Dexter: 8.04 - Scar Tissue
This week on Dexter: Debra goes into therapy! After guilt turned her into a tramp, it's hard to pretend she didn't have this coming. So she's now trapped in the tender care of Dr Vogel, who seems to be Dex's surrogate mother, but does she feel the same about Deb? Or is this where her ambiguity comes into play?
So, with this episode we're a third into the final season, and beginning the mid-section. Will it be coasting, or is there new drama to be mined? Spoilers, but... well, there's some.
Dexter Goes PostalHe's making a list! He's checking it twice! He's working through Dr Vogel's backlog like a homicidal postman! Yes, the plot device of Dexter slaughtering all her old experiments continues, on the off-chance one of them is The Brain Surgeon. It's a strange thing to stick Dex with in this final season, as it makes him feel like a mere henchman, rather than making decisions which really shape the narrative. Having said that, he does vocally ditch Vogel in the closing parts of the week, so hopefully he's breaking loose of that cage now.
But before he casts off the shackles of oppression, Dexter discovers reasonable evidence that AJ Yates might be The Brain Surgeon, or perhaps just another of the lurid serial killers who seem weirdly common in Miami. I'm assuming there's still a twist coming, probably one that implicates Vogel herself, as this has all been far too easy and this show hates that. Anyway, point being, until he rejects Vogel towards the end, Dex doesn't do much this week except fractionally advance The Brain Surgeon arc, and briefly meet a possible new love interest. Considering his name is in the title, that's a little odd, but I think we've all accepted that Debra is basically co-lead of the series by now.
Ms Fuckin' Morgan, meanwhile, is recieving hard therapy from Vogel, who challenges her to accept her love for Dexter as normal, because Harry did, whilst hiding from her the fact that he didn't really. It's all interesting material, the alternate scene at the start is exciting, Jennifer Carpenter and Charlotte Rampling play it with the necessary intensity. I was looking forward to these scenes, and they didn't disappoint me, especially since they hit on another good way to utilise the show's backstory - bring in Deb's not knowing about Harry killing himself. Cunning. Also enjoyed the way they kept Deb and Dex apart just long enough for it to feel meaningful when they reunited.
Debra Goes SwimmingAnd, y'know, then she tried to kill him. Considering how pivotal the Deb/Dex relationship has become to the show, that sequence would've actually been a valid resolution to the entire thing, and I suppose it's still possible she might have another go later in the year. For now, though, she changes her mind and saves him from drowning, clearing the path for another eight episodes. I'm starting to assume they must have more substantial plot elements to introduce in the second half of the season, as they're bringing this early stuff to a head with some speed. Not that I'm complaining - it'll save us the usual boring mid-section.
Oh yeah, in the comedy cop cavalcade of Miami Metro: Quinn is Sergeant for ten minutes before getting into a pointless fight! Masuka starts a new "long-lost daughter" storyline, and thus must have the inevitable "flirts with her, realises the horrible truth" scene! I'm guessing the writers have seen Game of Thrones. At least it was funny though, whereas Quinn's relationship with Jamie is fast wearing thin.
Another okay season 8 Dexter episode, then - how fondly I remember this stuff probably largely depends on how good the resolution is. No amazing scenes, but no staggering incomptence either. I must admit, I'm starting to get itchy for some genuine THE END IS NIGH stuff, real signs of Dex's world falling apart, since it's the last year and they can actually do that stuff. Maybe I've hit on what they're doing in the second half.