Written by Stu Cooper
For years "Dexter" has been one of my favorite television shows. Season 4 of Dexter is really when the show peaked. The chemistry Michael C. Hall had with John Lithgow was unparalleled and hard to top. Unfortunately the show never seemed to pick up that kind of steam for the remainder of the seasons. Season 5 showed promise when Quinn began getting onto Dexter's trail, but by Season 6 it had been completely forgotten. Last season ended on a major note with Dexter's sister Deb helping Dexter by shooting and killing La Guerta. Which resulted in one of the most emotional scenes in the history of the show. At the end of Season 7, prior to La Guerta being killed we found out that she was onto Dexter and had proof of his involvement in the bay harbor butcher killings. When La Guerta was killed, you would think that her ex-husband Angel, the now head of the department, would pick up where she left off right? Wrong. Just like previous serious matters on the show, this issue is simply swept under the rug and by the 3rd episode of Season 8, La Guerta is but a distant memory. That is the main issue I had with this show, and with the lackluster final season that we got.
This season introduced several characters, the biggest of which would be Dr.Vogel, Dexter's surrogate psychiatrist mother. The relationship between the two would be the basis of the season. Throughout the season Dexter encounters former patients of Dr.Vogel's and they end up being the bulk of his victims. Also Dexter is developing a serious relationship with Hanna Mckay, the fugitive. The first half of the season focuses on Dexter's childhood, and his relationship with Debra being damaged. The dynamic introduced with the Deb/Dexter conflict was intense and could have led to some great TV. At one point we see Debra actually try to kill both her and Dexter by driving their car off a bridge! But by the end of the following episode...they are totally cool with each other! The writers really insulted the viewers at this point. It was cookie cutter by the numbers TV. No risks, no balls, just predictable resolution. Also throughout the season the characters we are introduced to...Elway, Masuka's Daughter, The brain surgeon, Zack (aka Dexter Jr.)...all amount to nothing when it comes to the final "storm". So many elements that could have led to a huge intense finale...wasted. Without getting into too much detail about the season, let's just right into the finale itself.
The finale started with Deb being rushed to the hospital after Saxon the Brain surgeon escaped. We are told by the doctor at the hospital that Deb will be totally fine and should be back on her feet in no time. Glad we can trust doctors! Elway tracks Deb and Hannah to the airport and there is a great little bit where Dexter convinces TSA that Elway is a possible terrorist and that provides them with a lot of time. Unfortunately this stunt results in all the flights getting canceled and Hannah,Dexter, and Harrison are forced to stay in Miami a little bit longer. Elway gives Dexter a cryptic message "A Storm is coming Dexter", little do we know this will be the first of many "Dark Knight Rises" similarities in the episode.
After Dex returns to the hospital he has a heart to heart with Deb, an incredibly lackluster confrontation with Saxon, and before we know it Saxon is in custody yet again. This is where the episode begins to take a turn for the dramatic. For no reason at all, Deb begins to slip into a coma and the doctor explains to Dexter and Quinn (Deb's now Fiance) that she is a vegetable and it would take a miracle for her to breath on her own again. Even tho 5 minutes prior the same doctor had high hopes for her. This was a pretty dumb moment and at this point I started to feel a lack of faith in this episode.
Soon after this, Dexter snaps and goes to where Saxon is being kept. Dexter pretends to perform some type of criminal test for the department and this results in him baiting Saxon into attacking him, which he reacts to by stabbing Saxon in the throat with a pen. After this, there was a scene that I actually really liked where Angel and Quinn sit in a room and watch the security footage of Dexter killing Saxon, with Dexter in the room. It's clear in the video that it was not an accident, but since everyone is totally shattered at this point in the episode, they let it go as self defense, and embrace Dexter's dark-side, if only for a second. Unfortunately, that's the closest we would get to anyone having the slightest clue about Dexter's Dark Passenger. Which is perhaps the most frustrating part of the series. After 8 seasons the entire Miami metro department is completely clueless, all their heads up their asses, even Quinn who discovered Dexter was possibly a killer almost 3 years prior!
Soon after this we would be treated to probably the lamest 15 minutes in Dexter history. I'm sure the last 15 minutes of the show will become notorious considering how goofy it is. Dexter decides to end Debra's life by unplugging her (even tho there was still a slight chance of her coming out of it), and in front of hundreds of people, drags her body out of the hospital and onto his boat. Of course no one notices or says a word. Then Dexter proceeds to treat Debra like his final victim, dumping her in the ocean. In some weird way, serving as his "final kill" but in another way, I considered it to be one of the lamest things he could have possibly done. I mean how disrespectful! Her family, her friends, her fiance, none of them get a say in this matter, or her burial? They are left to figure out what the hell happened to her body?! Not a cool move Dex, not cool at all. Then Dexter makes the second "Dark Knight Rises" tribute of the night and rides his boat into the ocean of certain death (a giant storm). At this point Dexter is presumed dead after his boat is discovered. The entire department gives a slight reaction, and that's it. In the final scene it's revealed that Dexter faked his death and is now...A LUMBERJACK! That's right. Full beard, lumberyard, life of solitude and seriousness. And that's all folks. It felt like a giant punch to the stomach.
All the brutality, all the heartbreak, all the emotional evolution Dexter has endured over 8 years...all for nothing. Dexter gives up a life with his son, kills his sister, and gives up on everything the show was building towards. He is now going to sit in a void of humanity, faking enjoyment as a lumberjack for all eternity. Certainly not the ending I would have written. It seems most people are pretty unhappy with this ending, but what can ya do? The show itself has been disappointing for several years now, so I prepared myself for the possibility that the finale would be uneventful, and it was. The final season was full of plot holes, plots that led to nowhere (Masuka's daughter, Zack, Elway) and possibly the dumbest police department in history. It's a shame because Dexter himself is an amazing character that could have been explored in some truly remarkable and dark ways. I suppose that means I should read the books now. I've heard they steer more towards that direction. So overall a pretty disappointing finale. If they were going to go the goofy route, why not just have Cybernetic Doakes show up at the end? Sadly this show ended up becoming a pseudo-CSI show and lost the edge it had in the first 4 seasons. At the end of the day, at least we have Trinity.
A GREAT EXAMPLE OF DEXTER AT IT'S BEST: