‘Worse?! How could things get any worse? Take a look around you, Ellen! We’re at the threshold of hell!!’ – Clark Griswold, Christmas Vacation.
Dexter has provided us with 4 series worth of tension, drama and humor. The problem is that the show has run for 8 seasons! It’s hard not to cast an envious glance towards Breaking Bad, which, seems to be hurtling towards its conclusion with a swagger and excitement of a show that knows what it does well and sticks to it, as opposed to the muddled incoherent mess this season of Dexter has become. There have been a few moments of interest in past seasons to keep the viewers interest, as the show began its steep decline. This season though, it is hard to come up with a single positive thing to say other then – at least it’s finally over. Story lines have started and then completely disappeared and one gets the sense the writers were just throwing whatever they could out there and seeing what sticks. The problem is nothing did. The entire season could have been done in a single episode. The supporting characters were either infuriatingly boring (Jamie) or so far removed from what they once where that if the writers don’t seem to care about them, then how am I supposed to (Quinn, Deb)? This entire season has felt like the days before a vacation where you have mentally checked out and you are just counting the days until you can get out of there.
Deb’s PTS was resolved with her crashing a car. Vogel’s season long storyline has amounted to nothing other than to show that at some point she gave birth to Z-list Ryan Gosling. Masuka’s daughter – was she on the level/ was she a fraud? is never answered. Angel may as well not have shown up this season, he was given literally nothing to do. Elway seemingly chained to his desk with nothing to do but hand out sports drinks and the whole Deb two gun murder have all came and went for seemingly no other reason than to waste the viewers time until the show ends. Quinn spent the majority of the season acting like a character from Sex in the City. All he seemed to do was have lunch with is gal pals, before getting thrown back with Deb two episodes from the end for no other reason than to have someone cry when she dies. He should be glad he never got that Sergeants promotion because as soon as “what’s her name” got it she disappeared off the face of the earth.
The last two big shows to finish their run, “Lost” and “The Sopranos”, both ended somewhat unsatisfactory to the deafening sounds of fan uproar. Dexter’s conclusion is every bit as uninspired but has been greeted with a much more muted response. Possibly because the two aforementioned shows had not treated their viewers with the contempt that this season of Dexter has. Most fans of the show seemed to accept the flat ending with a shrug of acceptance, as nothing this season had offered any hint that the finale would be anything other than more of what we had come to expect with this season.
The episode starts with Dexter and Hannah attempting to flee to Rio, which, unless there has been a military coup in the past few days that I have missed, is not part of Argentina. Unfortunately for them, 80’s Mickey Rourke has shown up and is trying to stop the Miami Bonnie and Clyde from getting away. Hannah, who up until now has employed the seldom-used ‘change nothing about yourself and hang out in public places’ form of laying low that I am unfamiliar with, is trapped in the bathroom. Dexter then tricks security into thinking Elway has left a suspect package behind – if Sean Patrick Flanery’s trousers had been any tighter he would have had more than one. Dexter’s plan comes to nothing in the end as all flights are grounded due to the pending storm. As they leave, Dexter receives a phone call from Matthews telling him that Deb has been shot. When he arrives at the hospital Deb tries to convince him that she is fine, presumably this is why there was only Quinn and no EMT’s in the ambulance with her. The Doctors reassure Dexter that no vital organs have been hit and she will be fine.
Meanwhile, Miami’s most wanted crazy eyes, Saxon, is wandering around covered in blood clubbing people in busy car parks and stealing their vehicles without anyone noticing. He then drives to a nearby vets office and demands the vet stitches him up. When the obligatory news report about him comes on in the background of the kennel (seriously the TV was beside the dog cages at the back of the kennel so unless the dogs have a penchant for watching Downton Abbey it may as well of been labeled “plot device”) Saxon, who seems to think the wider he opens his eyes and the slower he talks makes him more menacing, pulls a brilliant surprised hamster face from the Joey Tribbiani school of “smell the fart acting” – it was hilarious.
Saxon then takes his hostage to the hospital were Deb is being kept and cuts out his tongue to cause a distraction so he can go and finish Deb once and for all. Apparently a patient bleeding in a hospital is such a rare occurrence that everyone in the hospital, including the officers posted to Debs room, have to go and see. Dexter is wide to his tactics and using the fork (sorry) sets off to intercept Saxon however, just as he catches up to him the stealthy Angel shows up and arrests Saxon. The victory is short lived though as Quinn tells Dexter that Debra has taken a turn for the worst and the doctor tells them that a clot caused Debra to have a stroke and has no chance of recovering.
On the big red fun bus Hannah is pitching life in Argentina to Harrison, she of course left out the part that she and the last serial killer she was sleeping with had always dreamed of going there. But the bonding moment is interrupted when Elway grabs her arm. Elway, who presumably has managed to get onto the bus unnoticed wearing a shirt that can be seen from space and sit beside Hannah without her noticing, tells them they will wait until the next stop (why exactly? it’s a bus, you can stop at any time?) where he will turn her in. His masterstroke is foiled when she stabs him with a horse tranquillizer she just happens to have at hand. The bus, full of people in very close proximity, don’t seem to mind any of this.
Dexter makes his way to where Saxon is being held, and under the pretence of being there for a gunshot residue test, visits with his sister’s killer. He tells Saxon that he doesn’t blame him for what happened, he blames himself. He is however, going to murder Saxon with his pen. Before he can though, Saxon stabs Dexter in the shoulder. Dexter removes the pen and stabs Saxon in the neck, killing him and coolly presses the panic button before pretending to be panicked and frightened. Angel and Quinn then watch the security footage with Dexter and at no point question his sudden change in demeanor after he had murdered Saxon. When they ask what he was doing there in the first place, Dexter responds that he is contracted until the end of the week. Angel, who appears to want the season to end as badly as I do, seems to just say “fu*k it that will do as an excuse” and lets Dexter go without taking a statement or questioning him in any way.
With the storm about to hit, Dexter takes his boat to the hospital to see Deb. He tells her that he is sorry for all the hurt he has caused her and he cant stand to see her like this and then goes full ‘Million Dollar Baby’ and unplugs the machine. The scene was actually quite sweet and touching but was instantaneously ruined when Dexter wheeled his sisters body out of the hospital unnoticed and put her on his boat. Despite what I told many a girl, I am not a doctor but I am pretty sure if you start unplugging patients machines and killing them then some sort of alarm would go off. Dexter then sails out into what appears to be a first year college student’s green screen project and decides that rather than give Deb the honorable guard funeral, she would be better served by being thrown into the sea next to all the murderers and rapists Dexter has previously disposed off. I know that the show’s writers were trying to show Deb as another one of her brothers victims but the whole thing felt disrespectful. Deb for her part, despite wearing nothing but a sheet, kindly defied the laws of psychics and sank like a stone. Dexter then monologues that he believes he destroys everybody he loves and must protect Hannah and Harrison “from me.” He then turns and drives his boat straight into the storm.
After the storm passes we see the wreckage of Dexter’s boat and Angel being told that he is presumed dead – no body found of course. Meanwhile, Hannah and Harrison are seen in the cafe from the end of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ but their Fernet Branca’s are ruined when Hannah reads a story that Dexter died in the storm. She then leaves with Harrison to go towards what appears to be Toontown from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, which is how the makers of Dexter think Argentina looks like. The series concludes with Dexter shown working as a trucker walking into his rental home and staring blankly into the camera.
So the series which gave us some of the televisions best villains, like Trinity and some of it’s most shocking moments like the death of Rita, ends not with a bang but a whimper. Dexter didn’t want to raise his son because he was a killer so he instead passes him off to another serial killer he barely knows. Was his plan to kill himself at the end, or to fake his death? If it’s the former, how did he eject from the Batplane in time (sorry the boat) and how did he get back? Aster and Cody barely warranted a mention all season and surely when Elway wakes up he will be able to tell the police exactly were Hannah is. And surely at some point, Harrison will wonder where his father is and why a wanted felon is raising him. It was a sad end to what was once a great show but as that famed poet Willie Nelson says – Remember the good times, they’re smaller in number and easier to recall.
2.5 out of 5 nerds