The Boob Tube Review: Dexter – Who Will Be Deb's Next Boyfriend? by Alex Snider

The last Dexter season I recapped was the sixth. A season that started out strong enough to wash away the leftover indentations on my psyche from Julia Stiles stomping the fuck around in a self-righteous  tizzy and ended with me pulling my endorsement: "[a]nyway long story short, my reputation is ruined. Thanks Dexter". The beginning of the season was full of promise and had a seemingly endless budget that gave us amazing guest stars and spectacular sets but then that budget dwindled and all we were left with was a shoddy incest storyline and Colin Hanks (yes, that Hanks). Then it was announced that there would be another two seasons – TWO – and I couldn't do it. There was nothing I wanted less – NOTHING – than to go through another 24 episodes of disappointment. But then I watched the seventh season a couple weeks ago and it was fine so, what the hell, I'm going to recap the dizzying highs, the terrifying lows and the hopefully creamy middles of Dexter's big finale. As you were.

It seems apt that the final season so far has placed a lot of emphasis on Dexter's origin story. The addition of Dr Vogel has brought a breath of fresh air to the story especially as the rest of the supporting cast flounders. She has injected the show with some much needed mystery – something that has been missing since John Lithgow's fantastic season – and her intentions, so far, remain murky and vaguely sinister. What are the illegal experiments/therapies she practiced on other psychopaths? Why did she see Dexter as different? Did she have a relationship with Harry? I feel that it's safe to say she isn't the 'Brain Surgeon' but whether or not she knows who is, is up in the air. 

I do appreciate the attention being paid to Dexter's mythos. The audience has been given bits and pieces over the seasons that helped establish Harry as the good-guy dad and cop, simply guiding his beloved son away from death row but there's always been something missing. I had hoped that there would eventually be a reveal that Harry 'created' Dexter out of malice but the recordings of his meetings with Vogel nix that. 

There does seem to be something that Vogel isn't telling Dex, though. I mean, I'm not a licensed psychologist (not great at listening or giving advice, even) but it does seem like a pretty major ethical-fuckup to diagnose a ten year old a psychopath, then set a framework for him to be a vigilante serial killer all without ever speaking to him. The writers seem to be going in the direction that Vogel believed her diagnosis what with her surprise at Dex's empathy and desire for human connection but wouldn't it be more interesting if by the end Dex realizes that he's 'normal' and was the pawn of the sadistic Dr Vogel. That hug at the end of the episode was especially creepy:

The Grifters meets Oedipus meets MacBeth

That has always been my problem with Dexter's mythology. Despite every tedious voice-over in which he reiterated how different he is and how little he cares about other people, we saw him consistently prove otherwise. He might not be a social butterfly but the people he has surrounded himself with are people he has always shown compassion, love and given support. At most Dex just seems like an introverted and socially awkward guy with a bad temper (the whole murdering thing aside). The worst is that in all the flashbacks to his childhood, we've never witnessed the same dead-eyed thirst for blood that Harry was so concerned about instead only seeing him looking out for his sister. The audience hasn't really been given the reason to believe that Dexter is and has always been a psychopath. 

What adds to the confusion of Harry and Vogel's diagnosis is the explanation for why Harry forbade Vogel from seeing Dexter. How many flashbacks have we seen of Harry telling Dex that he's a total freakshow who's probably going to murder a fuck tonne of people? 

That Harry wanted to keep Dex from feeling "different" is laughable when remembering Deb and her puppy. I mean, Harry whispered, all Wormtongue-like, into Dex's ear that he'd better not murder the little puff ball. But, yeah, talking to a psychologist would have been too much. Guess I've really underestimated the stigma attached to therapy.

On to Deb. She is looking pretty radiant, huh? Must be all that electrolyte horse piss that her new boss is feeding her. Loving that her wardrobe is meant to represent that she's out of control/hitting rock bottom and for the first time I'm loving her clothes. Deb's storyline is also pretty compelling. I like that there's tension and Jennifer Carpenter's acting has been fantastic. I'm hoping that she figures out a way to her morality again.


Other thoughts:

  • The Dexter universe is a very lonely place. Romantic relationships don't last either flaming out in an aggressive act of betrayal or ending in a grisly, untimely death. Friendships are volatile and tenuous at best – you never know when that emotionally stunted, unethical alcoholic that you love going to the strip club with is going to start boning your sister. And the strongest familial relationship is the one Dexter has with his ghost dad. Elsewhere brothers are murdered by brothers, step-kids are forgotten, sisters are shouting declarations of incestuous love from the rooftops and for an inexplicable reason the adult, employed Battista siblings are living together. Add that loneliness to Miami PD's very low life expectancy and what I'm sure is a shockingly low arrest and conviction rate and you have what must be the most depressed homicide department in the world. No analysis, just an observation.
  • This week we also learned the name of Deb and Dexter's mom. A name that I've already forgotten.
  • A whole episode without Harrison! Although I do wonder who is looking after him when Dex is out and Jamie is with Quinn. I also wonder just how much Jamie gets paid for devoting her entire life to that dumb kid.
  • Maybe this is nitpicking but why the fuck does Vogel keep discs that prove her accessory to murder and Dexter's killings in the unlocked top drawer of her desk?? She doesn't have even have an alarm system. Christ. 
  • Matsuka had human contact this week. Bless his heart.

    Matsuka's O face
  • There is a new detective in homicide. Don't know her name but she's Black so I guess she's to replace Doakes and Doakes 2.0. Actually really weird and fucked up that she hasn't been introduced. 
  • After the prompt departure of everyone's favourite Entourage character, Billy Walsh: Tortured Auteur, there is the question of who Deb is going to move in with after one date. Let's face it, she's not happy unless in a bizarre NSA, co-dependent relationship and the writers are never happy unless they can stomp on Deb's domestic bliss. So, I propose a new game: Guess Deb's Next Boyfriend.

Will it be...

Angel – the odds are low on this one due since Angel is neither
white nor Deb-levels of attractiveness. Although his closeness
to La Guerta might give him a slight advantage, plus he's a quasi-
father figure to our girl and we know how Deb's still desperate for
validation from Harry...

Dexter – Not exactly rooting for this one but who the fuck knows
with how dedicated the writers are to torturing Deb.

A weathered old baseball glove Quinn – I don't want to have him 
in the running but given the out-of-nowhere freakout of Jamie's
I have to resign myself to the possibility of a reunion between these
two star-crossed lovers. The only upside is that Quinn'll definitely
wind up murdered if he goes down that road again. He got off way
too easy last time.

The New Guy – The not-Norman-Reedus Boondock Saint is the 
clear front-runner since El Sapo bit the dust. Their would-be 
relationship has the number one Deb-love interest qualifier: 
it would be professionally inappropriate.

THE WILDCARD: Sussman's Former Woodland Creature Quilt – 
Don't underestimate Deb's astonishingly bad taste in romantic 
partners, or how much the writers hate her.

Alex Snider is rooting for the fur quilt. She's got a defunct blog and her last tweet was a terrible joke involving Jay Z, Picasso and the Ally McBeal dancing baby.


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