We've made it to the mid-season mark; only six more episodes until Dexter comes to a complete end, and things are only just getting good.
Last night, Zach Hamilton is the main focus of Dexter's attention. As the episode begins, we see Dexter stalking his prey at a crime scene where Zach is taking photos from behind the yellow tape. It is never made clear if the photos are for anything other than personal pleasure. But we can rightly assume he gets a thrill out of the blood and death he captures on film, because afterwards Dexter follows him to a familiar location: Vogel's house.
Now that the supposed Brain Surgeon is out of the picture and Vogel feels safe again, she decides to take on a new client. She asks Dexter to come to her before doing anything rash regarding his personal hunt for Zach. He needs solid proof before putting Zach on his table -- that's part of the code -- so proof he shall find.
At a second crime scene, Dexter spots Zach lurking about with his giant camera. Seizing an opportunity, he allows Zach to cross over the crime scene tape and photograph up close. Unable to keep his full composure, Zach comments how the scene is "amazing," prompting Dexter to think, "I remember that feeling -- awe, wonder -- it only fed the urge." It takes a serial killer to know a baby serial killer.
Unbeknownst to Dexter at the time, the two vigilantes were having a moment -- a "teaching moment." Dexter walks Zach through what happened at the scene by reading the blood spatter, which only encourages Zach to ask how the killer got caught. He's taking mental notes on what not to do.
Things are starting to get back into the usual rhythm. Part of the ebb and flow of Dexter's life -- aside from hunting killers and sharing steaks with Debra -- is keeping up a social life for appearance's sake. Following Jamie's advice, he meets up with Cassie for lunch at a food truck. It's been while since he's been with a normal girl, so things get awkward real fast. Poor Dexter cringes in his seat while trying to come up with normal responses to the typical first date questions. When Cassie asks what he does on his boat, he says, "I just take it out, turn around, and come back" -- very normal of you, Dex.
Enough with trying to blend in with society; it's time to be with your own kind, Dexter Morgan. And that's just what he does. Dexter goes to visit Zach at his photography office/studio, where the walls are covered with photographs of blood: "He treats the blood like a swimsuit model." Yet, sometimes being among others like yourself can get a little disturbing, especially when Zach says, "I forget it was a crime scene. I keep thinking that dead chick spilled all that blood just for me." Riiight.
Clearly the setup here is that Zach will be the new Dexter, but isn't he a little too old of a dog to be taught new tricks?
Meanwhile, in Deb's life, she is finally starting to realize that her boss is attracted to her. But ignoring the voice in her head, she agrees to help him trick his sister's boyfriend into a cheating trap. This assignment can only bring the two closer together. We're crossing our fingers for you, girl.
In what must have been a strange moment for Dex, he volunteers to go with Quinn on a brief stakeout. They find their mutual target on a stakeout of his own. Much like Dexter does his research before a kill, so does Zach. This time, his camera lens is set on an outdoor yoga class, but he only has eyes for Sofia Fuentes. Fuentes works at a club owned by Zach's dad, and you're right in thinking that the sexy Latina is another one of Hamilton's mistresses.
Before taking another step against Zach, Dexter breaks into his studio for some final shreds of proof. Of course, he finds a hidden USB with photos of Norma Rivera, the woman murdered in last week's episode, "taken seconds after she was killed, the pool [of blood] around her head growing from one image to the next." He's found all the proof he needs. Out of courtesy, he goes to show Vogel what he has found before advancing on his prey. However, she already knew that Zach was the killer. She didn't tell him because she didn't want to facilitate the death of someone she sees "potential" in.
Vogel has set her eyes on a new lab rat, and his name is Zach. "What if we were to teach Zach the code?" Dexter responds what we're all thinking, "You can't be serious." Here it is, the solution to closing an eight-year chapter on character by introducing another just like him.
Ignoring the voice in his head named Vogel, Dexter gets dressed to kill and goes out in search of Zach. He wants him on his table. When he finds Zach stalking Sofia at her job, Dexter discovers that Sofia was never the target. Zach was after his own father.
Zach finally makes it onto Dexter's table, but this time, the table is more of a mirror for Dexter, a chance to see what he might have become without Harry, without the code. Zach confesses to wanting to kill his father to protect his mother; she's drinking herself to death because of all the affairs. Protecting his mother might be an excuse, but Dexter knows the truth: "You kill because you want to kill... Yes," he says, with a snake-like hiss. "I can't help it, it just builds up inside me," says Zach, adding that when he killed Norma it was as if it "release[d] something horrible inside me." His Dark Passenger was born from that first kill.
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Dexter realizes that Zach never had a Harry, "someone to talk to, someone to teach you." He could be his Harry. He could step into the role of "spiritual father" with Vogel as "spiritual mother."
But that moment wasn't the kicker in last night's episode. An old friend returns to Dexter's life. While Dexter is with Deb telling her about his decision, she starts to feel a bit woozy after taking a sip of her drink. Familiar MO? After she passes out on the couch, Dexter's vision starts to get a little fuzzy, and then, dressed all in white, like a ghost from Dexter's past, Hannah McKay walks in through Deb's open patio door. Seriously though, Deb, what have we said about keeping that door closed?