The episode begins with Dexter in Dr. Vogel’s house, watching a DVD of none other than the late Harry Morgan himself. His adopted father actually consulted with Dr. Vogel as far back as when Dexter was 10 years old. She not only knew that he was a developing psychopath at an early age, but she also claims to have helped develop him into what he is today, steering him into putting his psychopathic urges to good use. Dexter questions why she only now chose to reveal herself to him, and she shows him a creepy gift that was left on her doorstep. It’s a small piece of a brain in a jar, and it’s the exact portion of the brain that the killer took from his victim in the last episode. Vogel believes that the killer is one of her former patients, and the brain trophy is a message. She would like Dexter’s help in catching him. Dexter is reluctant, but does think it’s in his best interests to do so.
Meanwhile at Elway Investigations, Deb is still pursuing the jewelry that Briggs stole, hoping to get the finder’s fee. She took a set of keys from his person, and when she visits Briggs’ home, she finds out that it’s to a storage locker. Unbeknownst to her, she is still being pursued by El Sapo, the hitman who was hunting Briggs.
Miami Metro Homicide discover a new victim of the brain-removing killer. Masuka dubs him “The Brain Surgeon.” Like at the previous crime scene, the killer left the murder weapon at the scene of the crime. In this case, it’s a plastic bag that closes with a drawstring. The Brain Surgeon asphyxiated the victim to death. Much to the delight of Miami Metro, the killer did leave fingerprints behind on the bag. Dexter discovers that the print leads to a man named Lyle Sussman. Vogel is surprised by this, because she never treated anyone named Sussman. Dexter visits Sussman’s apartment not long after, but quickly determines that he hasn’t been home for a few days. Before the police arrive and force him to leave, Dexter finds out that Sussman has a hunting cabin at a local lake.
Debra finds Briggs’ storage unit, and discovers a bag full of the stolen jewels. As soon as she finds the bag, El Sapo steps in to steal them. Deb fights back, but she’s overwhelmed by his strength. He takes her gun and leaves her in the storage unit. He then makes his way back to his car in the parking lot, putting Deb’s gun in his glove compartment.
Angel and Quinn get no leads from Sussman’s mother, but they’re soon called to a new crime scene. It’s a man who had been shot four times and killed inside his car. Dexter quickly discovers that the victim is none other than El Sapo. Since a hitman like El Sapo is dead, Dexter immediately thinks that someone else will be after Deb. The forensic team also find Deb’s gun in the glove compartment.
Concerned about Deb, Dexter takes the time to visit her that evening, before hunting for Sussman. She’s still hungover from the beer and pills she’s been taking, but she still talks with Dexter about the death of El Sapo. She admits that they fought, but she doesn’t say too much more than that. They also have a very brief moment where she expresses that she didn’t want to hate Dexter; she wanted to love him. It just didn’t turn out that way. Not long after that she tells him to leave.
Dexter finds Sussman’s hunting cabin, but he also finds his corpse on a meathook as well. When he returns to tell Dr. Vogel the news, she expresses the idea that Sussman had a partner that turned on him. Dexter is skeptical at that idea, but is interested in some of Vogel’s other theories. She claims that psychopaths are a gift to humanity, and not a curse. They force humanity to be better.
The next morning, Dexter discovers that some blood found on El Sapo’s windshield matches to Deb herself, and he realizes that she killed him herself. Deb unexpectedly arrives at the police station herself to speak to Quinn about the case. She starts flashing back to killing El Sapo, but Dexter steps in to bail her out before it gets too obvious. Debra tells Dexter that she doesn’t really remember killing El Sapo, claiming that she was out of it, since he’d kicked the crap out of her. Dexter also informs her about the blood on the windshield and the gun they found. Since it’s her gun, and it can be traced back to her, she tells Dexter to switch it out. Before she leaves, she says that she “might not be done killing people.”
Dexter does switch the gun in the evidence room, and soon after gets a phone call from Vogel. They discover that someone left a DVD for her to watch, and it actually shows a second man forcing Sussman to kill the victim earlier. Dexter and Vogel comfort each other as the episode ends.
After last week’s excellent premiere, I have to say that I feel this episode was a step down. It was still good, but it could leave some unsatisfied.
Personally, I had an issue that we didn’t see Dexter escaping Sussman’s house when the police arrived. I know we’ve seen him in that situation before, but I don’t think that we’ve gotten to the point that a bunch of police cars closing in are not considered a threat. Especially not in the final season. We just cut to Deb’s side of the story, and then that’s it. We see Dexter at the crime scene the next morning.
This was really an episode about developing relationships. Not just between Dexter and Vogel, but also between Quinn and both Jaime and Angel. We got to see that Quinn is actually still hung up over Debra even though it’s been years since they’ve been together, and that’s driving a wedge between himself and Jaime. It’s nice to see that Angel does have confidence in Quinn, and he actually respects him enough to approve of him dating his sister.
But the best relationship development was between Dexter and Vogel. In just two episodes, they have made Vogel a vital part of Dexter’s story. Not only will she be very important to the future, but she was an invisible influence during his upbringing. I especially like that she is indeed serving as a sort of mother figure. She’s telling Dexter that he is special; she believes that he genuinely is making the world a better place; and it seems that she does care about him. That keen analytical gaze she gave him last week has been replaced by a maternal concern, and Charlotte Rampling does make it look natural for the character.
Another thing, I was really glad to hear a decent Masuka joke. It’s been far too long.by