SPOILER ALERT: The recap for the "What's Eating Dexter Morgan?" episode of "Dexter" contains storyline and character spoilers.
Precious moments … those have certainly been rare (OK, nonexistent) on "Dexter," the drama about the titular serial killer/blood splatter expert. But when Dexter stumbles out of bed to find out why his son, Harrison, is calling for him in the middle of the night, only to see a trail of bright red liquid leading up to his bright red liquid-covered tot, who then explains he ate a whole box of Popsicles because "I love them," well, that's all kinds of precious.
A small dose of Pepto-Bismol-type medicine later, Harrison's feeling better, but as Dexter oh-so-correctly points out in voice-over, it's going to take a lot more than a shot of pink liquid to help his sister, Deb.
"Thank God for Professional Courtesy"
Which is the only thing keeping Deb out of the hoosegow, after the former Miami cop drove her car into a parking meter and laughed about it when an officer awakened her from her drunken stupor and hauled her into the station. A call to her old pal Joey Quinn saved the day (and spared her from facing charges), but Deb, to say the least, remains unable to deal with her murder of Maria LaGuerta and her bro's killer extracurricular activities.
[Related: 10 of Our Favorite TV Serial Killers]
Dexter, meanwhile, already has his hands full with "the Psychopath Whisperer" and another victim of "the Brain Surgeon" (which reminds us of Jackie Chiles's great line in the "Seinfeld" series finale: "You people have a little pet name for everybody"). The brain-scooping serial killer has scooped again, and Vogel is on the scene, terrified because she's getting more threats from her stalker.
Dexter tells her he has to go off to take care of Deb, who’s coming undone because she knows all about her brother, and Dr. Vogel yet again marvels at how psychopathic Dexter seems to feel empathy for his sister, something psychopaths aren't supposed to feel …
Welcome to Workout City
Back at the station, Angel informs everyone the FBI has now taken over the Brain Surgeon case, and he tells Chief Matthews that he wants Quinn to get the open sergeant position. "Puh-huh!" Matthews sputters, pointing out that Quinn is hapless and not smart enough to pass the exam. Angel assures him he will pass, even after Quinn started that very morning by arriving late to a crime scene.
Dexter gets Deb to agree to talk to him over dinner, and then goes off to the mall — the Workout City kiosk — to check out the guy Vogel suspects may be her stalker/potential killer. Does Workout City Dude know who Dexter is, or is he just an enthusiastic hawker of pricey exercise machines? Even after Workout City Dude delivers his sales pitch, Dexter leaves the mall uncertain of the answer.
Next stop: Vogel's pad, where she questions Dexter's feelings about his sister. He loves Deb, he tells her, because she's fun to have steaks and beer with, she looks up to him (or did), and she's always been there for him (or, she was). Vogel is relieved when she tells Dexter those are all selfish viewpoints of love, and she happily calls him a perfect psychopath, an assessment that provides her with much more comfort than it does Dexter.
Scene From an Italian Restaurant
Dexter takes Deb to dinner at an Italian joint, where he replaces her bourbon with a Coke and shows her a cell phone video of a man she saved from being killed in a police shootout. The man, and his family, just so happen to also be enjoying dinner at the restaurant (there's no explanation of how Dexter happened to know that, which, even in this show of inherent creepiness, is creepy), and Dexter tries to use Old Deb's brave act to bring Old Deb back to the present.
But his plan backfires; the reminder of who she used to be only makes Deb focus on who she's become, and after downing another bottle of brown paper bag-covered hooch, she drags herself into the police station she used to lead and confesses to Quinn that she murdered LaGuerta.
Poor Joey Quinn … he's smart enough to get Deb into an interrogation room, where he unplugs the recording device and tries to get her to make sense. She killed LaGuerta, she insists, while he counters by walking her through the official story of LaGuerta's death … the one provided by Dexter. Deb insists she's the killer, and Quinn gives her a pen and paper to write her confession, while he calls Dexter.
Quinn keeps everyone away from Deb until Dex arrives, who then jabs Deb with one of his knockout needles, and carries her back to her house. Dr. Vogel's along for the ride, reminding Dexter that he's the cause of Deb's pain and offering to help his sister while he goes off and looks for the person who's threatening the good doctor. So Vogel, who says Dexter is only operating on self-interest, is operating on behalf of her own best interests. Interesting.
A Killer Final Meal
Workout City Dude? Yeah, he is a killer, all right, and a cannibal, too, which also clears him of being the guy stalking Vogel. Because the serial killer stalker has been gifting Dr. V with brains (specifically the anterior insular cortex, i.e., the part that deals with empathy), while Workout City Dude keeps all parts of his victims. Dexter discovers this when he finds a finger floating in WCD's Crock-Pot stew, and then spots an entire intact brain marinating in a nice garlic sauce in the fridge.
Sadly for Workout City Dude, he'll never get to sample the sumptuous feast he was preparing for himself, because Dexter's cooking up a plan — and a food metaphor — of his own. With WCD secured to his table, Dexter tells the doomed maneater that he's a disgusting consumer of flesh.
"And now I realize I'm just like you," the deeply dejected Dexter says, before plunging his knife into WCD.
"I consume everyone I love."
- How angry is Deb gonna be when she wakes up from Dexter's knockout shot and finds herself handcuffed to her couch, with Dr. Vogel there to pick her brain? And how many more episodes will it take until Dr. V admits Dexter is not necessarily destined to become the psychopath she and Harry taught him to be?
- Elway's still pushing those electrolyte drinks on Deb and getting all up in her Kool-Aid about who she's dating. If this were any other show, we might believe he had no ulterior motives, but since it's "Dexter," and the final season of "Dexter" at that, we're still thinking there's something else afoot with Jacob.
- Deb and Elway's client, the one who refused to accept that photos she saw of her husband cheating on her were really photos of her husband? The only one more in denial than that future wealthy divorcee is poor, dumb Joey Quinn, who's not only being pushed by Angel and Jamie to go for a position for which he is clearly unqualified, but who also is alienating his girlfriend by repeatedly coming to the rescue of a woman who rather coldly rebuffed his marriage proposal and who has confessed to him that she is the murderer of their former boss.
On top of all that, we've had the feeling for a few seasons now that Quinn is not destined to survive till the end of the series, so all his sergeant's exam preparation and Deb-saving heroics may prove to be for naught.
"Dexter" airs Sundays at 9 PM on Showtime.