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Dexter Review: Debra This and Debra That

At the end of the day, it’s all about Deb. 

Dexter gives constant assurance that you’re watching a dark, gritty crime show, and there’s plenty of blood to go around. However, if the last season seems set to solidify anything, it’s that Dexter is about a serial killer dealing with the serial killing while trying to keep a close relationship with his sister. Each and every decision is carefully crafted so as to attempt to affect Debra’s life for the better, or at least making sure she’s not affected at all. Obviously, this plan hasn’t really worked out too well, but Dexter hasn’t given up on little Debbie, and he’s putting on the full court pressure.

Dexter8-3There’s a cleverly dark beginning to the episode, as Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) discovers his son clutching his tummy in the bathroom, smothered with the stains of red popsicles. Even in this almost comical moment shared with his son, Dexter relates the situation to the one he’s having with Debra, immediately consumed with thoughts of his sister once again. He has a bit of a right to be concerned though, considering she’s getting sloshed and passing out on the sides of roads these days.

Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) is discovered completely wasted in her car by an officer, and is taken into the station to be booked, despite her desperate drunken pleas for mercy. She decides to call Quinn (it’s 4 A.M.) and ask for him to pick her up and get out of there. Quinn, before she had called, had been asleep with his girlfriend. He woke up from this sleep, and went to help his ex-lover…at 4 A.M. He also lied to his girlfriend about where he was going, saying it was all about official police business. It’s not hard to see where this one is headed.

Quinn (Desmond Harrington) is able to get Deb out of any real trouble, and takes her back to work, still dressed in last night’s clothes and facing what appears to be a gargantuan hangover. She meets up with her boss Elway (Sean Patrick Flanery), acts indifferent to a new client coming in, flirts a smidgen, and after Dexter shows up with some prime-time harassment, agrees to go to dinner with her brother and discuss all that stuff that they haven’t discussed with the killing and things. Dexter actually plans a nice surprise, taking her to some overcrowded dive to show her a man she saved in a shootout while working for the force. There he sat, alive, happy, healthy, and with a picture perfect little family. It seemed to go well, until shortly after, where she stumbled through the police station almost screaming about how she was the real murderer of Maria LaGuerta.

Dexter once again had to hop in on Deb control, much to the disliking of Dr. Vogel (Charlotte Rampling). Throughout the episode, she tries to convince Dexter to realize he doesn’t really love Debra, not the way us normal folk might share hearts. His love is a selfish one, appreciating what she does for him while she’s around, but not appreciating the person who is doing the actions. For the most part, he seems to shake her off, and he seems visibly angry with Vogel when she questions as to why Dexter didn’t kill Deb when she found out the truth about him and his special hobby? With Deb acting like a loose cannon running through the streets asking for a pinch of gunpowder, Dexter’s secrets are less safe than ever. If she confesses to LaGuerta, she tells them all about Dexter.

Dexter8-3.2The showdown inside the interrogation room is mostly Debra yelling while Dexter and Vogel attempt to be reasonable, and once it’s quite clear Deb is looking for nothing more than a shouting match, Dexter drugs her and hauls her out of the station, claiming she passed out and needed immediate professional help, the kind only Dr. Vogel can really provide. It was a pretty chilling scene back at the house when Dexter slaps handcuffs on his sister, restraining her to the couch. When Vogel questions the move, Dexter simply says, “You don’t know my sister.” Quite right.

Dexter continues his research on the Brain Surgeon and his (or her) relationship with Vogel. This week, he tracked down Ron Galluzo, a former patient of the psychopath expert, and a pretty disgruntled one at that. He had a job at a local mall selling gym equipment, and Dexter has an intriguing encounter with him that leaves him questioning what Galluzo is hiding. A trip to the man’s pad reveals a little taste for the human flesh, cancelling out any thoughts that Galluzo might be the Brain Surgeon. If you’re wondering why, consult your psychopath handbook and you shall see the human brain is treated as a delicacy among cannibals, and wouldn’t be packaged and sent out as taunts. At least we get to see some old-school “Dexter kills bad man” stuff, although we could have at least got to watch him work a little.

The official police investigation into the Brain Surgeon hit their own dead end when Sussman’s body was found at his home, with a gaping hole you could fit a football through in his face. They found him on the floor in one of the rooms in the house, not on a hook outside like Dexter had previously found him. This meant someone had come back to the scene, presumably the killer himself, and rearranged the body in the way he wanted cops to find it. I found it amusing that Detective Angie suggested the killer might have finally grown a conscience and just offed himself. How often does this happen, I wonder? It seems every dead body on this show means nothing but more dead bodies to come, so her optimism left me pretty floored. Anyway…

Jennifer Carpenter is really giving it her all  and turning in some great work, but I can’t help but feeling like they’re drowning us in it. 99.9% of everything that happened in this episode had to do with Deb, and I understand her transformation (or lack thereof) in this trying time is important, but there are still other relationships and stories to be built, especially considering it’s all going to be coming to an end sooner than we know it. Hopefully some Vogel plus Deb exposition will go down next week, so at least we have a different angle from to look at all this drama. Maybe we can even get some more details on what Vogel might be hiding, as it’s very unlikely that she’s just thrown all her cards out all willy-nilly on the table without taking some inventory. Hearing Dexter’s every inner monologue end with three paragraphs about Deb and all his feelings, you start to get a little annoyed with Deb’s feelings and how they’re bogging down the rest of the show.

I’m starting to get to the point where I’m trying to the predict the killer, and although they haven’t given us too much on the Brain Surgeon yet, one would have suggest our last Big Bad of Dexter is going to be someone heavily involved in the season throughout. At this point, it seems pretty obvious Vogel is out, but in my own scouring of thoughts and words of others, I was interested to see how often Elway’s name came up. What a huge last middle finger to Deb’s character that would be, especially considering the obvious sexual tension and eventual sexy-time hook-up. No matter who it is, it’s gotta be huge.

There were some new interesting nuggets of information to take away from the third episode. We saw a shot of Dr. Vogel holding a gun in her own home; a mere weapon of self-defense, or has she used for the purpose of suiting her own needs before? We also saw Debra sit down in Miami Metro and begin a confession statement with the words “Dexter walks in,” and it’s not clear what happened to that piece of paper when Dexter grabbed her. Quinn also seems pretty motivated to screw things up with Jamie, because no matter what, along with Dexter, he’ll always be there to help her. Just how long will Jamie let it slide, and what would Angel do to him if he found out about the whole situation?

Sometimes you just have to pull a Jan Brady and shout, “Debra, Debra, Debra!” It’s all headed to a good place, but I don’t need to be whacked over the head with the metaphorical ladle 100 times in the mouth to feel her pain.

Season 8, Episode 3: “What’s Eating Dexter Morgan?” (originally aired June 14th, 2013)

Dexter airs Sundays at 9pt/et on Showtime.

Images courtesy of Showtime.

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