MATM’s Guests: My Thoughts on the Dexter Series Finale by Tim Swan (Warning: Spoilers!)

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Warning: The below piece contains spoilers about Dexter’s various seasons and an in-depth analysis of the show’s series finale

After eight long years, Showtime’s legendary television show Dexter finally came to a close on September 22, 2013. It was a final season of mixed emotions, bittersweet memories, and, ultimately, frustration for many Dexter fanatics including myself. Nobody knew what was going to happen and everyone had strong opinions about the series ending after eight seasons.

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The Dexter series finale left many fans in a state of disbelief. Some were angry with it. Others knew it was coming and others were left blindsided by the entire last season. I would argue that Dexter couldn’t have ended on a different note. As much as some fans would have loved to see a different ending to the series, it did not seem plausible to me after giving it a very long thought.

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Dexter’s first four seasons were simply remarkable and legendary. From his kills to stalking his prey, trying to balance a career at Miami Metro to being a loving father to Harrison, to taking care of Rita and her two children. We understood Dexter’s life and how his pieces would fit into his puzzle as a serial killer. His dark passenger and the conversations he would have with the ghost of his father, Harry, made it even more suspenseful when Dexter would get into sticky situations. However, after season 4, things started to unravel that made many of us feel like the series was starting to run its course and should end sooner than later.

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During the final season, we were left with many questions to start off season 8. The most important one being, would Dexter himself die or be arrested for his crimes as a serial killer? Would Deb be killed? Would Deb kill Dexter? Would Miami Metro find out about Dexter’s dark passenger? What would happen to Harrison? Would Hannah end up dead? We had many questions yet many of us were skeptical about the final season. It turns out, many of those things didn’t happen. Miami Metro never found out about his secret dark passenger. Deb ended up dying as many of us predicted she would have. Hannah ended up surviving with his son Harrison in Argentina. Dexter ended up faking his own death in a hurricane only to later be found working as a lumberjack on the Oregon coast as the final episode came to a close.

The most unsettling part of the finale was the fact that we were left with a weird type of cliffhanger but the series was ending for good. We were surprised that Dexter didn’t get caught, or at least found out about by Quinn, Batista, Masuka, etc. Nobody at Miami Metro knew besides Deb and Doakes back in season 1 about Dexter’s dark passenger. Unlike many fans, I was happy to see Hannah surviving and living out her life in Argentina with Harrison as his surrogate mother. During the final episode, Harrison whispers into Dexter’s ear: “Daddy, I love Hannah.” To which Dexter replied: “I do too.” Hannah, who bared a striking resemblance to Dexter’s widow Rita, played a good part in season 8 as a mother figure to Harrison and acted as a wife to Dexter. This was taking place while US Marshals were onto her and trying to apprehend her as a wanted fugitive, which was also Dexter’s fault. In the end, I predicted that Dexter would either die or end up in Argentina with Harrison and Hannah. I was almost correct and admittedly disappointed that he didn’t end up with his family in the end. I felt as if the producers could have done without the whole fake death scene and lumberjack part at the end and just ended it with him in Argentina with Hannah and Harrison. However, that would have been too cookie cutter of an ending to a show that blessed us with many twists and odd turns!

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Overall, I was left satisfied by the finale. Yes, it could have been better and it was a mediocre way to end a great series. But I feel like there wasn’t a much better way to end it. Fans can’t all be collectively happy about their favorite show ending and I did not expect them to be. I also cannot speak for everyone when I give my opinion on the series. I didn’t want Dexter to die or get arrested and imprisoned forever for the crimes we ended up justifying in our heads while watching him kill bad people. Letting Dexter live was the ultimate form of justice and the proper send-off to conclude a great series. I didn’t want Deb to die either, though it was inevitable after she was shot in episode 11 of the final season. Dexter didn’t end exactly like how everyone wanted. That’s the beauty of television shows, however. They don’t always start and end the way fans expect but in the end, we can appreciate the series that was Dexter and the great memories the cast from Showtime left us with. I, for one, am grateful for the series that was a part of my life for so many great years. All criticism and favoritism aside, Sunday evenings will not be the same for me for a very long time.

I’ll miss Dexter, we all will.

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2 thoughts on “MATM’s Guests: My Thoughts on the Dexter Series Finale by Tim Swan (Warning: Spoilers!)

  1. One of my favorite aspects of this series was on season 6 and Mos Def’s portrayal of Brother Sam, who I felt added an interesting dynamic and offering a dialogue about God and faith to our protagonist whose faith was lost as a child; upon seeing Brother Sam’s actions and choices it seemed as if Dexter began to wrestle with the possibility that maybe God existed after all. Of course he never came all-out and believed in God, but he witnessed something in Brother Sam that made him question that possibility.

    And I expected that to had some kind of significance at some point of the series, but it never did. Brother Sam died and Dexter never even thought about God again throughout the series. That seemed pointless. Why have Dexter wrestle with this if it never came into fruition, either way.

    When the doctor said it would take a “miracle” for Deb to come out of her veggie state, Dexter didn’t hesitate to pull the plug. Not even for a brief moment did Dexter even consider the possibility that a higher power could intervene on behalf of his sister. Brother Sam’s death was in vain. Dexter didn’t learn a single thing from him. And to me that’s the most disappointing thing about the finale. Dexter started the show with no faith, and he ended the show with no faith. If that was the case, why even bring in a character like Brother Sam who Dexter grew close to?

    On top of that, Deb’s death taints the series for me b/c anytime I watch the show now I am just going to think she died in the end — for nothing. It’s not as if she made some heroic sacrifice. In fact, her being shot in the first place, and then dying felt tacked-on. If she had survived the gunshot I could see, but then her having a stroke during the surgery shortly after being awake and seemingly well just felt soap-opera-ish. Of course I understand that it’s possible for something like that to happen, but it just doesn’t seem as likely to happen to someone as young and fit as Deb was. Her death felt forced to me, at least the way it happened.

    And then the way Dexter enters the hospital and immediately a nurse acknowledges him and tells him the patients are being moved, etc. but then when he rolls Deb’s body out of there no one sees him to question what this civilian is doing. That felt silly to me. It’s the way everything happened that just felt forced to me. The finale just leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth and put a damper on the series as a whole.

    But at least I will always have season 1, which was one of the most fascinating pieces of entertainment I’ve ever seen.

    1. Thank you very much Gary for sharing your thoughts on the finale with us. I feel the same way about a lot of what you have said. For me, the show floated around mediocrity from the fifth season onwards and never became the great show it once was. It’s a shame considering the unique world it was able to build in those first four amazing seasons. Thanks again!

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