Note: Do not read on if you haven't seen Season 8, Episode 2 of Showtime's "Dexter," titled "Every Silver Lining..."
Well, "Dexter" fans, we've got another serial killer on our hands. And no, I'm not talking about "The Brain Surgeon." In a classic example of youngest child syndrome, Deb the Bounty Hunter is on a killing spree now too, because who wants to let their older brother have all the fun? Suddenly, with manipulative mother figure Dr. Vogel in the mix now too, it feels entirely appropriate to refer to this killer crew's body of work as The Morgan Family Murders.
So let's break down another strong episode of "Dexter's" final season, one that was impressively directed by Michael C. Hall himself.
The episode began with Dr. Vogel showing Dexter old videotape footage of her sessions with Harry, which gave some insight into Dexter's adolescent years. A troubled Harry told Vogel that Dexter was obsessed with death, and described being horrified to see his son feeling totally at home amidst the blood and carnage. Interestingly, Dexter took a bloody piece of glass home with him from the crime scene, the first of his blood-slide trophies.
It didn't take long for Dr. Vogel to reveal to Dexter that she helped Harry devise The Code and called herself his "spiritual mother." But psychotherapy is never free, and Vogel quickly called in a favor, asking Dexter to track down and kill "The Brain Surgeon" (credit for the moniker goes to Masuka) who had left a piece of his latest victim's anterior insular cortex on her doorstep. Vogel had reason to believe it was one of her former patients, and she feared a traditional investigation might expose her "unorthodox methods."
Dr. Vogel is quickly emerging as "Dexter's" version of Bob Benson. Questions about her character abound: What are her unorthodox methods, beyond helping Harry create The Code for Dexter? Did she channel other patients' urges in a similar way? Could she be testing Dexter, perhaps at Captain Matthews' request, to see if Dexter is still playing by the rules? Is she manipulating Dexter? And most absurdly, is there any chance she might actually be The Brain Surgeon? That seems like a bridge too far, but it definitely crossed my mind while watching.
Anyway, the crime scene of The Brain Surgeon's latest victim turned up a fingerprint for a suspect, belonging to a man named Lyle Sussman. Dexter tracked Sussman to his rustic hunting cabin, only to discover his dead body impaled on a hook. Later, the killer's most recent message to Vogel would include a video that showed that Sussman was a patsy, who the real Brain Surgeon coerced at gunpoint to strangle the first victim.
Of course, Dr. Vogel is hardly the only complicated woman in Dexter's life. Deb's storyline got a whole lot darker in this episode, when the mob hitman "El Sapo" turned up dead. Dexter was called to the crime scene, where he found some of the shooter's blood in the car window, and although he would later match it to Deb's, he initially thought she might be in danger from the shooter. So he drove to Deb's apartment, where he found her passed out and beat up, surrounded by empty beer and pill bottles.
The scene between them offered a brief hint that the "Deb loves Dexter" storyline may yet re-emerge. "I didn't want to hate you," she told him. "I wanted the opposite, but it didn't turn out that way, and I can't change the way I feel." Is part of the reason she's pushing Dexter away because she's still in love with him? Perversely, I'm still rooting for Dexter and Deb to hook up, if only for the sheer weirdness and "Red Wedding"-type fan reaction it would provoke. Then again, maybe Dr. Vogel can sort out all these incestuous issues in a family session.
It was both telling and troubling that Deb gunned down El Sapo, who had spared her life after kicking the crap out of her and taking Briggs' stolen jewels. El Sapo was a mob hitman with a code of his own. "You're lucky I don't kill people unless I'm paid to," he said, when he could have ended her life. But Deb repaid his mercy by gunning him down as he sat in his car. She seems to have acquired a taste for murder at this point, and her recklessness could very well catch up with her before the season is through.
In fact, it almost did in this episode, when Miami Metro found the gun that El Sapo had taken off Deb in his glovebox at the murder scene. But Dexter covered her tracks, halting her conversation with Quinn before she broke down, and swapping the gun out for another one before they had a chance to run a trace on it. Still, I wonder if that image of Deb sitting in the perp interrogation room could be some foreshadowing of the path she's headed down.
That interrogation room scene led to the tense and gripping conversation between Dexter and Deb in the alley outside the station, where he told her he knew she killed El Sapo. Dexter tried to take the higher road, but Deb wouldn't let him have it. "What if I weren't here to cover your ass?" he asked. "You really want to play the 'What If' game? What if you weren't a serial killer?" she shot back.
And it ended with Deb making this ominous warning. "You know what, El Sapo's not the first f***ing person I've shot, and it might not be the f***ing last ... anything can happen in this hellhole that is now my life."
So where does this all leave us? Dexter has a new therapist. Deb is badly in need of one. They're both serial killers now! The Brain Surgeon is on the loose. And this is shaping up to be a great final season of "Dexter."
What did you think of this episode? Leave your thoughts and theories in the comments.
"Dexter" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.