Dexter Review: Mommy Dearest

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I'm almost afraid to write this Dexter review, people. After making a wish list last week and watching the characters want the same things I do, an alternate title to this review could be "you can't always get what you want."

Unless maybe you're Dr. Vogel, perhaps. She revealed just what - or who, rather - turned her into the psychopath whisperer in "Make Your Own Kind of Music." 

Vogel and Dexter

It may not be clear to Dexter yet, but after tonight it's certainly clear to me how and why Dr. Vogel became so fascinated with psychopaths. And it's not because she's trying to cure them. Or even understand them.

She's been trying to replace one: her own son.

She went so far as to call herself Dexter's spiritual mother because something about him called out to her. She saw the most potential for a surrogate child in him and then in Zach Hamilton. She tried to build a family of serial killers with herself as the matriarch. But those children ceased to be important to her the minute her biological child reentered the family picture.

It was evident that Dr. Vogel was somehow involved with the Brain Surgeon in a more than professional capacity, or that the Brain Surgeon was involved with her, so the revelation that the Brain Surgeon was her long-dead son was both semi-shocking and also not shocking at all. From the minute she started talking about her sons, that one of them would be the serial killer of the season was practically transparent.

We're supposed to believe that she, a doctor, a woman of science (however soft), would believe that her super intelligent son actually burned up in a fire limited solely to the wing of his mental institution? Come on, writers. Dexter's viewership is smarter than that. 

Since the formula is typically that we would have seen the killer's face sometime this season, the only possible choice for this mystery man's identity was Cassie's boyfriend. So then we learn that he knows what he knows about Vogel and Dexter from spyware he installed on Vogel's computer. Seems mighty...convenient. Maybe smart as an actual tactic but sort of dumb and the easy way out as a plot device.

The Brain Surgeon is not nearly as interesting now as when I thought Dr. Vogel was the one holding the gun in the video having someone else do her dirty work. A serial killer by proxy, which she already was through Dexter and the code.

The best thing that can come from this is a swift death to both Dr. Vogel and her son. Dexter will have to kill them both now that she's welcomed home her prodigal child. And that will be the thing that comes between Dexter and Debra and brings about the end of the season. 

And now I'm going to speculate a little.

Dexter and Hannah want to ride off into the Argentinian sunset with Harrison as a ready-made family of three. YES! Because I want that, too. But now that they've made that their plan, it is most decidedly not what will happen because that's how this works. 

Debra and Hannah formed the most tenuous of bonds over their shared meal. It's shaky, but it's there. But Debra's desire to get her life back will come with her officially rejoining the police force and then having to make sacrifices. I'm not confident that Debra will sacrifice herself for her brother again. The next time she has to make a choice, she'll choose herself and her own career. 

And the Brain Surgeon will be that fork in her proverbial road. 

Dexter wants him dead. Debra will want him behind bars. And the siblings will squabble. And the series will end.

I'm not quite sure I'm ready for this.

What did you think of tonight's episode of Dexter? Are you disappointed by the Brain Surgeon or do you see potential in that story? What are your predictions for how the series will conclude?


Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (72 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.


Dr. Vogel has got to be a psychopath herself. She's sinister, secretive and way too calm all the time. Entirely in control of her emotions.


I can't be the only one thinking this. Dr. Vogel murdered her youngest son and framed his older brother, whom she sent packing off to the loony bin in London. She had to convince the police and her husband the older boy was guilty so off he went to the rubber room for three years. She engineered the fire and his escape when he was 17, gave him his new identity of Oliver, and the two have been happily slicing and dicing victims ever since.


I think it is not going to end well and it will not be about Debt wanted to have a serial killer behind close bars and Dexter wanted to kill him (that was the past season, they move on). It seems that both Dexter and Debt are going to have trouble with the police.... I think Debt or Hannah or both are going to get kill at the end. Dexter is a tragic show and I will be surprised to see a happy ending. And perhaps Dr. Vogel is more manipulative than we thought, I always thought she was hiding something or wanting something more than just a family of serial killer... I won't be surprised if at the end, she is the one who is behind all "this"...

Miranda wicker

Dex's insistence that they go to Argentina is because that's where Hannah was supposed to end up with the boyfriend she testified against who jumped in front of the bus at the beginning of last season. I can't think of his name (and I'm too lazy to search, apparently). The two of them were from Alabama but they talked about having a farm in Argentina. Dexter suggested Argentina because he knew Hannah wanted to go there.


I'm trying to make a correlation between Dex's idea of moving to Argentina and the episode named such from the last season. The initial quote was "Everyone needs there own Argentina".. I get the feeling that Dex's Argentina idea is a metaphor for something else. I would need to re-watch that episode in order to confirm my thoughts; the episode where Cody and Astor unexpectedly show up to see Dexter.


First things first: I like Dex in the royal blue shirt. What affinity does Dexter have with Argentina as the oasis for his escape with family in tow? Is it because it starts with the letter "A" and the writers said ok sounds good. Except for a few words here and there the growth of Harrison into a walking talking murdering boy has not been utilized, although it was a tense moment when Harrision identified his drawing of "Mommy" to the dirty, dumb bounty hunter not Hannah, like he has in previous episodes. Another tease. I hope the series does not resolve its characters in one manic avalanche.


It might seem too easy for Dexter and Hannah to ride off together with Harrison at the end, Vogel and her son extinguished. I do think Dexter and Hannah end up together, though. I know it's just TV, but find it hard to believe that Vogel's son is somehow used as bait or a research toy for Dr. Vogel, along with Dexter (and Zach Hamilton). That's the impression I'm getting, but oh well. The last few episodes have been pretty good, though, despite some of the "soapy" daytime feel to a few before. I think Jamie will end up a goner; it's evident that Quinn and Deb are going to get back, so it kind of makes sense to use Jamie as another victim of the brain surgeon. Maybe not. I'm going to keep guessing that Elway and the Federal Marshal will be involved in the final conflict. Wow, only three more to go. Sept. 8th, 15, and 22.

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