Dexter "A Little Reflection" Review: The Internship

By Cory Barker

Aug 05, 2013

Dexter S08E06: "A Little Reflection"

Although it's not the precise midpoint of the season, "A Little Reflection," as the title suggests, served as a breather, a short pitstop between the wildly inconsistent but often intense action of the first five episodes of Season 8 and what looks to be an even more intense back-half of the season. Of course, only Dexter could build a transitional episode that featured its lead character thinking about killing a teenage boy, only to then decide to take him on as something of a disciple. As always, this isn't the most conventional TV show. 

I'm still having trouble letting go of how quickly the show zoomed past the fruitful and oh-so-good tension between Dexter and Deb, something that was on further display in "A Little Reflection" as the two of them tried to pull their lives back toward something close to normal. However, I also found the episode to be one of the more consistent installments of the season so far, and consistency is something the show definitely needs. After a whole lot of drama and an ultimately quick reconciliation, I was fine to grit my teeth and mostly enjoy watching Dexter and Deb try to find sturdy ground. It's never going to be as interesting as the potential avenues we saw both last season and in the first two episodes this season, but there's value in what happened this week.

Above all else, "A Little Reflection" displayed just how different Dex and Deb are. Despite their frankly sickening inability to let go of one another, they deal with both trauma and recovery quite differently. Think about how the stories went in this episode: Dexter spent most of the hour doing what he does—searching for killers, investigating in his Night Henley, and generally pretending that he doesn't live in a world where he ruins people's lives on the reg. His maneuvering reminded me of some of the series' earlier episodes, with him trying his hand (and failing) at dating and small talk, or parenting Harrison about why lying isn't such a great strategy. Those scenes were all fine, Michael C. Hall can act them in his sleep, but it always seems a little disingenuous when the show returns to this well. There's a sense that the coming cliffhanger is only really effective once the characters have returned to some temporary place of comfort, and while I understand why that's a move to make, we all knew that none of this was going to last. 

Meanwhile, even though Deb handled her issues much better this week than she did in the first few episodes (no cocaine or casual murder this time), you could feel in that final scene that she didn't totally know where to go. She can admit that she's screwed up beyond belief (though making light of the fact that she's killed two people was probably a step too far for me) and that she's not a prime dating candidate, but there was no sense that she's totally ready or able to move on. Dexter can handle the darkness and death so much better because he's faced it for much longer, and because he's a grade-A sociopath. Deb's not there, at least not yet. In the last two episodes, I've been waiting for Deb to completely lose her mind, even more so than when she tried to kill her brother, but the show seems determined to delay me that gratification as long as possible. But even Deb's actions were kind of familiar; we've seen her try to suppress issues and reconnect with her brother a dozen times over the course of the series. 

Yet, maybe "A Little Reflection" was what Season 8 needed, if only for one episode. I expressed my frustrations with the show's yoyo-ing tone and quality last week, and it's at least possible that the familiar rhythms of this episode will give Dexter a necessary shot in the arm. 

Plus, it's not like it was completely without its novelties! The silliness involving threats on Vogel's life are now gone (at least for now), which allowed for an increased spotlight on Dexter's distrust of her, and for more of creepy teen killer Zach. While Vogel keeps giving Dexter new reasons to roll his eyes at everything she says (or to kill her, which is basically his version of the frustrated eye-roll), the weird relationship between Dex and Zach has developed in a surprisingly compelling way. There was never any doubt that Zach killed his father's side-piece, but the episode got a lot of milage out of Dexter bringing Zach into his world in hopes of scoring as much information as possible. Dexter taking Zach under his wing as a murder intern is one of the more fascinating ideas that the show's come up with in recent seasons. It creates a slew of new opportunities for Dexter as a character, forcing him to really consider who he is, why he does what he does, etc. It should also stir up the right kind of tension between Dexter and Deb and even between Dexter and Vogel; it's one of those perfect "final season" things to do. Sam Underwood is sufficiently off-putting as Zach, so I'm really excited to see where this goes. 

Speaking of excited: Hannah's back. Clearly, it was just a matter of time, but this was also the perfect time for her to return. Dexter and Deb both think they have a half-assed handle on their lives (regardless of the fact that they're probably kidding themselves), and they've mostly moved past their MAJOR problems. And now, who saunters in but the one person who can easily get between them and fester up those problems? I know fans are mixed on Hannah, but if done correctly, Dexter could use her to great benefit here. The likelihood that her return will make the reconciliation between Dexter and Deb a fleeting one is what the show needs, even if it doesn't entirely make up for the season burning through story to arrive at that fake reconciliation in the first place.

I'll be the first to admit that I've been wishy-washy about this season of Dexter, but that's only because it's been too uneven and too confounding. "A Little Reflection" felt pretty familiar for the majority of its running time, but there were still elements that suggest the show is moving toward something, as opposed to stalling. Here's hoping. 


– Quinn didn't get the Sergeant's position, which is a national tragedy in its own right, but this news also ruined Jamie's birthday party. How could people do that to our angel Jamie? By the way, do you guys ever wonder how much Jamie gets paid? She's with Harrison like what, 80 percent of the time? Is she going to school? Does she just want to be a nanny/awkward matchmaker her whole life? Who are you, Jamie Batista? 

– So Masuka's daughter is probably fleecing him, but he doesn't totally care, only she's now offended that he investigated her. Who's enthralled? 

– The actor who plays Harrison: Still pretty awesome.

– I appreciate the writers' patience in not having Deb immediately sleep with Elway once he made a pass at her. That's true restraint coming from them. 

– Hey girl: Jennifer Carpenter cleans up nice. 

What'd you think of "A Little Reflection"?

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  • Chandy_16 Aug 14, 2013

    So this season is driving me crazy! they just leave plots lying around all over the place, with what looks like no intention of fixing.
    1st : they haven't solved who the brain surgeon second killer is, they were just like, oh it's probably shoe guy so i guess were done then!, ah no crazies, there was literally no evidence it was him. yeah hes insane and his heads cut and he attacked Vogel, guess what, everyone wants too! that's not evidence. So I'm guessing then that Vogel must be the killer.
    2nd: how does no one know about Dexter and Morgan driving a car off a fucking bridge? no one asks how they're doing, and Jamie doesn't ask how her car is? like what? did Dexter not tell her, 'oh yeah i was going to go pick your car up and then deb decided to kill me so it's currently at the bottom of a river, oops !'
    And as a side note, Cassey has worn these horrible clunky shoes from the late 90's every time we've seen her, Eww. glad to see blonds back!, now we get to see black bras and white tank tops on her every episode!
    Oh and the rich Dexter wannabe needs to work on how you talk in public : "i feel like she bled that way for me" , creepy! dude no one normal talks like that, stop being so obviously a killer, goodness!

    Other then that, it's been a 5 out of 10 type of season so far.

  • fionaesunderland Dec 24, 2013

    The car wasn't Jamies it hers broke down because she did nothing about the check engine light it was a car he borrowed from the police station

  • peterspoor33 Aug 10, 2013

    I can't help being a big Vogel fan, her enjoyment of manipulation and her bemused little expressions are just wicked! Go Charlotte Rampling.

  • joejak Aug 08, 2013

    I want the stakes to be higher. I really, really hope that Matthews is secretly in the know about Laguerta's murder or at least has serious suspicions. Maybe it could be Battista investigating it (but not sure he's smart enough to put everything together). If you look at the situation on paper it's like: Laguerta accuses Dexter of being the Bay Harbor Butcher, and then what, like a couple of days go by and she ends up dead.
    It will be great if Matthews has put these obvious (?) pieces together. Everything else going on right now, imo, is fluff compared to this, especially for a final season.

  • sugarbee711 Aug 09, 2013

    Agreed, the stakes need to be much higher. It really just seems crazy to me that Matthews DOESN'T know the truth about Dexter. I mean last season when he questioned Dexter, it seemed much less a question than a tip.. then she winds up dead? Then Vogel the creator of the code gets called in for a case, despite the fact that they've had serial killers on the show before and never mentioned her and her expertise before... something tells me Matthews called her in to checkin on Dexter because he suspects that Dexter killed LaGuerta...

  • sugarbee711 Aug 07, 2013

    Does anyone else think that there's something up with Matthews?? I'm starting to think he's known about Dexter and his Dark Passenger this whole time... my new theory is that this intern crap is going to blow up in Dexter's face big time, he's going to get busted somehow, and Matthews is going to cover it up and save his ass because he knew about all along.... side theory, its possibly Quinn's stupidity could be redeemed by him being the one catching Dexter and maybe Matthews discredits Quinn or Quinn dies? That's where I am at... but yea somethings up with Matthews

  • mtones Aug 08, 2013

    Considering the way Quinn was initially introduced to us, he was the first one to hate Dexter and suspect him of being up to something, then they dropped that whole thread for him becoming (essentially...) Deb's bitch, lol. Next we had Dokes hate Dex and suspect him - he winds up dead. LaGuerta starts suspecting Dex - she winds up dead. If Quinn were to finally get his brains back and start suspecting Dex again - he may...wind up dead, lol. But here's to hoping not and that he can somehow redeem himself to Matthews - would be kinda cool (even if unlikely at this point).

  • Ish_Inf Aug 07, 2013

    Dexter taking on an intern is so long overdue seeing as how in the books he's been molding Rita's kids from the day they met

  • deathly_hollows Aug 07, 2013

    I don't think Dexter taking an intern is silly - have in mind Vogel is there to manipulate him. Just remember what she did to Yates. Dexter is a psychopath, regular mumbo jumbo doesn't work on him, but Vogel's easing in real nicely. Slowly.

    I believe there will be a big revelation about her (killing Harry, being Zach's mentor months ago, being a crazy psychopath on her own trying to make a "family that kills"). Or maybe she's only there for the experiment.

    My theory (which is probably way off course) is that Vogel is somehow connected to Zach - his grandmother who used her daughter's marriage misery (Zachs mom) to tap into his dark passenger. This theory has many holes, but hey, it's what I would have done.

    Anyway, the plots of the season seem laughable at certain moments, but in the end they are very plausible.

  • 24treehills Aug 07, 2013

    Do I smell a spin - off ?

  • wudntulik2know Aug 08, 2013

    Gee, I hope so. Won't it be great? Especially if they use the same brilliant, talented writers who have been crafting this season's pile of ...............................

    But yes, you do smell something.

  • peterspoor33 Aug 10, 2013

    Well if Zach learns the code, he should probably kill Dexter. Then we get the spin off Zach: Dexter 2

  • localmotion12 Aug 07, 2013

    definitely not feeling dexter being a mentor but that ending just made this season so so so much better!

  • SaviSandhu Aug 07, 2013

    i don't like that dexter and vogel are teaching the code to someone else, what is this, vogel's school of serial killing?

    teaching new people the code just makes dexter more vulnerable, and more likely to get caught if this protege slips up.

  • wudntulik2know Aug 08, 2013

    Yup. This from a character who was like a shadow in the night, now he just about wears a tee shirt that says:

    "Hi! I'm a Serial Killer and I'm with the Two Stupids!"

    Obviously, Vogel and Deb have to wear their own tee shirts or it won't work.

  • ben45tpy Aug 06, 2013

    Now I can only barely remember how Dexter used to only go after killers who had avoided being found guilty. It's a joke that the writers now insist on him obstructing police investigations to kill the perpetrator for every single homicide.

    That's an old complaint by now, Now I'm wondering what's up with the logic of Dexter not killing Zach? Oh so he's young and impressionable, that lets him off the hook? He killed an innocent person but I guess Dex's decided that he gets a free pass for that because Zach thought killing an innocent would cure his mum's alcoholism? Yep, that makes TOTAL sense [sarcasm]. Is Dex now going to not kill anyone young people or people who didn't have any self-interest in committing murder, or who kill compulsively. That's wiped out like 90% of his kill-base. Teaching Zach the Code is also stupid. There are fundamental differences between Dexter and Zach, most importantly Dex only became how he is due to childhood trauma, Zach is just like that despite having a sheltered, pampered childhood. The only way this development will serve the show is if Quinn is barely adequate enough to continue surveilling Zach and sees something.

  • wudntulik2know Aug 08, 2013


    I doubt if there would be any intelligent, logical conclusion to Quinn seeing something. We'd probably be treated to The Murderous Threesome taping him to a table.

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