The episode begins with Dr. Vogel sitting down to talk with Saxon. She wants to fix their relationship and get him the help he needs, but Saxon still has huge issues with her. He hasn’t forgotten how she sent him to that mental institution and never once visited him, and it’s clear that he’s holding a big grudge. Saxon believes that Vogel has given Dexter a better life than she ever gave him, and is very envious of that fact
Meanwhile, Dexter is doing his best to tie up all the loose ends with Saxon as well as attend to a small laundry list of things to do before leaving to Argentina with Hannah and Harrison. He wants Vogel to help him track Saxon down, but she still insists on trying to reform him instead of killing him. For a while, Dexter acts like he’s going to respect her wishes, but he knows that he needs to put Saxon down for good, and he comes up with the idea of using reverse spyware to hack Saxon’s computer in order to track him down.
While he’s attempting to do that, he does his best to do some of the work on the laundry list. He gives Batista his notice that he’s quitting, and he tells Debra about his plans. Of course, she doesn’t agree with the idea of him leaving with Hannah, but after she has a chat with Quinn later, she decides that she wants Dexter to be happy, even if the thought of living without him really scares her.
Speaking of Quinn, he decides to actually take the time to break up with Jamie because he knows their relationship isn’t going anywhere, and he does actually still have feelings for Deb. She later admits that she does still have feelings for him too, and they kiss again. She also decides to return to Miami Metro after all.
In one of the best scenes of the episode, Saxon takes Vogel to his own kill room, which ends up being the same room that he used to kill his earlier victims this season. It’s modeled after the hospital that he was incarcerated in, and he explains how poorly he was treated there. Vogel does feel truly bad that she sentenced her son to such a terrible place. It turns out that Saxon is willing to accept his mother’s help, but on his own terms. He refuses to undergo any further psychiatric care, and wants his mother to teach him how to live in the open like Dexter. Vogel is willing to try, but her son warns her not to play favorites like she did with him and his brother. If she chooses Dexter over him, there will be consequences.
Meanwhile, US Marshall Clayton is still in town and has gotten wind that Dexter is leaving Miami. Good cop that he is, he finds the idea of Dexter leaving town so soon after Hannah was supposed to be in the city very suspicious.
Dexter’s spyware idea works and he’s able to hack into Saxon’s computer, and finds that Saxon has filmed all of his kills and has the files on the computer. The most recent one is the murder of Zack Hamilton, which infuriates Dexter. The next morning, Vogel arrives at Dexter’s home and tries to persuade him to leave Miami and let her deal with Saxon. She genuinely wants to try and help her son, foolishly believing that he doesn’t even enjoy killing. Her lackluster attempts at persuasion don’t sway Dexter’s resolve, and he proves to her that Saxon is a monster once and for all by showing her the videotape of Zack’s murder. Horrified by the graphic video, Vogel finally agrees that he is beyond help, and Dexter needs to end him. They resolve to have him meet her somewhere in public that night so that Dexter can get rid of him.
At Debra’s home, Harrison badly injures himself on Debra’s treadmill and Hannah takes him to the hospital to try and get him stitched up. While she’s there, the receptionist at the hospital recognizes her and reaches out to Marshall Clayton. Clayton now knows for sure that Hannah does have a connection with Dexter after all.
After tending to his son, Dexter gets a phone call from Vogel. She’s reneged on the plant to meet Saxon in public, because she wants to have one last moment with him as a mother before they have to say goodbye. Dexter races over to her home to resolve the situation. However, Saxon senses that his mother is scared of something and he knows that she’s betrayed him. When Dexter arrives, the house is dark and his phone rings. The caller is Saxon, and he tells Dexter to look at the window. Vogel is standing there facing out to see Dexter, with Saxon standing behind her. Saxon claims that she chose the wrong son again, and he cuts her throat with a huge butcher knife. Dexter smashes through the door to try and help Vogel, but it’s too late. She dies in Dexter’s arms after only a moment. Dexter holds her close, and his face contorts in anger as the episode ends.
On the recap for the last episode, I predicted that the final three episodes of the show would end up being much more satisfying and climactic than the rest of this lackluster final season. This episode proved me absolutely right. The last half of the episode really did pick up and deliver in terms of tension.
The first half of the episode dragged through the far less interesting story of Dexter and Hannah’s plans to leave for Argentina, but once we started getting the good stuff with Saxon, I felt like I could forgive some of those duller moments, because I thought those moments were golden. I have to take my hat off to the team for the one-two punch with Saxon’s scenes in the middle of the episode. The scene with Vogel in his kill room was very creepy, but it managed to make you feel a bit of empathy for the character. He did want to be loved by his mother, and he felt betrayed by the way she put him in that awful institution.
However, all that empathy disintegrated when we saw the video of him brutally murdering Zack. Within only a few minutes, I’d gone from “Maybe there could be some kind of hope for him,” to “Get him, Dexter!” That little QuickTime video made me hate and fear Saxon in a way that I haven’t been able to react to a Dexter villain in quite a while. AJ Yates from earlier this season was good, but Saxon’s actions in this episode made it look great. Though I was very annoyed that Zack’s storyline seemingly ended so abruptly with no payoff, I feel like this moment was what was needed. Now that The Brain Surgeon is revealed in all his sinister glory, we needed to actually see him do something truly reprehensible in order for him to establish credibility and hatred as a villain. They accomplished that in spades.
Though I’m not a fan of the Hannah angle this season, I was enjoying the heightened drama of Clayton pursuing her. He’s now very close to nailing them. I do think that Harrison’s injury was a bit forced, but it’s not exactly implausible. She reacted the best she could. Since Dexter was unavailable and he needed immediate care, she had to take him to the hospital herself. But that being said, why didn’t she try to get a hold of Deb? That way she didn’t need to expose herself. Oh well, the drama must ensue.
Regarding the episode’s surprise ending, I must confess that I never expected to see Vogel leave the show quite so soon. I was certain that we would be seeing her up until the show’s final moments, since they’ve tried to retroactively make her such a vital part of Dexter’s story. Her death was surprising, but nowhere near as shocking as they’d like it to be. Dexter has now lost another mother figure, and this is sure to affect him deeply.
This episode did have its issues, but I’d still say it was much better than the most recent installments of the show. For that, I give it the praise it deserves.