The Dexter Finale: To Kill Another Day

So, it’s over. The long awaited ending to a remarkable series trapped in a mediocre season has finally arrived. And with it came something needed in the last half of Season 8: real emotion.

Spoiler Alert Below: if you haven’t watched, close one eye as you read.

As I’ve chronicled before, I felt no anticipation coming into the Series Finale of Dexter, which was just plain depressing. But I have to admit, as I started the last episode “Remember the Monsters?” excitement finally grabbed hold of me. Would there be something, anything that could deliver some satisfaction to the series end?

Surprisingly, there was.

Dexter-Episode-8-12-Remember-the-Monsters-Series-Finale-dexter-35411105-595-396A hurricane has hit Miami stranding Dexter, Hannah, and Harrison at the airport. Their escape to Argentina has been put on hold for the moment. The pending storm mirrors a fury brewing inside Dexter as he just can’t leave Miami without tying up loose ends on his terms. Saxon is still on the loose, and after putting Deb in the hospital, Dexter must finish the job. A sense of predictable relief falls over the episode as Deb has pulled through in her surgery and should make a full recovery.

Yet for the fans of Dexter, the writers have finally tapped into the drama that kept us watching for 8 years. There are complications with Dexter’s true love: Deb. It’s a love not in the way Deb wanted Dexter to love her last season, but in his own way Dexter has always protected Deb with his own care. He assured her as a child that there were no monsters in her room, and kept the real monsters in the world away from her when she grew up. But not this time. One monster he had a chance of eliminating has done the unthinkable. This time Dexter can’t save Deb. Her fate is out of his control. And for a control freak that is not a good thing.

Obviously, Dexter finds Saxon and finishes him off. But with all of that, the true satisfaction of the episode comes from his final kill. Dexter has always come down to two characters: Dexter and Deb. Debra, with all her shortcomings, has not deserved her fate, but being tied to her brother, forces of nature have conspired against her. I have to say, I was surprised and genuinely saddened when Deb, seemingly surviving being shot in her belly, had complications to the point of her falling into a coma. Her brain is shot. She’ll never be able to think on her own again.

dexter-deb-series-finale-remember-the-monstersFor seconds, I was dumbfounded. That moment took me like nothing else this season. It felt real and final. For Dexter to have his closure with Deb, wearing his kill shirt for the last time in Miami, extinguishing her life support had to be emotional for him and for us. I should feel genuine despair to the end of a series that has, on the whole, offered so much. I’m glad I did.

Dexter taking Deb’s body out of the hospital on a gurney without anyone wiser and loading her on his boat was over the top. But it was appropriate to dump her body in the ocean, where he had dumped most of his victims. This was the most unthinkable victim for Dexter, but the one the story needed. Determined not to let anyone else he loves get harmed by him, Dexter heads right into the eye of the hurricane, content that Hannah will look after Harrison. Here, in the final moments, the story didn’t ring as true as I would have liked. It’s plausible for Dexter to do this but almost too easy of an out. Yet it does set up the Dexter Finale: to kill another day. This is not the end for Dexter, but a bearded, incognito beginning.

All in all, I wasn’t overly disappointed with the Finale as others have been. This could be because the last half of this season was so poor, a little blip on the series’ heart monitor made me relieved. I read today that the Dexter Finale was the most watched episode in Showtime history. Was it deserved? Yes. But not for the Finale itself, nor for this season, but for the seasons previous which had us cheering gleefully for a new brand of hero, offering us a different slice of life and challenging our sensibilities. Could we really fall for a serial killer?

You bet we could.

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