Dexter "Are We There Yet?" Review: Doctor Feelgood

By Cory Barker

Aug 19, 2013

Dexter S08E08: "Are We There Yet?"

You guys know that I've criticized this final season of Dexter for having a lot of interesting stories going on at once, but cutting some of them off at the knees before they truly get going. It's been a frustrating run, full of stops and starts that, in the moment, don't make a lick of sense. But in all honesty, we had a good idea of where things were likely headed: All roads lead to Vogel. Since the first or second episode, some of you have been proposing grand theories in the comments about Vogel's actions dating back to Harry's death, and it's not like I didn't suggest she would play a bigger role a few times along the way. Nevertheless, the last few episodes and shiny new toys like Zach and Hannah have turned up the noise in Dexter's story and distracted from the bigger picture. Vogel cannot be trusted and she's either personally carrying out the brain extraction murders, or she's strongly influencing the person (or people) who are. It's that simple.

What made "Are We There Yet?" a mostly strong episode was that Vogel zoomed back to the forefront, only making it more obvious that all the diversions and stalled developments were at least partially her doing. Is it stupid that Deb got over her problems and made up with Dexter in rapid fashion? Absolutely. But who made that happen in the show's world? Vogel. And then she effectively convinced Dexter and Hannah to stick it out together, praising their relationship to a creepy degree, even though it makes really no sense for them to keep going unless they simply want to get caught.  

And thenby the end of tonight's episode, Zach—Dexter's promising and interesting intern—had had his head cracked open and part of his brain removed, effectively ending yet another intriguing story too early. The idea that Zach would actually follow Harry's code without Dexter fully instructing him in it could have made for compelling TV, but nope, that's done. And guess who was the last person we saw with Zach before Dexter found his body? Yeah, Vogel. It sure seems like she played some role in this latest death, which means she probably framed Zach to begin with. The end of the episode made it seem like she was still receiving brain parts, but there was also that weird transition where Dexter picked up the mysterious phone that'd been left at the scene, and then Vogel was on the phone in the next second. I'm not saying she's absolutely the killer, but she's involved, just like she's been involved in screwing everything up all along. 

This is one of those tricky situations where I can't necessarily blame the show for plodding along and setting up these little moments where Vogel's manipulation is clear, but its impact isn't. Even though we all knew from the Season 8 premiere that Vogel was going to play a big role in the show's endgame, the writers played it slow (and really, they still are, in some ways). BUT, just because Vogel's involvement is ramping up again and some stories make a little more sense in retrospective, I *can* blame Dexter for being a little flaccid in putting everything together. The peril of episodic reviews is that you're always fighting against the season or the series as a larger entity, so what looks stupid in one episode might end up making loads of sense later. Yet, bad episodes are bad episodes, and Season 8 has been stuck in a rhythm where all the dumb stuff suddenly works for 20 minutes, only to turn dumb again. Rinse and repeat. 

The good news is that, with only four episodes to go, Dexter is running out of time to pad the story, or keep certain motives under the radar. Whatever the details of Vogel's final plan are, I feel mostly confident in guessing that she's going to try to take away everything Dexter loves. Not only because that's what characters like her do on shows like this, but because she's got a real infatuation with our main dude. If Zach's dead because he got too close to Dexter, it doesn't totally make sense that Deb is still alive unless there's an even more nefarious plot in play, but it seems likely that Vogel's going to target Hannah, or at least try to drive a wedge between Hannah and Dexter. She was supportive in "Are We There Yet?" but it has to be a ploy, just like her relationship with Deb has to be a ploy, or none of this really makes sense. 

Ultimately, Dexter needs to get Vogel more involved. Without her actions as catalysts, the remaining crucial characters are getting a little boring. Deb spent most of the hour with not a whole lot to do other than throw her hands up in the air once she learned that her worst dream had come true (Dex and Hannah getting back together), but even that realization didn't send her teetering over the edge, which is where the show needs her to be. Meanwhile, Dexter and Hannah spent the duration of this episode making lusty eyes at each other, which makes sense but isn't particularly engaging; it was more inevitable than anything else. Their sex scene dragged on far too long—there's generally something off about the sex scenes on Dexter; they lack any semblance of passion—and even their final re-connection on the pier didn't have a whole lot of energy. Their romantic tension was awkward last year as well, but watching them circle one another this week felt even more so. 

Vogel's actions have derailed the season's best burgeoning stories or character moments. Now I'm just hoping that whatever is in store for her, or whatever is caused by her, can make up for that in the show's final four hours. 


– Jamie took Cassie's death pretty hard and Quinn didn't even care. Jamie actually made a good point about Quinn's relationship with Deb, but I'm not sure that's leading to something, so it just reinforces that Quinn's a tool and Jamie needs to escape Miami ASAP.

– I gotta be honest: I watched this episode twice and I can't even tell you whether Masuka or his topless daughter were in it. So that story is going very well.

– "My name is Harrison": The line that true second-generation serial killers are made of. 

  • Comments (359)
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  • ohnoron Aug 28, 2013

    The fact that the sex scenes are awkward does kind of fit with the fact that Dexter is a psychopath and doesn't experience emotion in the same way as others - that said it should be awkward or passionless because that is a choice, and it is not clear if that is the case.

    I love Vogel. Charlotte Rampling is a fantastic actress and I'm enjoying her character development.

    Quin, as usual, is being a douche.

  • juliocabrera3 Aug 28, 2013

    I actually like Zach this episode, to bad he is gone.

  • TheTemplai Aug 26, 2013

    It's not a review when everything you do is speculate. Gee.

  • wudntulik2know Aug 25, 2013

    So, at this time tomorrow, there will only be THREE stinkerooneo shows left!


  • owenyunfat Aug 23, 2013

    I hate everything about this season! Just end it and be done!

  • wudntulik2know Aug 25, 2013

    HEY KrazeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEyezKilla!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    GUESS YOU MISSED THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I hate everything about this season! Just end it and be done!



  • wudntulik2know Aug 23, 2013

    Only four more. Well, to paraphrase Seinfeld, Sunday is almost here and then it's only three more and the agony will be over.

    Oh happy happy joy joy.

  • KrazeeEyezKilla Aug 24, 2013

    Hey, wudntulik2know, you're a dickhead!

  • wudntulik2know Aug 25, 2013

    Is everyone else who hates this stinko show?




  • KrazeeEyezKilla Aug 28, 2013

    Hey, wudntulik2know, you're a dickhead!

    (Sorry if that wasn't a reply to whatever you wrote, but I've trained my brain not to read any comments with your name above it.)

  • owenyunfat Aug 23, 2013

    I loved seasons 1-6, but the acting, the continuity is just shot to sh!t... it annoys me how bad it is compared to season 4 (which I see as the peak!)

  • Lars900 Aug 23, 2013

    For a second there I thought it was going to get REALLY interesting. The moment Quinn showed the picture of Zach to the lover of Cassie and asked if he has ever seen him, I though he was going to say something like : "Yes I saw him with Dexter at his appartment." Which I thought would set things in motion for the discovery of who Dexter really is to the world. But no.

    One of the promotional posters of Dexter season 8 shows Dexter with red wires all leading to him and everyone around him looking suspicious. I thought that the discovery of who Dexter really is was what this season was going to be about, not about another serial killer which I don't care about. Maybe they'll get to that in the few episodes left, I seriously hope so. Otherwise that poster is extremely misguiding :/

  • brianreilly Aug 23, 2013

    As a psychopath ( def someone lacking empathy and incapable of nurture)
    Dexter is quite the romantic....W T F
    This show deserves the death penalty
    Its so boooooring now !

  • wudntulik2know Aug 23, 2013

    You said it.

  • KrazeeEyezKilla Aug 24, 2013

    Hey, wudntulik2know, you're a dickhead!

  • bruno_fmenedes Aug 23, 2013

    Overall this was another good episode of Dexter =) It had many great and memorable moments but also had plenty of bad and forgettable ones. The best and most engaging scenes and conversations were the ones with Dexter and Hannah, particularly when they were alone (although the sex scene was a bit overlong). The "Are we there yet?" line was funny to hear Zach say, even though it was the title of the episode. The other half of the episode wasn't totally bad, since the boring secondary characters had very little screen-time, except Jamie and Quinn.

    Dr. Vogel was creepier than usual and said some great lines during that awkwardly amusing dinner, but her character is so underdeveloped that she has become uninteresting to watch, at least for me. All we know is that she studys psychopaths and created the "Harry's Code". What about her personal life? Does she have friends, colleagues, family? Like Hannah asked: how did she get interested in the study of psychopaths? Hannah's perplexed face also reflected how I felt after Vogel's non-response. We shouldn't have so many questions about a crucial character with only 4 episodes left, especially when those are the last ones of the 8th and last season of a series!

    And what about the Brain surgeon? Who's he/she? What motivates him/her to do what he/her does? Why incriminate Zack just to kill him next? Did he/her want Dexter to kill Zack and then killed him because Dexter didn't? Why? I'm worried that, at this point, it's still possible that the last of Dexter's villains could be even worse than awful Travis! I'm also worried that the writers kept Hannah in Miami -- which makes total sense to me, since she loves Dexter and was just waiting for him to ask her to stay, even if that means risking getting arrested or killed by a psychopath, and he loves her more than any woman before and couldn't just let her go and not see her ever again -- just to kill her off, instead of using her character to help Dexter catch the "Brain Surgeon" and finally be free of the urge to kill. We'll have to wait and see... but I'm extremely worried about the last 4 episodes...

  • Vicky8675309 Aug 23, 2013

    Cassie was probably murdered by her boyfriend otherwise why is he getting so much screen time

  • Sam20 Aug 23, 2013

    Exactly. They couldn't make that any more obvious.

  • Edupinn Aug 23, 2013

    I knew something big was going to happen when they all got together to have dinner at Vogel's place. I mean, WHO makes such a huge mince pie (or whatever that was -- was I the only one wondering what kind of meat was that??) to eat alone? Of course she was expecting them! She planned everything! Vogel's involved somehow and I loved her from the very beginning. You can tell she's mental...
    Anyhow, I'm enjoying this last season so far, although it's extremely slow paced even for Dexter's terms. Yes, I totally agree that they have great stories that get cut off too early. It seems to me that they were planning at least a couple of seasons more... Imagine: a whole season for Dexter to teach Zach his Code...only to find him DEAD head open brain cut at the very last 25 seconds of the Season. Next season (the final one), Vogel comes up and hell on Earth begins.
    I also love Debra (couldn't fit that into a normal sentence, sorry).

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