SPOILER ALERT: The recap for the "Scar Tissue" episode of "Dexter" contains storyline and character spoilers.
With Deb seemingly having hit rock bottom with her post-LaGuerta murder guilt, Dexter asked his new pal Dr. Vogel — the "Psychopath Whisperer" — to try to help his sister deal with her pain, so they could resume their sibling relationship. And in Sunday's fourth episode of the final season, Dr. V appeared to be making some headway.
But then Dexter shared a huge family secret (yes, there was another one) with Deb, and drove her — pun intended — right back off the rails …
Back to the Container
After taking Deb back to the storage container, where she had been forced to choose between shooting her brother or the innocent LaGuerta last season, Vogel points out to Deb that Dexter's life-long trauma, like her recent one, was also born in a shipping container. She gets Deb to express anger about the situation — instead of numbing it with alcohol and drugs — and later shows Deb a video session in which Vogel and the Morgans' late dad, Harry, discuss Dexter plotting his first kill many years ago.
Harry had struggled with what Dexter was about to become, even though it's what he and Vogel had specifically planned as a way for Dexter to deal with his homicidal urges. But Vogel points out that Harry did what he did to protect Dexter, so instead of being locked away in an institution, Dexter was free to become who he was supposed to become (the serial killer of serial killers). She tries to convince Deb that she, like Harry, did what she had to do to protect Dexter, too, when she killed LaGuerta.
Sgt. Joey Quinn?
Yep, Joey Quinn passed that sergeants exam, a piece of news that, when delivered by Angel, surprises no one more than it surprises Quinn himself. "I've just never been this happy to get back a positive test," ladies man Quinn quips to Angel. Whose sister is currently Quinn's girlfriend. In case you needed a reminder of why Quinn is so hapless, and why it is surprising to everyone that he passed that test.
Quinn gets the news of his test triumph while the crew is at a crime scene, where the body of a young housekeeper is discovered, beaten to death. Her wounds, and lack of defensive marks, suggests she knew her killer, Dexter deduces.
[Related: 10 of Our Favorite TV Serial Killers]
Dexter is then off to stalk, er, scope out, one A.J. Yates, another former Vogel patient who she suspects may be the one stalking and threatening her. Dexter finds Yates on the job, where he's a "bundler" — a guy who installs cable/Internet/phone bundles. "I need to know if murder is part of the package," Dex says. Good one, Dexter.
He does notice that ol' AJ has a big scar around his head, suggesting he's had some brain surgery. There's nothing about Yates having had surgery in Vogel's notes, however … is this another instance of her using unorthodox methods of treatment?
Dexter goes to Vogel's house, allegedly to get answers about Yates' scar (yes, Vogel had ordered the removal of a lesion on his brain), but really to insist that she help Deb forgive him. He needs Deb in his life, he tells Vogel. Why, she asks … because Deb looks up to him? Because, like who we assume is Jessica Biel in that Justin Timberlake "Mirrors" song, Deb is the mirror who reflects Dexter's good side back at him, making it possible for him to live with all the killing 'n such he does the rest of the time? Ooo, Dr. Psychopath Whisperer, you are good.
"But now that mirror is cracked," she tells Dexter. "And the only reflection you see is one of darkness." That's harsh, and a lot of mirror metaphors going on in one talk. Perhaps someone needs to swap out the Timberlake for some Robin Thicke or Bruno Mars.
Anyhoo, Vogel wants Dexter to understand that he has a purpose, a valuable one she tells him, in life, and that it remains a valuable purpose no matter what Deb thinks of him or whether or not she resumes her relationship with him.
More Stalking? More Stalking
Dex is off to check out Yates's home — a charming little Craftsman-style bungalow we'd kill for, though, given the subject matter of this show, we have to point out we don't mean that literally. Nosy Dexter discovers Yates has a shoe fetish, and we discover Yates also has a dungeon in his house, complete with a sophisticated surveillance camera set up and lots of menacing weapons (various sizes of saws, for instance). Yates spies Dexter spying on him, but Dexter leaves before The Bundler confronts him.
Joey Quinn, on the other hand, does not avoid confrontation when he's at Angel's bar, celebrating his exam results with Angel and Jamie, and some fellow cops begin making fun of Deb's recent drunken woes. Quinn tells them to knock it off, they continue making obnoxious remarks about Deb, and Quinn gets into a minor skirmish with the dudes. (Jamie's revenge for Quinn yet again obsessing on Deb? She applies extra pressure to his bruised ribs when they're getting frisky later that night.)
Vogel and Deb are back at the storage container (Deb agreed to return if Vogel would agree she could have one beer), and Vogel points out Deb won't be able to deal with what she did until she admits she'd do it again; that she would always, even in the same circumstance again, choose Dexter. "How do I make it right?" Deb asks.
Vogel: "By finally accepting that you're a good person who was forced to do a terrible thing."
Later, Deb and her new boss, the electrolyte replacement-loving Elway, bond over their fathers. Elway says his was some rich Texan who was very disappointed that his son moved to Miami to become a cop. Deb says her dad "was everything" to her, even though he is not exactly who she thought he was. "I'm realizing we're more alike than I thought," she cryptically adds, while declining to drink the beer Elway offers.
Masuka, who hasn't had even a semblance of storyline in forever, is excited that he's about to get a young female visitor, who he hears is very attractive. She arrives, and it's true: She's as cute as a button. She also squashes his lame, giggle-punctuated attempt at flirting when she tells him she thinks he's her father! In college, he was a sperm donor, and her mom was one of the recipients. He has his doubts at first, but then tells her she's "got my soulful, yet haunting eyes," and when her laugh matches his goofy laugh, there's little doubt about what a DNA test is going to prove.
Dexter, after a DNA test on some of those shoes he found at Yates's house led him to believe Yates is a killer, returns to that cute, but now creepy, Craftsman to snag Yates and get him onto his kill table. Dexter finds all the proof he needs that Yates is "The Brain Surgeon," aka the one stalking and threatening Vogel, but he finds an even bigger surprise in Yates's dungeon: one of his victims, still alive, but on the verge of bleeding to death.
Dexter takes her to the ER, and then takes Vogel to Yates's dungeon. While combing through Yates's computer, Dexter finds Vogel's files, including one on a certain Dexter Morgan. Vogel asks him not to, but Dexter reads her notes on him, which state she thinks he has deluded himself into thinking he has genuine feelings for Deb. Dexter is furious, accusing Vogel of experimenting on him, of viewing him as nothing more than a lab rat, "just like Yates." Vogel denies it, but Dexter doesn't believe her. "When Yates is dead, you are out of my life," he tells her. "It's over. Do you understand? Or do you need to write it down?"
Daddy Issues, Part II
A very pensive Deb, who's still staying at Vogel's house, sneaks into Psychopath Whisperer's office to look at more of her videotaped conversations with Harry. She finds one; one that is about to undo all the Deb-and-Dexter reuniting work Vogel's been doing. In the video, a panicked Harry tells Vogel he has witnessed a Dexter kill, with a body chopped up into pieces in a bag, and he doesn't think "The Code" was the way to go. He's so disturbed at what he and Vogel have created that he tells her he doesn't think he can live with himself. Deb knows ...
Dexter makes a big play with Yates, luring him to Yates's dad's hospital room so he can kill him. Yates is a crafty one, though, or rather, a heartless one, as he distracts Dexter with the threat of killing his own father, and manages to escape out the window.
Deb heads off to the police station to meet Dexter, and smiles when she sees him. "We should talk," she tells him. "Do you want to take a ride?"
With Dexter in the driver's seat, the siblings chat. Deb tells Dexter she saw a video of their father's last session with Vogel. "Did Dad kill himself?" Deb asks.
"Yeah. A few years back, Matthews told me the truth," Dexter says. "Harry OD'd on his heart medication."
Deb: "Was it because of you?"
Dexter: "He thought he'd created a monster."
Deb: "I think I know how he felt. Why he killed himself. But he only got it half right!"
And Deb takes the wheel and steers their moving vehicle right into what she meant to be a watery grave. But a stranger swims out and saves her, and Deb immediately dives back into the water, unhooks her unconscious brother from his seat, and swims to the surface with him in her arms.
Vogel was right: Deb will always choose to help Dexter, even when she's the one trying to do him harm.
"Dexter" airs Sundays at 9 PM on Showtime.