By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
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“Psychopaths are not a mistake of nature—they are a gift”
Last week’s season debut of Dexter set the skeletal groundwork for the final scenes that will bring America’s favorite serial killer drama to its eventual end in just a few months.
Dexter realized after a conversation with the mysterious Dr. Evelyn Vogel that she actually had quite a part in his upbringing and evolution as a serial killer.
Dr. Vogel was consulted by Dexter’s father Harry after his young adopted son started asking some tough questions, and his desire to see a crime scene left him unsettled. Unlike most 10-year old boys, Dexter didn’t flinch at the sight of a dead body or blood, and that disturbed Harry even more.
So he sought out Dr. Vogel to try and understand the beast that was now living under his roof. It was Dr. Vogel who helped to craft Dexter’s code and lead him after the criminals of the world by honing his natural instincts to kill.
You see according to the good Dr. Vogel, psychopaths aren’t the evil, malevolent creatures they’re always made out to be. As a matter of fact, in her believe psychopathic tendencies are found in some of the top CEO’s in business and politicians. Without psychopaths, the world would not thrive and survive as long as we have.
She helped guide Harry into creating the Dexter that we all know and love today. Dr. Vogel also reveals that Harry never wanted her to meet Dexter out of fear that he would somehow believe he was being studied or examined. Dexter asks why she didn’t reach out to him when his father died, which surprises the doctor.
Unlike most clinical psychopaths, it’s clear Dexter does have emotional attachments deep down inside. He had those feelings for his father and he obviously also has those feelings for his sister. Right now, however, Dr. Vogel can’t dig too much further into his frail psyche because she’s got bigger issues to deal with that Dexter’s emotional turmoil.
The problem Dr. Vogel is having, and why she’s now contacting Dexter for the first time, is because the killer who last week was discovered removing the back portions of his victim’s heads while taking a small piece of their brains as a souvenir might actually be one her ex-patients.
She’s pretty sure that’s the case because the missing piece of brain taken from last week’s victim turned up on her front doorstep. So why isn’t Dr. Vogel turning this evidence over to the police?
Well beyond the fact that she once discovered a 10-year old psychopath named Dexter Morgan and helped mold him into a serial killer for good, she’s also known for other unorthodox methods of psychology that may get her into some trouble if discovered. Dr. Vogel now believes one her test subjects has come back to haunt her, and she needs Dexter’s help to find and kill him or her (something about this storyline sounds vaguely familiar to the first season of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse for those curious).
The good news is Dexter finds a lead on the killer…the bad news is it comes at the expense of another person’s life. A second body is found at a skate park, same signature as the other murder with the back of the skull cut off and a piece of the brain missing. The murder weapon was a plastic bag, and Dexter is lucky enough to discover it and pull a fingerprint before his old buddy Masuka can do the same on the duct tape used to cover the victim’s mouth.
Dexter and Dr. Vogel quickly realize that the person who the fingerprints belong to aren’t any of her former patients. Nevertheless, Dexter has to hunt him down and so he does all the way to a cabin deep in the woods outside of Miami.
He finds a hunting cabin filled with knives, axes and other weapons, but it’s quite obvious that whoever lives there isn’t doing surgical procedures to carefully cut into someone’s head and remove a piece of brain. Dexter quickly finds out this hunch is right when he finds the perpetrator in the back, hung up by his shoulders, dead as Dillinger.
Dexter is feeling off his game because the facts of the case led him here, but he knew deep down inside that this was never his man. Still he chased the lead to it’s end, even though it was never the person he was searching for.
Deb Falls Deeper Down the Rabbit Hole
It’s pretty clear that a lot of this season will be focused on Jennifer Carpenter’s wonderful acting skills as she takes Debra Morgan from the pillar of the police community to the absolute bottom of the barrel in her new life meant to escape the awful memories of shooting down poor Lieutenant LaGuerta in that shipping container so many months ago.
Self-destructive would be an understatement for where Deb is going thus far, but she still tries to find a few moments of levity here and there. For instance, she is able to track down the jewels stolen by her mark (Briggs) from the last episode, who is now sitting on a cold slab in the Miami Metro morgue.
If Deb can return the stolen jewels, she and her new employer Elway stand to pocket a hefty sum of money for the finder’s fee.
Deb finds the jewels stashed away in a storage unit, but she doesn’t see the killer tracking her every step of the way. The hitman (El Sapo) seen peaking over the dashboard at Deb last episode appears out of nowhere and hands her a beating to take the jewels back to his employer.
At one moment in the frenzy, El Sapo screams at Deb after she continues to attack him when clearly she is overmatched and overpowered if she is nuts. That’s when the true nature of what we’re dealing with this season surfaces as Deb’s eyes go wide and she screams back that she is “fucking nuts”.
Deb’s left in a heap on the floor, but still alive because El Sapo doesn’t kill unless he’s getting paid for it. He’ll regret that decision.
Hours later, El Sapo is found dead in his car from multiple gunshot wounds. With the police on the scene, Dexter arrives and happens to notice blood on the window of the car, nowhere near where El Sapo was shot dead. He grabs it quick and after analyzing it back at the lab, discovers that it does indeed belong to his sister.
Dexter confronts Deb about the murder, and she admits to it but only after also revealing that it all happened in a blinding rage. She doesn’t remember any of it.
Dexter now knows that he has to save his sister, and eliminate the evidence that could tie her to El Sapo’s murder. He also realizes that not only has he turned his sister’s life upside down when she chose to save him instead of LaGuerta, but he’s made her into the very thing he fears most—himself.
One Last Message for Dr. Vogel
Dexter shuffles back to Dr. Vogel after she finds her front door open after returning home. Dexter searches her house but finds nothing.
She instead finds what was left behind—a DVD on top of her computer.
Vogel pops in the disc and the video shows the now dead stooge killing the victim with a plastic bag over the head, while a gun is being pointed directly at him from somebody holding the camera. Seconds later, the gun is fired and that now explains the body Dexter found in the hunting cabin in the woods.
Dexter was wrong. He was pursuing a man that he had to knew was not the right killer, or even a killer at all. He’s beginning to question his own judgment, all because he’s tormented with the thoughts of what he has done to unravel his sister’s life over the last few months.
Dr. Vogel comes over to comfort Dexter and he clasps her arm tight, feeling the warm embrace of a mother that he never had as a child.
Is Dr. Vogel truly looking after Dexter’s best interests and serving as a mother figure to him now? My hunch is she’s got her own dark passenger tucked away somewhere deep down inside just itching to be revealed. Dexter has trusted so few people in his life and outside of his sister and father, everyone else has betrayed him.
It’s quite likely Dr. Vogel will soon join the list currently occupied with names like Miguel Prado and Arthur Mitchell.
So what were your thoughts on this latest episode of Dexter? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!