Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What I’m Watching: Dexter (Series Finale)

Dexter: Season 8, Episode 12 “Remember the Monsters?”

It’s been eight years and almost a hundred episodes coming, and Dexter’s story has now come to a close. It was going to be difficult for the show to provide a satisfactory end to its mythology, but it’s hard not to feel a little underwhelmed. The main thing is that nothing about this finale harked back to the show’s most memorable characters, instead boiling it down to the relationship between Dexter and Deb as the most important thing in this life. Once Deb died, which happened in the classic fashion of her seeming fine after being shot and then all of a sudden taking a turn for the worse, Dexter didn’t feel that he had anything to live for, which prompted him to make the bold decision to sail right into the heart of a tropical storm. The problem is that leaving Hannah to fend for herself in Argentina and take care of Harrison doesn’t track with any of the recent emotions he was feeling, especially because Hannah understands him infinitely more than Deb ever could. While the closing image of him coming home from a solitary life as a lumberjack was powerful, it’s disappointing because it suggests that Dexter succeeded in faking his death but felt the need to continue living by himself instead of returning to his family. Other shows have ended that way more effectively, and I just don’t buy it as the way that Dexter signs off. It was interesting to see Dexter kill Saxon in full view of a security camera and to have Batista and Quinn essentially look the other way and absolve him of any guilt. There wasn’t any sort of closure for those characters as their own people, instead all related in some way to Dexter and Deb. In contrast to another departing show, “Breaking Bad,” this show didn’t do enough to embellish its ensemble and honor them in the same way that it honored its main protagonists at the end of its run. This show will be remembered for its astonishing lead actor, Michael C. Hall, and for a tremendous first and fourth season. I’d also recognize the fifth and the seventh as especially strong, but I know not everyone agrees with the latter selections. Its finale, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired and doesn’t provide nearly the fitting closure it should.

Series finale: B-
Season grade: B
Season MVP: Michael C. Hall
Series grade: B+
Series MVP: Michael C. Hall
Best Season: Season 1
Best Episode: TBD

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