Dexter season 8 episode 2 review: Every Silver Lining

Review Billy Grifter 9 Jul 2013 - 08:30

Dexter serves up one of its most interesting episodes for a long while, chiefly thanks to Charlotte Rampling's Dr Vogel...

This review contains spoilers.

8.2 Every Silver Lining

This story started with a large amount of exposition explaining the relationship between Harry, Vogel and Dexter. Usually these parts can be painfully boring, but Charlotte Rampling is mesmerising as Vogel. She's assertive yet adaptive, aggressive and then passive, but consistently manipulative. In short, she's great, and each of her encounters with Dexter during the show brings something new and extra-creepy to the proceedings. There's a potent Oedipus complex developing here that's been recently vacationing at the Bates Motel.

The rather disturbing view that Vogel presents, where serial killers are a necessary evil for the overall benefit of society isn't accepted by Dexter, which hints that perhaps of the two of them, he's the more rational. Her affection for him, a person she chose not to meet until now is disconcerting, and each time she speaks, my mind is drawn to consider what she's not telling him. Plenty; is almost certainly the answer. Dexter is quite clearly a pawn in a bigger game, where possibly for Vogel's amusement she's playing off her psychopathic protégés against each other. Maybe she's a huge fan of the movie Highlander, and has decided there can only be one?

Whatever is going on here - and that won't be revealed for a few episodes yet - isn't likely to be as easily guessable that that. What's fascinating is that Vogel is an entirely new type of nemesis for Dexter, precisely because she's not a killer - I assume. She almost certainly knows the identity of the Brain Surgeon, and I suspect he's also aware of the existence of Dexter.

What I didn't care for much was the Debra subplot, which by the standards of the show seemed sloppy and borderline silly. Debra goes alone (doh!) to the Biggs lockup where the jewels are stashed and gets mugged by El Sapo. He's such a nice murderer though, that he refuses to kill her because he wasn't paid to do it. That seemed laughable, because now she can connect him with stolen goods, you'd assume he'd shoot her dead.

Then we have the evidence hunt, where Dexter discovers Debs' blood in the El Sapo death scene and then confronts her with what she did. I found it unbelievable that Debs didn't consider what happened to her gun (linking her to the murder), and that neither Debs nor Dexter considered where she got the gun from that she actually used to kill him, and how the forensics on that might also be damning. Plain sloppy. There were very obvious questions to ask, and they weren't. While Debs has the excuse that she's a mess, Dexter doesn't often ignore obvious problems, making the sequence rather unsatisfactory for this reviewer.

Debra did have one great line, however: "not the first person I shot and may not be the last..." As I recall, and I may have forgotten something, but the first person she killed with a gun was one of the Fuentes brothers in a nightclub in season five. I commented at the time that she did this with ruthless efficiency, and now the body count is climbing for this Morgan family killer.
What all of this is intent on doing is making Debra the rogue component in the narrative, adding a decidedly unpredictable element. It's also a set-up for a moral dilemma where Dexter will be drawn to kill her, a line he's been so determined never to cross.

That might hint at what Vogel is most interested in, that you could take a suspect programmed with 'the code' and then flip them back to being a pure killer by pushing the right buttons. It may be that all of her other subjects eventually gave up the code and just killed people randomly, but there is something different about Dexter who stuck with it. She needs to understand that, so she can apply it to others.

Even with some of the faults, and the lack of a episode-encompassing narrative, this was still one of the most interesting instalments of Dexter for a while. They've got my attention now, so let's hope they do something useful with it.

Read Billy's review of the previous episode, A Beautiful Day, here.

Please, if you can, buy our charity horror stories ebook, Den Of Eek!, raising money for Geeks Vs Cancer. Details here.

Disqus - noscript

Um, is it not super obvious that Vogel IS the Brain Surgeon? Very surprised you've not mentioned it to be honest - seems so obvious as to be possible misdirection... but the fact that Dexter doesn't seem to have even considered that possibility indicates it has merit as a theory. I hope they don't drag it out for the whole season and then reveal it at the end as if it wasn't blatant from the very first episode...

Dexter will certainly play it out, because his character is amazingly naive, on previous occasions being led and manipulated by guest stars...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the Evil Nurse of Death, the one who tried to help Harry go on to the other side, supposed to be Dexter's first human victim?
At least I remember vaguely something like that mentioned in one of the earlier seasons.
If so, then Harry couldn't really discuss Dex's kills with Vogel, 'cause he was hospitalized and, like, dying?

But he got better for a while - or so I remember too...

I think it is so obvious that the producers know it wouldn't be easy to pull this off and still be surprising. That's the only reason why I'm not considering her to be the actual killer.

"I found it unbelievable that Debs didn't consider what happened to her gun (linking her to the murder"

***********

Deb's undergoing PTSD. That's why she's not thinking so clearly.

Vogel is not the Brain Surgeon, her son is it. I think she have a son (or daughter) that was like Dexter and she tried give to him/her a code, but fail. Maybe the boy or girl was adopted. I think her edited the video dvd for don't show the message and the face of the killer.

The nurse was Dexter's first kill and when she was gone (and wasn't poisoning Harry) he lived for another year or so.

So, am I the only one who noticed Charlotte Rampling's surprise when she found out that Dexter would have liked to talk to her after Harry died (and hence had felt bad about Harry's death) and again when she found out that he cared about his sister? A common theme of debate on these comment threads is whether or not Dexter is a psychopath, whether he's developed empathy (or if that's even possible, for a psychopath.) I think Vogel is starting to ask herself the same questions.

Which is good. It means the writers are going to address it. Rather than it just being a case of sloppy research or artistic license.

So, am I the only one who noticed Charlotte Rampling's surprise when she found out that Dexter would have liked to talk to her after Harry died (and hence had felt bad about Harry's death) and again when she found out that he cared about his sister? A common theme of debate on these comment threads is whether or not Dexter is a psychopath, whether he's developed empathy (or if that's even possible, for a psychopath.) I think Vogel is starting to ask herself the same questions.

Which is good. It means the writers are going to address it. Rather than it just being a case of sloppy research or artistic license.

Well, as I said, I didn't remember it that well.
It's just that in those videos Harry looks pretty fine, so it made me wonder.

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