TV Review: “Dexter” Final Season – Shame On Them

Written by Jesse Gelinas September 23, 2013

Dexter stands before his masterpiecesYou were perfect once, Dexter.

Eight years ago, the world was introduced to Dexter Morgan. A mild-mannered, easy to get along with forensic analyst. But by night, Dex hunted and murdered killers throughout Miami’s crime-ridden streets. In ritualistic fashion, he trapped, taunted, and dismembered his deserving victims. Soon, he was ‘America’s favourite serial killer’. A lot of time has passed since that stellar premiere. Much has changed, and as much as it pains me to say it, “Dexter” has come to a close. Sadly, after nearly a decade on the air, “Dexter” has suffered an incredible loss in quality, and what should have been its swan song, became a pathetic death rattle.

*Spoilers*

Season 8 revolves… well, that’s the first issue. It doesn’t have one central plot worth following for an entire season. That said. The season deals with Dexter discovering some the woman behind Harry’s Code, and the process that turned him into the killer he is. In addition, Deb is in a downward spiral since killing LaGuerta last season. A new serial killer, dubbed the Brain Surgeon hits Miami. Murderess Hannah McKay also returns intent on winning Dexter’s heart once again. Dex briefly contemplates a protege, and lovable pervert Masuka finds out he has a daughter. In any other season, not a terrible setup, but this is the end of the series; something the writers seemed to have forgotten.

“Everyone’s a potential victim.”

I am not going to sugarcoat it; this season is trash. It is riddled with problems, both narrative, logical, and chalk full of incoherent nonsense. I actually struggle deciding where to begin. I suppose the central plot would be the biggest problem. Keep in mind, this is Dexter’s eighth and final season. Now how do we know this is the end of the series? Well, the promos tell us so… and that’s about it. There is no sense of closure, no rising tension, no sense of all things coming full circle, nothing. The season just sort of meanders along for the first five episodes until Hannah returns to really screw everything up. Added to that, we’re treated to another “big bad” for our antihero to face. Isn’t there enough to do with a finale than cram another horribly written, terribly executed villain into it? No? Real shame.

Dexter collapses under the crushing defeat that is this season

Yeah, he can’t believe it either.

Dr. Vogel (Charlotte Rampling), the woman responsible for Dexter’s code, while originally an intriguing character becomes flat and useless soon after. Shortly before she exits the show she loses everything that made her interesting and becomes as silly and stupid as the rest of the cast. Speaking of which, new characters galore! Elway the P.I., Zack the psychopath, Cassie the neighbour, Clayton the Marshall, Oliver the boyfriend. Isn’t the point of a finale to bring things to a close, not open a dozen new threads?

“Storm’s coming, buddy.”

Hannah is the worst of these threads to be rehashed. She shows up, and Dexter immediately suffers a complete loss of intelligence and sense. Our stone cold killer turns into an idiot schoolboy with a crush. Suddenly everything revolves around Hannah and his undying love for her. I’ve got nothing against a romantic love interest, but WORK FOR IT! Don’t hammer it down our throats. This is another massive issue. The entire story seems to hinge on every character being an idiot. And if the character was currently shown to, you know, not be an idiot, then that has to change for the sake of the art! Hannah is a prime example. A wanted felon, murderer, her photo on TV, in every police station and post office. Does she cut her hair? No. Dye it? No. Stay off the public beaches, or out of government buildings? No. Where to hide her? Her boyfriend’s sister’s place! Or better yet, the hotel by the airport! What could go wrong? It may be nitpicking, but it’s also a symptom of chronically lazy writing. Something the writers have suffered from for four seasons now.

Dexter's murderous love interest, Hannah.

Felon on the run. In her hometown. Same hair. Same makeup. In public. #YOLO

The villain, the Brain Surgeon is not imposing in any way. He pales in comparison to say, the Ice Truck Killer, or Trinity. He’s also only truly introduced halfway through the season (his eventual reveal is also horribly telegraphed as soon as he appears on screen. Also Dexter uses MS Paint to deduce his true identity. His highest point is Dex’s dispatching of him in the finale. It’s not classic like some of his other kills, but it’s brutal and entertaining. This reminds me of the sadly missed elements of “Dexter” this season. No kill rooms. Not one. Well, two actually, but they both go unused.

“I always thought when I left Miami I’d be running for my life.”

The protege story goes nowhere. Masuka’s daughter fills about twenty minutes of screen time all season, and is soon forgotten. Deb’s hatred for Dex disappears overnight. A sudden hurricane is brought up in the penultimate episode and quickly becomes the focal point of the tension. The writers just seem to forget ideas halfway through writing them down, but pursue them anyway until they get bored. The word ‘psychopath’ is also said no less than fifty times. It seems to be the theme the writers wanted before they switched to redemption, then family, then legacy, and finally settling back on redemption. And the ending we’re treated to is both cliche, overblown and completely unfitting for the show as a whole.

There was exactly one good episode this season, and it was the premiere. After that, literally every episode was worse than the one before it. This was a shameful send off for a character that was once intriguing, fascinating and entertaining as hell. I have never seen a show that was once so great, fall so far. Dexter Morgan is gone, and I miss him. But I miss the him we knew and loved all those years ago when this show began. The Dex we said goodbye to this year is a sad shell of his former self. Blame the writers? The producers? It takes a team effort to put forth television this awful. So, goodbye Miami Metro. Goodbye Dexter Morgan. And good riddance.

My Rating: 0.5/10

"Dexter" Season 8 promotional poster

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About Jesse Gelinas

After years attempting to escape the Matrix, Jesse has accepted his fate as a writer and Senior Editor. Now that's he finished with his film degree, it gives him something to do while waiting for the machines to get careless.

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