A Sashurai’s Review: Dexter – Season 8×04 (Creepy laughs are sometimes the easiest way to connect)

Tensions shift into an appropriate level with Dexter’s 4th episode (Scar Tissue), leaving viewers holding their breath…for approximately 17 seconds. A father’s role in how they perceive their children is very much the brick of this plot spanning over various characters and most dominantly, Dexter and Debra’s relationship with Harry. There’s more than an adequate amount of heart pouring that seems more fitting for an episode in the final five, but that could mean less tie-ups and more getting to the point as we collide into the end of Dexter’s saga.

(BEGIN SPOILERS)

Debra re-imagines her shooting of LaGuerta, only this time, she shoots Dexter and kills him. When the fantasy lifts, she’s in the cargo container where LaGuerta’s murder took place and Vogel questions her about the incident. Deb explains that in her vision, she shoots Dex instead and trips over how she felt about it, ultimately deciding she doesn’t know how she feels.

Dex arrives at a crime scene unrelated to the “Brain Surgeon” a murder of a Mexican woman with cuts on her face and bruises on her neck. With no signs of a break-in, a couple of theories are vocalized including the murderer being someone the victim knew. Angel then informs Quinn that he “nailed” the Sergeant’s exam, which greatly pleases Quinn. Miller informs Misuka that a young girl was asking for him. Misuka is intrigued albeit in his own pervasive way.

At the beach, Dex and Vogel discuss Deb’s condition. It’s been a week since she’s been helping Deb understand her situation and Dex’s killing condition. Vogel asks Dexter to prepare for the possibility that Deb won’t want him back in her life. Dex refuses to accept that. The conversation moves into the Brain Surgeon and Dex mentions his next target from her book; AJ Yates, another previously institutionalized man who once strangled a classmate when he was 12. Dex spies on Yates and sees that he has a scar on the back of his head, similar to the cuts performs on the victims of the Brain Surgeon.

At Vogel’s house, she and Deb discuss how her father and Deb are similar and shows her a tape of Harry’s reactions toward Dex wanting to murder someone and Harry dissuading him for the time being. Harry wonders deeply if training him was a mistake. When Vogel answers her door, Deb watches the tape again. At the door, Dex asks Vogel about Yates’s scar, which Vogel offers that she suggested Yates undergo surgery after a lesion was found on his brain. She doesn’t know if the surgery took place. Again, their conversation returns to focus on Deb and Dex explains he needs her in his life. Vogel questions it and describes Deb as a mirror for Dex that has cracked and only shows him darkness. Dex’s reasoning changes as he expresses he still wants Deb in his life, which Vogel catches and reiterates “Want, but not need.”

Later, Dex breaks into Yates’s house and searches it. He finds a gift wrapped by Yates’s for his father who’s in a nursing home. He then finds rows of women’s shoes in a closet and calls Vogel. During this, Yates is seen in a basement spying on Dex through a camera system hooked in his house. He goes to sneak and assault Dex and overhears his conversation with Vogel. This causes him to retreat back in the basement where we see a blond woman tied up within. Dex thinks he hears a noise and departs the house.

At night, Dex returns home and finds a neighbor in his kitchen. She is Cassie from 4B, a friend of Jaime’s who ran out of detergent. Jaime appears and helps Cassie out.

Jaime, Angel, and Quinn celebrate his exam results at Angel’s restaurant. Quinn overhears a negative conversation about Deb going on between two off duty officers and Quinn politely asks them to keep it down. The officer makes an offhanded jab about Quinn to his friend and Quinn starts a fight. Angel breaks it up and tells Jaime to take Quinn away. Later, Quinn and Jaime reconcile, sexually.

In the morning, Dex is making Harrison breakfast, where Dex comes to realize his son refers to “Dan” his imaginary elephant. Dex finds it amusing as Jaime explains her car broke down. Dex offers his SUV and he’ll drive his other vehicle.

Back at the cargo container, Deb once more converses with Vogel about LaGuerta’s shooting and her choice to save Dex. Vogel closes the doors to solidify the metaphor that Deb has shut herself in and forces her to accept that no matter what, she’ll always choose to save Dex because she’s a good person who made the best of an impossible situation. She then tells Deb that it’s her choice to move forward from the incident or not.

(END SPOILERS)

I’m hoping we’ve seen the last of Debra’s dreary hyper-edited thought process/hallucination. It’s fancy but altogether unnecessary. At this point we know she has a clear conscience with what she’s thinking and we don’t need drug-induced video flashbacks to understand she’s revisiting the shooting again.

There are several examples of father roles that are talked about and in a way, “revealed” to certain characters even including minor characters such as newcomer Elway and old-favorite Misuka (That joint laugh was down right creepy) It seems that the writers really wanted to hit home the dilemma that sons/daughters and their male parental figure are often estranged, at odds, or downright useful for quick getaways. While the Morgan’s are the only ones painted in the light of similarity, they are the most conflicted of the bunch.

I’m certainly not puzzled by Dexter’s change in Vogel’s dubious nature, but I am not convinced that we’ve truly identified the Brain Surgeon killer. There’s a mysterious network at play here and Vogel is assuredly at the center of the web. Whether she spun it, or is trapped by it remains to be seen. As plot threads go, when Dexter thinks he has it all figured out, something happens to reset the rules.

As a note, unless Cassie’s role becomes something more disastrous than a final season potential love interest, I hope she is underutilized and forgotten. This season doesn’t need to span new characters into this arc. I’m still waiting for Hannah’s return and I believe she’ll be more helpful to Dexter in the coming weeks. How? I have no present theories to offer on that.

Vogel’s book seems a proper item to disperse a linear process in identifying killers who will end up on Dexter’s cutting room table. While it’s a genuinely new idea, I’m hoping the end all be all killer isn’t the last person on the last, that’d just be tacky.

No hating on Quinn during this episode. I appreciated his concern over Deb, and I’m convinced they will be sharing a screen time moment that will likely cause him a serious hit with Jaime when she catches them. Cause she will.

Overall, I enjoyed the last five minutes of this episode more than probably all of season 6. While I still suspect that Harry didn’t commit suicide, I knew Deb’s slow-frame smile came with a price. Siblings will test their resolve in all things. Deb is everything that makes Dexter “human”. If that role becomes evident with his son, it’s entirely possible one of those three won’t make it out of this drama alive. And that’s the crux with every final season of every show. How do you end it without needing to be predictably murderous on star characters? I wish them luck on that endeavor.

No more words

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