Hey everyone, how’s your week been? Has it been fulfilling? Have you been enjoying yourself? Or have you been fuming with anger? Unable to shake a certain show that ended its eight season run Sunday night? If you’re anything like me, a once huge fan of Dexter, you’ve been doing the latter.
Sunday night marked the final episode for the eight year run of Showtime’s Dexter. The highly anticipated finale brought on many speculations, conversations, and even “leaked spoilers” which turned out to be mostly false.
For years I’ve enjoyed Dexter Morgan. He’s been one of my favorite television characters…ever. The internal struggle of a sociopathic serial killer who wasn’t just one dimensional. He was sympathetic, funny at times, and a lot of bit tragic. But, I should have known. I should have known after the titular “Trinity” season four and exit of original showrunner Clyde Phillips that Dexter would never be the same. The ending of the show didn’t feel like closure to an entity I had spent 96 hours watching, but a punch in the gut by a friend you considered close.
I won’t sit here and bore you with an entire recap of the episode. That would be unfair to you, the reader, as I myself do not want to sit and waste my time. Also, if you’re are in fact reading this, chances are you sat through the last hour as I did and have no need to sit through it again, unless you are in the small minority. In the end, after struggling with his inner demons, grasping to be “human,” Dexter Morgan took one last leap at life. Unfortunately, after the death of sister Debra, that leap fell all too short. Dexter simply could not run off to Argentina with girlfriend Hannah and his son. He blamed himself for his sisters death, for everything bad that ever happened to anyone he “loved.” In one last heart wrenching conversation with Hannah and Harrison, Dexter lamented how much he loved them. Disposing of Debra’s body into the ocean like all his other kills (symbolism) and dropping his phone into the stormy waters, Dexter rode his boat into the incoming hurricane, shielding his loved ones from himself once and for all. Everyone believed Dexter dead – Miami Metro, friends, even Hannah. Except, surprise! Dexter wasn’t dead. In fact Dexter had faked his death, moved to the opposite side of the country, grew a ginger beard, and became a sullen lumberjack devoid of all life! Instead of death, instead of turning himself in, Dexter decided exile was his best course of action. And there is where the show went wrong.
Serial killers can’t have a happy ending. I wholeheartedly agree with that. But, Dexter was never about a serial killer with no empathy. This was about a killer with a code, a family, and a life full of people and things to care about. Yes, Dexter teetered on the brink several times, inadvertently causing the deaths and destruction of ones he held near and dear. Even so, he continued to try and redeem himself, making the audience compassionate and root for Dexter.
In my opinion, Dexter’s ultimate downfall was the introduction of Hannah McKay. Another killer with her own type of code. She killed to protect herself. Dexter empathized with her and ultimately fell in love with her. He knew their love was dangerous, hence him turning her in for her actions towards Debra and others in season seven. The writers couldn’t let her go though, Hannah was Dexter’s Achilles Heel, his true love. They brought Hannah, now an escaped convict, back to Miami. The entire story felt rushed and redundant. She made Dexter feel more human than he ever had and therefore was losing his urge to kill.
Running off to Argentina could have been the end of it. Even Debra was rooting for Dexter. She wanted him to live a happy life with his son. Apparently even Debra’s word meant nothing to Dexter in the end. And there lies the irony, Dexter seemed to cling to all of his sisters words and advice but instead left his son to be raised by someone similar to him, someone with no qualms about killing if they felt threatened.
Above I mentioned a few spoilers that had floated around the internet early on in the season. These spoilers were only half true. According to these leaks, Debra dies and in retaliation Dexter seeks revenge on Oliver Saxon, Debra’s murderer, except Dexter has lost all his urges to kill. He is caught by Quinn who confesses to Dexter he has known all along he was a killer and he supports his code and his decisions. Quinn kills Saxon instead and takes on Dexter’s code. Dexter then runs off to finally be with Hannah and Harrison in South America. These spoilers wouldn’t have worked for the sheer fact of Quinn’s sudden admiration for Dexter. If we remember correctly, Quinn spent a season trying to prove Dexter was a shady killer. He only backed off because of Debra. But, it seems like the way this last season went, these spoilers could have been plausible. All of a sudden Quinn no longer harbored any negative feelings towards Dexter, he kind of liked him, even considering him a friend to take on midnight watches. In the last episode we watched Quinn’s face as Dexter tried to cover his ass after killing Saxon on police cameras. Quinn knew Dexter didn’t kill in self defense and he was okay with that. That was it though. He never confronted Dexter, he never said another word, he let him go. And even if Dexter didn’t deserve a happy ending, running off to Argentina was more interesting than leaving Dexter all alone.
Ex-showrunner Clyde Phillips shared his original ending. One in which Dexter is finally caught as the Bay Harbor Butcher. He wakes up, we are lead to believe it is just a dream, except the camera pans back to reveal Dexter lying on an execution table, being put to death for his crimes committed. In the viewing area we see all of Dexter’s loved ones who have perished because of his actions (Rita, Doakes, LaGuerta, etc.), looking on. End Series. Even though I have actively rooted for Dexter and his happiness, I would have enjoyed this much more. It provides a real end, if anything, to the characters and story.
Dexter has been a bumpy ride, with some great seasons, characters, and stories. If someone asked me if they should watch the series my response would simply be, “watch until season four, then watch at your own risk.” Towards the end, too many stories fell flat and we never received any kind of closure to a character we had grown with. The producers and writers have tried defending their season and ending, but it just seems forced, as if money was their main motivator during the last episodes. Their aim was to please themselves, not the viewers, and instead of receiving a small backlash like any series finale warrants, they unleashed hell on finale earth.
Too many questions were left unanswered: What happened to the people at Miami Metro? (I always was a Batista fan), what about Harrison’s biological relatives still living? Will Hannah be a good surrogate mom? How does one sneak a dead body onto a boat surrounded by people? Is Dexter secretly sending child support money to Argentina?
My heart hurts. I am sad to see a show I’ve loved for so long go. I am sad about what the show had become. I applaud the cast for some of the best acting I’ve seen on TV. I applaud the writers for coming up with some of the best storylines. And though that flame may never burn as brightly, I will always hold a soft spot in my heart for Dexter Morgan.