(Warning: While everything I say is speculative, the first two episodes of Season 8 may be discussed, so there are going to be spoilers for those who haven’t seen them yet.)

Some things that happened in Episode II – Every Silver Lining:

Dexter learns more of his origin story, specifically that Harry came to Dr. Vogel (with whom he may or may not have been sleeping — the dog) with his concerns about Dexter, and she came up with the framework of the code.

Vogel shows Dexter the slice of brain she says was left on her doorstep by the brain-surgeon killer, and speculates that the killer is one of her patients. She asks Dexter’s help in bringing him down and doesn’t want the police involved because her “unorthodox” methods may come to light. Then it turns out that the killer of the last victim was coerced – forced at gunpoint to kill. We learn this based on a DVD left in Vogel’s house, presumably by the person who coerced him and later killed him.

Meantime in Deb-land – She goes to a storage locker and finds the jewels. El Sapo who has been following her, grabs them and beats her up, but he doesn’t kill her. He tells her he only kills people he’s paid to kill, and leaves her writhing in pain on the floor of the locker. Bad choice. Before he has a chance to drive away, Deb somehow ambushes him in his car, grabs back her gun (conveniently left by him on the passenger seat) and kills him, leaving evidence that Dex will have to clean up.

My assessment: My nose has that twitchy feeling every time I see Dr. Vogel.

Anybody else notice that everything she’s telling Dexter about the slice-of-brains that keep landing on her doorstep could be a lie? Anybody else notice that there was no sign of anyone else’s having been at her house when the DVD was “left” on her laptop?

Vogel may or may not be the brain surgeon. She may be manipulating someone else, but whatever is going on, she’s not in danger and no one is leaving her surprise packages. If she’s lying about that, she could be lying about anything.

I still believe (as I said last week) that Matthews knows about the code. She implied that only Harry and she did, but she’s unreliable. I’m not a 100% sure she knows that Matthews knows. He could have found out at Harry’s deathbed, but I stand by the idea that Matthews brought her in because of his concerns surrounding LaGuerta’s death, and whether the code was breaking down.

Vogel is an evil-genius, and certainly more sociopathic than Dexter ever was. She’s manipulating him in every way possible. By making it seem like she’s in danger, she’s appealing to his “sense of justice” and need to kill killers and protect the innocent. She’s teasing him with more hints about Harry and his past, and when all else fails, she reaching out to him in a way that’s quasi-maternal and little creepy.

Dexter did not become a sociopath or serial killer based on his being in the shipping container. He was a disturbed kid, probably suffering from PTSD, and acting out, especially when his adoptive mother became sick. While killing animals is certainly a sign of sociopathy, not all kids who kill animals become sociopaths and most sociopaths aren’t serial killers.

Vogel may or may not have known that her diagnosis was a crock. She seems genuinely surprised that Dex has real feelings for Harry, and Deb, but that may be because she thought her handiwork was so complete in “creating” him as a non-feeling monster.

(It’s even possible,that she may have manipulated the more damaged Brian Moser, who we know grew up in an institution. She may have viewed both boys as the perfect lab rats. Let’s wait and see if there are later reveals about a Brian connection.)

So if Vogel is a sociopath, interested in finding out if her pathology can be created and harnessed, and Dexter was her tabla rosa, what does she want now?

I’m not sure, but I think I have a guess about the writers’ endgame.

We want Dexter to get away with it. We like him. This does not make us monsters. After all Dexter only kills bad people (most of the time), and it’s just a silly television show, usually a dark comedy. Nevertheless, we would all feel better about Dexter getting away – or worse about his getting caught – if none of this was his fault.

What if Dexter was programmed to kill, and could be deprogrammed?

I don’t think Vogel is there to deprogram him. I don’t believe she’s going to say, “I did you a great wrong, so now let’s make it right.”

But I do think stuff will happen that will lead to his being “cured.” Deb’s being in danger will be a big part of the stuff. Yeah, we sort of went there with Brian back in season one, so I doubt it will play out the same way, but by the penultimate episode, Dex will realize Vogel meets the code, and she’ll wind up on his table, and she’ll be his final kill.

(Marion knows no one will ever pay for her opinions when she gives them away free on her blog, but you can show your appreciation by sampling one of her cheapie novellas or her novel here.)

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