Dexter season 8 episode 2 review: Every Silver Lining
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.
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