Doppelgangers, Brotherhood, and the Oedipal Complex in 808: “Are We There Yet?” & 809: “Make Your Own Kind of Music”

Zach Sleepilng

Dexter discovers that Zach Hamilton has absorbed the Code through the observation of his Spiritual Father. Hannah McKay further complicates Dexter’s already convoluted situation by consuming his every waking thought and involuntarily impairing his decision-making skills. Debra’s difficulty with her brother’s life choices and unmistakable vengeance against Hannah compels her to put Jacob Elway on her trail, ultimately leading us to Dexter’s final path of destruction.

Continue reading “Doppelgangers, Brotherhood, and the Oedipal Complex in 808: “Are We There Yet?” & 809: “Make Your Own Kind of Music””

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Mere Psychopath or Serial Killer? Dexter’s Natural Inclinations in 802: “Every Silver Lining…” & 803: “What’s Eating Dexter Morgan?”

Jennifer Carpenter as Debra Morgan in Dexter (Season 8, episode 2) - Photo: Randy Tepper/Showtime - Photo ID: Dexter_802_1408

The Brain Surgeon has picked his next victim, compelling Dr. Vogel to recruit Dexter for his help in tracking down who she believes to be one of her former patients. After Dexter goes poking around Lyle Sussman’s hunting cabin, the Brain Surgeon discovers that Dexter is Vogel’s partner in crime, placing them both, as well as Dexter’s family, in jeopardy. Debra continues to fall apart and attempts to confess to Quinn that she killed LaGuerta, but he simply loves her too much to allow her to blame herself for the Captain’s death.

Continue reading “Mere Psychopath or Serial Killer? Dexter’s Natural Inclinations in 802: “Every Silver Lining…” & 803: “What’s Eating Dexter Morgan?””

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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[GIF Credit: dexter-the-blood-guy]

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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[GIF Credits: laws0ns]

 

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.

[GIF Credit: generictumblrname] 

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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[Picture Credits: dexter-the-blood-guy]

 

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