Here is the good news, if you can call it that: We’ve managed to escape the muddled Brain Surgeon storyline! He’s dead as Trinity after Sunday’s “This Little Piggy” episode.
The not-great news: The episode was otherwise pretty sleepy, and a new murder case was introduced that looks right out of a CBS murder-of-the-week crime procedural. If there is ONE thing I can’t stand, it’s fucking procedural cop shows! If I wanted to watch that, I would still be watching Law & Order: SVU. I’m gonna say this now and not repeat myself: We are now Five episodes into Dexter's final season, so why in the world does it feel like we're just killing time before the dramatic fireworks that we assume/hope are eventually going to come?
The season 8 premiere was tense, emotional and gripping. It felt like the show was evolving into an interesting and non-formulaic animal for its final season. But since, we’ve been lost in Dr. Vogel’s psychotherapy and chasing the Not-So-Big Bad, I guess it’s safe to say we’ve gotten a little lost.
Maybe everything we’ve seen so far will pay off later, but I have my doubts. Maybe all these various story threads will tie together into a stunning knotty climax, leaving us fans asking for more. There have been developments this season, like Deb and Dexter’s relationship has continued to evolve. However I wish the final season was increasing stakes and tension every week and instead it feels more like a cohesive story instead of a compartmentalized series of new killers for Dexter to dispose of. There was the Brain Surgeon (and his little bitch, I would use the term minion, but to me minions are cute like Despicable Me).
Now, there’s some creep going around killing maids. Okay, now I feel like some of the writers have been watching Devious Maids. The return of Hannah McKay is still waiting in the wings. Don’t let me forget, there’s the Jake Elway character who will eventually be doing something other than drinking electrolytes, presumably. I’m bored with this guy. Seriously, serve a purpose or fuck off! I don’t really care whether Quinn or Miller become sergeant, I am just not that invested in this particular storyline enough to give a shit, or even pretend to give a shit.
By the end of this episode, Dex and Debra’s relationship with each other and with the suspicion-free Miami Metro (you can’t even convince them you’re guilty by confessing, WTF?!) feel like everything is more or less back to normal (I’ll explain more at the end of this recap). It’s perhaps worth nothing that this final season of Dexter was written faster than any of the previous years.
The summer premiere date was picked in order to help the launch of Showtime’s Ray Donovan, instead of Dexter returning in the fall like usual, which hugely crunched all the deadlines. So, we arguably shouldn’t hold this season to the same standard as other seasons. But we have to at least focus on what we’re given.
So, let me recap Sunday’s episode with eight noteworthy things that happened:
1. Dexter and Deb had to scramble in the wake of the accident. Crashing a car into a lake along a suburban street in front of a witness and nearly killing Dexter naturally had plenty of serious consequences for our characters and the story, which should come as no surprise whatsoever. The police were called, Dexter had to go to the hospital after being revived, the Morgans ended up having to explain what happened to the insurance company, Dexter had to buy another new car and …. and … and … oh wait, None of that shit actually happened! Or maybe it did and we were just spared the horror of it all. Okay, there was some reaction on my end of things, and that brings me to the first real thing that happened this week:
2. We see a new side to Dexter: Our beloved blood-spatter vigilante was uncharacteristically and quite rightfully pissed about his sister trying to murder him. “You almost left my son an orphan,” he tells Deb. “I’m not perfect! You think it’s easy being your brother!?” Yeah, you tell that bitch! We were all ready for mopey Deb to get a verbal ass kicking smack upside the head. She has every reason to be depressed and upset, of course, but I’m ready for her to turn a corner and get the fuck over it already. Dexter declares to Dr. Vogel that he’s going to get back to hunting a serial killer, “which according to you is all I’m really good for … don’t forget to write all this down.” Seeing bitter, angry, self-pitying Dexter is actually pretty fun and worth watching!
3. Quinn should NEVER run a meeting. Batista continues to favor his grouchy ex-partner over the less interesting but perfectly competent-seeming Det. Miller in the competition for Miami Metro’s Next Top Sergeant. He lets Quinn run the morning meeting that was a HUGE mistake! King of the mumbles goes through the motions just fine. We learn there’s a new case that’s going to occupy their time, the maid/lover of a wealthy guy named Hamilton who was found murdered. Are these writer’s working with the writer’s from Devious Maids, because this sounds EXACTLY like the same plot!
4. Dexter gets a stalker: The Miami Metro team investigates the Hamilton murder, where a man was having an affair with his “devious maid” and we realize almost immediately that his skulking super creepy preppy teenage son probably did it. The son, Zach, takes an unusual interest in Dexter and seems to be doing his best Michael C. Hall impression, though NOT very well. Quinn tells Batista that Zach was seen leaving the crime scene. “I wasn’t expecting that,” Batista says. In case anyone has forgotten, as we’ve already established, he’s not a very good detective. It amazes me that he still has a job.
5. Masuka’s daughter may be using him: First things first, DUH! I’m not really sure. I suspect that she is, but I could be wrong. I’m not sure adding cheese to your burrito order at a roach coach really exemplifies the term mooching. But as a creepy single guy dating in Miami, Masuka is probably sensitive to excuses like “I left my purse in the car.” He employs Deb to dig up dirt on her. Not the wisest move, but you do what you gotta do.
6. Dr. Vogel, you’re gonna get kidnapped: Yates is apparently the Brain Surgeon, but he also might be a foot fetishist with pliers,I guess he’s both. I don’t think he is the Brain Surgeon, in fact, I still think it’s Vogel! Why the hell not. In my favorite scene from this episode, Yates simply walks by Vogel’s window, crashes through it and tackles her. There’s an invasive violence to this moment that actually worked for me. Just don’t think about Yates too much. Yates has been doing an extremely elaborate psychological tormenting of Vogel this season, rearranging crime scenes and leaving little gift boxes of brains and all that jazz. He seems like a totally different character than somebody who would just do something so simple. His major personality traits are being shouty and wearing a hat.
7. Jamie isn’t a great matchmaker: I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am DONE putting up with Jaime and her whiny bullshit! Dexter comes home in a rush during his hunt to find Dr. Vogel, but he’s ambushed by his now annoying nanny who has invited cute neighbor Cassie (who should have just stayed the fuck away) over for drinks to set her up with Dexter. It’s “less awkward this way” she explains. Sure Jamie, there’s nothing remotely awkward about coming home after a hard day at work to a surprise first date in your own living room!! Dexter protests and she’s outraged. “I planned this whole night for you!” she says, totally dumping her plan in his lap. Dexter briefly relents, and agrees to spend some time with Cassie, who proves to be a good sport about everything. “Serial killer bested by 100-pound nanny,” he says.
8. The Brain Surgeon dies: Deb wanted to help Dexter rescue Vogel since that will apparently help her presumably get more over killing LaGuerta. Works for me! Vogel fends off Yates by pretending to be his mother and slapping him. She uses his phone to call Dexter, tipping him and Deb to their location. The killer Morgans arrive and rescue her, with Dex impaling Yates with a curtain rod, nice weapon choice Dexter! The therapy feels complete, for the moment and Dexter and Deb seem like they’re on the same page again, for the time being. “The family that kills together…” Deb says. All three of them participate in the solemn body-dumping/fish-feeding ceremony off the Slice of Life, one murderous family. Deb has it exactly right when she says: “If anyone really knew us, they’d run screaming.”