“People get used to living in denial. It’s just easier, you know?”
In this episode of Dexter, Deb confesses her crime, Quinn covers it up, Dexter cuts up a cannibal and Vogel falls off my radar to make way for Elway.
In a series called Dexter, Dexter should probably always be the central character, but it seems like the torch has been passed to Deb for the home stretch of the series. Dexter stalks and kills a candidate for the big bad throughout the episode and it comes off more like an attempt to meet Dexter’s kill quota for the season than an actual storyline. I feel like Dexter has been progressively moving away from center stage in the beginning episodes of this season and I’m okay with that — especially if Dexter does end up dying in the finale.
This shift in focus is evident in the disconnect between what the episode’s title (“What’s Eating Dexter Morgan”) suggests the episode is about and what event actually highlights the rest of the episode. Sure, there is a theme of consumption in the episode, but it feels more like a reference to who ends up on Dexter’s cutting board rather than a central idea. In actuality, it was Deb’s Elway Investigations side story that really showcases the episode’s motif — denial. Dexter, Quinn and Vogel all can relate to Deb’s client: they shut their eyes to the truth because lying to themselves doesn’t hurt as much as accepting the facts would be.
Dexter is in denial about Deb’s ability to be saved. Dexter isn’t willing to accept the fact that he needs to leave Deb alone — that there might not be an option for reconciliation between the two of them — and it is starting to take effect on him. If he spent less time worrying about his broken relationship with Deb, maybe he could start looking at the Brain Surgeon problem a bit more clearly. Vogel is the obvious option for the Brain Surgeon (though, this episode dispels that notion a bit) and Dexter hasn’t even seemed to consider it. If Dexter were to consider that Deb was lost to him forever, I don’t think he’d be able to continue on with his life. Dexter needs Debra, there is no question about that.
Quinn is in denial about his feelings for Deb — the feelings that get in the way of his relationship with Jamie and stop him from even considering the possibility that Deb’s confession is legitimate. If Dexter had come into Miami Metro and claimed that he killed LaGuerta, I’m fairly certain Quinn wouldn’t have tried to talk him down from it — Dexter would be in jail before his confession was even complete. I’m really hoping the series highlighting Quinn’s feelings for Deb doesn’t mean he will end up causing him to pick between saving Jamie or saving Deb in the future, but odds for this scenario happening seem to be getting stronger every episode.
Vogel is in denial about Dexter being a psychopath. While Vogel might be right about Season One Dexter (“I don’t have feelings for anything, but if I did, I’d have them for Deb.”), the Dexter that we known in Season Eight has the same capacity for emotion as the rest of the characters in the series. However, if Vogel were to accept that Dexter wasn’t a psychopath, it would be possible that she turned an innocent child into a serial killer when he could have gone on to live a normal life — a truth that might be too much to endure.
Deb, on the other hand, is facing the hard truth that she killed an innocent woman and that truth is killing her. Unfortunately for Deb, there doesn’t seem to be a way for her to go back to her normal life and that means something big is going to happen to Deb before the end of this series.
Now for a few quick, miscellaneous notes about characters who might be being built up for big roles later on.
I’m unsure about what role Elway is going to play in this story, but with his frequent appearances, its becoming increasingly likely that he will have some major role to play in the rapidly approaching finale. Those weird drinks that he keeps giving to Deb make me suspicious, but I don’t really have any concrete evidence that he might be a big bad down the road.
Matthews has popped up on my radar a few times this season as well. I’ve read theories around the internet that he has known about Dexter all along or that he might be a psychopath himself (see: his friendship with Harry and his closeness to Vogel respectively), but I’m not sure what to make of it. It seems like they might be setting him up to play a part since this season has spent a lot of time diving into Dexter’s past, but what part would Matthews have to play? Possibly none at all, we’ll have to wait and see.
As always, if you have any thoughts or theories you would like to share about the current season of Dexter, please, share them in the comments!