'Dexter' Recap: 'I Helped Create You'
Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan and Charlotte Rampling as Dr. Vogel on "Dexter."
SPOILER ALERT: The recap for the "Every Silver Lining…" episode of "Dexter" contains story line and character spoilers.
It's not a new thing as a "Dexter" viewer to feel sorry for Dexter Morgan. He was born in blood, as he has put it, witnessing as a small child the violent murder of his mother and being left sitting in her blood.
Because of that early trauma, Dexter was also left thinking it was inevitable that he became who he is, the serial killer of serial killers. But as hinted in last week's Season 8 premiere, and unfolded fully for Dex in "Every Silver Lining," his "Dark Passenger" wasn't exactly born in blood … he had a lot of help from his dad, Harry, and Dr. Frankenstein, er, Vogel.
Yes, the "Psychopath Whisperer" is actually the main architect of Dexter's code. Harry, afraid of Dexter's propensity toward violence (killing animals, especially) when Dexter was in his tween years, used his cop connections to seek out Vogel, who specialized in dealing with — as her lovely nickname suggests — others who had the same tendencies.
[Related: 10 of Our Favorite TV Serial Killers]
She and Harry discussed Dexter's actions, and she devised a plan, the "code" Dexter would come to live by. There was no stopping Dexter's murderous urges, she told a crushed Harry, but there was a way they could be "focused": They'd teach Dexter, then just 10 years old, to kill those "who deserve to die."
"I can't help but think of myself as your spiritual mother," the increasingly creepy and manipulative Vogel tells Dexter when she shares his history with him. "I developed a framework for your survival … that's what mothers do."
They also apparently blackmail you in Vogel's world. She's sharing the book of Dexter with her creation now because she needs a favor: Another of her psychopath patients is threatening her life, and she expects her spiritual son to save her bacon.
But What If Dexter Isn't Really a Psychopath?
Vogel gives Dexter a video, showing her discussing with Harry a Dexter kill, in accordance with the code, many years earlier. Her intent was that he watch the clip, see that she was trying to steer him in the right direction, and feel he must help protect her now.
But the video provides an interesting bit of origin info that may become more significant as the season rolls on. Harry tells Vogel that on Dexter's latest murder mission, he did something new: He made his victim, a drug-dealing killer, look at photos of his victims before Dexter did him in.
The act seems to evoke curiosity in Harry, but Vogel passes it off as Dexter having some sort of innate sense of justice … not something we usually associate with psychopaths, right? Could Vogel, who'd already admitted earlier to Dexter that she has a long history of using "unorthodox" methods to treat people, have misdiagnosed Dexter? Could those photos have suggested that Dexter had the ability to feel empathy for his victim's victims, which would prove he isn't a psychopath? Which would mean she and Harry taught him how to become a serial killer … for no good reason?
Later, Vogel explains that Harry forbade her from ever meeting Dexter, and he tells her he wishes she had introduced herself after Harry died, when he could have used someone else to talk to about his extracurricular activities.