Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Showtime's Dexter #809 “Make Your Own Kind of Music"

Family Matters
By Catherine Giordano

Darri Ingolfsson plays Oliver Saxon on Dexter
HBO’s “Dexter” is not about serial killers; it is about family. Episode #809, “Make Your Own Kind of Music”, airing on August 25, 2013, clinches it. Substitute the word ‘family” for “music” in the title of this episode.

“Dexter” is about Dexter and his father, Harry. It is about Dexter and his relationship with his son, Harrison. It is about the relationship Dexter and his sister, Debra, have with each other. Before Rita’s death, it was about Dexter’s relationship with Rita and his step-children.

It is about the relationship between Hannah and Dexter, especially in the last couple of episodes when they decide that they want to have a life together. Little Harrison says he wants Hannah to be his mom. A new family is forming. They are planning to flee to Argentina (the real Argentina, not the metaphorical Argentina) and start a new life.

Even Debra and Hannah are getting chummy. Elway is trying to track Hannah down for the reward money, so Hannah needs to lie low until they can leave the country.  Dexter stashes her at his sister’s house. They are starting to feel just a little bit sisterly.

It is about the “work family” at Miami Metro. They have their differences, but with a few exceptions--Debra killing LaGuetra, the animosity between Dexter and Doakes-- they are always there for each other. Batista, who is now in charge at Miami Metro, is urging Debra to rejoin the “family.” Debra wants to return to Miami Metro, but is conflicted—how can she go back to being a cop when her brother is a serial killer and another serial killer is hiding out at her house.

It is about forming families-of-choice, a situation that occurs when people who are not actually related to each other take on family-like roles with respect to each other.  The short lived maternal role of Vogel with Dexter, Debra, and Zach. The even shorter relationship, between Dexter and Zach, a relationship cut short when Zach was murdered by the Brain Surgeon.

And to underline the importance of family even more, even Matsuka now has a family—he has met the daughter born from his long-ago sperm donation to a fertility clinic.
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In episode 809, we learn about Vogel’s family.  She had two sons—one dead and the other believed to be dead. The shocker in episode 809 is that Vogel’s older son, Daniel, was a psychopath, and at the age of 14 he killed his younger brother. Vogel and her then husband covered up the murder to protect their surviving son, and had him placed in an institution in England. He died in a fire at the institution, or so Vogel believed.

But Vogel’s son was not dead; he had set the fire in order to escape. Daniel then assumed a new identity—he became Oliver Saxon (played by the actor Darri Ingolfsson), the man who most likely is the murderer of Cassie, the young woman bludgeoned to death with evidence left at the crime scene to implicate Zach. Was Oliver motivated by sibling rivalry because Vogel was getting too close to Zach? Was Zach another younger brother that had to be dispatched?

Was Vogel protective of Dexter long ago, and more recently Zach, because of the death of her own sons? She tells Dexter that realizing that her son was a psychopath is what caused her to become interested in treating psychopaths.  (It appears that she wasn’t very good at treating them—her former patients continued to kill until Dexter stepped in with his killing-table and knife and removed them from the land of the living.)

Dexter discovers that Daniel/Oliver is Zach’s killer from some DNA he finds in Zach’s studio.  (No one except Dexter and Vogel—and the killer, of course—knows that Zach is dead.  Zach’s actual family has reported him missing.)  He also uses the DNA to confirm that Oliver is related to Vogel.

Dexter suspects that Daniel/Oliver has placed spyware on Vogel’s computer. (One small question: Remember the shoe fetish guy, AJ Yates, who had Vogel’s case files on his computer—was Daniel/Oliver involved with that?  Were they accomplices?  Did Daniel/Oliver ask Yates to kidnap his mother?

One very big question: How much did Vogel know about her older son? Did she know all along that he was still alive?  Were they in contact with each other?

Another very big question: Is Oliver ”The Brain Surgeon”?  Was he sending pieces of brain taken from the area of the brain responsible for empathy to Vogel in order to send her a message? Was it his way of saying,  “I’m sorry you had a son missing the empathy-area of the brain; here’s a little something to make up for that.” Or have the show runners tossed us another red-herring.

Daniel/Oliver has now disappeared because he felt the police were getting too close to discovering his role in Cassie’s murder. Both Dexter and Vogel are keen to find Daniel/ Oliver—each for their own reasons.

Vogel remembers that the song “Make Your Own Kind of Music” (sung by Mama Cass—another mother allusion), the song that was playing on the Zach’s Ipod when Dexter discovered Zach’s dead body, was a favorite that she and her son used to listen to when they went to the King’s Bay Café. Dexter tells her to make an entry into her computer journal saying that she plans to be there tomorrow. The plan is for Mom and Dexter to intercept him there.

Dexter wants to kill Daniel/Oliver, but he knows that Vogel will not allow this. So he drugs her tea with one of Hannah’s potions to knock her out. He then stakes out the café, sees Daniel/Oliver there, and is planning on following him when he leaves.  But Daniel/Oliver has outwitted Dexter. A tire on Dexter’s car has been slashed. Dexter isn’t following anyone.

Dexter is concerned for Vogel’s safety. He rushes to her home to warn her that Daniel is on to them.  Vogel says she is fine and that she has not seen Daniel.

But, in the “plot-keeps-getting-twistier-and-twistier” moment of the show as soon as Dexter leaves, Daniel emerges from the bedroom. Vogel has allowed him to eavesdrop on her conversation with Dexter to prove to him that Dexter acted alone. Vogel had told Dexter that she wanted her son to be re-institutionalized.

But now it seems that all she ever wanted was to have her son restored to the bosom of her family. They are together now—a family again.  Family matters.

P.S. The double meaning of the phrase “family matters” is definitely intentional.

 Click Here to Buy a CD with Cass Eliot singing the song from the show, "Make Your Own Kind of Music"

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