As the turbulent tides go down another hunt begins. Dexter vets the prey; Zach Hamilton, fellow monster. But the thought of taking this clueless kid under his strong wings bars the floodgates. What would be the better option, cultivation or eradication?
MENTOR BY ACCIDENT
The Brain Surgeon Killer case is put to rest for now (or for good, even though Yates didn’t exactly fit the profile…), Vogel has grown more bitter and Deb is suddenly doing much better compared to, say, the majority of Season 7. Let’s hit rock bottom everybody, shall we?
The sad thing is that when you watch the recap sequence, you’ll notice that the show is no longer what it used to be, keeping us on the edge of our seats , craving more episodes; it’s no longer about an eccentric serial killer struggling with his repressed emotions and trying to fit in society, but instead about a bunch of uninteresting people who blindly go about their lives without learning a thing from their experiences. Just take the recap montage from this episode…what goes on in the enigmatic world of Dexter? Not much… it’s all pointless relationships and love triangles, pretty much like your regular daytime soap opera. Quinn and Jamie, then slightly Quinn and Deb, but on the other hand, Elway and Deb, Masuka and daughter and recently, Dex and Cassie…just random people accidentally hanging out.
Before going any further, let’s not forget that this episode is most likely the bridge, preparing us for the hopefully more exciting latter half of the final season (I stress that, the freaking final season). Nonetheless, it’s probably one of the weakest hours of the show so far, probably since season 6’s “Ricochet rabbit”. It’s unfocused, filled with boring subplots and implausible motivations. That doesn’t mean the side plots are necessarily horrible, but the thing is, why should we care about irrelevant characters that tend to bring along other useless ones? Apart from that, the main plot wasn’t extraordinary either. Again, another character simply being injected into the show, this time Zach. We’ve already seen similar dynamics between Dexter and other sidekicks, namely Lumen or Miguel.
Anyway, Zach Hamilton, who gave off an eerie vibe with meddling in his father’s case last week, also happens to be drawn to blood like Dexter. He’s another psychopath, if you will, big shocker! – How about a little game? Starting from the season premiere, say “Wee monkey” out loud every time you hear Vogel’s favorite word — What does this have to do with Vogel’s storyline and the family that killed together? Well nothing, but no worries, it’s going to get related somehow…like, what if Vogel suddenly left all the troubles behind, forgot about the main reason she’s in Miami and started treating him?? Good thing the show addresses her strange shift in character through Dexter. On the bright side, Evelyn’s new, more overt attitude might eventually lead Dexter to reconsider working with her, after all he heard how good she tamed Yates.
So Vogel suggests Dex and her teach the code to Zach, in which case he’d hopefully become her next perfect product. Fair enough, Dex filling Harry’s shoes. Evelyn also asks her good son, to come visit her before considering killing Zach, so she could further manipulate him, which somehow works in the end, by the way. But how is Zach exactly different from Evelyn’s other patients, Trinity’s son or that Jeremy kid from Season 1 (See 1.03)? Yeah, Evelyn sees great potential in him, but couldn’t they have treated, let’s say Galuzzo, by teaching him the code? Oh, right, he was too gross for their taste… also not a very good call on Mr. Hamilton’s part. Well he knew something was wrong with Zach, obviously, but putting the ethical Dr. Vogel in charge, of all the people? Risky move, seriously. Luckily Dexter saved that cheater from getting murdered by his own son, at least for now.
Enough whining, moving on to the good stuff: Well, great cinematography and direction for starters. Amazing shots in this one, most scenes flow into one another. It was great to be able to get to breathe a little in this one, as opposed to last week’s stifling atmosphere (which was correctly used for that episode, by the way). Also, Dexter’s colorful world (of Miami) is back; the ‘shadow reality’. It was no accident that Hannah showed up at the end to snap him out of it and once again shatter his sense of control.
Speaking of which, Zach was spared almost like Hannah was last season. “You were finally in control.” Dex makes a difficult choice in the end, because he wants to be in charge for a change, and being the mentor will only make him feel more powerful eventually, as a spiritual father: To Take a dead person and make them alive. One of the best bits in the episode was probably Dex’s little reflective moment, when he realized, thanks to Evelyn’s reminder (yeah, condescend much?), that if Harry hadn’t been in his life to show him the way, he would have probably ended up becoming just another freak. So, indeed no luck for Brian Moser.
Also the code’s one-dimensional sense of justice is brought into question thanks to Zach; are people who cause the suffering of others without directly hurting them also deserving of Dex’s table, or is it only reserved for killers? Both Hannah and Zach happen to be born from case-of-the-weeks, only Hannah turned out to be quite a complex character, bringing a lot to the table (not much to that table, though). Will Dexter also come to regret this decision like he did with Hannah?
Next: “Love, Elway and the Unlucky Cow…”