Over the years, Dexter has had quite a number of proteges, all who he wound up having to kill. But with Zach Hamilton, perhaps Dexter has one he truly can mold -- with Harry's Code -- into someone who can function within society. So to speak.
It's an intriguing idea for the show Dexter to explore in its final season, but it also feels like ground we've covered before, not helped by the fact that Zach is played by a fairly benign, slightly boring actor.
This episode, like many this season, also has a number of other fairly uninteresting plotlines that might become moot by the cliffhanger. (One that I, unfortunately, am ruined for. But more on that in a moment.)
At the beginning of the episode, Dexter stalks Zach to see if he truly is a killer. He winds up following him and finds out he's a patient of Vogel. Dexter, still living by Harry's Code, needs to know if Zach is a killer before he can dispatch him. But Vogel refuses to confess whether or not Zach himself confessed anything in a session.
"It would seem we have a conflict of interest," Vogel tells him. She adds that "It wouldn't be ethical" to reveal what Zach may have said during his sessions.
Zach appears later at one of Dexter's crime scenes to take photos and Dexter goes over to talk to him. He sees the awe and wonder Zach exhibits, much like a young Dexter did with his father.
Dexter later visits Zach to see the photos he's been taking of crime scenes. "He treats the blood like a swimsuit model," Dexter thinks to himself. The meet and greet doesn't last long, however, as Zach receives a call and has to leave.
Dexter wants to continue stalking Zach to find proof he is a killer, but Quinn also decides to start stalking him 24/7 as well. This, of course, makes it very difficult for Dexter to actually take out his prey should the need and desire arise.
After Dexter discovers Zach's next intended target is a woman doing yoga in the park, he decides to snoop around and uncovers definitive evidence that Zach killed his father's lover, their maid named Norma.
Dexter brings the evidence to Vogel, who says she knew all along because Zach had confessed in one of their sessions. She then suggests Dexter teach Harry's Code to Zach. "Maybe it's time to see if the experiment will work" again, she says.
Dexter is furious. He hates being seen as an experiment and he sees himself quite differently from Zack. "He killed an innocent and he's getting ready to do it again," Dexter says, forgetting all the times he's ignored Harry's Code and killed someone who wasn't a killer. "He needs to die."
Dexter goes to confront Zach only to find Quinn staking him out. Dexter calls Jamie to convince her to lure him away, which she does. But after Dexter nabs Zach, as he's heading to kill his father and not the yoga woman, Quinn shows up as he's driving away to meet Jamie.
Quinn, however, just thinks Dexter is trying to play cop. Dexter's able to lie his way out of the situation and Quinn leaves. Dexter, the ever increasing idiot this season, actually STILL goes through with his plan to kill Zach, even though Quinn sees Dexter as one of the last potential people to see Zach alive. This has to be one of the biggest plot holes ever on Dexter.
While Zach is on his kill table, however, Dexter slowly starts to have a change of heart as he learns Zach was killing the people who messed with his mother. First, the original mistress. And now, not this second mistress (the yoga woman) but his father himself.
"I don't want to be like this," Zach says. "I just can't help it."
And Dexter sees in Zach a younger version of himself. And someone he can share "parts of me I can never share with my son." He decides to cut Zach loose to try and teach him Harry's Code.
Other Familiar Relations
While Dexter is making himself a new son, he's also working through issues with his existing son. Harrison lies about breaking the TV remote and then hiding it under his bed. Dexter tells him he shouldn't lie, but Harrison reminds him, "But Daddy ... you lie."
Harrison then produces his favorite stuffed doggy that is covered in the blood of a victim Dexter killed. Dexter tried to get rid of the evidence, but Harrison fished it out of the trash. Knowing he can't toss it again, Dexter allows his son to keep the stuffed animal -- which has to be the show's equivalent of Chekov's gun at this point, no?
Dexter isn't the only one wrestling with child issues. Masuka finds out from Deb that his daughter has money problems. He later tries to give $5,000 to her after admitting he had someone research her. She was upset and hurt and tells him she wouldn't have asked him for the money in the first place.
Jamie, meanwhile, is furious with her brother, Angel, after he goes with Matthews' recommendation of making Miller the new Sergeant over Quinn.
Deb and Dexter, however, seem to have patched things up and are having breakfast at the end of the episode when Deb passes out. Hannah enters as it appears Dexter is passing out as well.
(Side-note: the shocking moment of Hannah entering is lost on me as the Showtime screener description noted the return of Hannah. Viewers who watched it on the air -- did you have any idea this was coming?)