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Scar Tissue is the fourth episode of Season Eight of DEXTER, and the eighty-eighth overall episode of the series. Directed by Stefan Schwartz and written by Tim Schlattmann, it first aired 21 July 2013 on Showtime.

The estimated number of viewers for the episode during its original airing was 2.47 million.

Dexter tracks down another potential killer from Dr. Vogel's list. Quinn celebrates his passing of the Sergeant's exam by defending Debra’s honor in a fight. Dr. Vogel begins treating Debra for her PTSD.

Summary

[Flashbacks] Debra is in the shipping container where she killed Maria LaGuerta. However, in this scenario, Deb shoots Dexter instead.

Back to present, Debra is in the same shipping container, having been brought there by Dr. Vogel who is now treating her PTSD. She asks Deb to talk about that night, but Deb doesn’t want to because it won’t change anything.

Dr. Vogel tells her that repressing the issue won’t help. She reminds Deb that Dexter’s need to kill was born in a similar container and he's been trapped inside its walls ever since. Deb needs to relive the events of that night over and over if she wants to break free.

Deb then blurts out that she had a memory of killing Dexter instead of Maria and she’s unsure if it made her feel better or worse. Dr. Vogel explains that she had no choice but to shoot LaGuerta, adding that she’s become so obsessed with the life she took, she’s forgotten the life she saved. Deb accuses Dr. Vogel of defending Dexter because she created him and is using him to track a serial killer. She admits that she doesn’t trust Dr. Vogel

Dexter processes the scene of a murder victim, Norma Rivera, who lived alone. Most of the blows are to her head with some bruising around the neck. There is no sign of a break-in or much of a struggle. Given the lack of defensive wounds and the close proximity of her attacker, Dexter believes she was killed by someone she knew. Quinn suggests Roberto Sagastume, an ex-boyfriend with a record.

Angel tells Quinn that he "nailed" the Sergeant exam, and to wipe the grin off his face before Det. Angie Miller sees it.

Miller informs Masuka that a “little hottie” was asking for him back at the station and she’ll come by later.  He smiles and says they always come back for more.

Quinn asks Dexter about Deb and to let her know that he’s thinking about her.

It’s been a week since Dexter has seen Debra. At a beach café, Dr. Vogel tells Dexter that he remains the focal point of Deb’s pain and advises him to keep his distance for now. She’s not sure that Deb has hit rock bottom yet, and says he should prepare for the possibility that Debra may never want to be in his life again. However, Dexter can't accept this, stating that he will never let her go.

Dr. Vogel asks Dexter if he’s had luck finding the Brain Surgeon. He’s crossed off three more patient names from her book, and his next target is A.J. Yates, a cable installer.

Dexter is stalking Yates at a work site. According to Vogel's book, he attacked a classmate with a chair at age twelve and was Institutionalized at fifteen. Vogel was unable to channel his violent tendencies and he was transferred to another hospital. Now, though, Yates seems to be a productive member of society.

When Yates removes his hat, Dexter spots a strange scar on the back of his head. Dexter quickly looks through Yates’ file but finds nothing about brain surgery. He wonders if the scar is the mark of one of Vogel’s "unconventional methods."

Debra is staying at Dr. Vogel’s house to prevent her use of alcohol and drugs, which Vogel says were keeping her numb, making the symptoms of her PTSD worse.

Dr. Vogel tells Deb that Harry also wrestled with doubts regarding Dexter. She lets Deb watch an old video of Harry recounting how teen Dexter had stalked, vetted, and planned to kill a guy in an abandoned building, but he talked him out of It. Despite Vogel’s assurances, Harry is worried that the Code won’t keep Dexter in check once he takes a life.

Dr. Vogel tries to convince Deb that Harry did not make a mistake in saving Dexter's life. Instead of locking Dexter away in an institution or doing nothing until he took an innocent life, Harry gave him the tools to channel his urges. Vogel insists that Debra was right to protect Dexter in the shipping container, but Deb still can’t accept it.

Dexter rings Dr. Vogel’s doorbell to ask her about the scar on Yates' head. She doesn’t want him to see Debra so she takes him outside to explain. She had recommended a lesion be removed from Yates’ brain in the hopes it would stop his behavior, but she never knew if the surgery had been performed. She apologizes for the oversight.

Dr. Vogel then asks Dexter why he’s really there, since he could have phoned about the scar. Dexter stresses that he needs Debra in his life and wants her to forgive him. Vogel says he feels lost because Debra became a mirror, reflecting a positive image of himself that he used to balance out with the notion of himself as a monster. Now that mirror is cracked, and the only reflection Dexter sees is one of darkness. When she tells Dexter that he’s not a monster, he retorts, “Anyone on my table would disagree.”  He states that he will always want Debra in his life, with Dr. Vogel responding, “Want, but not need.”

Yates’ van is gone so Dexter breaks into his house. He looks around and notes that Yates has an elderly father in the Monterey Nursing Home. In a closet, he finds six right-side female shoes, apparently trophies. Unknown to Dexter, there are security cameras located throughout the house, including one behind the shoes, and Yates has been watching him since he entered. Yates calmly turns around in his chair, stands up and grabs a hand taser before exiting his lair through a secret door in the kitchen. He moves stealthily toward Dexter, but stops when Dexter makes a phone call and he hears his former psychiatrist on the other end.

Dexter tells Dr. Vogel that high heels are a far cry from brains, and she suggests that he may have altered his M.O. Dexter pulls partial prints from the shoes to run through the database for missing persons and homicide victims

After hanging up, Dexter hears a floor creak but sees no one. Yates returns to the basement and says, "Vogel's found herself a hero." He watches Dexter on a security camera as he leaves.

Behind Yates, a blonde woman is being held captive.

Dexter arrives home to find a friendly, unknown woman standing in his kitchen. She introduces herself as Cassie, 4-B, a friend of Jamie Batista. Cassie is hoping to borrow some laundry detergent and Dexter says he won’t deny a neighbor. Cassie seems to be attracted to Dexter. Jamie walks in, seeing that the two have met. Both women soon depart, after Cassie says it was a pleasure to meet both Dexter and Harrison.

Jamie and Quinn are at Papa's Cafe. She congratulates him for passing the Sergeant’s exam and says that she’s proud of him. Quinn overhears Officer Martinez mocking Debra to another officer, “You wouldn't believe who was behind the wheel -- Debra Morgan, the former Lieutenant of Homicide, passed out, piss drunk.” This infuriates Quinn and Jamie tells him to let it go, but a fight ensues. Jamie tells Angel that Quinn was defending his ex-girlfriend's honor, and he orders Quinn out of there.

Later that night, Jamie deliberately inflicts pain on Quinn by pushing on his ribs during sex. She apologizes and he laughs.

At breakfast, Harrison asks Jamie for two pancakes, one for him and one for Dan, his invisible pet elephant. Jamie tells Dexter that he made "quite an impression" on Cassie and says she's single. When Jamie mentions that her car died because she ignored the “check engine light,” Dexter suggests that she take his SUV and he’ll pick up a car from the motor pool.

Dr. Vogel shuts herself and Deb inside the storage container where Deb shot Maria LaGuerta. Deb angrily orders her to open the door but Vogel stands firm. Deb feels guilty for shooting an innocent woman in cold blood for simply doing her job, instead of Dexter. Vogel says, “And that's what terrifies you the most. You so desperately want to believe that if you had just shot Dexter, then you wouldn't have to face the hard truth that if you had to do it all over again, you'd still choose him. Because in your heart, you know you will always choose Dexter.” She reassures Deb that she’s a good person who made the best of an impossible situation.

Although Quinn passed the Sergeant’s exam, Deputy Chief Matthews asks Angel to "strongly consider" a different candidate and recommends Angie Miller.

Dexter gets three hits on the partial prints from the shoes at Yates' house. All are missing women and Dexter suspects that Yates killed them.

The Norma Rivera murder is discussed at a briefing. The M.E. found semen and it’s being tested to see if it matches her ex-boyfriend, but he can't be located.

Masuka asks Dexter to stay away from the lab for a bit because the “little hottie” is on her way up.

Quinn apologizes to Angel for his fight at Papa’s Cafe. Angel warns him that he needs a Sergeant who can keep his cool, and that he needs to solve the Rivera case.

A nervous young woman stops by Masuka's lab and introduces herself as Niki. He immediately begins to flirt with her until she reveals that she may be his daughter. Masuka is taken aback but admits he was a sperm donor in college. They end up laughing with them sounding the same.

At closing time, Elway finds a sober Debra hard at work in her office with files spread on the floor. He offers to help and orders food for them. Deb remarks that “family shit” makes her crazy. Elway says that he’s the black sheep of a wealthy Texan family who are embarrassed that he’s a P.I. in Miami. They toast to dead dads, but Debra doesn’t drink.

After dark, Dexter returns to Yates' house; however, Yates has left in a hurry and taken all his trophy shoes. Dexter spots the secret door and discovers his lair. The security cameras are still working, and he realizes that Yates had watched him and heard everything. A cabinet holds a bone saw, specimen jars, and a guide to brain surgery. As Dexter is about to call Dr. Vogel, he hears a dull thud and finds a gravely injured woman stuffed inside a cart. Her pulmonary artery had been nicked and she was left for dead, but pressure on the wound kept her from bleeding out. Dexter drops the unconscious woman off in front of an E.R., and returns to Yates’ house.

Vogel arrives, and Dexter looks through Yates’ computer. Unexpectedly, he comes across Vogel’s patient files, which shocks her. She unsuccessfully tries to stop Dexter from reading Subject-0’s file, which reports, "Somehow, he's deluded himself into thinking his feelings for his sister are genuine, unaware there are no real emotions behind them." Outraged, Dexter accuses Vogel of using him as a subject for a book. He advances threateningly, stating that she’s experimenting on him, like a lab rat. He asks if she’s keeping him and Deb apart as a way to isolate her subject. Dexter warns, “When Yates is dead, you are out of my life. It's over. You understand? Or do you need to write it down?” Vogel, seemingly intimidated, says, "I understand."

Debra looks through Dr. Vogel's video files and finds another old interview with Harry. Her father is describing how he caught Dexter proudly dismembering a man. He says plastic was everywhere, covered with blood. Vogel tells Harry that the man fit the Code and he deserved it. Harry retorts that no one deserves to be in pieces, and he doesn’t think he can live with it. Debra remarks, ”Fuck, and I’m supposed to?”

Yates receives a call and is told that his father's heart is failing, so he should come quickly. The call is actually from Dexter, who has disguised his voice and is standing next to the father’s bed. Yates rushes to the nursing home and Dexter corners him. However, Yates disconnects his father's ventilator and escapes as the nurses arrive. Dexter ponders the fact that Yates was willing to take his father’s life.

As Dexter is driving, he ignores a phone call from Dr. Vogel.

Angel asks Dexter to run the blood on the clothes of a stabbing victim, Janet Thorton (the woman Dexter found at Yates' place). He tells Dexter that all of Janet’s toes were broken.

Deb runs into Quinn as she arrives at the station to talk to Dexter. He mentions that Jamie is jealous of her, and Deb advises him to “make it work” with Jamie. They hug and Deb says she wants him to be happy.

Debra and Dexter spot each other and they go for a ride to talk, with Dexter driving. They agree that Vogel doesn't understand them. Deb brings up the DVDs and references an "interesting" one from right before Harry's death. She asks if Harry committed suicide and Dexter confirms that he did because he thought he had created a monster. Deb says that she understands how Harry felt, but he "only got it half right." She then jerks the car's steering wheel, sending the car into a lake. A fisherman swims out and saves Debra, leaving Dexter unconscious in the car. From the bank, Debra watches the car sink but suddenly jumps back into the water and brings Dexter to safety.

Quotes

  • There are countless ways to inflict physical trauma on the human body, and sometimes the deadliest wounds are the ones we barely see. They run deep, like the ones I've inflicted on Deb. - Dexter to himself, Norma Rivera’s crime scene
  • "Is this ever gonna be right? What we've done? I mean, Dexter isn't a kid anymore. He's becoming a man. He's gonna kill. But what happens when I finally tell him it's okay? What happens when he finally knows what it's like to take another person's life? What if the Code doesn't keep him in check? What then? What if this has all been some horrible mistake?" - Harry Morgan to Dr. Vogel [in old session footage] after learning teen Dexter was planning to kill someone
  • The body forms scar tissue to close a wound. Has my sister begun to do the same? Eventually, scars fade. Who knows? With enough time, you may not even remember how you got them. - Dexter to himself

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