Dexter: Remember the Monsters?

Dexter: "You made me look at myself."
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.


Josie Kafka said...

Billie, congratulations on wrapping up Dexter! I still haven't caught up on this season (the TWC blackout took all the wind out of my sails), but I've really enjoyed reading your reviews.

Morgan India said...

A big basket of kittens for you, Billie!

eternaleve said...

This review pretty much summed up my thoughts on the whole of this last season - that the focus has been on Dexter and his emotional growth, rightly or wrongly, and contrasting to how we first saw him in season one. I liked this, even though it broke my heart.

I already miss Deb. Frankenfuck.

Anonymous said...

I don't like that Dexter removed Astor and Cody from Harrison's life by sending him of with Hannah. And it's strange that he believes that a life with Hannah is safe for Harrison not because of her murderer tendencies but because she is on the run and there will always be a chance for her to get caught.

I am not sure what to think of the ending yet. Maybe I have to let it sink in and come back here to post another comment.

Overall I am not happy with the last season - it was pretty bad in fact, with stupid side storylines. The show had a great premise and had good seasons but after the showrunner change after season 4 it definitely decreased in quality. They should have let Deb pull back the curtain in season 5 and then go back to the book for a little while before the manhunt would have started.

Thank you Billie for wonderful reviews that really added to my Dexter experience.

Anonymous said...

P.S.: I don't like that nobody discovered that Dexter is the BHB. Poor Doakes.

Paul Kelly said...

Well, at least nobody predicted how it would end. I find solace in that.

The main problem I had with this episode was with the stuff happening in plain sight: Saxon knocks out some guy on a busy street; Hannah tranquillises Elway on a busy bus; Dexter nicks off with Deb's corpse through a heaving car park. Is everyone in Miami blind or something?

This final season of Dexter, for me, has been okay. It was the logical conclusion to his story. Yes, the writing was clumsy in places, and yes, it didn't go where the fans hoped it would go. But if it had, they'd all be bitching about how predictable the ending was.

A good ending, mainly because no-one got what they wanted, and nobody lived happily ever after. Thinking about it, that's probably how the show should have ended.

Great review, Billie. I welled up a bit while reading it. You always make a great show that much better.

Anonymous said...

Well I recognized we are vastly different on this show since season 6, so I wouldn't harp on the negatives (but oh how much there is to), but I want just to say one thing that I was upset at Deb's death too, not because she was a great, dimensional character played by a great performer, which she was, but because she got pushed back in the second half of the season and the execution of her death was very less than satisfying.

Well, at least I could stop watching the show circling down the drain at last. And never to watch another Scott Buck show unless it got miraculous reviews at least for a whole season.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was an absolutely incredible ending, even though my heart is broken! I am so sad that Deb died, although I watched an interview with Jennifer Carpenter where she said she wanted Deb to die, because she needed that closure for the character. She said if Deb survived, she would be calling the showrunner 3 years from now to see how Deb was doing. Ha! But mostly I am sad for Dexter, who finally learned how to really feel and really love, and now he has decided he doesn't deserve it. However, as heart broken as I am, I absolutely loved it. This has not been my favorite season, but I have never felt like this show has gone downhill. I am committed to my Dexter!

Thank you Billie, your reviews have been so much fun!

Anonymous said...

I'm heartbroken about Deb. I would have preferred that Deb would have lived and taken care of Harrison with Joey in her life.
But she did die, and so I think that it's even worse that Dexter hasn't died too- he has to live with everything he has done, not knowing where Harrison is, and with the weight of the most important person is his life, Deb, dead. Tragic.

Anonymous said...

Wherever there was a vote on Dexter's series finale, I went straight for the "disappointed" option.
I have to admit, though, it wasn't quite as disappointing as, let's say, Lost's or Battlestar Galactica's finale.

In a way, I'm more sad to be losing another show that was being reviewed by Billie. The last one remaining, in fact. Now I'm going to have to pick up another on her list. One without vampires, if there's any.

Your Modest Guru said...

It ended the way I always knew it would: Tragically.

I guess I should have known Dexter would have gotten away with everything. Not that it really mattered. That was an interesting last couple of shots. It's like he was trying to relax then realized we were still watching him.

They never really sold me on Hannah McKay's perfectness, even though that was cool how she escaped Elway nonviolently.

The way Dexter killed Daniel Vogel was perfect. The one time everyone at work catches him killing a guy, on camera even, and he still walked away innocent.

Broke my heart what happened to Debra. She has always been as compelling a character as Dexter himself, both so lovable despite their flaws. I teared up, even felt kind of sick when he dropped her into the sea with the rest of his victims.

Gotta say I really enjoyed this show. The last four seasons were not as solid as the first (which I felt were Breaking Bad-level good), but it was still centered around characters I cared about and a world that interested me. Props to all involved, as well as yourself for the excellent reviews.

Andrea said...

Yes! there are wild penguins in Punta Tombo, Argentina ;)

Anonymous said...

Okay, it has been a few days after the finale and now I can comment calmly. Scott Buck, I dislike you very much. Each time I saw your face on screen, you looked so bored and tired. Now I know why. It's obvious this man hated the show and its fans and just wanted it to end by any means necessary.

I'm not talking about the fact that Dexter exiled himself. That was fine. He's a killer. But the episodes from the sixth season to the last (with the beginning and middle of season 7 the exception) were low grade, amateur stuff written by people who seemed to have no idea how to cleverly plot a show that's been on for several years. Sorry if there's folks out there who think that whatever drivel is put out by TPTB is acceptable.

If you have no clue how to end a good show end it early. Take a lesson from Vince Gilligan. I'll be watching Walking Dead/Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men. Hoping for another great show to come along.

Sin said...

Actually, he's not a killer - I mean, not a threat - anymore. He wanted Debra to be his last victim and to be with her forever, hence him going to the mountains instead of Argentina.

Agree about the beginning of s7, that was Dexter back to his best.

Anonymous said...

There were a few things I liked like what Dex did to Deb. I understand why he sent off to the sea, although it was ridiculous how he left the hospital with her in the middle of a storm, no less.
And I wish they could have ended the show with the uncertainty of his fate.

Martin Napier said...

Hi Billie, long time reader 1st time poster, i decided to give dexter a go after reading your fantasic alias and lost reviews, i am glad you enjoyed the finale although we seem to be in a minority, it made sense for me as dexter for the 1st time in his life is acting like someone who is experiencing true loss which is something new to him, losing deb has destroyed him, i am sure once he deals with what he has done he will return to Hannah and Harrison, a lot of people died because of him and the loss of deb cut him deep the pain he clearly went through was heartbreaking but fitting, sorry for the essay post

Billie Doux said...

Hi Martin, and congratulations on your first comment! I hope there are many more.

This finale certainly affected me, but it's not aging well for me and I do think it could have been better. We were just discussing unsatisfactory series finales in last week's Doux News, and this does seem to be one of them. It's a shame, because hearing that most fans didn't like the ending will keep possible new viewers from trying the show. It's too bad.

Paul Kelly said...

Thanks for commenting, Martin. If you hadn't, I wouldn't have noticed Billie's extra notes at the bottom of her review.

How annoying (if true) that Showtime wouldn't let them kill off Dexter. Why on earth not? The show was ending, after all. Were they entertaining the idea of a further season or something? If not, how cheeky of them to restrict the creative process in such a fashion.

This seems like proof-positive that storytelling is best left to the writers, and that the network big wigs should keep their noses out of storytelling.

Martin Napier said...

Thank you for the replys, it must have been tough for the writers as Dexter was a serial killer so to have a happy ending for him would be difficult, it wasn't because of the people that deseved what they got but the people that didnt, his actions were responsible for the deaths of Doakes who will be forever remembered as BHB, Rita which also meant Cody and Astor lost their mother too soon, Laguerta, and his beloved sister Deb, his final phone call to Harrison gives me hope he will reunite with him. I have never posted on any sites before but your reviews are like an extension to the programs me and Donna (my partner) watch, i bought the first season of Supernatural so hopefully that will be worth sticking with

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your wonderful reviews.
To clarify the point, yes, there are wild penguins in Argentina. Lots of them, in Patagonia (southernmost part of the country). Millions of them nest there around September-December.
Also, the scene of Hannah and Harrison in Buenos Aires was actually filmed in a known corner of the city.
One thing I found troubling about the last 2 seasons, and confirmed in the finale, is the detachment of Dexter from Astor and Cody. They were the first really "human" relationship Dexter had (other than Deb), being even more important to him than Rita. But now, he doesn't seem to care too much about them, doesn't even give them a call before disappearing (as he did with Harrison). These kids will suffer the loss of Dexter (like a father for them) after losing their mom and dad (both murdered). It feels like Dexter just abandoned them...