8.09 "Make Your Own Kind of Music"
I've had a few jobs where I've mailed it in. My imperfect work ethic only allows me to perform to such a level when I'm in an unfavorable environment. I can relate to not giving a fuck, but I'm not sure that writers on a major TV show should take their position for granted. It seems that the writer's of Dexter have realized that since this is the last go around there's no chance of being fired.
Last week's installment gave me some hope. It appeared the plan for the season was too suck the audience into a sort of malaise — much like the one Dexter finds himself in due to family and love problems — and to shock us out of it with a big reveal accompanied by one or more dangerous adversaries.
Nah. The Dexter team decided to just pull something out of the woodwork and present us with an hour of patchwork plotting and poor climaxes. The Brain Surgeon has been the chief rival this year, seemingly having an upper hand on Dex several times. It seemed that Dexter had already taken care of the Surgeon, when he killed foot enthusiast A.J. Yates a few episodes back, but that wasn't the case when last week he displayed the fresh corpse of Zach for all to see. We finally discover the killer's true identity: Dr. Evelyn Vogel's son! He's been creeping around as the guy who was dating Cassie. Who would have thought that he's the genius serial killer we've been looking for whole time? Why didn't we see that, guys? Oh yeah, because no one gave a fuck about that bland dude that was kind of dating the nondescript, cute girl neighbor.
Daniel Vogel, or Oliver Saxon, has only made brief appearances on the show, and through hurried back story we find that Dr. Vogel thought her son long dead. Undoubtedly, he's a psychopath (just so they can get Charlotte Rampling to say that word again), and he seems quite cunning considering all the moves the Brain Surgeon has pulled this year. Oliver Saxon doesn't exactly scream these qualities but I guess we're out of switch-outs and surprise reveals so we're probably stuck with him.
Dexter begins the quest to find Zach Hamilton's killer, but only before he can sneak one in with Hannah and cater to her needs. The two are looking to build a life together, and plan to flee to Argentina when the situation settles and the seas are smooth. They don't mull over this questionable agenda much but do run into an immediate obstacle in the form of a U.S. Marshall employed by Elway. This Marshall seemingly spiraled out of a space/time warp because he does actual police work, like tracking leads and showcasing an intimidating presence when interviewing people. Dexter manages to fool the new cop, a pair of times: once at Miami Metro, and again when they go to retrieve Hannah's money.
We're going to ignore the fact that Hannah parades around Miami while making no attempt to conceal her identity, or that she decides to grab her money after almost leaving via plane last week. Again, space/time warp.
Meanwhile, Deb is much improved, clawing back from her dark period earlier this summer. It looked like Deb was on the fast path to becoming a twisted version of herself, a type of antagonist for Dexter, but that's all old news now. Angel Batista offers her job back, she quits Elway's firm, and in a move that demonstrates things are returning to the status quo in terms of her fucked-up love life, former fiancé Quinn plants a kiss after the two shake down a suspect. It's all good times and sunshine for Debra Morgan, until she finds her wants colliding with her brother's.
Deb wants to return to a life of moral deeds and healthy living, but having a serial killer in the fam contradicts that hard. Even if she distances herself from his activities their paths will inevitably cross. That happens almost immediately when Quinn starts sniffing around Oliver Saxon. Deb leaks this info to Dexter who tells her to back off, both for her safety and his pleasure. Deb reluctantly agrees, and also begrudgingly accepts Hannah as her houseguest until the Argentina trip.
When Dex eventually gets around to it he begins tracking the Brain Surgeon. He's already informed Dr. Vogel of his intentions and she's not happy. She agrees to meet with her long lost son and Dex concocts some fantastical scheme involving fake journal entries and diner meet ups. The move works, Dex lures Oliver Saxon out of hiding, and lays his trap BY STANDING OUTSIDE THE DINER AND WAITING FOR OLVIER TO LEAVE. Fucking… What the hell, man? What happened? At what point did you say "fuck it", writers?
The Brain Surgeon eludes capture in the least dramatic way. Dexter returns to Vogel with the news and again proclaims that he's going to kill her son. She voices her displeasure again but he ignores it. After Dex leaves it's exposed that the young Vogel is sitting in the other room, apparently in cahoots with his estranged mother, surprising no one in the process.
Disheartening. There are still three more hours to go but I can't imagine how this season made sense on paper. It's like the writers aren't interested in being employed after this gig, or there's so much dissention at the writing table that no one wants to stick around to work out the kinks. Let's be real, there have been some atrocious logic leaps recently, and Dexter has earned a chiasmic berth in terms of believability. The showrunners are merely grinding this out because they signed a contract, but I'm finishing this out driven by a sense of duty. Argentina or bust!
Jamil Scalese is just like you — an avid comics reader and lover of sequential art. Residing in Pittsburgh, PA, he is an unapologetic Deadpool fan, devotee of the Food Network and proud member of Steelers Nation. Check out his original, ongoing webcomic And Then There Were Zombies and follow his subpar tweeting at @jamilscalese.