Dexter season 8 episode 3 review: What’s Eating Dexter Morgan?

Billy wonders when Dexter's eighth season is going to really start motoring, instead of idling in the slow lane...

This review contains spoilers.

8.3 What’s Eating Dexter Morgan?

I’m not used to calling out Dexter for treading water, but after sitting through What’s Eating Dexter Morgan?, I was left with that distinct feeling.

The two major plotlines, Vogel and Debs, both continued really without any significant development. And, I’m really getting bored with Debs acting like she’s the only person in the known universe. If she’s ultimately going to take her own life after drowning in self pity can she please do it soon, because if it takes the whole season, then I’ll be furious.

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The Vogel side of this coin was marginally more pleasing, though it didn’t add anything new to what we’ve previously been presented. Dexter is clearly being played, and it smacks of a clean-up exercise where Vogel is using him to eradicate her less successful client experiments. The only question mark is her involvement in the Brain Surgery murders, the ones that have her genuinely spooked. It’s a possibility that she has a split personality disorder, but she’d not got the strength to hoist Sussman’ body onto a hook, so there is definitely another killer.

However, she keeps referring to Dexter as a ‘perfect’ psychopath, which seems an odd thing for someone who works with the mentally ill to say. It also doesn’t gel with her confusion over why Dexter feels responsibility for Debs, because surely if he was perfect he wouldn’t care?

This is all a distant echo of ideas that were first presented in the second season, where Dexter’s view of himself as a monster precluded the idea that he could ever get better. Enough has happened down the line where he’s put the well-being of others ahead of his need to remain undetected that it’s certain that he’s more complex than that. The question remains however, in that grey area between monster and brother/father/husband where does Dexter actually lie?

The problem I have is that in teasing out that, season eight is going at a painfully slow pace, and it needs to put its creative foot on the gas right now. The trailer for episode four hints that things might happen, specifically the end of the cosy relationship with Vogel, but I’m concerned that we burned a third of the final season to get here.

My general dissatisfaction with this story wasn’t helped by the Joey Quinn narrative, which is tedious in the extreme. He’ll make sergeant and then die, to remind us that his character was mostly pointless, I predict. The use of the extraneous characters this year has been abysmal so far, even Vince isn’t especially funny. This seems to highlight that the removal of LaGuerta has had unforeseen circumstances, in that it makes the homicide offices a much less interesting place.

But not to have a complete downer on this story, what was worth my time to watch? One tiny sequence caught my eye that demonstrated what a great actress Charlotte Rampling is. When Dexter enters the interview room and injects Debs for a rapid exit, a surprised Vogel says “That was interesting!” So far this season, humour has been very thin on the ground, so it was great to see Vogel get one of the better attempts at it.

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Overall, the show needs to up its game if the final season isn’t going to achieve at best a ‘meh’ rating. So far all its punches have been telegraphed, and we’re in desperate need of something happing that’s less predictable. I can only hope that episode four, Scar Tissue, is the start of that reformation.

Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, Every Silver Lining, here.

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