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It is hard to believe that there are just two episodes left in Dexter’s series run; how quickly its final season has unfolded. Yes, it is all coming to an end and it is becoming increasingly apparent within the show’s narrative. Many of the characters find themselves in a state of transition, planning for the future with, generally unrealistic expectations. Dexter blissfully plans for his move to Argentina; Hannah allows herself to believe that her fantasy could actually become a reality; Debra prepares for her return to Miami Metro, and Dr. Vogel is determined to take care of her son and find him some medical help. Though the only one with realistic and sound expectations is Debra, apart from the whole getting back together with Quinn thing (ugh). Dexter and Dr. Vogel are grasping at straws, desperately attempting to hold on to something that will most likely bring about their downfall. What is great about this is that, though both characters are making irrational decisions based on emotion instead of reason, they recognize in the other what they refuse to admit about themselves. Dexter knows that Vogel is not thinking clearly, and that her judgment is severely clouded by her love/affection towards her son while at the same time fails to recognize or acknowledge that he is essentially doing the same thing with Hannah. She may not be the crazed psychopath that is Daniel Vogel, and does not want to cause Dexter any harm, but she certainly poses a serious threat to his life.
As convinced as they were about whatever plans they had for their future, it becomes clearer and clearer that it would not be easy to carry them through. Soon enough, everything goes awry, Clayton is once again suspicious of Dexter and Hannah, and Daniel becomes more unhinged and mistrusting of Dr. Vogel. Then things take a pointed turn for the worst with the death of one of the most compelling characters the show has produced in recent years.
Say it ain’t so! Sure, since her first appearance on the show it's been quite apparent that things were probably not going to end well for dear Dr. Vogel (we’ve come to expect that every new character introduced will most likely be dead by the end of the season), but it still hurts to see her go. Vogel’s story was incredibly well paced and effectively handled. In the ten episodes in which she was featured, the writers gave Charlotte Rampling great material and the opportunity to demonstrate a wide range of performances, which she executed magnificently. What could have been a one-note character (a cold psychologist with insight into Dexter’s dirty little secret/straight up antagonist) became something much more unexpected and rich. Not only did she become a surrogate mother to Dexter, someone who had a deep impact on his upbringing, unbeknownst to him, but she was also involved in the show’s narrative on a grander scale. Exploring her tie to Dexter would have been interesting enough, but in addition to that she was immersed in Miami Metro dealings, she was the reason for the “brain surgeon’s” crimes, she brought Zach Hamilton into the fold, and even served as family therapist for Dexter and Debra. Even though she seemed to be involved in almost everything, especially things that were going wrong, her presence always felt organic and real, not manipulated or forced. And seriously, would anyone argue against giving Rampling more screen time, I mean, she fit into the show better than characters that have been there for years (cough Quinn cough).
While it's upsetting to witness Dr. Vogel’s gruesome death, one really feels for Dexter in that moment; it's the right time to get rid of the character. How much longer could we endure Vogel trying to convince Dexter not to kill Daniel? Her arc was quite tragic, attaching herself to Dexter and then Zach, trying to become the mother she never was for Daniel and then succumbing to her son’s jealous manipulations. It's been fascinating to watch her transition from self-assured professional to vulnerable mother; Rampling played the character’s many facets with relentless skill. And though it makes sense for the character to meet her end, for narrative’s sake, I still find myself rooting for Dr. Vogel (she became such a human/sympathetic figure) and for Dexter to somehow save her. However, what Vogel’s death will mean to Dexter and how it will affect him will certainly be fun to explore. Ultimately, this is Dexter’s story the writers are telling.
Dexter is visibly distraught in those last moments and no doubt that Vogel’s death will lie heavily on him. His determination to kill Daniel Vogel will most likely increase, and with the potential obstacles coming his way concerning Hannah, it seems that there will be a lot of action packed into the last two episodes of the series.
-- What are the writers doing with Masuka and the daughter? Are they just there for comic relief? Are they setting up that spinoff show that Showtime keeps hinting at? It's a short moment, but why have it at all if it might not pay off later on?
-- Somebody just please kill Quinn. I know that would be another one of Debra’s lovers to suffer an untimely demise, but he is just the worst, and even though he is slightly more palatable with Debra, he does not deserve her.
-- Elway is incredibly bitter as Debra attempts to graciously resign. His hostility feels very pointed, which tells me this is not the last we have seen of him. Is there anything incriminating in those case files?
-- I like the “choir director” callback as Dexter sets up the kill room. Can do without the “come a long way” talk. We get it.
-- Hannah taking Harrison to the hospital sets up a nice parallel to Vogel and Daniel, albeit in a much more benign way. Hannah risks getting caught for the safety and well being of Harrison (who has effectively become her son over the time) whom she truly cares about, while Vogel sacrifices her own well being in an attempt to care for Daniel.