Killing Dexter

Full disclosure? I didn't start watching Dexter until 2010, when it was into its fifth season. The reason i finally started watching it is the same reason most guys ever do anything: a girl. It was the only thing I really knew a girl I really liked was into, so, at the urging of a friend, I watched it to give me a way to get closer to her.

It didn't work. But that's another story for another day.

I binged on Dexter, getting so into it that I watched the first four seasons in the span of about a week. Hell, I enjoyed it so much the third season had me randomly yelling, "Conyo!" every time something pissed me off (thank you, Jimmy Smits). Then of course there was the fourth season, which was easily the show's peak season as Dexter's conflict with the Trinity Killer was the best thing the show ever did. The only thing wrong with that entire season was a naked John Lithgow.


The show went through some rough patches after that, with season five being a particularly disappointing crapfest which I blame entirely on Julia Stiles. I mean, seriously, the fact that her name was Lumen might have actually been the best thing about her character. That aside, after seven seasons, I was ready for the show to end and, after the finale season seven gave us (Deb killing LaGuerta to keep Dexter's secret), I was ready for a great final season and a great ending.

As with most things in life, I was disappointed.

Spoilers ahead, obviously.

Let's skip ahead to the ending, something that clearly must have happened because the writers all enjoyed the ending of The Dark Knight Rises a little too much. After mercy-killing Deb and dumping her body, Dexter rides his boat off into a hurricane, and when the boat's wreckage is found, it's assumed he's dead, leaving Hannah to raise little Harrison herself. But wait, Dexter didn't die!

Even though he drove his boat right into a hurricane and the boat was destroyed, Dexter survived and is now a lumberjack.

C'mon. Look at his face. Even he knows that was bullshit.

That completely illogical ending isn't even the worst thing about it, or about the season as a whole. This was a season that involved nonsense like a new character getting a promotion Joey wanted and then never appearing again and a surprise daughter showing up out of nowhere that meant absolutely nothing. It was a season with a really weakass villain and probably the least amount of kills by Dexter in a season ever.

It's that last thing that brings me to my biggest gripe about how the show ended. Yes, Dexter killed less people this season than any other, which did make things a little boring, but it was very important because it was part of the character's arc that started in the very beginning of the show. When the show started, Dexter was basically a slave to his hunger to kill; he killed someone in basically every episode and only dated because he felt that not dating would bring too much attention to him. As the seasons progressed, though, that changed. He eventually felt love for real. He fathered a son. He met a woman to really fall in love with and that made him want to kill less. With Hannah, Dexter reached the point where he was really in love. He wanted a real family with her and his son. He was ready to give it all up and move away with them because he didn't need to kill anymore.

And can you blame him?

In fact, that was something he was desperately fighting for for the bulk of this season, and it was amazing character growth. To have him throw all that away just because a surgical complication basically made Deb brain-dead is just bullshit. I know it could be argued that giving them up was the ultimate act of love because he believed he would just get them killed like he did Deb, but come on. Dexter is too smart to think that. He's always been a borderline genius. Again, bullshit. I loved the synergy of his last kill being a mercy-kill of his sister in opposition of all the other kills, and I loved the imagery of him laying her to rest with all his other victims in a white sheet instead of a black body bag.. but that's the only part of it I loved.

With the way the writing and character development had been going for the last two or three seasons, the two endings that felt right for Dexter were for him to give it all up and escape with Hannah and Harrison or for him to die trying. Instead we got a cobbled mash-up of that idea, and an awfully disappointing ending at that.

You know what, Dexter writers?