Dex races to prevent Deb from confessing to murder as Quinn seems like a lousy student

By James Hibberd
July 15, 2013 at 01:50 AM EDT
S8 E3
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  • TV Show
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“Vogel’s the killer” was the highest-rated comment on last week’s Dexter recap. Many seemed pretty sure of that. Now, though … apparently not. Unless whoever is leaving those gory gifts on Dr. Vogel’s doorstep is somehow operating under her puppet-master-like control. I don’t think so. Vogel is hiding a secret, I suspect, but she’s not The Brain Surgeon.

Daddy Dex wakes to find Harrison covered in blood, an echo of his own serial killer birth. Turns out he was simply gorging on a carton of Popsicles: Now in Gory Blood-Red Flavor. Harrison gives the most primal answer to Dex asking him why he did that. “Because I love them,” Harrison says, and surely all of us who have ever spent a weekend binging on seasons of Breaking Bad or 24 know how Harrison feels. Dex gives him some Pepto and wishes, with handy transition-friendly insight, that only Deb’s woes could be cured so easily.

And so we find Deb being woken up in her car by an officer. She’s skunk-drunk and knocked over a parking meter. “Mothersh–t” she says, mixing her profanities just like she’s mixing her drugs (and that one is pretty good).

She phones Quinn who, despite being in bed with his girlfriend Jamie — and despite Jamie having just finished forgiving his Deb-obsessing last week — agrees to go help his ex. He tells Jaimie it’s just “cop stuff,” as if really saying, “cop stuff baby, don’t worry your pretty head about it.”

Deb is slumped at a police station. She talks to Quinn, but I’m distracted by her rad retro sweater, which is worthy of The Dude in The Big Lebowski.

Quinn offers to take her home so she can get a shower. She says: “I keep deodorant in my desk.” Ah man. Has there ever been a more sad summation of somebody who’s truly just given up on life and is content to stumble into work drunk than “I keep deodorant in my desk”?

Quinn tries to suggest she might have a drinking problem. But like Dex scolding her for killing people, Quinn doesn’t have much ground to stand on.

Crime scene: Dex arrives with the crew to find the Brain Surgeon’s victim/killer still dead. But now he’s a different kind of dead. He’s no longer on the hook and the scene has been re-staged to look like a suicide. That seems like an awful lot of trouble to go through. Det. Angie, who clearly doesn’t watch this show, suggests the killer found his conscience and killed himself.

At home, Vogel gets a text message from the killer, who leaves a couple brain pieces on her porch. At least they’re gift wrapped. All presents are better when wrapped. So I’m now firmly thinking she’s not the killer. Though you would think, yes, here in the final season, the Big Bad would be either the main guest star or somebody familiar from past seasons, right?

NEXT: Dexter tries to earn his wings

Vogel shows the boxes to Dexter, who’s getting to work on her list of former patients, trying to eliminate suspects. Suddenly Quinn strolls over and calls to Dexter.

Wait, so those boxes she’s sneakily showing Dexter are laying on the ground while the rest of Miami Metro are 30 feet away at a crime scene? What if one of them walked up and said, “What the hell is that?” Then again, the Morgan siblings seem pretty much incapable of arousing the suspicion of Miami Metro these days, so what’s a few pieces of brain on the ground?

Meanwhile Deb’s P.I. boss Elway (wait, his first name is Jake — a nod to Chinatown?) is giving her more of that creepy home-made supplement drink. Half expect him to ask her to wear a necklace amulet containing Tannis Root too. They agree to help a woman find out if her husband is cheating. Doesn’t she ever watch Cheaters? If you suspect he’s cheating he always is! And since this is an episode dealing with addiction and confessions, I’ll confess this: Many years ago, I went on a Cheaters binge, even watching the NSFW DVD. Yes, I now know it’s all faked. But as Deb tells the client, “the truth is overrated.”

As on Cheaters, the husband makes it really easy for them to prove his infidelity, having sex in a parked car. Elway once again wants to know if Deb is having sex with somebody, this time Quinn. We know Elway is kinda off, but we’re not sure what his deal is yet. He better be careful, at the rate she’s going, Deb might kill him for a sandwich.

Dex checks out a brain surgeon suspect at a mall. He sells sporting goods, which gives Dex a chance to hope on an elliptical and quiz him. Anyway, the suspect doesn’t react to Vogel’s book, which is suspicious since Vogel treated him. He also says the machine will “cut you up faster than a chef at Benihana.” That must sound like a challenge to slice-and-dice Dex. He breaks into the guy’s apartment and finds human organs stored in Tupperware. Ah, cannibal. Not the Brain Surgeon, but he’ll do for now.

Later, Vogel tells Dex she made up the first rule of his Kill Club manual — “Don’t get caught” — to give him “a little wiggle room” to potentially get rid of not-so-guilty people if it meant evading capture. She wants to know why he didn’t kill Deb, and Dex looks vaguely horrified. He says he loves his sister, and Vogel challenges him on what he means by that. She insists that he can’t possibly really love her, not the same way she loves him. And it sounds like Vogel has a point. “You’re the cause for her pain, how can you expect to be the solution?” she says, and Dex counters: “I can handle Deb, I’ve been doing it my entire life.”

Dex takes his sister to a family restaurant and points out a guy she saved during the season 5 nightclub shootout. See? He wouldn’t be alive today if not for her actions. So buck up Deb, it’s a wonderful life! “You’re a good person” he says.

Now you would think that might work. And, in a way, it did…

Quinn subplot break! Can Quinn past the big sergeant’s test? The Deputy Chief doesn’t think so, and I have my doubts too. He calls Quinn “irresponsible, unpredictable, not to mention unintelligible.” We see Batista trying to tutor Quinn, then he gets distracted by accidentally revealing to Jamie that he didn’t really leave her bed to work a case. Even now, with his girlfriend super mad at him, notice Quinn doesn’t tell Jamie the whole truth — he protects Deb’s honor by not revealing she was busted, even though that reason would have given him a much more understandable excuse. Quinn’s just not that into you, Jamie.

So now we get into the real meat of this episode: Deb’s confession.

NEXT: The big spill

It starts with the philanderer’s wife refusing to believe the evidence that her husband is cheating on her. “She didn’t want to see it…people get used to living in denial,” says Elway, which was Debra for many years regarding Dex. In fact, this was one reason a Dexter writer once told me why Debra had to catch Dex in the act rather than gradually piece together that he’s a killer — she never would have allowed her mind to contemplate such a thought.

Deb gets drunk and watches the video of the nightclub fight that Dex referenced. Now, maybe smarter watchers of this show than myself will see a direct obvious connection with what happens next that I’m missing. My read on the scene went a few different directions: Maybe she confessed after watching the video because she’s hating or missing her earlier self, the one who was blissfully naive, the one who was living in denial, just like her client. Maybe it was because she shot and killed somebody in that scene, a justified murder that predates her more recent unjustified two-person mini-spree. Maybe it’s because of what Dexter said, that she IS a good person, and that actually worked against him — because a good person would confess her crimes.

So Deb staggers into Miami Metro and is lucky that she bumps into Quinn (at least, we’re assuming this is lucky, who knows what happens later in the season). “I killed LaGuerta” she breathes all boozily, and you can practically see the fumes coming from her mouth.

“That doesn’t make any sense,” he says.

Quinn takes her to the confession room and gives her a notepad and calls Dex to come get her. Quinn reminds Deb how LaGuerta was killed. This is something a lot of you have been wondering, since Deb’s gun was used to shoot her. Quinn says the bullet that shot LaGuerta was traced to Estrada’s gun. “Remember? Dexter walked us through it.”

!!!

Okay, the Dexter rubber band of suspended disbelief just snapped and slapped me in the face. LaGuerta was totally convinced Dexter was the Bay Harbor Butcher. She arrested him. He gets released due to lack of evidence. She gets murdered. And they let Dex work the crime scene of her murder and explain how she died? No-no-no-no.

Show continues despite my living room outburst: So Vogel and Dexter arrive to rescue Deb from herself. Deb starts ranting and Dex hits her with his sleepy-time needle. Vogel delivered a real laugh line with her “That was interesting!” And they get drunky Deb home and handcuffed to the couch. She’s now going, for better or worse, into Dr. Vogel’s creepy care. “Vogel was right, I am perfect, but only at one thing,” bemoans Dex.

Oh, and he kills the cannibal.

I write that last line like it’s an afterthought, but it kind of felt like an afterthought in the episode. This is the final season, yet so far this still feel like a regular season. I’m loving Deb’s storyline and Vogel is a compelling addition, but the Brain Surgeon’s spree is more confusing than thrilling. What do you think of Dexter‘s final episodes so far?

Michael C. Hall plays a serial killer who only murders evildoers in this gruesome drama
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