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Monkey in a Box is the eleventh episode of Season Eight of DEXTER, and the ninety-fifth overall episode of the series. Directed by Ernest Dickerson and written by Tim Schlattmann and Wendy West, it first aired 15 September 2013 on Showtime.

The estimated number of viewers for the episode during its original airing was 2.40 million.

Dexter is torn between fleeing the country with Hannah and Harrison or taking Saxon out for good. His inaction results in a grisly and unexpected consequence.

Summary

Dexter has just witnessed Evelyn Vogel’s throat being slit by Oliver Saxon, who then escaped.

Before calling the police, Dexter removes all of Evelyn’s DVDs, files, and documents that point to his past. When the homicide team arrives, Angel Batista and Joey Quinn question Dexter. He claims that Vogel wanted to see him for an unknown reason. He found her door kicked in and he tried to stem her bleeding. Dexter doesn’t reveal that Saxon killed her, though a neighbor saw a white male in his forties take off in a light-colored pickup truck. Angel doesn’t allow Dexter to work the crime scene because he found the murder and knew the victim.

Dexter heads to Debra’s beach house to inform her about Vogel. Debra commiserates with him and says they wouldn’t have found a way back to each other if not for her. Debra decides to return to work, however, she says that if she gets Saxon her way, she’s not handing him over to Dexter.

Hannah McKay, now hiding out at Debra’s house, shows Dexter the itinerary of their move to Argentina which is in two days. Dexter insists that he needs to take care of Saxon before they leave. Hannah doubts that he can do it that fast.

For his safety, Harrison is sent to stay with Jamie Batista at Angel’s place.

Dexter is selling his apartment (a.k.a. condo) and Sylvia Prado has taken the listing. She tells him that several people are coming by that day and she’s expecting multiple offers due to its great location.

Dexter, who is also selling his boat, takes a potential buyer to the marina. The buyer, though, isn’t interested because it doesn’t have a big enough beer cooler.

At the police station, Vince Masuka complains to Dexter that although he scoured Vogel’s house all night, he found no prints or trace evidence.

While researching Saxon online, Dexter discovers an old hospital that’s been closed for years. Saxon had issued a demolition permit but it’s still standing, making it a perfect place to cut into skulls. Niki Walters pops into Dexter’s office to say that Joey Quinn needs him for the  “swab thing in the interrogation room.”

To Dexter’s surprise, Saxon has turned himself in to clear his name for Cassie Jollenston’s murder. Quinn tells Saxon that he’s under suspicion because he cleaned out his apartment. Saxon replies that he only moved because of the many memories of Cassie there. He even thought of leaving Miami but stayed because of his business, friends, and family. When Saxon  realizes that Dexter is going to collect a DNA sample, he asks if it’s really necessary. As Saxon is leaving, Dexter gives him a forced smile.

Debra is setting up her work desk when Dexter informs her that Saxon just provided his DNA. She’s excited because it will provide a lineal match to his mother, Evelyn Vogel, and prove that he is actually Daniel Vogel, her psychopathic son. Debra asks Dexter why he’s helping the police get Saxon instead of keeping him for himself. When he replies that he just wants Saxon taken care of, she’s surprised at his new attitude.

Quinn teases Debra when he catches her going through his desk, taking some of his supplies. She explains that it takes a supply requisition a week to come through. Unexpectedly, she discovers her former engagement ring inside tiny box.. Quinn jokes that he kept it around in case he decided to marry someone else from work. He sets it back in his desk drawer as Debra walks off, smiling.

After dark, Dexter searches the old hospital for clues, eventually discovering the Treatment Room which Saxon is using as a kill room. Hidden inside a compartment, Dexter finds a laptop with files that Saxon downloaded from Vogel’s computer. Additionally, there are videos of Saxon murdering his victims which Dexter decides to use to bring Saxon to him.

It’s Debra’s first day back as a homicide detective and she’s working late. Quinn stops by her desk and offers her ride to Vogel’s memorial service the next day. After he leaves, Max Clayton appears and asks Debra to clear something up. He says that a blonde woman who matches Hannah’s description brought Harrison to urgent care, claiming that he’s her son. Debra insists that it was she who brought Harrison to get stitched up after he busted his chin.

The next day, after Evelyn Vogel’s service, the attendees gather at Papa's Cafe. Masuka and his daughter are on better terms. Debra notices Dexter standing alone and walks over to him. She says he will be missed so he should pretend to miss them back. It’s no longer pretend, Dexter thought.

As Debra and Dexter are talking, Thomas Matthews approaches them and remarks, “Well, gain a Morgan, lose a Morgan. Harry would’ve been proud of the two of you.” He adds that he considers them as family and if Dexter decides to come back, it will always be his home.

Quinn privately asks Dexter if he minds that he is back in Debra’s life. Dexter says he’s okay with it since he will be gone and he doesn’t want Debra to be alone. Quinn assures Dexter that all he wants is for Debra to be happy, and they shake hands. Just then, Dexter receives a phone call from Sylvia Prado who has a potential buyer who insists on meeting him.

As Dexter starts to leave, Angel stops him and they talk for a minute about the first case they worked together. Angel then calls out, “Alright everybody! Everybody, gather round! I know this is a solemn occasion, but since somebody didn’t let me throw him a party, let’s let this be it. Dexter Morgan may be leaving the Miami Metro family, but he will always be right here in our hearts. To Dexter, we wish you and Harrison luck in whatever comes next. To Dexter!” At a loss for words, Dexter simply replies, “Thank you...thank you. I’ll miss you guys, too.”

Dexter arrives at his apartment and Sylvia introduces him to the buyer. To his surprise, it’s Oliver Saxon. At Saxon’s request, Sylvia steps outside, leaving the two men alone. Saxon says that killing his mother was cathartic and he offers Dexter a truce. He suggests they forget about each other and go their separate paths in life. Dexter bluntly refuses until Saxon reminds him that he has a lot more to lose than himself -- a son, stepchildren, a sister, and girlfriend. Dexter then pretends to agree to the truce, while knowing that he must kill Saxon. (This is similar to how he made a fake truce with Trinity years earlier.)

Clayton reports to Jacob Elway that Debra is likely harboring Hannah. Since Elway and Debra didn’t part on good terms, Elway is reluctant to talk to her -- until Clayton reminds him of the reward.

Debra is shocked when Elway knocks on her door, causing Hannah to quickly hide in the bedroom. Debra asks Elway why he’s there and he hands her a few personal items that she left at work. Before Debra can close the door, Elway pushes past her on the pretense that he needs to apologize for his past behavior. As Elway suspiciously looks around, he remarks on the table set for four and an expensive handbag and shoes. Fed up, Debra angrily orders Elway out of her house.

Hannah immediately calls Dexter to inform him that Elway is on to her. He makes a U-turn and speeds to Debra’s beach house. Dexter and Hannah decide to stay at a hotel near the airport until they can fly out of Miami. Hannah remarks that she deposited her money in an offshore account. Both Debra and Hannah want Dexter to go now but he insists on taking care of Saxon first. He promises Hannah that he will be there. Debra ends up dropping Hannah off at the hotel.

As an anonymous “concerned citizen,” Dexter sends the footage of Saxon murdering his victims to a local media-outlet via the internet.

At the police station, Niki hands Quinn a report that proves Saxon is related to Vogel. He informs Debra and she acts surprised. Quinn now suspects Saxon of his mother's murder and a warrant is issued for his arrest.

Uninvited, Debra shows up at Dexter’s apartment with a bag of groceries to have a last dinner with him. Despite Dexter repeatedly warning her that she shouldn’t be there, Debra insists, even after he tells her that he is expecting Saxon.

Meanwhile, Elway and Clayton are ransacking Debra’s beach house, but it’s been wiped clean. On the computer, though, it’s apparent that someone was researching flights. Elway says that he will (illegally) access manifests for flights for the next few days and cross-check those names against passport photos. Clayton decides to tail the Morgans to see if they will lead him to Hannah.

As Dexter is cooking their dinner, Debra asks how Cody and Astor are doing with his move. He says they’re better now that he promised they can come down for Christmas, and told Astor she can have his SUV. Debra agrees to drive it to her when the storm clears.

They notice a warning on TV about the hurricane, and Dexter states that it’s one of the few things he won’t miss about Florida. Debra remarks that it’s a “mind-fuck” that he won’t be around anymore and she can’t envision the future without him. Dexter says they will simply “start over.” She’s unsure if she can because Dexter has always been there for her. He tells Debra that she’s stronger now, and always had a moral compass. He says he never had one, and that’s why he was given the Code.

A news report about Saxon’s videos catches Debra’s attention. Dexter admits to sending the footage in order to force Saxon’s hand. He again tells her that she needs to leave.

While pumping gas, Saxon hears his name in a newscast. He learns the police are searching for him regarding "a string of gruesome videos." Instantly, he knows that Dexter is responsible for spotlighting him.

That night, Saxon breaks into Dexter's apartment and sneaks into his bedroom to kill him. Dexter, though, is pretending to be asleep and quickly injects him with M99, while Debra holds a gun to the back of Saxon's head. Dexter thanks Debra for her help and she departs, smiling.

In the Treatment Room, Dexter straps Saxon to his own kill table. This amuses Saxon who shows no sign of fear or anger as he lies there, awaiting his end. As Dexter speaks with Saxon, he realizes that he'd rather be with Hannah.

“This is usually my favorite moment, the kill. The moment before the kill, the kill itself, the moment right after. But now I don't even want to be here. I'm feeling a much stronger pull. I don't need to kill you.”

Saxon advises Dexter to walk away and forget about him. Instead, Dexter stuffs a rag in Saxon’s mouth and tells him that he's still going to die, but by electric chair. Dexter calls Debra to arrest Saxon. After she arrives, they say goodbye outside the hospital.

Debra is unaware that Clayton followed her and has entered the hospital. He finds the Treatment room where Saxon is strapped down, being held captive. Saxon plays the innocent victim and Clayton frees him. Unfortunately for Clayton, Saxon immediately grabs one of Dexter’s knives and stabs him in the chest. He then takes Clayton's gun and when Debra enters the room, he shoots her in the gut. As she's going down, Debra manages to shoot Saxon in his arm, but he escapes. Bleeding and in pain, she phones for help as she lies on the floor.

With the hurricane approaching Miami, Hannah goes to the airport to wait for Dexter, but she is followed by Elway.

Quotes

  • I used to live my life at night. In the shadow of my dark passenger. I lived in shadows for so long, until the dark became my world. But over time, the people in my life flipped on a light. At first I was blinded, it was so bright. But over the years, my eyes adjusted, and I could see. And now what's in focus is my future. Bright. Brighter than it's ever been. - Dexter’s thoughts (as he and Harrison leave for the airport)

Trivia

  • Saxon tells Dexter that "Miami's a great city. I love the Cuban food. Nice weather. Murder solve rate at about 20%.” This is almost identical to Dexter's lines in the pilot episode.
  • While in the Treatment Room, Saxon mentions to Dexter that he always killed his girlfriends after a couple of weeks.
  • Hannah’s original plan was for the three of them (Dexter, Hannah, Harrison) to fly first to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and then catch a flight to Buenos Aires in Argentina.
  • This is the episode in which Quinn tells Debra to keep his stapler away from Soderquist because he’s a klepto.

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