by Billie Doux
Saxon: "And what did you see?"
Dexter: "A trail of blood and body parts."
Not the end I expected, and I'm certain it'll be controversial with the fans, but it got to me.
As soon as it became obvious that we were going to lose Deb, I almost couldn't bear it. Dexter couldn't leave Deb in the dark with the monsters, and that ripped my heart out. She's always been his touchstone, his humanity, and he couldn't protect her this time. Her loss was just too much for him.
For me, too. I sobbed through the second half of the episode, and I'm crying now. Even though it appeared that Deb had come to accept her biggest mistake, killing LaGuerta, it was weighing on her soul. Quinn told her that she could make amends for anything she'd done wrong by being a good cop, and I just wish she'd had the chance. Even though it would have ruined the drama, I kept hoping they would do something hokey, like her waking up at the last moment. But no. Deb was a favorite character of mine, a wonderful three-dimensional character that I cared about. There were rumors at the beginning of the season that they were going to spin her off on a show of her own. I bet the producers started it because they didn't want us to expect this. And I didn't.
The focus this season has been more on interpersonal relationships than on a big bad, on Dexter finally becoming a real, live boy. And he did. In the end, Dexter internalized how he continually hurt everyone around him -- like Harry, like Rita, and finally, Deb -- and he loved Harrison and Hannah enough to remove himself from their lives forever. I'm glad Dexter didn't kill himself, because he's always held on to life too strongly and I would have found it nearly impossible to believe. Instead, he did what Deb was talking about before she died: he went where there were trees and mountains, a place to hike, the anti-Miami, a place where he could continue to exist but not hurt anyone he loved.
I still don't feel that Hannah will be the best of mothers, but I now believe that she would never hurt Harrison, and that she would kill to protect him. (I loved what she did to Elway.) I'd hoped that if something happened to Dexter in the end, Deb would raise him, but it's safe to say that Hannah will be a better parent than child protective services. I wonder if she'll come to the correct conclusion when Dexter's body is never found?
There were a lot of great moments in this episode. They paid off Sean Patrick Flanery's character Elway, with Hannah and the hypo, and Dexter with the backpack. I especially loved Dexter taking out Saxon so cleverly with the pen, and how Dexter knew that Angel and Quinn would cover for him. Dexter understands people's emotions now. And it was oddly appropriate that the end was all about Dexter and Deb and the Slice of Life, one last time. Deb was Dexter's last victim. He carried her like a groom carrying a bride, and gently gave her to the ocean.
In the last moment of the series, Dexter once again broke the fourth wall and looked right at the audience. No narration, because there was nothing to say. We took this entire journey with him, from a confused killer vigilante incapable of understanding emotion, to a man who just sacrificed everything for the people he loved because he couldn't bear to hurt them any more.
So it wasn't the perfect ending, and it wasn't the big finish I'd envisioned. But the more I thought about it, the more appropriate it felt. Dexter no longer needs to kill, and he's capable of love. It was what I'd always wanted for him. I'll have to be satisfied with that.
[Note from a few weeks after the finale: There are rumors going around that Showtime wouldn't permit the producers to kill off Dexter himself in the finale, and that makes sense. Apparently, the producers decided to do the next best thing, or possibly the next worst, when they took out Deb instead. There were rumors back in the spring that the final episode title was supposed to be "Gallows". If the producers really did want Dexter to die and/or get caught in the final season, I'm sorry that they didn't get the chance to make it happen. Maybe if it had, it would have alleviated a lot of the anger and dissatisfaction by fans about the "lumberjack" ending.]
Bits and pieces:
-- I liked that Angel was the one who captured Saxon (at least before Dexter killed him with a pen.) It was like Dexter finally, finally, finally leaving the detective work to Miami Metro.
-- I also liked the tiny tribute to the Ice Truck Killer.
-- Quinn in a state of despair over Deb was touching. This last season finally made me like Quinn. I would have been okay if Deb had wound up with him. Sad.
-- One thing we really needed and didn't get was one final Deb-ism. I don't think we got a single good one all season.
-- How about those spinning blades of death above Dexter in the log scene? Sort of like one last serial killer joke.
-- There are wild penguins in Argentina?
Dexter: "I should never have left Saxon alive."
Geez, Dexter. You think?
Deb (flashback): "Holy fucking shit, there's another Morgan now."
Dexter: "It's just the absence of light, Deb."
I'm going to leave the final word to Michael C. Hall, who said during the preshow: "Thank you to all the Dexter fans for coming together and making me feel a little less conflicted about simulating arguably justifiable serial murder."
Three out of four wild penguins,
Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.