We’ve finally reached the end. After eight long years, Dexter has come to a close. Endings of shows are always weird. There’s just something about them that makes them seem different, separate from the spirit of the show itself. I’m not sure if that’s a conscious choice, or it just happens because the writers need to wrap “everything” up as “neatly” as possible. I use air quotes because there are obvious exceptions to the rule and sometimes they try and fail to do both.
In the case of the Dexter they succeeded in some and failed in others. But we’ll get to that soon. In order to discuss the end, we should go back to the beginning.
I’m honestly not sure where/when/how my fascinating with Dexter began. I’d known about it for sometime before I decided to order the DVDs and start watching, but I can’t remember what made me decide to pull the trigger on it.
From the beginning I loved it. Over time I’ve noticed I have a fondness for protagonists who don’t really fit it, but are either cunning enough to fake it, or brilliant enough that people ignore their obvious flaws. I was envious of that. I wanted to be like them. Dexter was the beginning of that. It wasn’t even the appeal of knowing how to kill people (though depending on my mood that actually was rather appealing).
Dexter went through a great deal very quickly. While the first season was low key in terms of scale, in the second season things basically got as bad as they could for Dexter. It wound up making for some excellent drama. I only wish things had ended differently in that season. Everything wrapped up a little too neatly for Dexter that time, as it tends to most of the time unfortunately.
And that was the problem with Dexter. Most of the time, he would get away without a hitch and everything would be fine. That is until the fourth season. With Trinity everything went up a notch. The scale was smaller, but in a very personal way and it made for what is one my favorite seasons ever (I’m sure most fans will relate).
After that I kind of fell off of the show. I didn’t have Showtime so I didn’t have any legal means to watch the show. I kept up on it through reviews and spoiler articles. This lasted up through sixth season. It wasn’t until I heard about the cliffhanger of the sixth season that I got drawn back in.
By the time seventh season had some back, I felt like nothing significant had happened in those last two seasons. All I needed was the very end of season six, which they replay in the beginning of seven, and I was set. I guess somewhere along the way the writers realized they didn’t need half the nonsense they had going on those years.
Instead we got one of the better seasons of Dexter. The relationship between Deb and Dexter rose to a whole new level, and that’s not even with the brief dip into incest the show took the season before. With her knowledge of Dexter’s killing, the show went on a season long high. It was the season I always wanted, sans Hannah McKay, who I could not stand.
Hannah as a character simply felt like the writers needed to give Dexter someone new to love. We’d had so many botched love interests that it would have been nice to be spared the usual nonsense again. Thankfully he wound up dispatching her because she went after Deb, and things moved on.
…until this last season when she came back. Somewhere along the lines she became even more boring than she was last season. It was frustrating to watch, something that turned out the be the theme of Dexter’s last season.
While all the stuff with Deb made perfect sense, everything else felt forced. Why now are we only meeting Vogel? Someone who, according the show, is actually very important to the mythology of Dexter. Why aren’t we dealing with more series long arcs, like Miami Metro discovering Dexter’s secret? I waited the whole show to see how all those secondary characters would react to Dexter and never got to see it. Instead we got one of the show’s lamer villains in the Brain Surgeon. The twist there made little to no sense and the choice he made were far from smart. At least in most of the seasons we got someone who we as the audience felt could go toe to toe with Dexter.
And just as a quick aside, how is it that Quinn has been around since the third season and he’s yet to be interesting in any way, shape, or form? They couldn’t even manage to do something better with him for the finale.
I’ll admit, I enjoyed most of the final episode. I thought there was too much Hannah and Harrison, who the writers clearly didn’t know what to do with. There should have been more focus on the “legacy” of the show, the people we’d been with for several years, or more. And even in this episode, Daniel never felt like a real threat. Though I definitely wanted to see Dexter kill some guy with a fork. That would been awesome.
The last bunch of scenes were great though. I enjoyed how Dexter just blatantly murdered Daniel and Quinn and Batista let him go. It was as close as we were going to get to seeing Miami Metro discover who Dexter really was. Batista was the most interesting though, who we could see was clearly conflicted on what to do, but made the “right” choice in the end.
The stuff with Deb really got to me. I’ve always been a big fan of Deb’s character, even if she isn’t given the most interesting things to do sometimes. Some seasons her entire plot line is simply how messed up her relationships are. I always thought of Deb as Dexter’s true anchor to humanity and with that gone, what else would he be? Wouldn’t he regress back to square one? In a way he did. He realized that being human wasn’t all it’s chalked up to be. In fact in the end he decides it wasn’t really worth it. He finally comes to this realization that he’s a black hole that inadvertently destroys everything he’s ever loved.
The scene where he takes Deb to the boat with him was heartbreaking. I wanted nothing more than for Deb to somehow wake up. But obviously that couldn’t happen. As I watched I thought I would see Dexter hold her, and let the hurricane take them both. It would have been poetic, I think.
But no, instead he sailed off into exile, leaving everyone to believe he was dead. I felt this ending cheapened the drama that took place over the course of the finale. I get what the writers were trying for, but I don’t think it had the same meaning they were hoping for.
Part of me wondered if the entire message of the show could be summed up in that one scene with Dexter on the balcony of his apartment. I mentioned this above, where he muses about whether trying to be human was ever worth it in the first place. Could it be that that’s what the writers were trying to tell us about the entire show? I can certainly relate some days.
Despite all the gripes I had the show over its time, especially with this final season, the ending we got was emotionally satisfying – to a point. It could have been better, but it wrapped up the core of the show: Deb and Dexter, in a fitting way.