He also reminded me that we do see a clip of the rain soaking into Dexter’s skin and clothes that appears like blood – it’s another blood bath. A rebirth? A reminder of his origins? We shall see! (The monologue will be telling.)

Despite the differences, each instance stresses the importance of family, lineage, and bloodline. Brian wants Dexter to choose him over Debra; Oliver wants Evelyn to choose him over Dexter. Of course spiritual and adopted relationships win over simply because blood is not everything, just as Dexter is coming to learn as he evolves into the man he is today – somewhere between psychopath and typical human being.

Speaking of blood – It seems as though the women of Dexter are destined to continue winding up in pools of blood, which shape and break Dexter Morgan: Laura Moser, Rita Bennett, Vogel, and now Debra. Thankfully Debra is not dead. Yet. She’s back on the job one day and she’s already been shot, though. She’s got a matching bullet wound in her other side now. What a nice bookend for Debra Morgan.

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[GIF credit: gifshows

Returning to the idea of family: Matthews approaches both Dexter and Debra as a father would: “Harry would’ve been proud of the two of you.” He is a father figure to them, undoubtedly. If we consider what was posed in last week’s treatment for just a moment, the idea of Matthews and Vogel being romantically involved and/or married at one point, although I ruled these things to be impossible or unlikely, it is likely that Matthews and Vogel are meant to represent the spiritual father and mother of the Morgan siblings. This would connect them without having them actually be in relationships with each other. My suspicions seem to be confirmed with how Matthews acted after Vogel’s memorial service and then later at Papa’s. If he had been romantically involved, he would be more torn up and less business-y and up-right about the whole thing. That is, of course, if he’s not a psychopath himself (what a plot twist that would be!). I have a feeling that Vogel’s memorial service is the bookend for this season, complimenting LaGuerta’s memorial service, although I do have a feeling that we will be witnessing the funeral and/or memorial of Debra Morgan this Sunday (Jennifer Carpenter has expressed that the only way that she could be fully content with the ending of the series is if her character dies – she cares about Debra too much and would wonder “what if” if she did live. In recent interviews, she has expressed how content she is with the series’ end, which leads me to this conclusion).

We are constantly reminded of the dualities in Dexter’s life, as well as the gray spaces in between, whether we are discussing good v. evil, man v. monster, psychopath v. typical empathetic human being, serial killer v. common man. The two doors in Dexter’s office pull him in opposite directions depending upon where the people are. This never captured my attention until this episode when Masuka popped into one door, and then Niki into the other just moments later. This draws attention to the double life and how Dexter is straddling the one in which he is currently living.

We see Deb moving back into the desk she inhabited for season 1-5 (or was it 1-6? I’m losing track).

In either 802 or 803, our introductory monologue expresses how much Dexter loves Miami, especially since it “produces more dead bodies than sunburns.” Now we have Oliver gushing over the same things: “I love the Cuban food, nice weather, murder rate at about 20%.” Other than the fact that this is a bookend, Dexter says that he once felt the same way about Miami. Oliver points out that it sounds like “somebody’s changed,” to which Dexter responds: “It has” (emphasis added). I rewound and listened to this sound bit several times, because I thought I was mistaken. It seems as though Dexter believes his Dark Passenger, the “it,” has changed rather than he has, which is an interesting view coming from Oliver, the supposed psychopath, and Dexter, the supposed “man.” I would think they would hold opposite views, given their current situations and how the audience views both of their characters. Dexter realizes that he does not need to kill Oliver, confirming that his needs have changed, but he does say that he will see to it that Saxon dies by the electric chair. When talking about the fate of Dexter with my friend Lindsay B., she said that she thinks we will see Dexter in the electric chair in the final scene of the series. I think it would be a really riveting ending, but I am not sure if that is what the writers will be going for.

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[GIF Credit: posthawk]

The introduction sequence to Dexter has been the same since day 1 (with the exception of the season 4’s premiere, which I love to death). It is interesting that we end with Dexter leaving the apartment the same way in which the opening credits end, but with little Harrison trailing behind him. Could this be indicative of Dexter’s legacy, both in the world of entertainment as well as in Miami and through his genetics? I think both are accurate.

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[Gif credits: joeydeangelis]

 

Dexter: A Comedy

  • Debra: “You should go on one of those cooking shows … you know the competition ones. You’d win.”
  • Hannah: “Oh, I’d make sure that I did.”

 

  • Masuka: “I could go for some hookers and some blow right now, but since this isn’t the ‘90s, caffeine it is.”

 

  • Debra: “Well she needs to get her fuckin’ eyes checked because I haven’t been blonde since … a very bad freshman year.”

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[GIF Credit: parangarico]

 

  • Dexter: “You went out of your way to kill your mother in front of me and you just expect me to forget?”
  • Oliver: “It may’ve been a little over the top.”

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(Here is also the black and white/shadow and light comparison I made earlier.)

[GIF Credits: posthawk]

 

  • Dexter: “This is just for right now. It’s not forever.”
  • Debra: “I know that, fuckface.”

 

Dexterity!

  • Dexter: “If [Oliver] wants to take a last stab at me, he has to do it tonight.”

 

Predictions

Dexter’s ending monologue conveys his optimism for his future with Hannah and his ability to escape the country unscathed, despite all of the opposition he will face (Elway, Hurricane Laura, Deb being in the hospital, Saxon): “I used to live by night in the shadow of my Dark Passenger. I lived in shadows for so long until the dark became my world. The people in my life flipped on a light. At first I was blinded it was so bright. But over the years my eyes adjusted. I could see and now what is in focus is my future. Bright. Brighter than it’s ever been.” Although Dexter has high hopes, I do not. The storm is coming, as Elway keeps reminding us, and I don’t think anyone is going to get out alive (except for Harrison. You can’t kill the kid!).

I would absolutely love it if we discover that Matthews has been in on Dexter’s secret this entire time. I truly believe that he has been involved in enough sketchy practices that this would not be such a far-fetched concept. Matthews does seem to keep his eye out for Dexter and Debra, as if stepping in where Harry left off. Do you recall when Matthews refused to see LaGuerta’s claims through of Dexter’s suspicious activity? And also his own run-in with leaving the scene of a crime? And how protective he was over the Hamilton family? What about his knowledge of Vogel’s son’s death? I would really like to see that this is true – not only to be right about something for once in my life, but because it seems right. It will probably enrage many of you, though, if this is true.

I believe Debra Morgan will die. I do not want to see her have to endure a world without Dexter, especially if he is removed from her life by the electric chair or put in jail. When Dexter called up Debra so that she could be the “hero of Miami Metro” for finding Oliver Saxon, that was a huge red flag for me. LaGuerta was viewed as a hero for going against Estrada in a supposed “battle” in that shipping container. I have a feeling that Debra is going to die a hero, too.

Dexter says that he will leave the knives in the hospital for evidence when they were supposed to find Saxon; however, the situation did not go down as originally planned. I have the worst feeling that somebody is going to find these knives and draw them back to Dexter Morgan.

I think Miami Metro will be suddenly clued into Dexter and Debra’s suspicious activity. I have a feeling that Masuka’s daughter, Niki, will have something to do with that. Lindsay thought so as well.

Clayton was shaping up to be a huge threat to the Morgans, but we know for sure that Elway is going to take on the torch and continue on in his search for Hannah McKay all because he is in pursuit of money.

Oliver is still on the loose. We cannot forget that he is still a loose end and that he will be going after Debra, Hannah, and Harrison with the strongest vengeance possible. I don’t think Quinn will leave Deb’s side much, but I do think she will be the first one that Oliver goes after – if the beginning of the series is anything to judge by, I have a feeling that she will be the number-one target. I don’t know if Oliver will kill Harrison, but he may take out Hannah, too. All I know is – this last episode is going to be one huge bloodbath.

We know that Dexter ends up in the hospital somehow for long enough to ram Elway into the wall and be all macho about protecting Debra and Hannah. I have a feeling that the plane will never even leave the ground because of Hurricane Laura (we know that it develops into a Hurricane because of the previews). Laura Moser – the genetics of Dexter Morgan – chained Dexter to his Dark Passenger and his past. Hurricane Laura will continue to chain him to his past and to Miami. I just checked out the etymology of the name “Laura” – it is related to laurels, or the “victor’s garlands.” Laura is bound to trump Dexter and his efforts. Always has and always will.

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[Photo Credit: dexter.wikia.com]

When all is said and done, I have a feeling that our little Harrison Morgan will be left as an orphan – perhaps he will be sent to live with Paul Bennett’s parents with Astor and Cody. If Deb is going to die, and if Dexter is going to either be locked up or imprisoned, Hannah is certainly going with him. I think Harrison will be left in the mess of blood, all by himself, to fend for himself, just as this entire journey started out for Dexter.

 

Final Thoughts

I really hope the final episode does not come down to a giant court hearing or story within a story, as is the frame of The Reader or perhaps the entire premise of The Canterbury Tales. When first considering what I would like to happen to Dexter, I thought I wanted Dexter to go to jail or die for what he had done: it’s wrong, right? Upon a serious reflection, I do not want Dexter to die, even though I think that he has done so much that it has to catch up with him somewhere, in some shape or form. If I had to take an educated guess as to what Dexter Morgan’s fate will be, I would have to say that I think that Miami Metro is going to find out – whether it be Quinn or Batista. I think it is going to be by someone who will hit close to home with all of us. There was a scene in the 810-811-812 combo preview that leads me to believe that either Quinn or Angel will find Dexter stalking after someone in the hospital. I do not think that Dexter is going to get out of this neatly.

As for Hannah, I’m not sure. I’m mainly worried about the Morgans: Dexter, Debra, Harrison. Hannah is just a casualty at this point in time. It’s her fault that any of these disasters are happening. If she dies, I have a feeling that Dexter might become a full-on Brian or Oliver. If Harrison dies, I think the same thing. If Debra dies and Dexter lives to see that day, I think he will lose the Dark Passenger all together and become super human.

 

Overview

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.”

Dexterity: 8

Simply because Dexter said Oliver was going to take a “stab” at him, which so cleanly mirrors our tagline.

Entertainment: 8

Deb got shot – Clayton’s dead – and Oliver Saxon is roaming free!

Xtremity: 8

Because this entire season has been one giant whirlwind of “WTFs” and “what the hell just happened?” moments.

DEX-Factor:   8

 

810: “Goodbye Miami”

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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[GIF Credit: late-dawnsandearly-sunsets]

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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[GIF Credit: turntechdestiel]

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

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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[GIF Credit: late-dawnsandearly-sunsets]

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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[GIF Credit: late-dawnsandearly-sunsets ]

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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[GIF Credit: fant4sy-land] 


Other

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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[GIF Credit: giinaarr]

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.

 

Wardrobe

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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[GIF Credit: psychopoison]

 

  • 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?”

 

Predictions

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.

 

Bookends {Season}

We began season 8 with Debra a tornado; we are now ending season 8 with a Hurricane. Will Deb finally go down?

 

 

Bookends {Series}

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.

 

Overview

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.”

Dexterity: 6

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.

Entertainment: 9

Because VOGEL DIED. WHY, MOMMY, WHY?

Xtremity: 9

Because … Vogel died.

DEX-Factor:   8

 

Preliminary Response for 810: “Goodbye Miami”

Tonight’s episode shocked the hell out of me. I did not see Vogel’s death coming, nor did I foresee Hannah McKay being so stupid as to go to the emergency room or not call Deb to help her out.

What I do think was incredibly interesting was the fact that Matthews called Dr. Vogel into his office to try and figure out Zack Hamilton’s whereabouts. Matthews seems to take care of his own business, as well as the business of others who are good friends of Miami Metro. I am still hoping that it will be revealed that Matthews knew about Dexter’s condition the entire time. That would make for a really interesting twist on things.

Deb’s sudden confession of her love for Quinn was very soap opera-y and I’m not sure if that was really Debra Morgan in that scene. Although it does make sense that her letting go of Dexter could open her back up to Joey. They were great together, and I am so happy to see the two of them back together. Because we all know what that means.

I have a feeling that Dexter and Hannah are going to be taken into custody upon trying to get on the plane.

Or, I have a feeling that the hurricane will have gotten Deb, as Billy suggested, and Dexter gets off the plane to Argentina and runs to the hospital to see his sister as she dies or something. I don’t think Dexter and Hannah are going to make it to Argentina.

Every time I say that name, I sing to myself: “Don’t cry for me Argentinaaaaaaaaa … “

The next two episodes have to be intense for there are quite a few things needing to be wrapped up. Will Dexter and Hannah escape? If they do, will Dexter be able to hold back his Dark Passenger? I was unsure of whether or not this season would end up well, or whether it was working toward the resolution of Hannah’s fate — but I have come to realize that we are seeing Dexter’s character arc. That is what we should be paying attention to: whether or not Dexter is the perfect psychopath who’s convinced himself that he has emotions and feelings. Whether or not Dexter values family more than killing.

We all know that he could not choose family over killing in the beginning of season 7. Debra tried putting him on watch. But he’s doing this for Hannah? Is she that intoxicating? As I’ve said time and time again, Hannah McKay is like Hawthorne’s Beatrice Rappaccini: she emits the sweetest odor that is inviting, yet the lightest touch is more lethal than a bulletwound. It seems as though Dexter is Giovanni, being invited into Hannah’s garden, becoming so enthralled by her, becoming like her in a sense — more of a sociopath than a psychopath — more human.

If this were true, that would mean that Dexter is going to successfully cross over from man driven by Dark Passenger to man with a dark passenger who occasionally gives directions, if at all.

My question for the writers — or Dexter — would be: will Dexter ever be able to give up killing? Judging from Harry and Dexter’s scene in the kill room, Dexter will always have his Dark Passenger right by his side.

Preliminary Predictions for 810: “Goodbye Miami”

This is the beginning of the end. The literal and figurative storm is approaching. As Billy [CopaForever] suggested in his afterword to my last treatment, the Hurricane coming into Miami only intensifies the possibility that Dexter and Hannah may not be able to escape to Argentina. He suggested that Debra’s bungalow, right on the  beach, could very well be destroyed, with Hannah and Deb inside. Jennifer Carpenter posted a picture on her Twitter a few weeks ago of her in a hospital gown after shooting a scene in Dexter — I think Billy’s prediction is a good one for Deb’s fate.

Although I love Debra, don’t get me wrong, I think that her death would be the absolute best way to teach Dexter that he hurts everyone he loves. Perhaps Hannah can put up a better fight because she’s dangerous in her own right (although she did land herself in jail because of Dexter), but I would not be surprised if Hannah and Deb both go down in the storm.

As you can see, I don’t want this series to end neatly. I want a lot of death, blood, and plastic wrap. In a recent interview with Michael C. Hall, he mentioned that perhaps Dexter’s new goal is to leave his killing life behind entirely. I don’t know if I could see that — I don’t know if I want to see that. He’s a serial killer — and my favorite one — for a reason. He’s gotta kill people. He also said in this interview that the on-goings of season 2 could have been held off until a later time, and the fact that Dexter’s fate relies on Hannah so heavily is sort of a cop-out. Interesting.

I agree on this, it’s bizarre that this woman has such power over him, whereas Debra used to have a decent influence on him, too. Speaking of Debra, it’s bizarre to see Dex and Deb not the partners in crime that they used to be. Perhaps it would be best for Debra if Dexter left — of course she could not function without Harrison — we see how close those two are.

I sense a fall out between Quinn and Jamie in this upcoming episode.

We know Elway is coming after Hannah. He’s going to take on a larger role in the series than he has before, and I would not be surprised if Elway and Quinn duke it out over Debra at some point.

I want intense action in these last three episodes. Don’t fail me now, writers.

809: “Make Your Own Kind of Music”

809: “Make Your Own Kind of Music”

Original Air Date: August 25, 2013

 

Our favorite series is winding down and Dexter has quite a few hurdles to hop over before he can escape to Argentina with Hannah and his son. Oliver Saxon is revealed as the Brain Surgeon in this episode, and also as Vogel’s psychopathic son. Although Vogel’s involvement with the Brain Surgeon has been fuzzy up until now, it is very clear that she plans on being everyone’s puppeteer from here on out. Time is ticking. Three episodes left. Sorry this is so damn late. I sure hope that Vogel’s pursuit of science and “making her own kind of music” doesn’t get Dexter, Debra, or anyone we love killed. Here is my treatment for season 8, episode 9: “Make Your Own Kind of Music.”


The Hannah Problem

Hannah is the only person that has entered into the Dexterverse that has ever caused Dexter to lose focus, determination, and all sense of rational thought and action. He has become a child around Hannah – he even said “I love you.” I don’t think we have heard him say this to anyone before. He may have said it to Deb, but that love was not the kind of love that we see Dexter tripping and stumbling and falling into with Hannah. He continues to display a “depth of emotion [Vogel] never thought possible.” He seems determined to prove Vogel wrong in the fact that he can balance both a life with Hannah and his serial killing. He fails to acknowledge the fact, however, that Hannah is wanted – she has quite the large number on her head, and that just makes what Dexter is trying to accomplish just that much more complicated and compromising.

We have come to know Dexter as the cautious, prudent serial killer who knows how to cover his tracks, stay inconspicuous, and not get caught. And yet he’s willing to drop everything, quit his job, and up and leave to Argentina. Has he not learned from all of his experiences with other serial killers, suspects, and suspicious beings? By doing this, Dexter is effectively asking Hannah to paint a big red and white target on his back (which, fittingly, matches the color scheme of this entire series) and run around in front of Miami Metro with a parade and a marching band that plays Verdi’s Requiem, Dies Arae and Carl Orff’s O Fortuna from Carmina Burana on repeat, with picket signs and confetti.

 

“Mama” Evelyn Vogel

As I have said time and time again, I do not trust Vogel, and neither should you. I don’t care if she is Dexter’s “spiritual mother;” I don’t care that she’s an expert in neuropsychology and psychopaths; do not trust her. As I have said since very early on in the season, I believe that what we see are experiments Vogel imposes on Dexter without his knowledge. Of course he did catch Vogel writing about him, calling him Subject 0, when he supposedly went into the “Brain Surgeon’s” (Albert “AJ” Yates) computer, but clearly Dexter has forgotten about this. I do not believe that a single emotion Vogel shows is genuine. She is the Dr. Rappaccini of SHOWTIME – the scientist that cares more for her scientific discovery and experimentation than the people around her. She certainly is “making her own kind of music”: she’s been the puppeteer, and Dexter the puppet, this entire time. If Evelyn Vogel does not end up dead by episode 12, I guarantee you that this woman is publishing a book entitled: Dexter.

Although this episode makes it clear that Vogel is toying with Dexter and clearly hiding things from him, as an experimenter would with her subjects, she is startlingly authentic in her interactions with Dexter. I do not discredit the fact that Vogel does care for Dexter to a certain extent– I think she is proud of him beyond belief because she “created him” – however, she is aggravated at the fact that Dexter has become unfocussed. We know that Dexter reminds her of Daniel/Oliver, or at least that is what she says. It does make sense in the scheme of things. As she says, he is “not the perfect psychopath [she] thought [he] [was].” It seems as though Vogel is disappointed when she says this, but Dexter does not even care. He has Hannah; that is all he wants, and all he needs. Vogel highlights for Dexter that his infatuation with Hannah is “dangerous” because he is “straddling two worlds.” We don’t exactly have proof that she’s right: had Zack killed Cassie, then she would have proof; however, we do know that Hannah is distracting Dexter from giving his full attention to Vogel and her needs as a mad scientist.

Perhaps the most alarming thing about Dr. Vogel is the fact that we all want to trust her. We all want Dexter to have a mother figure in his life. What is even more appalling is the fact that her emotional displays are believable – and that Dexter falls for it. She leads him to believe that she is unable to take out the “real Brain Surgeon” because he is her biological son; however, she’s playing Dexter like a fiddle. He even expresses how guilty he feels for “deceiving Vogel” and drugging her before Dexter went to take Oliver out at the diner (Honestly, I’m surprised nobody took Oliver out in that diner for playing that Mama Cass song repeatedly). We see that Vogel has been deceiving him the whole time. He’s trying to protect her, whereas Vogel is prodding him like the lab rat he is. Dexter expresses how he is concerned about her, and yet Vogel turns around and says “this is a family matter … how can I trust you” to Dexter, which is a low blow. Dexter considers her as family, and Vogel considers him more of a pet than a son. She’s shaping up to be quite the hypocrite …

 I still feel as though Vogel is either a psychopath or a sociopath herself. She has specialized in psychopaths and what sets them apart for years, so who is to say that she isn’t affecting such things herself? Here’s a crazy idea: Dexter’s psychopathy has significantly become less apparent since season 1; is it possible that Vogel has developed into a sociopath? I do not know the answer to these questions; however, I am very curious to see how the writers of Dexter will wrap up this series. I hope they use the remaining three episodes wisely.

 

Oliver Saxon nee Daniel Vogel (Deceased?)

The first thing that popped into my mind when I heard the name “Saxon” was my English 402 course: Survey of British Literature I. Anglo-Saxon is the oldest form of English spoken before the Norman conquest of England of 1066. In a way, Oliver came in and conquered the identity of a deceased person, took out Cassie, and ultimately snuck up on Dexter from behind. He does not even suspect Oliver’s guilt until Vogel gives him the picture of him as a child. Oliver has been lying to us all – he’s been straight out of England this entire time. Where did his accent go? Furthermore, when and how did Oliver come into the picture? Was Oliver a part of Vogel’s plan this entire time, or was he once a real and tangible threat to her? What we saw this episode tends to make me think that Oliver and Vogel are partners in crime and are out to make Dexter into their lab rat, throwing twists, turns, and experiments at him to see how he reacts and what he does.

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What puzzles me most is the fact that we saw Vogel receive the “his” and “hers” boxes on her doorstep and look absolutely terrified. If Vogel and Oliver were in on this the entire time, why would we have seen Vogel in such a state of terror? My best guess is that the brain surgeon was very real up until very recent. The only reason why I say this is because of the exchange between mother and son after Dexter leaves at the very end of the episode. The way in which Oliver addresses Vogel as “Mom” seems almost hesitant, as if he’s exploring new territory. The first lines they exchange on camera are Vogel saying: “Now you believe me?” and Oliver responding: “Yes, you didn’t send him.” It seems as though their relationship is weak enough to be fairly new for him to already be questioning his mother’s motives. Of course, this theory relies on the fact that Vogel was actually telling the truth about sending him to an Institution in England. Something still does not add up. They are an odd pairing – their relationship is bound to be rocky and rough, given the fact that Vogel gave up on her son, locked him away, and washed her hands of him (just as she did with Dexter when he took on Zack as his protégé). We have all seen Vogel’s master manipulative skills, but I still do not believe that she is good enough to persuade her angry son to not come after her and kill her. If Oliver had been such a threat to her at one point, how did she manage to get him to work with her? Perhaps Oliver was never really a threat. Perhaps this is Oliver’s way of reaching out to his mother, a way to illuminate the fact that she has paid so much attention to psychopaths, but not to her own son. Clearly Oliver is trying to spook Dexter, but for what reason?

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[Photo Credit: www.dexterdaily.com]

Dexter is generally a reliable narrator; however, I do not know if I entirely believe that the can he plucked from Oliver’s garbage was in fact his DNA. It could have been anyone’s – it could have been Vogel’s. A small part of me wants to think that Oliver is one of her “spiritual sons;” however, the evidence is stacked against this idea. We know for a fact that Oliver killed Cassie, but we do not know exactly why. Although Oliver seems like more of a polished and skilled serial killer than Dexter at this point in time, Oliver did not have the foresight to clear out his work schedule to make it seem as though he really had been counting on his trip with Cassie to the Bahamas. Dexter never makes silly mistakes such as these. For a while, I was worried that Dexter would finally be outsmarted by another serial killer, but now I see that he is distracted enough, by Hannah, to be bested by someone like Oliver.

 

Detective Debra Morgan

Debra is also straddling two worlds: the one of denial, where she works for Elway and leads a reckless life (well, not so reckless as of late); and the one of the Miami Metro Detective. The thought of returning to the job she loves seems to get the adrenaline pumping in her veins again – we actually saw the return of the pre-killer Debra Morgan when she stepped onto the scene of Cassie’s murder. We know that Debra would give anything just to be able to turn back time – that would mean that she would be clueless as to her brother’s actions, she would not have confessed what she did to Dexter, she would not have killed LaGuerta or El Sappo, nor would she have taken a turn for the worse as she has all season long. Reality hits her hard when she comes to terms with the fact that she will never be able to return to Miami Metro because of the position in which Dexter puts her by being a serial killer, dating another, and asking her to look the other way and play dumb. Debra’s sense of morality and integrity are far stronger than Dexter’s – although Dexter’s are rightfully malleable – which make it difficult for her to consciously go on pretending that everything is fine, and that there is not clear corruption within Miami Metro.

In her conversation with Hannah, ironically over dinner (after walking in to music, Hannah McKay in the kitchen, and dinner on the table — Billy and I agreed that all that was missing from this perfect scene was a lesbian romance), Debra confesses that she feels stupid for thinking that returning to her job was actually a feasible option. Deb wants to “[do] something good for a change,” but she knows that it will only lead her into another “fucked up situation.” She says: “How the fuck can I go back? My brother’s a serial killer and I have another hiding out in my house eating salad.” Hannah, once again, unexpectedly teaches Debra a few things: One, that she needs to learn to take “no” for an answer, and Two, that they both are women determined to get what they want by any means possible. Although it pains her almost just as much to recognize that Hannah is right as it does to consume food that the Passionate Poisoner has prepared, Debra seems to take in what Hannah says and consider it. Strange, considering their track record since last season.

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[GIF Credit: parangarico]

The last teachable moment between Hannah and Debra occurred in the Keys, if you recall in 808, when Hannah admits that she’d never kill Debra because she know it would hurt Dexter too much. This is also the episode when Debra realized that her childish notions of a romance with Dexter – although culturally unacceptable, but strongly desired – went to die. Debra has been standing between Dexter and Hannah ever since she entered the picture. It seems as though Deb has been trying to change herself this entire time, too, to fit Dexter’s standards – it seemed as though Deb borrowed Hannah’s clothes to go meet Angel the day he offered her the position of Detective again. She’s even switched to ankle boots rather than her man boots or Converse. She’s indubitably changing, and sometimes it’s difficult to overlook the fact that Debra will be hung up over Dexter for a really long time, no matter how hard she tries to move on.

Before we move on, I have to point out the fact that Debra loves her brother so much that she is willing to let Hannah McKay – serial killer, poisoner, fugitive, abhorred mortal enemy – stay in her own home. Deb even got Quinn off of Zack Hamilton’s track so that Dexter and Vogel could avoid having Miami Metro poking around in their business. On the flip side, Dexter has never put anyone first before Debra ever, not even Harrison, until Hannah came into the picture. His priorities have changed, and so has his definition of family. It seems as though Vogel, Harrison, Hannah, and Zack (before he was killed) had become his surrogate family for when Debra was giving him problems. The true indication of Dexter’s loyalty lies in the fact that he was willing to compromise Debra’s reputation, career, and wellbeing by putting Hannah up in Deb’s home. If Deb is to be caught (which it seems, by the preview for 810-812, will be the case) with Hannah in her home, she can kiss her life goodbye. In addition, Dexter seems to be pushing Deb into the dark again about his whereabouts and the on-goings in his life. He has learned that Debra is much better off not knowing what he’s up to.

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Deb gets to “play cop” once again when she offers to help Quinn out with Jamie –specifically, by getting information from her about Cassie that could potentially help in Miami Metro catching her killer. We hear Jamie’s discontent with the state of her relationship with Quinn when she describes how Oliver was head-over-heels for Cassie: she says she wishes she could be doted over like that, obviously meaning that she wishes Quinn was crazy about her the way he is crazy about Deb. She is also faced with the plausible option of getting back together with Quinn. He has made it clear, through both his words and actions, that he would gladly drop Jamie in a second to be with Debra again, as is evidenced in him kissing her outside of Oliver Saxon’s apartment. Whether or not Debra wants to go back into that is debatable – everything in her life is up in the air at this point anyway, so why not throw Quinn into the mix?

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Complications

Debra let Elway in on the secret: now he’s after Hannah McKay. We have learned that he’s just in this business for the money, so why would Deb not think that Elway would pursue Hannah whether or not she was for it? Elway has sent Deputy Marshal Clayton after Hannah McKay – which has already caused Dexter a few problems. First he shows up to his office, then a 24 hour protection was set on him and his home, then he shows up to Hannah’s friend’s house, forcing him to lie to Clayton about how he “knows” Arlene (I think that was her name). I don’t think that Clayton is gone forever. I think he and Elway will be back to throw shit at the fan.

Then we have Harrison, who is equally as enamored with Hannah as his Daddy, who nearly throws Dexter under the bus with the picture of his “Mommy.” We all know that it was Hannah he drew – perhaps it was Rita – but it doesn’t matter. I guess this is setting up to be good if Dexter does move with Hannah and his son to Argentina. At least he doesn’t hate her.

Vogel and Oliver are complications. That goes without saying.

Debra is a complication, too. Enough said. For Dexter, but for herself, too. Elway, finally coming to terms with the fact that Deb is not interested in him, is going to get back at her. It seems as though he’s going to fire her for what she’s pulled with him, Hannah, and how she’s treated her job and disregarded boundaries. His threat to “use the office space for somebody who gives a shit” is a wake-up call to Debra. Perhaps she will go back to Miami Metro – especially when Dexter tells her he’ll be leaving for Argentina. I don’t know if Debra can function without Dexter (and Harrison by extension) in her life. Perhaps she would be better off without him. Had she not known about his Dark Passenger, perhaps he would still be good for her; however, this is not the case. She’s still a ticking time bomb in my eyes.

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Predictions

Something tells me that there will be multiple deaths at the end of this series. Here are the prime candidates: Dexter, Debra, Vogel, Saxon, and Hannah. Who should go is a different story, but here are my predictions: Dexter will escape unscathed. Debra will attempt suicide. Dexter will kill Vogel once he learns that she’s a no-good science-loving English back-stabber. Saxon will die.

We see in the preview for the final three episodes that there is a hurricane coming in that threatens to keep Dexter, Harrison, and Hannah on the ground, which also compromises their safety and cover. I cannot help but recall the scene in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises when Catwoman (as portrayed by the lovely Anne Hathaway) whispers into Bruce Wayne’s ear (the fabulous Christian Bale): “A storm is coming, Mr. Wayne.” Elway is a major threat, as is Debra.

I did happen to see a promotional picture of one of the upcoming episodes (I believe it’s of 810) where Dexter and Debra are sitting down and Matthews is addressing them. I would love it so much if we discover that Matthews has known about Dexter this entire time. Debra would be furious – probably throw a shit fit and try to run Matthews and Dexter both with her car. And then kill everyone else. I sense a psychotic break in Debra’s future. I want a spinoff with her character, as you can tell.

 

One-Liners and Gut-Busters

Niki: “Excuse me. You can’t go in there. Sorry.”

Debra: “Who the fuck are you?”

(It’s another episode of The Most Popular Girls In School, apparently.)

 

Debra: “What was Zack doing with you and Hannah in the Keys? Serial Killers’ Convention?”

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Quinn’s calling his whole battle with Miller a “Sergeant dick dance.” Reminds me of what Debra said to Dexter about how some girl was fawning over him.

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Debra: “Since when are you Mr. Sensitive?”

Quinn: “Fuck you.”

 

Arlene (to Dexter): “Aren’t you the asshole who turned [Hannah] in?”

 

When Deputy Marshal Clayton shows up to Arlene’s house, and Dexter claims that he’s been her sugar daddy. “You sure can pick ‘em.”

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Jamie: “Harrison would’ve run right to [Hannah].”

Dexter: “He’s not the only one.”

 

After Debra walks into her house to find Dexter and Hannah have let themselves in, Dexter gets Deb to agree to let Hannah stay.

Dexter: “You’ll be alright here.”

Hannah: “Sure. We’ll just ‘hang.’”

 

Hannah: “Hungry?”

Debra: “Are you kidding?”

 

And then Debra choosing a different piece of chicken, rather than accepting the one Hannah tries serving her.

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[GIF Credits: dexter-the-blood-guy


Overview

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.

Dexterity: 5

No particular pun or joke stood out to me, other than obvious jokes that anyone could have picked up.

Entertainment: 7

Xtremity: 9

Because Dexter agrees to move to Argentina with Hannah like a dummy, because Oliver Saxon is Dr. Vogel’s son, and because Harrison is so damn enamored with Hannah McKay.

DEX-Factor:   7

 

Brain Surgeon: VOGEL AND OLIVER SAXON

Oliver may be doing the work, but Vogel has to be behind it, 100%.

I still stand by my conviction that she’s doing this to experiment on Dexter and write a book about him and his family.

There probably is a few motives on Oliver’s part, but he’s under his mother’s control.

Predictions for 809: “Make Your Own Kind of Music”

A lot of people have responded to today’s poll that they think Oliver is the Brain Surgeon. Although there are several reasons I have already thought of that make sense … I feel in my heart that it would stick true to the pattern of each season if Vogel were the “big bad” — the Brain Surgeon.

I am hoping that she is the Brain Surgeon; however, I’m not entirely sold on this prediction myself.

If Oliver is the Brain Surgeon, he may have taken out Zack in retaliation for killing Cassie. Of course — him being a serial killer … I don’t know if he fits the “type.” Our psychopaths were always revealed in an eerie light. Oliver — nothing. It’d be a cheat, in my opinion, to have Oliver be the Brain Surgeon.

As for the fact that Oliver could be Vogel’s son … makes no sense. If anything, spiritual son.

We were told that Dr. Evelyn Vogel was married to a Dr. Richard Vogel. I have a feeling we will find a bit more out about who he is in this episode.