In the wake of last week's ending, Vogel shows Dexter recordings of sessions she had with Harry when Dexter was ten and just waking up to his psychopathic leanings, and we learn that Vogel was the architect of the code Harry imparted to Dexter. Also, Vogel confesses to having a fondness for psychopaths and maternal feelings toward Dexter, and even Dexter is like, "Ummmm." She asks Dexter to track down The Brain Surgeon, who may be a former patient of hers given the way he's been leaving threatening pieces of brain on her doorstep, and although he doesn't trust her Dexter reluctantly agrees. He finds prints on the second victim, whom we see killed by asphyxiation, and he figures the killer's going to be easy to track down – but the case gets more complicated when he finds his murdered corpse.
Elway isn't thrilled that Deb took two weeks in Ft. Lauderdale with nothing to show for it, nor is he a big fan of his deduction that Deb was sleeping with Briggs, but Deb at least figures out where the storage unit that fits the key she took off Briggs is located – only to have El Sapo show up, steal back the jewelry and Deb's gun, and then rough her up when she tries to tackle him. Later, El Sapo turns up dead in his car with three execution-style bullets in him, and Dexter notices some blood that couldn't be the victim's and surreptitiously has it tested, but not before checking in on Deb, who in a haze of booze and pills tells him to get lost. The blood then comes back as belonging to Deb, and when Dexter confronts her, she tells him she lost a lot of time thanks to the beating El Sapo gave her, but she does remember standing over his corpse. Dexter swaps out her gun before it's tested to cover Deb's tracks, but she's in a dark, dark place – although I do wonder what she used to shoot El Sapo given that he was in possession of her gun.
In the end, Vogel calls Dexter and tells him someone's been in her house; when they investigate, they find a DVD that reveals the dude Dexter found murdered was being coerced at gunpoint when he killed the victim, and Dexter berates himself for, essentially, sucking at serial killing now. But Vogel assures him he's perfect the way he is, and suddenly Dexter has a mother figure again. Of course, this one practically worships psychopaths, but maybe it's better than nothing?
We open on a burst of static that gives way to Harry -- in uniform -- sitting in an office as Dr. Vogel, behind the camera, tells him she's recording before recalling that two weeks earlier, Harry informed her that Dexter had asked to see the actual scene of a homicide and that Harry had opposed the request. Harry confirms that, adding that Dexter is only ten, but he kept asking and asking about it so he finally conceded, hoping that the sight might shock Dexter out of his grisly fixation. As we pull out to see Current Dexter watching the tape, Vogel behind him, Harry goes on that he sneaked Dexter into the scene of a self-defense homicide at which there were massive amounts of blood, but it didn't faze Dexter in the slightest. I see Vogel had many thoughts going through her mind when she casually repeated back to Dexter last week that he's "the blood guy." Harry adds that Dexter looked at the stuff admiringly, almost like it was a painting, and DVO confirms that he remembers that day, and it's exactly what he was feeling. "And I wanted to be the artist." That film would have been a lot better with liberal amounts of blood.
Harry then produces a blood slide-esque piece of glass that he realized Dexter stole from the crime scene, and after Past Vogel notes that it's a trophy, Harry starts to dissolve into tears as he says there's something wrong with Dexter. Dexter looks discomfited at his dead father's anguish, but although Past Vogel agrees with Harry's assessment, she assures him that there's a place in the world for Dexter and they're going to find it. At this point, Vogel turns off the recording and tells Dexter that not only does she know almost everything about him, she helped create him. If that's the case, she's got to be swimming in back-end producer participation by now.
Dexter petulantly notes that she sounds like Dr. Frankenstein, but she explains it was obvious from the beginning that Dexter was a classic psychopath and would eventually become a killer, and she came up with the idea to focus Dexter's urges on criminals, as she knew they were impossible to stop. Dexter, looking all kinds of thrown, asks if she really came up with the code and she confirms it, although she does admit Harry's law-enforcement background was invaluable when it came to details. "I can't help but think of myself as your spiritual mother." Have you actually tried? Dexter doesn't find that idea that she experimented on him particularly maternal, but she replies that she developed a framework for his survival, although she misses an obvious chance to tack "young man" onto the end of the sentence. She adds that she could have convinced Harry to turn his back on Dexter or even simply handed him over to the authorities, and when Dexter asks with some heat why she didn't, she gives him a beguiling smile and admits he got under her skin. I would have like to hear her sing it, but music rights are expensive.