- The episode begins with Debra having a hazy fantasy that she killed Dexter instead of LaGuerta in the shipping container. When the fantasy ends, both she and Dr. Vogel enter the same shipping container as part of Vogel’s psychoanalysis. Vogel knows that this incident is the source of Debra’s trauma, and she does her best to help Debra address it, instead of running from it. Vogel’s treatment of Deb has an odd, but strangely justified range. It seems that Deb has been staying at Vogel’s home, and she doesn’t allow Deb to have alcohol or painkillers, since they’re just away of numbing herself so she doesn’t feel guilty. She also shows Debra some of the videotapes she made with Harry to show Deb that her father had the exact same doubts about Dexter. This does provide Debra some measure of comfort. Vogel does meet with Dexter every day to update her progress with Debra. She tells Dexter that he should be prepared to live a life without Debra, because she doesn’t know if Deb will ever be able to accept him back into her life. Dexter doesn’t take this news well, because he doesn’t want that to happen.
- While keeping tabs on Debra, Dexter investigates a new “Brain Surgeon” suspect. He finds a former patient of Vogel’s named AJ Yates, who had a very violent history as a youth. He discovers that Yates himself is a victim of brain surgery, with a huge scar on the back of his head, and he wonders if this was some the result of Vogel’s “experiments,” which disturbs him. He quickly goes to see Vogel at her house, to confront her on the issue. She does remember that there was an X-ray that revealed that Yates had a lesion on his brain. She thought that it could be contributing to his violent behavior, so she recommended that the hospital staff have it removed. Not long afterwards, she had to transfer elsewhere, so she didn’t know for sure if the procedure was completed. While he’s there, Dexter asks for an update on Deb. Vogel does a quick impromptu therapy session with Dexter, suspecting that this was the real reason he visited her. She theorizes that Dexter needs Debra because she acts as a mirror so that the can see the bright side of himself, but without her, all Dexter sees is darkness.
- It turns out that Quinn actually nailed his sergeant’s exam, scoring in the eighty-fifth percentile. Jamie, Angel and Quinn go out to the restaurant to celebrate Quinn’s success. While they’re there, Quinn overhears the police officer who pulled Debra over in the last episode talking about her to his friends. He tries to get the guy to shut up, but when the officer continues disrespecting her, Quinn punches him out. Of course, Angel and Jaime aren’t pleased by this, especially since Angel has to cover this up to make sure no charges are pressed or anyone else finds out about it. Jaime is wondering why her The next day, Chief Mathews congratulated Angel for being right about Quinn’s ability. He still thinks that Angie Miller, the other detective in homicide, would be a better choice since she actually scored three percent higher. Matthews does respect that it’s Angel’s decision, but he just wants the choice to be the right one.
- Debra and Vogel return to the shipping container again, but this time with a twist. Vogel takes an even more aggressive stance on the issue, confronting Debra on killing LaGuerta again. She locks the door to the container to challenge Debra with a few facts. She could have just stayed at the party, but she chose to intervene. That’s the mark of someone with a strong conscience. Dexter is a psychopath, who truly doesn’t know right from wrong, but Debra does. Vogel wants Debra to realize that she is a good person who was forced to do a bad thing for the greater good. She had to protect Dexter. This seems to put some of Deb’s mind at ease.
- Dexter does his usual breaking and entering thing by checking out Yates’ house when it looks like he isn’t there. He discovers that Yates’ beloved father is in a local nursing home, and he finds a closet full of individual women’s shoes. Little does Dexter know, he’s being watched on Yate’s security system. Yates arms himself and moves in on Dexter to kill him, but he stops short when Dexter gets a phone call from Dr. Vogel, deciding to eavesdrop on the conversation. He realizes that Dexter is helping Dr. Vogel, and he retreats back to his secret basement. Before Dexter leaves the house, he checks for fingerprints. Both he and Vogel believe that they might have their man. Down in the basement, Yates muses about Vogel getting herself a hero. Behind him, a young woman has been chained to a wall, and it seems like Yates has been keeping her prisoner.
- In one of the smallest stories of the episode, we get to see a really big moment for Masuka. There has been a very attractive young coed coming to the police station looking for him. He thinks it’s either one of his past sexual partners, or a potential new one. She finally gets him when he’s in his office, and he pulls out one of the most corny seductive routines you’ll ever see. She kills his buzz when she says that he’s her father. It turns out that Masuka was a sperm donor twenty years ago, and she is the product of the donation. It seems like there’s no doubt that she’s his daughter, since she has Masuka’s eyes and his trademark laugh. At the end of her debut scene, it looks like Masuka is really pleased that he has a daughter.
- Dexter checks up on the fingerprints he found in Yates’ home and discovers that they came from three young women who recently disappeared. He later returns to Yates’ home, where he finds it deserted. Yates has left, and it seems he went in a hurry. All the shoes in the closet are gone. After some scrutiny, Dexter finds the secret door leading to the basement. Once he sees the monitor system, he realizes that Yates knew he was here. He also finds some more evidence proving that Yates is the brain surgeon. After hearing a noise, he also finds the young blonde woman in the basement, recognizing her as one of the missing girls. When he tries to help her, he sees that she’s been stabbed in the gut. Thinking quickly, he stops the flow of blood long enough to get her to the hospital.
- Once he does so, he goes back to Yates’ house to show Vogel the evidence. They look on Yate’s computer, and interestingly, find some of her recent notes. Much to Dexter’s surprise, these notes are about him. Vogel has been recording everything that she and Dexter have talked about. It also reveals that Vogel doubts that Dexter’s feelings for Debra are legitimate. All of this greatly angers Dexter. He thinks that Vogel has just been using him as a lab rat and as material for another book. Vogel downplays this, claiming that she has always kept a journal, and that she wasn’t going to be revealing his secret. She points how she never referred to Dexter by name. Regardless, Dexter says that after he deals with Yates, he wants nothing more to do with Vogel.
- Debra returns to work at the P.I firm. Elway decides to keep her company, sharing dinner with her while she does some paperwork. They take the time to bond while talking about their respective family dramas. Deb expresses how much she idolized her father, and is realizing that she’s much more like him than she ever thought. Back at Vogel’s home, Debra finds another DVD of Harry’s sessions with Vogel. It appears to be the final session that the two ever had. Harry is shaken after walking in on Dexter’s kill room, and he seriously questions what they’ve created by molding Dexter this way. Vogel is more pragmatic, saying that the man Dexter killed deserved it. Harry responds, “No one deserves to be in pieces!” He then tells Vogel that he doesn’t know if he can live with this, and then walks out of the room. Back in the present day, as the video ends, Debra wonders how she’s supposed to live with Dexter’s secret, if her father couldn’t do it.
- Dexter calls AJ Yates, posing as an attendant of the nursing home where his father lives. He claims that Yates’ father’s health has taken a turn for the worse, and this brings AJ running. However, when Yates realizes it was a trap and Dexter has him cornered, he shockingly rips out his father’s breathing apparatus, setting off the alarms which will alert the nurses. Dexter is shocked that Yates would kill his own beloved father to escape, and Yates leaves through the window in that moment of hesitation. Dexter manages to leave the nursing home without alerting the staff, but he’s still shaken by what he saw.
- Debra visits the police station and she meets Quinn in the parking lot. He inquires about how she’s been doing, noting that she looks much better, and she apologizes for everything she put him through lately. He also tells her about his relationship with Jaime, who is suspicious of Quinn’s relationship with her. Deb tells Quinn that she only wants him to be happy, and gives him a hug and kiss on the cheek. This seems to give him a bit of a mixed message regarding her feelings towards him.
- As she leaves Quinn, Dexter walks out into the parking lot and lays eyes on her. They exchange a slightly awkward greeting, and then she asks if she can talk to Dexter in private. They hop into the car, and have a conversation about Vogel and Harry. Deb asks Dexter point-blank if Harry killed himself. After a moment’s hesitation, Dexter confesses that he did, admitting that he’s known about it ever since Matthews told him back in season two. Debra says she understands why Harry did it, but that he only got it half right. She then seizes the wheel of the car, bringing the car off course and it crashes off the side of the road and into a deep body of water. Both of them are knocked unconscious by the impact, and the car begins to sink. Debra is rescued by a nearby fisherman, and she comes to once she’s returned to dry land. As she watches the car sink below the surface, with Dexter still inside it, she decides that she can’t just let Dexter die like this. She wades back into the water and dives down beneath the surface. After a few moments, she reemerged with Dexter’s lifeless body in her arms as the episode ends.
To be quite honest, I felt like the episode before this one was a bit of a step down from the first two. It wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t quite as interesting as the first two were. This new one, is exactly what the doctor ordered.
The writing was noticeably good overall. You can feel the tension when Dexter enters Yates’ home, not knowing that he’s being watched, and that tension only grows with time. I’m rather impressed with how they made this character special. The viewer will be very shocked at Yates’ actions with his father. I don’t think we’ve ever seen a murder quite like that on the show, which will go a way towards making him more memorable. Of course, the most shocking moment of the episode was the ending with Deb forcing Dexter off the road. They lulled the audience into a false sense of security, and then proceeded with a genuinely surprising, but fitting action.
This episode had some of my favorite uses of cinematography in the whole season. In the shipping container scenes with Deb and Vogel, they used light to speak volumes about the character. For instance, Vogel is standing with her back to the light, which hides her face and body in shadow. This image seems to imply that while she may be playing the role of an angel to help Deb, she’s still got too much darkness to be trusted. Deb was framed the exact opposite way, facing the light, but surrounded by shadow. This use of lighting reminded me of a pivotal scene in Citizen Kane. Later in the episode, when Dexter sees Deb for the first time after a week or so, the lighting is a little soft so we get to see Deb through Dexter’s eyes. She looked healthy and happier than she’s been all season.
I found the most powerful scene in the film to be Harry’s final video session with Dr. Vogel. He’s absolutely right about the fact that nobody deserves that, and the viewer can and should strongly empathize with Harry. Deb’s single line of dialogue perfectly captured the essence of her journey at this point.
One thing I’ve really liked about his season is the enhanced presence they gave Harrison. Now that the character is older, we get to see him in some more interesting situations. I thought the popsicle opening from last episode was great, and this episode continued. Harrison and his invisible friend in this episode was absolutely adorable. Every time the kid shows up, he makes me smile.
This episode changed quite a bit about relationships in the series, and we’re sure to get even more changes in the future. Dexter’s final season has been doing well, thus far. I’m looking forward to the next one.