In the months since Captain LaGuerta’s murder, the only one who thinks his life is back to normal is Dexter Morgan. Angel Batista has given up his bar and returned to work as a Lieutenant with Miami Metro, the disgraced Captain Tom Matthews is also back as Deputy Chief and Debra has quit the force, working for Elway Investigations as a private investigator and bounty hunter. Dexter says that a crisis helps define who you are, and LaGuerta’s death helped him to get back on track, solving all of his problems. The real problem is that just isn’t true. There’s nothing normal about Dexter to begin with, but now he’s lost his sister and she, like him, has become unrecognizable.
Debra is working a skip trace on a fence who stole some jewelry – Andrew Briggs. She found him, in Fort Lauderdale, and is having sex and cocaine with him, staying in the very seedy Pink Motel. Dexter hasn’t spoken to her in weeks and he’s desperate to find her. He checks with her boss, Jacob Elway, but he’s not having much more luck trying to reach her either. Her absence from Maria’s memorial service during which a concrete bench at the beach is dedicated in her honor, is noticed and noted by everyone in attendance. Dexter knows and we know why she isn’t there and couldn’t be there. There wouldn’t be a bench or a reason for any memorial if Dexter hadn’t put Debra into an untenable, and ultimately inescapable, situation.
The detectives, along with Dexter, are called to a murder scene, where the victim has been shot. When he’s moved, they discover that his injuries extend to his head where his skull has been opened and a part of his brain has been taken. When he returns to the station, Dexter runs Debra credit card, using a password that only Debra could come up with – “F***INGPASSWORD” – and finds that she’s been using it at a place called El Mercado in Fort Lauderdale and heads straight there to try to locate her. He sees her outside the store with Briggs and follows her inside. When she spots him, she tells him to leave her alone. She’s distraught, broken beyond belief, and tells him that she compromised everything she ever was to help him. She finally says that she shot the wrong person inside that trailer on New Year’s Eve. On the drive home, Dexter talks to his father’s ghost, as he often does, and Harry tells his son that she needs to be left alone. Just then, a car cuts them off and Dexter screeches to a halt in front of the other driver’s car. He attacks the man in an out of control rage, stopping only after he notices the man’s young son in the back seat.
Detective Joey Quinn has moved on from his stripper girlfriend and is now seeing Jamie Batista, Angel’s sister and nanny to Dexter’s son, Harrison. In the middle of a romp in the sack, Angel comes home, forcing Quinn to make his exit while Jamie distracts her brother. Angel is still going through boxes of Maria’s belongings and finds the warrants she had applied for in her search to prove that Dexter was the real Bay Harbor Butcher. Angel says that her stubbornness is what got her killed.
The morning briefing at the P.D. is being run by Deputy Chief Matthews and he introduces Dr. Evelyn Vogel to the investigators. Dr. Vogel (Charlotte Rampling) is there under the premise that she’s offering her expertise in neuropsychology to help them with the murder of the man with the dissected brain. According to Matthews, she called him out of the blue after reading about the case in the papers. She begins talking about the nature of the psychopath and their lack of empathy and notes that the portion of the brain that was taken processes empathy. She and Dexter are sharing the same thoughts at the same time, albeit silently, but Dexter is wondering what her real reasons are for just showing up when she did. He Googles her and realizes that she’s the last person who should be anywhere near him, given his crimes. Angel walks into Dexter’s office and gives him a vase to remember Maria but Dexter lashes out at him regarding Maria’s obsession with Dexter and Debra. Angel hope that Dexter can someday forgive her. If Angel only knew who should be forgiving who.
Debra call Quinn, asking him to check on a bad guy who goes by the nickname El Sapo – The Toad. El Sapo is supposed to buy the stolen jewelry, but, as it turns out, he’s not a fence at all. He’s a hit man whose target is Briggs and Dexter knows that Debra is in danger as long as she’s with Briggs. Before he can do anything about Denra’s situation, Dexter is called to the Medical Examiner’s office and Dr. Vogel is waiting there for him. She starts to pick Dexter’s brain – sorry I couldn’t resist – about the latest murder victim and the possibility that it’s the work of a serial killer. She then changes course and starts wondering aloud about the Bay Harbor Butcher. When Dexter tells her that the cases were cleared and the killer was Sergeant James Doakes, Vogel appears skeptical but drops the subject and Dexter leaves, curious as to why she wants to know and what her real motives are for insinuating herself into the current investigation.
Dexter tries to call Quinn to find out where Debra is, but Quinn is busy entertaining Jamie at his apartment. Nanny-less, Dexter, with Harrison in tow, goes to Quinn’s apartment and finds out that Debra is at the Pink Motel. He’s forced to take Harrison with him to Fort Lauderdale. When he arrives, he sees Debra in a room with Briggs and knocks on the door, drawing Denra outside. He pleads with her to leave with him, that she’s in danger and could be killed is El Sapo show up. She tells her brother that she doesn’t care because, according to the “code”, bad people deserve to die. She cries and says that she can’t pretend everything’s fines, she’s not like him. Briggs then steps out and he and Dexter start to fight, which ends when Dexter stabs him. Debra is now hysterical and screams that she’s not the one who’s lost. She knows exactly where she is and that’s in some shitty f***in’ hell, but he’s lost and doesn’t even realize it. Debra tells Dexter to go and then calls the police to report the murder. As Dexter walks away, he finds that Harrison isn’t in the car and calls out for him. The boy wandered away, looking for his Dad and Dexter spots him in the parking lot. Debra tells the police that she was investigating Briggs, went out for a sandwich and discovered his body when she got back. El Sapo is watching everything from his car.
Dexter is at home washing blood from one of Harrison’s stuffed animals. He realizes that Debra is right. He’s the one who’s lost and it’s because he can’t be the same person without his sister. He’s sitting on the bench with Maria DeGuerta’s name on it when Dr. Vogel just happens to walk up to him. She hands him an envelope that contains childhood pictures drawn by Dexter. He runs after her and pushes her against a wall. She tells him that he can’t kill her because she doesn’t fit Harry’s code. That code’s been smashed to smithereens, though, and Dexter’s killed more than one victim for the sake of convenience or out of a need for self-preservation.
Dr. Vogel’s timely appearance is interesting to say the least. Did Captain LaGuerta call her before she died and ask for her help, giving her all of the information she had garnered on Dexter? Maybe Matthews called her, trying to help either LaGuerta, or perhaps Dexter, regarding the identity of the Bay Harbor Butcher, in the hopes of putting the whole matter to rest, once and for all. Or maybe she’s someone who has been following the murders for years and has Dexter all figured out already. Somehow she managed to get her hands on those Crayola created depictions of crime scenes, signed by the very young Dexter Moser/Morgan. I wouldn’t rule out Debra – she’s one of only two people who would have access to those very personal drawings, and she certainly has every reason to turn to Dr. Vogel for help.