Talking ‘Bout Dexter – the Series and the Finale

September 23, 2013 12:14am
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919YdoOHuHL._SL1500_[1]Regardless of what you actually thought about tonight’s series finale, it’s kind of strange to think that this incredible show – arguably one of the best suspense dramas on television these days – is now over after 8 long years!

This is one that my wife and I have been watching from the very beginning … in fact, we had actually just started dating when this show premiered in the fall of 2006. I don’t recall what actually drew us to tuning in, but it certainly didn’t take long before we were completely hooked. Maybe it was Michael C. Hall himself – I’ve been a big fan of his since Six Feet Under, even though Sara never showed much interest in revisiting that one. Ironically, I guess Dexter ended up being centered around death as well, albeit the other end of the equation this time around…

But boy, did this show have down pat the art of leaving you on the edge of your seat! Maybe not so much in this last season because admittedly the first few episodes for the most part felt a little dry, but some of those earlier seasons were killer … pardon the pun. Never before have I had a show that’s made me exclaim, “Why aren’t we watching this six months from now on DVD?!” more consistently after every episode, and they did a really great job with a lot of the guest stars for each season, too … my favorite, of course, being John Lithgow as Trinity – the storyline that culminated in probably my single-most favorite episode in the entire season.

If I had to rank my top three seasons, they’d probably go:

  1. Season 4 – The Trinity Killer, who ends up killing Rita before Dexter puts an end to his spree
  2. Season 7 – specifically when Dexter is with Hannah before she gets locked up
  3. Season 1 – The Ice Truck Killer, who ends up being Dexter’s biological brother and almost kills Deb

And so as for tonight’s season finale…

*** SPOILERS ***

…I guess I’m kind of torn about it because when we first watched it unfold, I was kind of content up until the fade away with Hannah and Harrison in Argentina, and then we met Lumberjack Dexter and things got a little weird! And I think it was confusing because all of this time, we had been setup with the notion for the finale that this only ends one of two ways for Dexter – either in a body bag or in prison, and so at least *I* didn’t put an ounce of thought into the idea that maybe there were other ways that Dexter could finally “be punished” for his sins, too.

I mean, I kind of had a feeling that Deb would one way or another be a casualty, though I wasn’t really sure how. And I’ve read some complaints about people not liking that Dex took her body out to sea in the same manner that he dealt with all of his other victims, but I suppose for me that was a little symbolic because he did feel responsible for all of the bad that had happened in her life, even if it hadn’t been dealt directly from his knives. So I was ok with that.

Now that fact that he survived the hurricane while his boat did not … a bit far-fetched, but whatever – it’s a TV show about a serial killer who’s eluded his peers at the police dept. for 8 years now! Hurricane survival is the least of my worries!

I guess what I didn’t care for, ultimately, and I have a feeling that many people agree with this sentiment, is the last minute or so where we see Dexter alive and living the life of a lumberjack … somewhere.

I may have missed a clue somewhere that hinted otherwise, but as far as I could tell, we’re to believe that he’s now living a lonely life without Hannah and Harrison, and that’s his punishment for all that he’s done. Kind of rough and unexpected, but again if we all knew that this series had to end with Dexter finally being held accountable for the things that he’s done, isolation as a means to protect the ones that he loves from himself is a pretty harsh reality for our lovable serial killer.

It makes sense, but it doesn’t leave the best taste in your mouth … almost making you wish that somebody had bested him instead.

If it had been me doing the writing, I’d have taken it one of two ways instead…

If we were able to ultimately get to the happy ending, Dexter would open the door to the cabin to find Harrison and Hannah there waiting for him … maybe even for the first time, where Harrison comes running to him and Hannah cries as they lock eyes and the screen fades.

Granted, even I myself would argue that the happy ending is a bit much for this show … as much as I wanted to see Dexter & Hannah live happily ever after … and so instead, here’s a super simple way in my eyes to redeem the existing ending with hardly any changes at all…

Dexter comes home to the cabin after a long day at work and the camera fixates on him to imply that now he’s very much alone. Then Dexter stands up and walks into the other room where we find a kill room has been setup with a new victim waiting for him, and we end on the note that even after faking his own death, Dexter will never truly escape his Dark Passenger.

I don’t know … I guess the ending was a little bittersweet and I would’ve liked to see it go a bit differently, but in reality if I look back to some of those earlier seasons, even then I remember thinking that I couldn’t imagine how long he’d be able to evade anyone who managed to catch onto his trail. I’ve been saying this for eight years now, but it still makes me want to read the book series to see what they did differently … to be completely honest, at one point this season I actually found myself up late one night looking for plot synopses of the books to try and get some insight on what they were going to do with the final season, and everything that I read made it sound like they actually deviated quite a bit from the books for the TV show. Apparently he’s with Rita much longer – she might not even die, and I guess at one point Dexter starts to teach Aster and/or Cody how to kill like he does.

It would be fun to go back and read them now, especially having such an incredible mental picture of Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan to help put a face to the main character … I know how most people always rave over the book compared to the movie, but it’s kind of funny how sometimes seeing a Hollywood face that’s become attached to a role can make the original book itself shine in a whole new light. I know that I was that way after watching Peter Jackson’s telling of The Lord of the Rings, anyways.

All in all Dexter has been a pretty great show, even if it did lose a little steam here in the final season or two … I think after so much chaos, it actually starts to limit your direction a little – I know I personally felt that way with Weeds there at the end. Still, I think this is going to be a fun one to load up on the DVD Player/Magic Streaming Box in 5 or 10 years to revisit the serial acts of one Dexter Morgan … the finale might not have been exactly on the nose, but there was still way too much great TV in the earlier seasons not to give it a replay on down the road when there aren’t any other arguably justifiable serial killers on TV worth watching. 🙂

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