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'Dexter's' Brain Surgeon is alive ... and killing

Bravo, "Dexter." Eight episodes into its final season, the outgoing serial killer drama returned to fine form. "Are We There Yet?" was inspired, full of shocking twists and romance — with generous doses of the black humor that the writers have been so stingy with lately.

Where to begin?

Oh, Grasshopper. You showed such promise despite your rookie mistakes. #RIP.

Dr. Vogel is the Brain Surgeon?!
Talk about a reveal! And we don't just mean the inside of Zach's skull. Just when we were growing fond of Zach — his "family vacation" scenes with Dexter and Hannah were priceless — the novice killer himself became a victim the "Psychopath Whisperer." Guess it really takes one to know one, huh?

After a rendezvous with Hannah (more on the "fiendish florist" later), Dexter returned home to find Zach sitting quietly at his desk. If he wasn't dead, he might have enjoyed the tune blasting from Dex's iPod: "Make Your Own Kind of Music." Yep, that's the same song Dr. Vogel was playing when Yates — believed but not confirmed to be the Brain Surgeon — broke into her house.

So many questions about the evil Dr. Frankenvogel: Why did she wield her scalpel on the young killer after adamantly arguing that Dex should spare him? Did she already have a jar labeled "Zach" in her cranial collection? Did she kill Cassie to frame Zack? (Note: Because this episode was otherwise so awesome, let's just ignore that nonsensical door-handle sabotage scenario, shall we?) And what was the "incident long ago" that led her to become a shrink — quite literally? Will the monster kill his maker? Finally, is it significant that Dexter's "spiritual mother" is partial to "Mama" Cass Elliot?

Now Evelyn's dinner party seems even weirder. Was she already determined that this would be Zach's last meal? At least it was tasty. Wait a second ... what exactly was her secret recipe? Shudder.  

"I had his brain with some lasagna and a nice chianti! *slurp!*"

Hannah faces off with Deb
Imagine all the gas money the Morgans could've saved if they'd just carpooled to the Keys with Hannah and Zach! Instead, they formed an accidental caravan: Hannah, waiting for her fake passport to come through, rode shotgun with Dexter, who was following Zack — at that time believing he was Cassie's killer. In last place was Deb, nursing a bad case of road rage to catch Hannah after realizing Dex had lied about "dealing with" his ex. (And a $250,000 incentive to capture her.)

Deb and Hannah's showdown — in Zach's plastic-sheathed motel "kill room" — was anticlimactic, although she did set the wheels in motion for Elway to eventually nab the world's prettiest fugitive. (Hannah's certainly not doing herself any favors, though, is she? Would it kill her to dye her hair, or at least wear a hat? At the very least she should be worried about her fair complexion: It's awfully sunny in Florida.)  

Why, Deb? Why do you hate true love?

Hannah and Dex, sitting in a tree ...
After parting with Zach (permanently, as it turned out), Dex and Hannah tried to say goodbye again — and (surprise!) got intimate instead. The next day, even as she prepared to flee forever, he raced to the dock and begged her to stay.

Fingers crossed she does! (And for her sake considers a trip to the hair salon for a brunette bob. Just sayin'.) Wherever the final three episodes take us, we'd like Hannah along for the ride. Our final request: Keep up the cutting quips! We need some levity as we prepare to bid a final farewell to our favorite serial killer.

Parting is such sweet sorrow ... so don't do it! Live together in bloody matrimony!

Killer quotes:
"Manner of death?" "Swan." — Dex and Masuka at Cassie's crime scene.

"Does she realize this a department founded in 'bad murder juju'?" — Capt. Matthews makes a funny (!) about Niki's sage-burning cleanse of Miami Metro.

"I thought you said you weren't a real hands-on teacher." — Hannah to Dex upon finding Zach's kill room.

"Well you're both still breathing, that's a good sign." — Dex upon finding Deb and Hannah together.

"Do not 'dude; me." — Dex to his puppy-dog protégé.

"(Expletive) me: Gloves!" — Zach realizing his rookie mistake.

"Does it look like she's handcuffed to my desk?" — Deb, when Elway asked if she found Hannah.