On "Every Silver Lining," the second episode of Dexter Season 8, viewers were taken into the past of Dexter Morgan, while finding it impossible not wonder about his future, especially as it relates to Dr. Evelyn Vogel.
Is she the mother figure this serial killer has been searching for his whole life? The one person that not only accepts who Dexter is, but is responsible for that individual and considers him to be an ideal human specimen? A gift of nature, as she phrased it this week?
Or is she simply manipulating an already confused and lost soul, someone who has spent years wondering how he fits into the world and is questioning himself more than ever in light of his sister's downward spiral?
There's no clear answer at the moment, but it's hard not to believe Vogel possesses motives beyond Dexter merely helping her track down The Brain Surgeon before her brain matter ends up in a jar.
She's buttering him up in every conceivable way, doing all she can to remove the doubts that have plagued Dexter since we first met him. He's an alpha male. He's everything he was meant to be. His purpose in life is worthwhile, regardless of what (or who... RIP, Rita) it may have cost him over the years.
Vogel clearly likes to experiment, not just with Dexter but with past patients as well. That's dangerous and shady enough on its own, but it would be surprising if a lot more wasn't going on here. It's just an issue of what this spiritual mother has in mind for her quasi lab rat.
(Along those scientific lines, we were treated to a cool trip into Dexter's childhood, where we learned there's an actual basis behind the blood slides. It's always been a pet peeve of mine that he stored those; there was never an explained reason why and it seemed as if the show simply put that tidbit in there to make us wonder if the slides would eventually lead to Dexter's capture.)
- Deb really did kill El Sapo, leading to a switching of roles where Dex covered for his sibling this time around. Who knows how much farther Deb can sink, but Jennifer Carpenter continues to excel in what must be an emotionally-draining role.
- Quinn took the Sergeant's test. Hooray? It says something about Dexter's supporting characters when Vogel, someone we've known for two hours, is already far more interesting than anyone aside from the two leads on the show.
But Vogel and Deb at least are that interesting so far on Season 8.
The opening pair of episodes have done an outstanding job of pulling Dexter is two directions, both inspired by the women in his life: There's Deb, dragging him down, causing him to wonder about his vetting, stalking and killing skills, making him feel like more of a lost outside than ever before; someone grappling with extreme guilt.
Then there's Vogel, building Dexter up, trying to remove all his concerns and set him free to be what he was meant to be. Or what she designed him to be, really. She's proud of her creation and still trying to mold it, while Deb is simply disgusted by what her brother is and who he has forced her to become.
It's a suspenseful dichotomy. Dexter can continue to crumble around Deb or he can be liberated by Vogel. The former option is frightening to the man himself. The latter option, and what a conscious-free Dexter Morgan may mean, should be frightening to everyone else.
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