The third episode of Season 8 arrives with a boilerplate thud as the main cast tries to keep things afloat as Dexter continues to investigate the “Brain Surgeon” killer. It just seems that the narrative is being pushed along by a relatively boring bad guy and the machinations that he is bringing to the table. With the help of the creepy Dr. Vogel, Dexter is attempting to find just who is after the good doctor (and him) and how it ties into the current narrative. Vogel continues to be surprised by Dexter’s code and how he does not seem to fit the cookie cutter code of just what a psychopath is. The doctor marvels at how Dexter is perfect as a psychopath despite his abandoning what is the classic M.O. for his personality type. With the help of one of Vogel’s books, Dexter is attempting to investigate just who is after the two of them. Is it the Brain Surgeon or one of Vogel’s old clients that has fallen off the wagon and is killing again. It is intriguing at best but a little hokey for an eighth season villain. The baddie leaves pieces of brain for Vogel and Dexter so obviously he knows that the two are working together. Still it is a mystery if the Brain Surgeon killer that Miami Metro is looking for is the same lunatic that is after Vogel and Dex. Problem is I don’t really care a heck of a lot that the former patient of Vogel’s and self-professed exercise guru is the man they are after. I know that when push comes to shove that Dexter can easily take out the stalker that is leaving pieces of brain as clues. My first guess is that the stalker is leaving similar clues as the Brain Surgeon to throw off Dexter and Vogel. When Dexter investigates a former client of Vogel’s he finds that he is a cannibal that is marinating body parts in his neat Miami home. Pretty nauseating but definitely not the killer that is leaving the clues for Dexter and Vogel. Soon the exercise guru is up on Dexter’s table and taken care of without much fanfare. All it felt like was just a regular old kill for Dexter and that it was easy to call what was going to happen.
Debra continues to slide down the rabbit hole as she is picked up on a DUI and is helped by former boyfriend Quinn. She seems to be getting worse and worse as the post-traumatic stress disorder heightens as her world begins to collapse in on itself. Jennifer Carpenter is wonderful playing Deb as she continues to deteriorate and desperately tries to get a toe hold on her life. When she tries to come clean to Quinn at Miami Metro, she begins to write a confession that she in fact killed LaGuerta and is responsible for what happened in that trailer in last year’s finale. Quinn, knowing that Deb is falling apart calls Dexter who comes to the station with Vogel in tow and doses his kid sister and escapes with her out the back exit of Miami Metro. If there is one thing that Dexter is good at it is self-preservation above all else.
Vogel is proving to be an excellent partner to Dexter but there is something stirring underneath that is just plain creepy. The doctor marvels as Dexter and just how he goes against the grain of what a classic psychopath does and how they act. As co-creator of Harry’s Code, Vogel feels an innate responsibility to Dexter and continues to be fascinated at her pupil’s code and she is desperate to learn more about the anomaly that is Dexter. While there is plenty of shock value (garlic sauced brain anyone?), the episode falls flat as an overall stepping stone to the next part of the narrative. Dexter is always a solid sleuth on his own but with the tandem of Vogel he seems to be more on edge making sure that he can maintain the control that he is so used to.
Dr. Vogel seems to be enjoying her role as she falls deeper into the underbelly of her field. It is the ultimate rush to be working with Dexter in trying to capture a killer. She is getting a high by being involved in the game of cat and mouse but I do not think that she knows what she is getting into. While it is watchable TV, I have not really cared yet about the hokey “Brain Surgeon” killer and it seems to be acting as the only thing that is keeping Vogel and Dex together. Deb really seems to steal the episode as she continues to do her best to live with herself after shooting LaGuerta last season. Even when she tries to confess, it falls apart at the hands of Dexter and Vogel. I am not really sure what the movie-related episode title has to do with anything but it just seems to fall short of the runway while trying to stick the landing. The narrative is moved along but with a quarter of the season already being in the can, I was just hoping for more closure than we have seen thus far. Maybe next week…