Note: Do not read on if you haven't seen Season 8, Episode 3, of Showtime's "Dexter," titled "What's Eating Dexter Morgan?"
Oh, Deb. Poor Deb. It was an episode of "almosts" for Dexter's sister, who has now almost been completely destroyed by getting tangled up in her brother's web of serial-killing-serial-killers: She was almost arrested for a DUI; Volgel almost suggested Dexter kill her; Dexter and Deb almost made up over dinner; and then, Deb almost confessed to killing LaGuerta.
And it almost felt like too much. Jennifer Carpenter has been giving a great performance as "damaged Deb" this season, but it kind of felt like her character's roller-coaster ride of guilt and self-destruction reached rock bottom this week. The final season of "Dexter" has to move past Deb's downward spiral and her threatening to turn both herself and her brother in, right?
So let's break down this episode as we wonder why Dr. Vogel owns a gun, what Elway put in that mysterious hangover cure and what happened to that written confession Deb was working on.
The opening scene, where viewers were at first led to believe something terrible had happened to Harrison, was an adorable, manipulative, well-executed sight gag. It started with Harrison moaning in discomfort, then we saw what looked like blood leading to the bathroom and then ... the empty box of popsicles. But it also brought up the question of whether Harrison might grow up to become the next Dexter. He too was born in blood, and he has Dexter's genes. But for now, we can all agree that popsicles are delicious.
From there, the action jumped to Deb passed out in her car, surrounded by empty beer bottles, getting woken up by a cop knocking at the driver's side window. She cracked up at the sight of the parking meter she'd run over, but she called Quinn, and he got her out of it. Still, he's getting skeptical about what's going on with her. "At least when I was spinning out, I had a reason," he told her. "You turned down my proposoal ... that was my reason ... so what's yours?"
Miami Metro's investigation into The Brain Surgeon hit a dead end when they found Lyle Sussman's dead body at his cabin, taken off the hook he was impaled on and made to look like a shotgun blast suicide. So case closed, guys. But who took Sussman's body off that hook and set up the crime scene? It wasn't Dexter, the usual suspect in this type of evidence manipulation. Could it have been Dr. Vogel? Masuka? The real Brain Surgeon? At this point, who knows.
What we do know is that The Brain Surgeon knows Vogel and Dexter are onto him or her. (S)he sent Vogel another mysterious text, telling her to "look outside" where she found two more gift-wrapped brain bits, marked His & Hers. But they weren't just any brain bits -- these brain bits were from the occipital lobe, the part of the brain apparently responsible for vision. In other words, he's been watching them.
Meanwhile, from cross-referencing Vogel's book and her former patients, Dexter found a possible Brain Surgeon suspect: Ron Galuzzo. He strangled his best friend in high school, but convinced Vogel he was a bully. Eventually, she figured out the truth and got him institutionalized until he was 21. Dexter eventually stalked him at his job and searched his apartment, where he discovered Galuzzo was a serial-killing cannibal, but alas, not the Brain Surgeon he was looking for. But he killed him anyway just for kicks.
Dexter also told Vogel about Deb's struggles, and why she's acting out, including the understatement of the century. "Suffice it to say, she's not handling it well."
And then, Dr. Vogel got creepy, because she doesn't like not having Dexter's complete attention. "So my question is this: When your sister found out about who you were and what you were doing, why didn't you kill her?" Vogel asked. "Not that I'd ever advocate such a thing." No, of course not! She would never advocate such a thing. But she would imply it.
Vogel also wasn't buying that Dexter loves Deb like a sister because psychopaths "can't love" like a normal person. And she told him that he's perfect again. "All this talk about Deb and loving her, is like you're Michaelangelo trying to play the banjo."
Later, we learned that Vogel owns a gun, an interesting point to note for those speculating that she might be the killer herself.
But back to Deb and Dexter, because that's what this episode was really about. Dexter came into Elway's office to confront Deb about her almost-DUI, and got her to agree to go to dinner with him so they could talk some things out. (A few minutes earlier, Elway had given Deb a mysterious hangover cure with some pills disolved in it, another interesting note for those commenters who think he is somehow up to no good.)
Deb and Dexter's dinner almost looked promising. Dexter showed her a guy she saved in a shootout having dinner with his family. He tried to convince her she's a good person. And she finally seemed to let her guard down.
But soon enough, her guilt crept back in, and she showed up at the police station wasted, slurring to Quinn, "I wanna make an official statement.
"I don't want coffee, I want to confess," she continued, before whispering, "I killed LaGuerta" into his ear. He discretely dragged her into an interrogation room and turned off the mic. But he didn't get that Deb was actually confessing to the murder. He told her to write down everything from that night on a yellow legal pad, while he called Dexter to clean up the mess.
Dexter, with Vogel in tow, raced back to Miami Metro, and tag-teamed the situation when they arrived. Vogel told Quinn that Deb was suffering from a mix of survivor's guilt and post-traumatic stress disorder, and when Deb screamed that, "I'm confessing everything ... the whole fucking truth ... there's nothing you can do to stop me!" Dexter jabbed one of his knockout shots into her neck. As Dexter dragged her out of the station, Vogel grabbed the legal pad Deb was writing her confession down on.
When they got Deb back to her apartment, Dexter handcuffed her to the couch and left her passed out with Dr. Vogel so he could run off and kill Galuzzo. This seemed like a really bad idea, considering Vogel kind of wants Deb dead.
And lo and behold, Vogel creepily looked at Deb's pills, either contemplating giving her an overdose or just being a good doctor, depending on what you think of her intentions.
I just hope that whenever Deb wakes up, she and Vogel have a really productive therapy session. Because damaged Deb is getting to be a little bit of a drag.
"Dexter" airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.
What did you think of this latest episode of "Dexter"? Leave your thoughts and theories in the comments.