Dexter Finale: The Good, The Bad, and the Great

[This post contains Spoilers]

Dexter Finale

It’s officially over — “Dexter” has finally come to an end and there are lots of mixed reviews about the series finale — although there seems to be more dissatisfied fans than not. I’ve touched on my thoughts about the final season before, but I wanted to wait until the very end to comment any further. Now that it came and went, here I go:

I don’t think the final episode of Dexter was as bad and disappointing as so many other people do. After reading a few reviews, it seems that the biggest problems people had with it were: Dexter leaving Harrison to be raised by Hannah, not having closure to some of the other characters’ lives, and one of the final scenes (when Dexter rolls Deb out of the hospital in the storm) having a very fake look and feel. Basically, it’s widely believed that the writers did a half-ass job drawing Dexter to a conclusion; like they didn’t put as much thought and effort into as they could have, and I agree — to an extent.

Every season of Dexter has always brought something new to the table — literally and figuratively. Figuratively, there would always be some new plot and another villain for Dexter to chase after. Literally, said new villain would unequivocally end up on Dexter’s table. The main plot of each season would always be put to rest by the time the next one rolled around, so Dexter was never really a show where every season tied exclusively into the next. This is important when taking a look at how the final season played out. I think what fans wanted was for everything to come full circle for Dexter. For him to finally change his ways and get rid of his dark passenger once and for all. Maybe even for someone else to do it for him (i.e. turn the tables around to where he would end up as somebody’s victim). But that’s not what this show was about. The one constant throughout the series was Dexter’s inability to cope with the “monster” that lived inside of him in such a way that no one would get hurt. We’ve seen it time and time again — his chats with Harry, Deb and even himself were all about his struggles in that regard. Season 8 was no different. He tried, unsuccessfully, to conquer his vices and he had an enemy to make his next victim — this time around it was Saxon. Was the Saxon story as interesting as, let’s say, Trinity’s? Or the ice truck killer’s? Not by a long shot. But at least the writers stuck to the core of the script; it’s just that…well…some scripts are better than others.

Naturally, we empathize with other characters; especially the ones Dexter cared about the most, such as Deb and of course Harrison. I don’t think anyone wanted, or expected, Dexter to end up alone without either one of them; even if he died I think people (myself included) automatically assumed that at the very least Deb would take care of Harrison. But for Dexter to live in disguise by himself and leave Harrison with Hannah after Deb died? It feels a little flat and unresolved.

Except something actually has been resolved. Two, three, even four seasons ago, Dexter would have never left his family behind. During that time though, Deb was still alive and he had no tangible reason to really put an end to his madness. His loved ones often came into danger because of him, and his own identity had been threatened all the time; but, nothing could have stopped his dark passenger quite like the death of his sister, or Harrison. Had Harrison died too, I don’t even think it would have made a difference as far his choice to fake his own death is concerned. The mere fact that death finally hit him where it hurts the most was enough for him to call it quits. He no longer needed Harry to play devil’s advocate and talk him out of another decision (notice how Harry was nowhere to be found in any of the scenes from the time Dexter pulled the plug on Deb). There were no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it … once Debra died, that was it. Enough was enough and there was nothing else for Dexter to think about. He finally came to terms with his own self — something he had never done before. It’s just unfortunate, as a viewer, that it had to be at the expense of a character we all loved: good ole Deb.

Speaking of Deb, here’s where I fully agree with other fans: what was that last, dream-like scene about? How was Dexter able to escort Deb out of the hospital without getting stopped or questioned? As I’m typing this now, I’m saying to myself how surreal the whole scene looked, so maybe that’s it. Perhaps a surreal look is exactly what the producers were going for, because that’s probably exactly how Dexter felt … like he was in a bad dream. So there’s that, I guess. I would like to point out though, that whether it felt overdone or not, it hurt like hell to watch Deb die. If the writers were going for the heartfelt, sad ending, rest assured that you got me. Deb is dead, Harrison is fatherless, and Dexter is secluded off in the middle of nowhere without either one of them by his side. I don’t know about anyone else but that’s heartbreaking. Especially because those were two of the few people who genuinely made him happy. 😦

Yes, there were a number of unanswered questions — what was the purpose of Masuka’s daughter is one that sticks out like a sore thumb — but as far as bringing Dexter (the character) to a conclusion, I think the writers completed that task. Some of the dynamics along the way could have been handled better though, in order to bring the show to a more satisfying end.

Before I bring this post to a close, I want to point out, as an aside, the Season 4 finale that almost sent me to an asylum. It’s still one of the most phenomenal things I’ve seen on television, ever. Killing off Rita was daring, unexpected, and it hurt so good. I don’t want to walk away from the show like something so great as that finale didn’t happen. In my opinion, it kind of makes up for what it lacked in the series finale; it was that epic, don’t debate me.

Either way, I bid farewell to one of my favorite shows ever. You will be missed.

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