"The end begins."
Those are the first words you see on the screen, stained with blood spatter -- a la Dexter.
When the harmless fly lands on Dexter's arm and you hear a clap, Dex's familiar morning routine fills the screen. After locking the apartment door and giving that coy nod at the camera, nostalgia sets in and you begin to realize the end really is near.
The episode starts on a happy note, with Dexter and Harrison (they grow up so fast!) playing with a kite, and then the pair again celebrating a soccer win. While Dexter has fallen back into his old ways since that night in the shipping container -- he's coached Harrison's soccer team, gotten the bowling team back together, and even made some new "friends" - Debra's life has fallen into pieces. She quit Miami Metro, and Angel Batista never retired but instead took over as Lieutenant.
With LaGuerta's death, Miami Metro has decided to dedicate a concrete bench memorial in her honor. At the ceremony, the old gang gathers together to fill viewers in on some minor events that occurred in the last six months. Concrete is sturdy, as Dexter points out, but it is also cold and impersonal, as Angel suggests. It seems as if no one really felt any warmth for Maria LaGuerta, and after everything she sacrificed for the department, all she gets is a bench for strangers to sit on her name.
Overcome with guilt from shooting LaGuerta, Deb left the police force and joined a private investigation firm - being a cop is all she knows how to do, and do well. All in the name of undercover work, Deb now does drugs, dresses like a homeless hipster, sleeps with criminals, and it looks as if she gave up on personal hygiene as well. Not only has she internalized her guilt, but her appearance mirrors the deterioration of the Debra Morgan we used to know and love. Her new boss calls her a "thrill seeker," which we can only interpret as Deb trying to feel something - anything - after what she did. Not the way to go, Deb, not the way to go.
When Dexter finally tracks Debra down - after months of not speaking to or seeing each other - she says some pretty hateful things. "You made me compromise everything about myself that I cared about, and I hate you for it," she practically spits at him. And if that wasn't enough to penetrate Dexter's heartless façade, she gives him a nice stabbing when she says, "I shot the wrong person in that trailer."
While Debra seems to have lost her way, it is Dexter who is losing control. Throughout the episode, the cracks in his armor begin to reveal the monster we all knew was inside. While driving, a car innocently cuts him off, so Dexter speeds up, slams the breaks and gets out to confront the driver. Though some of us may sometimes feel like strangling the horrible, lawless drivers in Miami, Dexter took his road rage to an unsafe extreme. A second time when Dexter snaps - and literally risks getting caught - is when Batista gives him a vase of LaGuerta's as a token to remember her by. Angel is only being his teddy bear self, and Dexter loses it and yells, "She died because she wouldn't leave things alone!" And finally, perhaps the moment he begins to realize he's spiraling is when he screams at his own son for accidentally breaking LaGuerta's vase. Harrison's innocence is what makes him see his monstrous tendency, and the shattered token that was supposed to remind Dexter of LaGuerta could indicate he doesn't want to remember - or that it's too painful to be constantly reminded what he's capable of.
Though Dexter is capable of some atrocities, it's nothing compared to this final season's serial killer pairing. The first victim is found in an open field and appears to have been shot, but when Dex moves the body, plop, the back of his head falls off. Our new killer has a thing for brains. Enter neuropsychologist Dr. Evelyn Vogel, who has come out of the blue to assist with the case. Vogel gives us the creeps -- the way she stares at Dexter during the morning briefing, or her tone while talking/interrogating Dexter about the Bay Harbor Butcher -- especially when she tells Dexter, "Serial killers don't have enemies, everyone is a potential victim." When, in the episode's final moments, she reveals that she knows exactly who Dexter is, telling him he can't kill her because she doesn't meet "Harry's Code," it's not exactly a shock.
But is she more than just a nosy scientist? Although we want to say it looks like Vogel will end up being the Brain Surgeon, it's too easy, so it can't be -- can it? Her obsession with psychopaths and the workings of the brain make her suspicious.
The episode would not be complete without Dexter getting in a kill. It was not quite his usual strategically planned kill, but Dexter did get to run a dagger through Debra's fake boyfriend. If things weren't already going bad between the two, he has to go and kill again in front of her - that's a big face palm.
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Dexter now has to deal with rebuilding a precious relationship with his sister and keeping an eye on Dr. Vogel, all while trying to regain control of his monster.
-- Carolina Del Busto