Two episodes into the final season of Dexter and, so far, it doesn’t appear to be a bounce-back kind of season. In fact, it may be just the opposite: A season that lays down the tracks and travels the mundane course not with a sense of purpose, but merely to get it over with. The problem is not necessarily that the storylines they have set up so far are bad, it’s that they are executed poorly and insulting to their audience’s intelligence. In fact, everything is so obvious at this point that our best and only hope is that the writers are trying to give us a false sense of knowledge, that they’re leading us down one path while they develop another. Even then, however, is it necessary to pour it on so thick?
1. We learn early on — via old videotaped sessions between Dexter’s dad, Harry, and Dr. Vogel — that Dr. Vogel came up with Harry’s Code as a way to channel Dexter’s psychopathy. “I developed a framework for your survival. That’s what mothers do.” IS DR. VOGEL DEXTER’S REAL MOM? No. She’s not. We already know that Laura Moser is his real mom.
Anyway, Dr. Vogel was an expert witness on a few of his homicide cases and became friends with Harry. He went to Vogel because he had no one else to talk to about Dexter. We’ll probably find out later that Harry and Dr. Vogel were “more than friends.” After all, young Dr. Vogel looked like this (humana humana humana).
2. Interestingly, now we know the origins of the blood slide trophies, too. Young Harry reveals that Dexter stole a blood slide from one of Harry’s crime scenes. He’s also always forced his victims to look at pictures of their own victims before he kills them because Dexter has an “innate sense of justice.” She thinks he’s “making the world a better place.” Vogel also believes that psychopathy is not necessarily a bad thing.
3. The new murder victim is missing a brain piece, confirming Vogels’ theory that he’s a serial killer and, because he’s sending her the brain pieces, allegedly also a former patient. Dr. Vogel is kind of blackmailing Dexter to find and kill the brain surgeon serial killer. She doesn’t want the authorities to get involved because they might find out about her “unorthodox” (i.e. illegal) methods.
4. Initially, it appears that the killer’s name is Lyle Sussman, who is actually not a former patient of Dr. Vogel’s. He’s a nobody, which is why we know that he’s not the actual brain surgeon killer. When Dexter tracks Sussman down, he finds him hanged. Who killed him? Turns out, Sussman was coerced into killing his victim.
5. Side note: Does Dexter ever use his blood spatter skills arrest ANYONE, or does he kill all of his subjects? His arrest record must be terrible, and Miami must have the highest rate of unsolved murders in the country.
6. Debra has key to a storage unit that has Briggs’ jewelry in it. When she finds it, El Sappo nabs it off of her and kicks her ass. He’s found the next day with three bullets in him. Debra, it turns out, killed him. However, she doesn’t want Dexter’s help, and reiterates that she hates him, but would prefer it be the other way around.
Dexter covers for her ass, anyway. He feels weird about it, though.
7. Meanwhile, Batista knows Quinn is dating his sister, and he wants Quinn to take the Sergeant’s exam so he can be better boyfriend material. The nanny, by the by, is super jealous of Debra. I should also note that Batista likes telenovas, apparently.
8. After not figuring out that Sussman wasn’t the real killer, Dexter is apparently suffering from some major insecurity. “I’m a mistake,” he says. Vogel disagrees. “You’re perfect.”
9. It should also be noted that Dr. Vogel thinks that maybe Dexter should’ve killed Debra when she found out about him, because Dr. Vogel is creepy and SUSPICIOUS.
10. So, here is the obvious theory, the thing that EVERYONE already assumes, and if it is true, WOW: Holy lame. Is Dr. Vogel the brain surgeon killer? Is she intentionally leaving bread crumbs for Dexter so that they will lead back to her? That would be so spectacularly dumb that it’s almost hard to fathom that the Dexter writers would be so obvious. Then again, they did that to us in season six with Travis Marshall, too: Setting up a twist that everyone figured out long before the twist was revealed. So, there’s certainly precedent for it.
However, I really really want to give them the benefit of the doubt. This is, after all, the final season. So maybe there’s a few things at play here. Maybe the brain surgeon mystery is a small one that will lead us toward the season’s major big bad? Maybe there’s a compelling reason why Dr. Vogel would be the killer (like, Harry killed her son or something), or maybe she’s not the brain surgeon killer at all. Maybe they are leading us down the obvious path to mislead us so they can pull out the rug from beneath us and reveal a HUGE SURPRISING TWIST. Or maybe it’s Masuka. Or Debra?
All I know is that, superficially, the final season of Dexter is being set up to be a major disappointment, and it’s not a show that has displayed an ability to dig deeper and fool us in the past. At least the Debra thing is kind of interesting, if not also obvious since the two may share a similar psychopathy.