What is Dexter Morgan? Is he a dark protector, a guardian angel of sorts, who kills in order to save the innocent? Is he a perfect genetic specimen, a human that is not chained down by the restrictive emotions that force us to think of the benefit of others instead of solely focusing on ourselves? Or is Dexter Morgan a mistake, a regretful, disturbed creation, his mere existence causing pain and suffering to everyone he supposedly “cares” for? The easy answer would be somewhere between all three of these options; however, Dexter is thankfully not going down the easy route and is illustrating how all three of these possible explanations may hold merit. “Every Silver Lining,” the superb second episode of Dexter‘s eighth and final season, showed Dexter’s emotional turmoil over “destroying” Deb, making him question the significance of his very existence.
It appears this season of Dexter, more than any others in the past, will truly delve into the divide between human and psychopath. If Dexter can have true emotional reactions and connections (his need to talk to someone after Harry died, his broken relationship with Deb, etc.), can he actually be called a psychopath, or is he something different, a new kind of killer? Even though this is a question that the series has discussed many times in the past, I’m finding this season’s exploration of it much more interesting, due to the character of Dr. Evelyn Vogel and the fantastic performance by her portrayer, Charlotte Rampling. I don’t think I really trust Dr. Vogel very much, especially with the way that she psychoanalyzes Dexter at every opportunity given to her and seems all too interested in his personal life with Deb, but Rampling’s motherly warmth, combined with her mysterious demeanor, make her an extremely interesting character and an absolute well of information for Dexter. The videos of her meetings with Harry and her open conversations with Dexter about the nature of psychopaths have been some of the best scenes in this early part of the season, and I cannot wait to continue to delve into their relationship as we move further.
In addition to Dexter’s interactions with Dr. Vogel, we get some more emotionally brutal scenes this week between Dexter and Deb, which sucks for the characters, but is great for us as an audience because Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter are never better than when they are facing off against each other. Dexter continues to witness Deb’s total meltdown, which reaches a tipping point with her murdering of the hitman, Javier Guzman, and her blacking out of the event afterwards. Dexter initially seeks Deb out at her house, where she tells Dexter that she doesn’t want to hate him; all she wants is to love him and for him to love her back, but after LaGuerta’s death, it can never happen and that’s why she cannot be around him anymore.
Later in the episode, Dexter confronts Deb about her shooting Guzman, and when she wants Dexter to cover it up for her, he asks what if he wasn’t there to help her out? “You really want to play the ‘what if’ game?” Deb responds, and then goes on, saying, what if Dexter wasn’t a serial killer and what if Harry had just left him in that storage container all those years ago. Deb’s tearful outrage and the look on Dexter’s face, fully realizing what his actions have done to his sister, really sell the tragedy of this scene and make it just as memorable as Dexter and Deb’s conversation in the alleyway from last scene, when Deb was still uncovering all the mysteries behind Dexter’s serial killing ways.
Even though we are only two episodes into this final season of Dexter, I already feel like the stakes are huge. Deb is on a downward spiral, leading to her own self-destruction potentially. Dr. Vogel is a mysterious mentor for Dexter, who has ties to Miami’s newest serial killer, The Brain Surgeon (Thanks for the name, Quinn and Masuka!). And Dexter is caught in between all of this, questioning what his true role in life is and whether this idea of a “greater purpose” really means anything if you’re irrecoverably hurting the person that you care for most.
– Miami Metro update: Angel knows Quinn is dating Jamie, Quinn and Jamie had a fight, Quinn is studying for the test to become sergeant, and Masuka is still a perv around Deb. So much interesting stuff!
– I really loved all the old videos of Harry that we saw in this episode, especially the one where he shows Vogel the shard of glass that Dexter took from the crime scene, an early example of Dexter’s “trophies.” Truly fascinating stuff to watch.
– Also really enjoyed Deb’s interactions with her new boss. They have a great back-and-forth. I hope he sticks around for a little while.
What did everyone else think of the episode? Is the final season of Dexter living up to your expectations?