the show is gearing up to finish its successful eight year run, and Dexter the character is gearing up to start a new life with a new wife. Both events were blatantly paralleled in last night's eleventh episode.
It began with the ceremonial cleansing of the hands - as Dexter washes his hands of Vogel's blood in the opening scene, what he is really doing is ridding himself of all the bloodshed he's caused in his life. The whole point of leaving to Argentina with Hannah is to start a new life as a new person, no more Dark Passenger, no more blood. However, before he can leave, his family roots tie him down and he needs to do one last thing to protect his family: kill Saxon -- AKA Daniel Vogel.
Despite Dexter's not-so-healthy relationship with Vogel, he still felt a connection to her - she surpassed the role of "spiritual" mother and became a real mother figure for Dexter. We can see how her death has altered him, especially as he kneels next to her lifeless body and says, "The last time I was in a pool of my mother's blood, I was too young to do anything about it, but I'm no longer a child." Killing Saxon will no longer be just for protection, but for vengeance.
Aside from a final kill, Dexter needs to prepare to pack up his whole life and sell whatever's left. Jamie comments on seeing Dexter's apartment so bare and packed up: "Seeing your place all boxed up is making this so real." This mirrors the audience's sentiments exactly - it's hard to believe there's just one episode left in the series; one last chance for this final season to redeem itself.
For a psychopath who is supposed to feel no empathy, Dexter is starting to show real emotion. While he was showing his boat to a potential buyer, we detected a hint of sadness from Dex. And for a man who spent his entire life pretending, at the very end, we learn he's not pretending anymore. During his impromptu going away party at Batista's restaurant, Debra tells Dexter he should pretend like he's going to miss the Miami Metro gang, to which he narrates, "It's no longer pretend." Dexter even tells Quinn he approves of his relationship with Deb! That's major change.
One slightly hilarious bit of irony regarding Dex's going away festivities: it was held after Vogel's funeral. Seems oddly fitting for a serial killer.
Back at Dexter's apartment, which is being sold by Miguel's wife (remember Miguel from season three?), Saxon is there to see the property with Slyvia. Inside, he gives Dexter an ultimatum disguised as a threat: either they can both walk away and forget about each other, or Dexter can go after him, upon which things will end badly. Saxon says Dexter has created a perfect cover life, therefore, he has a lot to lose. But what Saxon doesn't know is that Dex don't play that way: "They're not a cover, they're real to me - something Saxon can't understand... He wants me to walk away without realizing he's just reminded me why I can't."
As Dexter schemes away in his plan to get Saxon, it's revealed more and more what a changed man he is: "It didn't use to matter who was on my table, as long as someone was, but now...it's been personal for a long time." His need to kill is still somewhere within him, it's only lessened and instead his primary need has been replaced by Hannah. Ah love, it can really change a person.
The night has fallen and it's Dexter's final night in Miami, his last chance to catch this Brain Surgeon once and for all and end things before he/we move on. Part of his trap was to get Saxon to go over his apartment, but in the meantime, Debra shows up with a couple of steaks and beer. She's pretty much the best sister in the world wanting to spend his last night with him. They give each other a sweet pep talk and both agree to start over once Dexter leaves.
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Dexter's plan worked, and when Saxon arrives he gets the ole needle-to-the-neck and dragged to his own kill room - quite a poetic choice on Dexter's part. Here's where it gets interesting. For one thing, there was no plastic to be seen in this kill room, which is strange for a planned kill, but as we soon come to learn, Dexter's a changed man. The transformation from psychopath to empathetic man is complete. As he strokes the blade of his knife, Dexter says how "This is usually my favorite moment, the kill...and now I don't even want to be here," and his final revelation comes when he says, "I don't need to kill you." Instead, he opts for turning Saxon over to the police - but we know that's not going to go over smoothly.
Saxon gets released by Clayton, who was tailing Deb, while Deb and Dexter shared their final goodbye outside the building. Saxon then proceeds to stab Clayton and shoot Deb, but not before she gets out a couple of rounds and wounds him. It's not like Deb hasn't been shot before, but we're really hoping this time it's not fatal.
None the wiser, Dexter finishes packing his bag for Argentina and leaves his apartment one last time with Harrison in hand. As he walks out, he leaves us with this gem of a quote: "I used to live my life at night, in the shadow of my Dark Passenger, I lived in the shadows for so long until the dark became my world. But over time, the people in my life flipped on a light. At first I was blinded, it was so bright. But over the years my eyes adjusted, and I could see. And now what's in focus is my future: bright, brighter than it's ever been."