Guess who’s back! Dexter Morgan, our lovable serial killer from Miami! It is the beginning of the end, as this is Dexter’s last season! Violet provides the episode recap for this week’s Dexter episode titled “A Beautiful Day”, while Josh provides additional commentary. Curious to know what happened 6 months after the death of LaGuerta? That is where this episode begins, as we see Dexter and Deb seemingly spiraling out of control. We have the introduction of the serial killer specialist Dr. Vogel as well, who will be more than just an assistant on the case. Let’s get on with the Dexter recap, so we can get ready for tonight!
The first episode of Season 8 takes place 6 months after the events that happened at the end of Season 7. That is, 6 months after Deb shot and killed La Guerta. Dexter looks like he’s happy-go-lucky now that all of his problems have been solved with LaGuerta out of the way. Harrison has all of a sudden gotten much older than it seems he should be at this point. Miami Metro shows up for LaGuerta’s memorial ceremony where they unveil a bench that’s in LaGuerta’s name, but Deb is not there. It turns out she no longer works at Miami Metro, and Dexter hasn’t seen or talked to her for awhile. LaGuerta’s death also prompted Batista to cancel his retirement plans and come back to work at Miami Metro.
I thought it was odd that they decided to skip over the initial aftermath of the LaGuerta scene. I would have been interested to see what happened there. Maybe we will have some flashbacks? I doubt it though. I did listen to the Dexter podcast, and they mentioned the reason for not showing it was that it would have been seeing Dexter do what he always does after a kill, but I was more interested to see Deb’s transformation.
Every time Dexter tries to call Deb, she doesn’t pick up her phone, and her voicemail is full. We then see what Deb is doing that she’s too busy to pick up the phone — snorting cocaine and hooking up with some guy in a motel room. Meanwhile, Dexter stops by Deb’s house and sees that her mailbox is overflowing. He knows she’s going through a hard time and is paranoid that she’s “done something.” She’s not there, of course, and he finds anti-depressant medication and pot. He goes looking for her at her new job and talks to her boss, Elway. Apparently she is now working as a private investigator. However, Elway has no idea where she is or where she’ll be in, but he’s not too concerned about it, as she checks in whenever she wants. Elway hasn’t heard from her in 2 weeks though, which is the longest she’s gone without checking in. Dexter gets Elway to tell him a little about the case that Deb’s working on, including the name of the guy she’s tracking, Briggs.
It seems a little unbelievable to me that Deb would fall so far off the wagon. Then again, she has had issues in the past and none were as devastating as this. Again, I would have liked to see her transfer to the private sector, as that would have been interesting to see. Seeing Batista and the other cops react to her choice would have been nice.
Dexter gets called to a crime scene, where he discovers that the back of the victim’s head was removed, and a portion of the brain was scooped out.
Is this the villain of the season? The prey for Dexter?
He goes back to the station and looks up Briggs, who he finds out robbed a high end jewelry store, and has been arrested 3 times for assault. He’s able to log into Deb’s online credit card records and see that most of her recent purchases were made at a market in Fort Lauderdale, so he drives over there. When he sees Deb and Briggs go into the store, he follows them in and is able to talk to Debra alone. She tells him to leave her alone because she’s trying to work a case and is getting close to being able to bring in the jewelry so she can get a cut for that too. She also tells him she doesn’t want to talk to him because she hates him for making her compromise everything she believes in, and that she shot the wrong person in that trailer. Dexter looks incredibly hurt, but just then Briggs finds Deb and they leave together.
Quick side note, Deb has a “great” password for her login information. But we know Dexter, and while we do not know of Dexter killing non-killers too often, it is not something he hasn’t done at all. Another interesting discussion on the Dexter podcast (which guest starred Jennifer Carpenter), is they discussed what if Deb shot Dexter? She would probably not be too much better off. Her career would be over for killing Dexter and probably for not knowing that Dexter was a serial killer.
Dexter’s driving down the street, talking to Harry, who’s sitting in the passenger seat, rationalizing that Deb doesn’t really hate him, she’s just messed up, but Harry tells him to leave her alone. Just then, a truck cuts him off, which angers Dexter, so he pulls up around the truck and cuts it off, then stops short and gets out of the car to go talk to the driver of the truck. He immediately attacks the driver, strangling him, until he sees a child sitting in the back seat, realizes what he’s doing, then gets back in his car, where Harry tells him he lost control and to go home.
It is hard to not imagine Deb hating Dexter at this point. For a regular “Jane” it would be hard to accept your brother as a killer. Deb is a cop who truly believes in justice, making Dexter almost her antithesis. The only saving grace that he has is that he kills bad guys. We can see that Dexter is losing control with the car scene though. Question is: is this because Dexter feels bad for Deb or because he feels is own world falling apart, thereby having more selfish reasons than anything else?
We then see Angel’s little sister, Jamie, having sex with Quinn. However, they hear Angel get home, and Quinn is no longer able to perform. Jamie gets dressed so she can distract Angel while Quinn sneaks out. Angel starts going through boxes of LaGuerta’s stuff, and finds warrants to track Dexter’s and Deb’s phones, and tears them up.
For some reason, seeing Jamie and Quinn together seemed wrong. Perhaps because we have known Jamie since she was younger, and that she is Batista’s little sister? That kind of bothered me. Regarding Batista’s search, I was worried he was going to find some incriminating evidence that might put him on Dexter’s trail.
At a Miami Metro briefing the next day, where it appears that Angel has taken Deb’s place as Lieutenant, we are introduced to Dr. Evelyn Vogel, who has volunteered to consult on the recent body dump case where a portion of the brain was removed. Dr. Vogel is an expert on psychopaths. She talks about how psychopaths have no empathy, and the fact that the portion of the brain that was removed was the area which processes empathy. Dr. Vogel thinks that this was the thoughtful, planned out work of a serial killer, and that there will be more victims to come.
Dexter looks up Dr. Vogel online, and realizes she’s the last person he needs looking in his direction right now. Angel comes in to give Dexter a small vase that had belonged to LaGuerta to remember her by, although Angel understands that things weren’t so great between her and Dexter before LaGuerta “so tragically died.” This prompts Dexter to have an outburst, saying “She died because she wouldn’t leave things alone!” for which he quickly apologizes. Angel tells Dexter he hopes he finds it in his heart to forgive her. Then Masuka tells Dexter that Vogel wants to see him in the morgue.
Dexter is definitely unraveling, his outburst at Batista would to me, put up a huge red flag regarding LaGuerta’s death, but I guess Dexter has done a good enough job portraying the innocent man visage.
Back at the sleazy motel room, Briggs gets a phone call, then goes outside to meet his contact, El Sapo, that he’s trying to sell the jewelry to, while Deb waits inside. She quickly calls Quinn and asks him to check on El Sapo for her, and gets off the phone before Briggs comes back inside.
I guess in a way it is good that Deb is at least working the case. I am curious to know if she would have truly turned Briggs in if it came down to it.
Dexter shows up at the morgue to see Dr. Vogel examining the victim’s brain. She seems to ask some routine questions, which Dexter answers and starts to leave, but she stops him and tells him she wants his take on the case. She starts to talk about belief systems and asks what the Bay Harbor Butcher, Doakes, was like. Dexter says that he was angry and had a short fuse, which Dr. Vogel comments that it doesn’t fit with being a psychopath, who would be disassociated from his feelings, not quick to anger. Dexter counters that maybe he wasn’t a psychopath, but Dr. Vogel insists that the Bay Harbor Butcher was definitely a psychopath, he’d have to be, to masquerade the way he did. She starts to talk about the fact that seems to have operated with a set of moral guidelines — which sounds eerily like Harry’s Code. However, Dexter redirects it back to Doakes, suggesting it could be Doakes’ special ops training. Vogel laments not having been able to interview Doakes, then tells Dexter she looks forward to working with him, and he leaves.
I found it weird that Dexter would slip up so badly on this interrogation with Vogel. She is clearly fishing, and to answer Vogel’s questions regarding Doakes, he merely has to look at himself, and portray those traits onto Doakes. We know that Dexter has a hard time with empathy, but he is self aware of his lack of it, and should have been able to convey this to Vogel.
Dexter is obviously shaken up by this encounter, as he heads straight to Deputy Chief Matthews’ office to get more info on Dr. Vogel. It turns out she had consulted on a few cases with Matthews in the past, and she called him up out of the blue, he filled her in on the case, and she volunteered to help for free. Matthews tells Dexter that she’s smart and to keep her in the loop. Dexter walks away thinking that the reason she’s there might be him. He runs into Quinn along the way, who asks Dexter to tell Deb to check her messages because she asked him for help, but now he can’t reach her. He couldn’t find anything out from Robbery about El Sapo, but he does know that Briggs robbed the wrong store – it turned out to be owned by some mob guy, so nobody wants to buy what he’s selling except El Sapo. Then Jamie shows up to drop Harrison off with Dexter. Apparently Dexter has forgotten that it’s Jamie’s night off.
I feel like visiting Matthews was probably the last thing that Dexter should have done. Matthews knows how much LaGuerta was looking into him, and she happened to die soon after? He would have to have some suspicions at the very least. With Dexter coming, essentially interrogating Matthews about Vogel regarding serial killers seemed a bit careless.
Deb and Briggs are cuddled up at the motel watching TV, when Briggs gets a phone call from El Sapo about meeting up. Briggs tells Deb he’ll meet El Sapo outside, and he wants her to stay in the room because he doesn’t want her to get hurt. Aw, how sweet, it sounds like the criminal actually cares about Deb!
Meanwhile, Dexter’s at the station doing some research on El Sapo, while Harrison sits in the chair next to him and spins in circles. Turns out the reason Robbery didn’t know anything about El Sapo is because he’s not a fence — he’s a hitman. As Harrison is spinning, he knocks LaGuerta’s vase off of Dexter’s desk, and it breaks on the floor, which causes Dexter to lose his temper and yell, “Jesus, Harrison, look at what you did!” Just like his outburst at Angel earlier, Dexter immediately apologizes. He tries calling Deb to warn her about El Sapo, but she of course does not answer. He and Harrison then leave the station.
More Dexter unraveled. But it looks like Dexter will have to do something about this El Sapo. He is a killer after all…
While driving, Dexter tries to call Quinn, who does not answer his phone. We then see the reason is because he’s busy getting it on with Jamie. But Dexter goes to Quinn’s apartment and knocks on the door, interrupting them. He asks Quinn if he knows where Deb is, and he tells him she’s at the Pink Motel. Dexter tries calling Jamie, presumably to drop Harrison off with her, but she ignores his call and gets back to business with Quinn, so Dexter has no choice but to bring Harrison along with him to warn Deb.
I thought there might be the awkward moment of Dexter discovering Jamie. I am curious if this new relationship with turn into a love triangle with Deb, or if that story has run its course. I am curious about why Quinn has left Dexter alone though, he had his suspicions a few seasons ago, and only really backed off because Deb told him to.
Dexter pulls into the Pink Motel parking lot, and tries to call Deb, to no avail. Harrison has fallen asleep in the backseat, so he leaves him there as he walks up to Deb’s motel room. He sees Briggs go into the bathroom, so he goes up to the door, lightly knocks on it, and Deb answers. He tries to warn Deb about El Sapo and to get her to come with him, but she refuses, saying she doesn’t care if she dies because she’s a bad person for killing LaGuerta. He tries to plead with her, and they continue to argue until Briggs comes out. He recognizes Dexter from the market. Dexter ignores him and tries to take Deb with him, but Briggs pushes him away, telling him to get his hands off Deb. Dexter attacks Briggs, pushing him into the motel room, where Dexter finds a knife and stabs Briggs. Deb freaks out, saying that she “felt okay around him,” to which Dexter replies that she “didn’t belong with him.” Dexter tries to get Deb to look at herself and see that she is “lost,” but she says she knows right where she is and that she deserves it. She goes on to say that she grew up thinking that she needed Dexter, but now she realizes it was the other way around. She then tells Dexter to leave, that she’ll take care of this, and calls it in to the police. After Dexter leaves the room, Deb reaches into Briggs’ pocket and finds a set of keys.
Interesting how Deb has turned this “lost” feeling around onto Dexter. Is Deb his only real connection to humanity and emotions? Is Deb not lost? I would think that both are lost, if anything. For Deb to find herself though, it would probably not be in Dexter’s best interest. As far as Briggs, would she have stayed with him forever? Did she really feel okay with him? Is being coked up, drunk and high “okay”? I understand her feeling of self-punishment, however, she could put her investigative skills to better use, to at least try to atone for her sins. She could even turn herself and/or Dexter in. What was interesting about this scene, is that Deb tells Dexter that she is going to “Call it in”. For a split second it almost feels like she may turn Dexter in, but she then tells him to get out of there. What is also sad, is this is another kill of Dexter’s that is not a killer, showing Deb further that Dexter is not a hero, just a messed up murderer in her eyes.
When Dexter returns to his car, he finds the door open and Harrison missing. He starts to panic, and runs around the parking lot calling Harrison’s name. But he soon finds Harrison wandering around, and picks him up, trying not to touch him with his bloody hand. Harrison asks where they are, and Dexter thinks, “Lost.”
Harrison’s disappearing act has seemed to evoke the “lost” feeling in Dexter now, and he seems to think Deb is right, despite what seemed like a “great” past 6 months.
Later on in the motel room, Deb is being questioned about the murder. Her story is that she went out to get a sandwich, she found Briggs dead when she came back, and that she doesn’t know who would want to kill him. When she gets into her car, she calls her boss Elway, to report Briggs’ death, but she also tells him she might have a lead on where the jewelry is. However, as Deb drives off, we see that El Sapo has been sitting in his car, watching her.
I have a feeling El Sapo and Dexter will be meeting soon.
At Dexter’s apartment, he sees that Harrison’s stuffed animal has Briggs’ blood on it, and he frantically tries to rinse it off. We then hear a voiceover from Dexter, saying that Deb’s right – he’s the one who’s lost, that a better person would let her go, but he doesn’t know how, and that without her, he doesn’t know who he is anymore.
Dexter goes and sits down on the Maria LaGuerta memorial bench. Dr. Vogel strolls up and tries to talk to him, but he tells her it isn’t a good time. She leaves an envelope with him, and starts to walk off. Dexter opens the envelope and finds some disturbing children’s drawings, one of which has the name “Dexter” written on it. He runs and catches up to Dr. Vogel, asking her what she wants and pinning her against the wall. She tells him that he can’t kill her, and when he asks why, she calmly replies, “Because I don’t fit Harry’s Code.” She then walks off as Dexter stares at her in shock.
Curious to know why Vogel has these pictures. At first I did not realize they were Dexter’s, but then it clicked. She must have interviewed him as a kid, and must have known Harry. Did she help Harry construct this “code”? Is she “broken” herself? She seems rather lacking emotions as well, and seems a little fascinated with serial killers.
My first reaction as I was watching this episode was that it felt awkward and things seemed out of place. Specifically, I felt this way about Dexter and his sudden outbursts of anger. But then I realized that there’s a word that sums up “awkward” and “out of place,” and that word is “lost.” I realized that the episode felt the way it did because the theme of “lost” is a big theme throughout this episode, and probably will be throughout the season. The showmakers wanted you to feel that way, because that is how Dexter feels. Lost. How clever of them. And it all led up to the surprising ending where we find out that Dr. Vogel knows about Harry’s Code, and therefore must know all about Dexter. It looks like she may have been the one to help Harry control and redirect Dexter’s urges to kill when Dexter was a child. Although, she mentioned that most of the Miami Metro employees were in high school the last time she worked there, which would put her there way past when Dexter was a child. Did she dig up the information some other way? On the other hand, I believe Dexter didn’t make his first kill until after high school (for some reason I have the age of 20 in my head, but I could be wrong), which would fit nicely with the timeline. In any case, from the trailer below showing what’s to come on Season 8, it appears that Dr. Vogel will be on Dexter’s side, using him to track and kill other psychopaths, those who don’t have a moral code. I’m eagerly looking forward to the rest of Season 8, and seeing how it all ends!
I really enjoyed this episode. Last season I was not thrilled with, but so far this season seems to be off to a great start. The show seems at its best when Dexter is having to deal with things beyond his control, and both Deb and Vogel are that in spades. He desires control, and it is great watching him struggle to get it back. Also, Dexter’s “lost” feeling was portrayed well this episode. What is always hard to figure out with Dexter is if these feelings of “lost-ness” are selfish reasons (feeling that he may get caught), or more noble, in that he realizes he has messed up Deb and truly wants to help her get back on track.
As for Vogel, we know that she is going to ask Dexter for help tracking a killer, likely this brain-scooping one. I have my suspicions she may be more involved in those killings than we have led to believe so far. As for her past, as I stated above, I think she may have helped Harry set up this code, and may have even treated Dexter as a young kid. Hopefully we have some more revelations next episode. Only 11 episodes left! Below is a look ahead at Season 8!