Dexter is Dissappointing: Don’t “Batman” your endings

I’m a fan of Dexter. A big fan, actually. I’ve read most of the books. I’ve watched every episode, and again on DVD and BlueRay. I’ve re-adjusted my work schedule and rearranged my entire wake sleep cycle to make sure I didn’t miss an episode. And then the finale happened, and yes, I have some comments.  Let it be known that this entire post is a spoiler. 

First I denied it: There was no way that this was the finale. There must be another episode or a Bob Newhart twist.

Then I was angry: Why would someone do this? I want names, email addresses, Twitter accounts!

After which,  I bargained:  I won’t complain about Rita any more, and the Dexter + Deb incest was ok after all, anything but Hannah!

But then I was depressed: Television sucks, writers suck, everything sucks; eight years of television down the tubes, might as well go back to reading.

And then the acceptance: Well, it wasn’t as bad as the Lost finale.

Quite happily, I was not alone in the grief process. I was already in stage four when I got the text from my good buddy Kevin Dooley, who was still in stage 2. Needless to say, he has some thoughts on the matter as well.

How I wanted it to end

I’m not a writer, a film buff, or a TV junkie. I’m an occasional blogger with an occasional rant who hasn’t written a short story in at least eight years. Therefore, according to the rules of the internet, this post should be on in three days’ time.

1) Dexter Gets Caught

Since the Trinity season, I’ve wanted Dexter to get caught. As the series has progressed, Dexter’s  taken bigger risks  and more people have discovered who he is. Dexter’s employed a pretty strict sex-or-slice policy with people that uncover his identity. Thankfully for Dexter, most of the folks that figured out who he was made the case for the “or slice” category.

Doakes was a great moral dilemma because he didn’t fit the policy of being killable or sexable. Writers easily ignored good character development with this quandary by introducing a pyromaniac with attachment issues. But, I was cool with that because I wanted Dexter to continually deal with this issue. I wanted Dexter to be discovered, and apparently it wasn’t hard to do.

The fact that Dexter was found in a pool of his mother’s blood is practically Googleable. His brother is a serial killer that Deb dated. Dexter fakes a heroine problem (pretty badly) to go out for happy fun kill time.  Doakes can apparently smell the evil on him.  Rita gets killed Trinity style. Quinn thinks Dexter is fishy. LaGuerta thinks Dexter was up to no good. Debra flat out catches Dexter in the act.  Dexter’s neighbor is murdered. His father Harrison’s friend Dr. Britishina MurderPants gets her throat cut in front of him. Deborah gets shot by the brain surgeon. When Deb confessed to killing LaGuerta in a police interrogation room,  she and Dex suddenly weren’t Facebook friends. This is the easiest investigation ever. Dexter cannot sex or slice the entire police department.

The detectives try detectiving

Dexter Confesses

Now, I favor the “get caught” conclusion over the confession simply because I like Good vs. Evil stories. Dexter getting caught is good winning and evil losing. However, a good vs. evil style conclusion doesn’t really fit for Dexter on account of the whole… …. … premise. The series is a giant study in moral relativism where we begin by accepting that the killer killing the killers is better than the killers killing non-killers. Dexter has never been good. He’s just…not the worst.

Dexter is neither good nor bad. He’s Pinocchio with more murders, sex and cellophane. Dexter’s on a quest to be a real human, and he’s experiencing these new-found, ewwy gooey things called emotions. The last two seasons were an effort to prove that Dexter is just a hard, crunchy, sociopath exterior with a soft plush toy for an interior. The Pinocchio story seemed to be where they were taking things—even Dr. England McKillerton made the comment that it was odd that Dexter thought he was feeling emotions.

If they were going Pinocchio, then the penultimate of this story is Dexter, fully human, accepting the responsibility and guilt for his crimes. It would mean that he forgoes his selfish desires and turns himself in; confessing to killing people. He could even take a line from True Lies and just say, “Yeah, but they were all bad.”  Confession is the conclusion to his quest for humanity.

Dexter discovers he’s a real(ly murderous) boy 

3) Sail off to Argentina

Ok, fine, it’s a sellout move. No character resolution at all, no resolution to any arching themes. But he gets to be with Hannah and Harrison. Fine. We’re all happy. It’s the warm fuzzy feeling we’re obviously wanting to give the audience, so a flight to Argentina straightforwardly says, “we don’t care about character development as much as you feeling good about a  killer getting away”.

 Writers admit to not trying


 How it Actually Ended

1)Dead Bodies everywhere

Saxon kills Dexter’s neighbor. Then slices dad’s old chum Dr. BritishPants. As it turns out, Saxon is BritishPants’ son. Dexter shows up at the hospital all angry and murder-facy. Saxon gets busted. Dexter goes to the jail cell and gets all Jason Bourne with an ink pen.Quinn and Batista believe everything in interviews, ignore clues, and are incapable of operating a rewind button on surveillance footage.

This is the real twist in the series right here, because apparently Quinn and Batista have been secretly retarded.

2) Dexter kills his sister

Ok, mercy kills, euthanizes, Kevorkians, whatever. Fine, we can all get the mercy train for this guy. Merciful psychopathy is was this whole season is about, right?  Then, true to Dexter’s passion for ninjaness and and stealthitude, he steals her body in broad daylight. When the elusive and rare hurricane visits Florida, the first thing we do is dump our freshly euthanized family members.


3) The Batman Finale

When you watch Dark Knight Rises, Batman dies, and you’re sad. But then you find out he’s alive… because……………………technology, that’s why. Autopilot overrules a knife wound, cartilage-free knees, and heights of 30 stories.

You have a plot and a theme that come to a  logical conclusion. Then you add an epilogue to the ending that is  the exact opposite of what you just saw, with little or no logical explanation. This is the Batman Finale.

They totally Batmaned Dexter. Minus, of course, autopilot.

Dexter pen-stabbed dolphins to shore

4) The Batman Finale, used incorrectly

Dark Knight Rises offers the ol’ fakeroo because audiences genuinely liked the character —because he has redeeming qualities… and sequels, mainly  sequels. I’m pretty sure Christopher Nolan found out in post-production that there was an upcoming Superman & Batman movie which was about to get Ben Afflecked and said, “eff it… let’s throw in autopilot and wrap up before the fish an chips store closes.” (I assume this is how British people talk)

Dexter dying in the hurricane would mean that his self realization is complete; he’s fully capable of recognizing who he is and the awful things he’s done. Dying in the hurricane means that his character really is human now; he’s ready to drown in the guilt that he feels.

Batman was saving lives and badassing up the town. Dexter was killing bad guys, not-good-guys, and could-have-been-better guys.  Batmaning Batman means there’s sequels and more butt-kicking in the future. But they Batmaned Dexter. So what are we going to do with a lonely lumberjack with a low-speed internet connection? Dexter has none of the tools that made him an efficient killer, and by his own admission, he has none of the motivation.

Bruce Wayne gives Alfred a subtle head nod; all Dexter has is a beard

If I Were a Writer

The  seventh season finale would have ended in the cargo container with LaGuerta and Deb catching Dexter. Dexter is arrested, goes in for questioning.  The final season is Dexter in jail having to unravel his entire life.  In this alternate season,  Dr. Britishy McPsychopants is introduced as a character here to evaluate Dexter. She lays out how she and Harrison architected The Code, and we get the whole spiritual family thing that we saw — minus family drama. Dexter accepts his fate and conviction and tells the story of his mistakes, close calls and regrets.  Then she introduces Zach — he’s been learning the code already. She’ll be taking everything that Dexter was sharing and will pass it on to Zach, so that he can continue where Dexter left off. The series concludes years later, as Dexter is on a table getting the needle, smiling at Harrison but thinking of Zach, because he knows that there are good monsters in the world.

Since I’m not a Writer

All you get is this ranty blog.

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