This week’s Dexter recap is going to be a bit different. Instead of exhausting myself by breaking down the episode scene-by-scene, and beat-by-beat, I’m going to provide a brief, but detailed summary of the major plots and subplots.
- Dexter attempts to resolve two issues this week. First, he wants to find and kill the Brain Surgeon to avenge Zack’s surprise murder last episode. When that’s done, he wants to leave Miami to start a new life with Hannah and Harrison.
- (Brain Surgeon): While investigating Zack’s photography studio, Dexter and Vogel find a sample of the Brain Surgeon’s DNA. When he tests it at the lab, the computer tells him that the sample is a familial match to Vogel herself.When he informs her of this, she tells him the story of her two sons. It turns out that her oldest son, Daniel, was a psychopath and killed his younger brother when they were both young. This discovery and her desire to help her son was what brought Dr. Vogel to the study of neuroscience. Eventually, she had Daniel committed to a mental institution back in England. She also claims that Daniel died in a fire at the hospital not too long afterwards. Dexter suggests that he could have easily faked his own death. Vogel gives Dexter a childhood photo of Daniel for him to analyze. Using a facial-aging program, Dexter finds out that Cassies’s boyfriend Oliver Saxon looks remarkably like the simulation. Deciding to pursue that lead, Dexter also discovers that there is a death certificate for someone named Oliver Saxon. He also obtains a DNA sample from Saxon’s apartment and concludes that he is, in fact, Vogel’s son Daniel.
- (Hannah) Before Hannah can leave Miami, she insists on visiting her old friend Arlene. Hannah’s been sending her money to hoard for just such an occasion. The final sum is over half a million dollars, which would be more than enough for Dexter, Hannah, and Harrison to live off of comfortably. However, Elway has informed a US Marshall that Hannah may still be in Miami. Elway wants a cut of the reward money if she’s found. This marshall, named Clayton, visits Dexter when he’s investigating Saxon to ask him a few questions about Hannah. Later, when Dexter and Hannah retrieve the suitcase full of money from Arlene’s new home, Clayton arrives at her house to talk to Arlene. Dexter poses as Arlene’s boyfriend to ward off Clayton’s suspicions, but he doesn’t seem to be fooled. After Clayton leaves, Dexter and Hannah decide that the best place for Hannah to stay is at Debra’s house.
- Debra is invited to return to Miami Metro by Angel, but she hasn’t made a decision quite yet. She and Quinn team up to investigate Cassie’s murder, and Deb finds a new lead in Saxon. The two go to interview him again, and find out that he’d been making plans to leave the country for a while, and Deb’s instincts tell her that he’s lying. After they leave Saxon’s apartment, Deb and Quinn share a kiss, but they both agree to pretend that it never happened immediately afterward. When Deb returns to her apartment, Dexter and Hannah are waiting there. Deb is at first very unwilling to have Hannah live in her house, but she does relent and agree to let her stay for only a few days. Angel gives Deb her old detective badge back, but she still isn’t sure if she can return. She feels conflicted and hypocritical, especially since she knows that her brother is a serial killer. Before she leaves the police station, Deb talks to Quinn for an update on Saxon, and it turns out that he’s already packed up and moved out. When Deb goes home, she actually has another moment with Hannah where they talk about their lives, and about Deb rejoining the force. It seems the ice between the two is thawing just a little bit further.
- Dexter visits Dr. Vogel to tell her that it’s true about Saxon being her son. Much to his surprise, Vogel doesn’t want him to kill Daniel/Saxon. She feels like this is a second chance for her to help him. Dexter appreciates where she’s coming from, but still intends on killing him when he gets the chance. Realizing that he probably has spyware on Vogel’s computer, they decide to trick him into showing up at a cafe that Vogel used to take him to when he was a child. The morning of the trap, Dexter drugs Vogel to pursue Daniel on his own so that he can kill him. However, Daniel recognizes that Dexter set him up, and quickly leaves, though not before slashing the tires on Dexter’s car. Dexter returns to Vogel to warn her that it’s likely Daniel will see this as Vogel using Dexter to try and get rid of him. Vogel is disappointed that Dexter drugged her, and she actually requests that Dexter allow her to handle this issue on her own from here on out. He reluctantly agrees, and leaves.
- As Dexter departs, Vogel goes into a back room of her house where Saxon is waiting. He overheard her talk with Dexter, and he now believes her that she didn’t have anything to do with Dexter’s attempt to kill him this morning. The episode ends with the two of them sitting down to eat.
Much to my displeasure, the first of the final episodes of Dexter really didn’t deliver for me.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Kenny Johnson appear as the US Marshall. He’s a good actor, and I’ve enjoyed seeing him appear throughout some of my favorite shows over the years, from The Shield to Smallville, Sons of Anarchy and now to Dexter. He’s a good fit for the marshall character, and I’m looking forward to seeing him play a more important role in the final three episodes. It seems that the character is smart enough to recognize that Dexter’s hiding something about Hannah, and that should build some tension for Dex as we approach the end of his story.
This episode had yet another surprise cliff-hanger twist ending, throwing the viewer for a loop by presenting that Vogel and Saxon have some sort of tenuous truce. There’s no question that this seriously changes the landscape for the next three episodes.
My major issues with this episode are basically the same that I’ve had throughout this final season of the show. It’s doesn’t feel like it’s coming to an end. Compare it to last night’s episode of Breaking Bad. (Rest assured, I won’t spoil anything here.) We saw two major moments in that show that heightened the already thick layer of tension to a completely new level altogether, and it left the viewer thinking, “Oh my god! There’s still five episodes left! What could possibly happen next?” After the final scene of that episode, I wanted to know what happened next as soon as possible.
That is exactly how I should feel about Dexter, but I don’t. Although the season had a strong opening episode and a few good moments in between, this has still been a rather mediocre season of the show. The writing feels contrived and downright lackadaisical. The scenes between Hannah and Debra over the past two episodes have been completely out of character for both women, and that’s just one example. The creators aren’t really delivering any believable character development for many characters at this point. They’re just serving the needs of a particularly boring plot.
Last year we had another really fragmented and unfocused season, but the last two episodes kicked into high gear with the LaGuerta storyline, which brought the tension higher than it had been in years. I’m sure that the writers have done the exact same thing this year, and the final three episodes are going to really increase the anticipation and make the viewer wonder what’s coming. It just may be too little, too late.