What's Eating Dexter Morgan? is the third episode of Season Eight of DEXTER, and the eighty-seventh overall episode of the series. Directed by Ernest Dickerson and written by Lauren Gussis, it first aired 14 July 2013 on Showtime.
The estimated number of viewers for the episode during its original airing was 2.43 million.
Dexter is awakened by Harrison repeatedly calling, “Daddy.” He follows his son’s voice to the kitchen and is alarmed to find what looks like a trail of blood. It leads to Harrison, sitting on the floor, with a stomach ache from eating a whole box of popsicles. Dexter sighs with relief, gives him a dose of medicine to settle his stomach, and washes his face. A tiny shot of pink is all it takes to fix my son’s pain. I just wish it were that easy to help Deb.
It’s 4:00 a.m. and Deb has fallen asleep in her car. A police officer shines a light through the window and taps on the glass. She slowly wakes up, and asks if there’s a problem. He states that she’s in a car, drunk, with several open containers. Deb asks him to cut her some slack but he refuses because she’s damaged city property. He asks her to get out of the car and Deb walks unsteadily up to the front end. When she realizes that she crashed into a parking meter, she bursts out laughing. Deb doesn’t want to call Dexter so she phones Quinn, who tells Jamie that he has to deal with “cop stuff.” He picks Deb up at the station before she’s officially booked.
Dexter is called to a crime scene at Lyle Sussman’s hunting cabin. Sussman’s corpse is lying on the floor with a rifle wound in his head. His front teeth are broken, apparently from placing a shotgun in his mouth and pulling the trigger. Dexter also finds gunshot residue on Sussman’s hands. This convinces the police that Sussman was the Brain Surgeon and killed himself out of remorse. Dexter, though, knows that Sussman was shot postmortem to obscure that he had been hung on a meat hook.
As Quinn drives Deb to work, she roots in his glove box for gum to hide her bad breath. Quinn offers to take her home so she can shower, but Deb says there’s deodorant in her desk. When Quinn remarks that she might have a “problem,” she reminds him of all the times he showed up to work in last night’s clothes, smelling of booze. Quinn says he had a reason -- she turned down his proposal.
Jacob Elway pulls into work and notices Deb talking with Quinn. As Deb starts walking in, Elway notices her condition and tells her to straighten up because a new client has an appointment.
Evelyn is at home when she receives a text to look outside. She finds two small boxes labeled “His” and “Hers” on her step, and they hold more brain parts. Evelyn takes them to Sussman’s crime scene and speaks privately with Dexter. He explains that Sussman’s head was blown so nobody would notice the pieces were missing. However, these brain parts are different from the others; they’re the occipital lobe, responsible for vision. Dexter concludes that it indicates the killer is watching both of them.
He tells Evelyn that he’s been going through her book and cross-referencing it with files and her list of suspects. He’s cleared the first two names and the next is Ron Galuzzo, a man who strangled his best friend as a child. Galuzzo had initially convinced Evelyn that a bully committed the murder and she argued for leniency. After Galuzzo admitted to lying, she reversed her recommendation and he was Institutionalized until age 21. Dexter suggests that he might hold a grudge against her.
Quinn informs Dexter that Deb was brought in for a D.U.I. the night before but he helped get her out of it, and he’s worried about her. Dexter explains her behavior as having a hard time, but Quinn says this is a whole new level.
Angel berates Quinn for arriving late at the crime scene after he recommended him for Sergeant. Quinn stammers that there was a “situation” but doesn’t mention Deb.
Before Dexter leaves, he tells Evelyn that Deb was brought in for a D.U.I. and he needs to check on her. She asks if alcohol is an issue for Deb, with Dexter replying that he’s an issue for her. He reveals that Deb is acting this way because she has found out he’s a serial killer and isn’t handling it well. Vogel looks into his eyes, remarking that he really does feel badly. Annoyed, Dexter accuses her of analyzing him.
Elway and Deb meet with a new client, Lucy Gerard, who suspects that her husband is cheating on her. On the way out, Lucy tells Elway that she is nervous and he says that it’s important to find out the truth. Deb speaks up and says that she thinks the truth is overrated. This irritates Elway and, after Lucy leaves, he tells Deb they need to work on her client relation skills.
Elway begins to mix ingredients for a drink and Deb asks if it’s a “shit shake.” He describes it as a special custom-made supplement formula, with vitamins, electrolytes, and Chinese herbs. He claims it will cure Deb’s hangover. Just then, Dexter shows up and Deb swears.
She takes Dexter to her office and he brings up the “almost D.U.I.” Deb insists it’s “not a big deal” and he states that it’s a “very big deal.” Deb refuses to talk about it but Dexter says he’ll keep coming back until she does. She finally agrees to have dinner with him that night.
At the station, Angel informs the team that Sussman has been ruled a suicide and the Brain Surgeon Case is officially closed. Masuka annoys Detective Angie Miller by standing too close. Matthews asks about the El Sapo shooting. Angel says they have no leads but, according to FLPD, El Sapo was a suspect in the stabbing death of Andrew Briggs.
Dexter decides to focus on Ron Galuzzo, who may be the Brain Surgeon. He learns that Galuzzo sells fitness equipment at Work Out City in the Twin Palms Mall.
Angel tells Matthews that he’s considering Quinn for Sergeant. Matthews scoffs and calls Quinn irresponsible, unpredictable, unintelligible, and says he couldn’t pass the test. Angel begins to have misgivings.
Elway and Deb are on stakeout, secretly taking photos of Lucy’s husband making out with his secretary in a van. Deb clearly doesn’t want to be there. Elway asks about the guy who dropped her off that morning and Deb says he’s a friend. Elway calls Deb a “player” because she was with Briggs and now her “new friend.” Deb explains that Quinn is not a new friend as they used to date but broke up when she said no to his proposal. This astonishes Elway and he calls Quinn a better man because he wouldn’t stay friends with someone who turned down his proposal. .
Dexter stalks Ron Galuzzo at the mall, pretending to be interested in his exercise merchandise. He even hops aboard an elliptical while he tries to determine whether Galuzzo is the Brain Surgeon. Galuzzo measures Dexter's body/fat ratio, something that takes on a new meaning later. When Dexter brings up Dr. Vogel by showing Galuzzo her book, Galuzzo pretends that he doesn't know her, and Dexter deduces that he's hiding something.
Dexter reports to Evelyn that he met Galuzzo face-to-face, and she’s upset that he risked exposing them. Dexter’s next move is to break into Galuzzo’s house the next day to find hard evidence, and he advises Evelyn to keep her gun loaded.
As Dexter is leaving to meet Deb for dinner, Evelyn brings up the risk of Deb knowing the truth about him. “When Harry and I came up with the Code, he insisted that you only kill bad people. And I insisted that the first rule of the Code be ‘Don't Get Caught’, giving you a little wiggle room. So my question is this. When your sister found out about who you were and what you were doing, why didn't you kill her?” Taken aback, Dexter states that he would never kill Debra because she’s his sister and he loves her. Evelyn tells him that a psychopath’s notion of love doesn't mean the same thing as for typical people, and she asks him what he loves about Debra. Dexter says that he loves having steaks and beer with her, the fact that she was always there for him, and the way she looked up to him. Evelyn responds that none of that is about Debra, but what she does for him, adding that selfless love is hard enough for typical people and impossible for psychopaths. Evelyn calls his attempts at helping Debra like Michelangelo trying to play the banjo.
Evelyn offers to help Deb, but Dexter refuses, insisting that he is the only one who understands her. Evelyn retorts, “Dexter, you admitted to being the cause of her pain. How can you expect to be the solution?”
As Jamie cooks dinner, Angel helps Quinn study for the Sergeant exam. However, Quinn keeps guessing the wrong answers and Angel calls him a lost cause. Jamie orders Angel to cut Joey some slack because he was called out in the middle of the night for a case. Unwittingly, Angel remarks that there was no case, causing Jamie to realize Quinn lied to her. Angel quickly leaves the room to let them talk. When Quinn explains to Jamie that he was helping Deb, it further angers her.
Dexter takes Deb to an Italian restaurant which she calls a “hell hole.” Dexter points out a man and his family and shows her the video of when she acted heroically to save innocent people during a restaurant shoot-out. He tells Deb that the man’s children wouldn't have a father if it wasn't for her, and tries to convince her that she is a good person.
At Elway Investigations, Elway and Deb present Lucy Gerard with the photos of her husband cheating with another woman. However, Lucy refuses to believe that it’s her husband. Elway tells Deb that people get used to living in denial.
Dexter breaks into Galuzzo's house, which is a mess except for a neat and orderly kitchen When Dexter opens a slow cooker, he’s disgusted to find a finger simmering among the vegetables. Inside the fridge, he discovers plastic containers labeled with the names of organs and body parts. One of them holds a human brain marinating in a garlic sauce, Dexter realizes that Galuzzo is a cannibal, a different type of killer than the Brain Surgeon.
Again drunk, Deb is sitting in her car outside the police station, watching the video of the restaurant shooting. She then stumbles inside and blurts out to Quinn that she killed LaGuerta. Quinn quickly takes her to a vacant interview room. Deb tries to tell Quinn what she's done, but he thinks she is talking nonsense due to being intoxicated.
As Dexter and Evelyn are going through her patient files, Dexter receives a disturbing call from Quinn. He tells Dexter about Deb confessing to LaGuerta’s murder. Dexter rushes to the station, taking Evelyn with him.
When they arrive, Evelyn tells Quinn that Debra is suffering from 'survivor's guilt', a constituent of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. While Quinn isn’t looking, Dexter injects an upset Debra with a low dose of M99, afterward claiming that Deb passed out.
Dexter carries Deb over his shoulder out of the station. Then he, accompanied by Evelyn, drives Deb to her beach house. He feels guilty for the state Deb is in and believes he’s making her worse. Dexter finally asks Evelyn to help his sister deal with her problems. Before he leaves, Dexter handcuffs Deb to the couch and gives the key to Evelyn.
Fittingly, Dexter sets up a kill room in Galuzzo’s kitchen. Before he kills Galuzzo, Dexter gives a little speech. ”You're disgusting. A cannibal. A consumer of human flesh. There was a time when I couldn't imagine anyone being what you are, and doing what you do. But now I realize I'm just like you. I consume everyone I love.” A terrified Galuzzo watches as Dexter picks up a knife.
- "I have to find out if some rich asshole is banging some chick, which he probably is, so that I can tell her, and she can get a killer divorce settlement, and they can move on with their stupid, fucking boring lives, and I can move on with mine." - Debra to Dexter
- "When Debra killed LaGuerta, it was real, selfless love. She sacrificed everything she believed in for you." - Dr. Vogel to Dexter
- Vogel was right. I am perfect. But only at one thing. - Dexter to himself, as he's about to kill Ron Galuzzo
- (Dexter injects Debra with M99.) Dr. Vogel: "That was interesting."
- The title of this episode is a reference to Lasse Hallström’s movie "What's eating Gilbert Grape" (1993).
- Brain Surgeon Case
- Debra's Beach House
- Elway Investigations
- Evelyn Vogel's House
- Lyle Sussman's Hunting Cabin
- Restaurant Shooter
- Ron Galuzzo's House