It's the final season, and if this episode is any indication, the show isn't slowing down any after last season's shockingly high quality. Six months have passed, and far from feeling any remorse over LaGuerta's death, Dexter seems to be thrilled at how it solved all his problems, leaving him free to coach Harrison's soccer team to a championship and get the band…er, "bowling team" back together. Doing somewhat less well are Batista, the new Lieutenant whose place is filled with boxes of LaGuerta's stuff, and Deb, who's quit the force and is snorting coke and sleeping with lowlifes in her new capacity as a PI, and also is popping a plethora of pills on the side and has pretty much cut Dexter out of her life. When Deb skips LaGuerta's memorial and Dexter gets a tip from Quinn that she's been out of town for a while, he tracks her down in Ft. Lauderdale, where she tells him he made her compromise all her values, and she hates him for it, even telling him she shot the wrong person. That's what I thought! However, Dexter learns the guy Deb's with, from whom she's trying to recover some stolen jewelry, actually robbed it from the Mafia and now has a hit out on him, and, stuck with Harrison for the night, he brings him along on this errand to save Deb from mortal danger. When Deb won't go with him, telling him she deserves to die, Dexter murders the jewelry thief right in front of her, whereupon she tells him she always thought she couldn't survive without him, but she realizes now it was the other way around. After temporarily losing Harrison and then having to pick him up with actual blood on his hands, Dexter realizes she's right – he's lost without her – while Deb, after calling in the homicide without involving Dexter, drives away – unaware the Mafia hitman is watching, presumably still interested in tracking down the stolen goods. Better clear that head, Deb – you're gonna need it.
MM gets a case in which the victim, after being fatally shot at point-blank range, had his head sliced open and a piece of his brain removed, presumably as a trophy. Deputy Chief Matthews, back out of the retirement LaGuerta forced on him, brings in a "Dr. Evelyn Vogel," a neuropsychiatrist and famous profiler played by CHARLOTTE RAMPLING, as a consultant on the case, and she tells the MM staff that the portion of the brain the killer removed is the part from which empathy comes. From the evidence suggesting the kill was planned with ritual precision, Dr. Vogel concludes they're dealing with a serial killer, and Dexter is understandably not thrilled that someone with such acumen when it comes to tracking down his kind is so close at hand. It becomes apparent from a couple telling bursts of anger that LaGuerta's death is actually weighing on Dexter after all, and some amount of panic starts to set in when Dr. Vogel casually mentions the Bay Harbor Butcher in a private conversation with Dexter, which only increases when he learned from Matthews that Dr. Vogel sought him out and is working the case free of charge. In the end, Dr. Vogel gives Dexter some murder drawings he made as a child, and when he threatens her with violence, she tells him, "You can't kill me. I don't fit Harry's code." She doesn't know how off-book he's gone lately, but still: DUN!
Over a montage of Harrison playing with a kite, a rainbow penetrating the dark and cloudy sky, an instrumental version of "What A Wonderful World" plays as DVO tells us there's nothing like a crisis to help define who you are. Sounds like Dexter's read Robert McKee's Story. The montage goes on with, among other shots, Dexter experimentally crushing a dummy head as Masuka watches and Harrison playing soccer; DVO tells us that a better person would have felt remorse, but the fact is that LaGuerta's death got him back on track, and he's even coached Harrison's soccer team to a championship and gotten the bowling team back together. We then get possibly the most gratuitous shot since Road Trip of a woman removing her top as DVO goes on that he's "made some new friends," although I will grant a lot of style points for Hannah's orchid mournfully dropping its bloom in protest of having to witness it.
With the montage over, Dexter, holding Harrison's hand, arrives at a dedication service for LaGuerta at which Batista is already speaking about how he knows LaGuerta never regretted one day of her public service. Well, it's a nice sentiment, but I have to think there are one or two things about that last day she'd change. Harrison proves he's old enough to handle a little new-season exposition when he asks if "Aunt Deb" is going to be there, and Dexter tells him it's hypocritical enough for him to be in attendance without bringing the woman who actually pulled the trigger to her victim's memorial, but they'll get together "real soon." After some words about how LaGuerta was first and foremost a friend to him, Matthews takes the stand, thanking "Lieutenant Batista" before presenting the Captain Maria LaGuerta...bench? No line item for sculpture in the Dexter budget, I guess. The crowd gives this a smattering of polite applause, which is really all they can do.
Afterward, Jamie shepherds Harrison away, and then the core MM group - that's Dexter, Batista, Quinn, Masuka, and that female cop I'm still not sure has a name - stand around the memorial, with Batista unsurprisingly complaining about the gesture he views as fairly miniscule. We learn it's been six months since the last season ended and that Batista still has boxes of LaGuerta's stuff at his place, and talk then turns to Deb, with Dexter making the excuse that she's working long hours but assuring them that she's great, with a delivery that suggests he actually has not the slightest clue how she's doing. Masuka lets us know Deb took LaGuerta's death hard, and Batista is like, I know how that feels, because when that cop from Chicago I knew for like five minutes was killed, it made me want to open a restaurant, which I guess I must have sold now, since LaGuerta's death made me want to chase bad guys again. Quinn then pipes up with some actually relevant information, saying that after she quit the force, he'd hear from her every few days for some informational favor or other, but for the past two weeks she's been silent, since she's up in Ft. Lauderdale. Dexter turns atypically but fairly hilariously maladroit at lying when he's like, oh, of course I knew she was out of town, in the Keys no wait Ft. Lauderdale, and when the others tell him it'd be great to see Deb, he's like, it sure would... I mean, I'll tell her! Hee. Once everyone starts to scatter, Dexter tries Deb's number but gets her voicemail and a message that her mailbox is full, so he calls to Masuka to cover for him as DVO notes that Deb's working through her feelings in her own way, but he wishes she'd talk to him once in a while...