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Episode 12 - Remember the Monsters?

1 October 2013

Somehow this was worse than I could have expected. 

The first eighteen minutes were a tedious retread of the information we had absorbed last episode. Seriously, nothing happened, the pace was mournful. Then Saxon, our final big bad, just blunders straight into the hospital. Just like he strolled into Dexter’s apartment last episode. He then sits in the jail cell without any evidence of plan, purpose or psychology. He turned out to be less interesting than ALL of the previous Dexter villains. How is that possible?

The news that Deb had had a stroke was laughably underplayed. I can’t remember such a low key death for a major character. So much of this episode felt thrown together as if the producers didn’t have months to think this through and work out how to deliver some dramatic punch rather than “just another death” as if this was an episode of E.R. 

The logic holes were gaping too. I loved Dexter telling Hannah, in front of Harrison, that he had to stay while Saxon was on the loose and Deb was in the hospital. He then leans down and tells Harrison he just has to go pack a few more things! He heard you you moron! And kids aren’t stupid. They know when you are hiding something so blatantly from them.

Once Saxon was in custody there is no way in hell Deb’s former colleagues or brother would be allowed anywhere near him. If that wasn’t bad enough Batista shrugs and claims they will be able to write off Saxon’s murder as self defence. What?! Insane. Why did Dexter bother with all the cloak and dagger murders if this is how easy it was to get away with it? Ditto the hospital security.

As for the ending...I don’t know. I kept thinking “Now? Now you realise you are bad for the people around you?” Surely the moral of this story was to not stop killing. If Dexter had stabbed Saxon then he could have had his happy ending. Deb could have been shot in the line of duty and died any day of the week, it seemed bizarre that now that Dexter was feeling human emotion he would decide that he was bad for his family. It utterly confused the whole nobility of him leaving Harrison and Hannah to fend for themselves. It seemed more of a selfish move that left an immense burden on her shoulders. And to top it all off he isn’t even dead! I hope he’s sending anonymous child support, come on even Walter White did that.

It felt like the creators couldn’t bear to kill their prize creation. And yet what did that final scene give us? The possibility of a Dexter movie or follow up show perhaps. God help us.



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  • My sister loved Dexter seasons 1 to 5 but hated 6 and then was wary after the end of 7. She said she had heard the finale was atrocious and heard that Dexter decided he didn`t want to kill. She asked if it was worth watching at all and then said she wouldn`t bother watching season 8 and I could tell her the ending. You can`t imagine how fun it was to tell her that Dexter becomes a lumberjack and see her reaction especially since I was unfortunately not joking! She pointed out that it sounded like a rip off of the latest Batman movie, which I haven`t seen. Lazy writers!

    Posted by Kay, 03/10/2013 9:33pm (7 years ago)

  • Hello Robin,
    My only surprise is that you gave this a 20. This episode and season was putrid!!
    Man, that first season, that awesome premise, the possibilities of the premise, the potential all wasted. Ugh!

    I not even sure if these writers could have delivered if this series had a limited lifespan. This used to be my favorite show, but I cant imagine recommending this to anyone knowing this sewer of a season exists. What's the point of going through the logic problems? This was horrible!!!
    As always thanks for the forum

    Viewer score: 2 / 100

    Posted by Kayode from Baltimore, 01/10/2013 10:27am (7 years ago)

  • Agree with everything said here. Lol I laughed in this week`s Breaking Bad podcast when you talked about giving the show a happy ending for the sake of it and coughed `Dexter!`in the background. Sepinwall and Fienberg`s podcast reviewing the Dexter finale was very funny for those who haven`t heard it and when they talked about this week`s Breaking Bad (SPOILER BREAKING BAD)
    they said that Brock will be ok now Andrea is gone as he can go and live with Hannah and Harrison in Argentina; had me in hysterics. At least we can laugh at Dexter. Can`t believe they are thinking of a spinoff with Dexter as the main character. Copout, just like the lumberjack ending. I think it`s safe to say no one predicted that!

    Posted by Kay, 26/09/2013 1:24am (7 years ago)

  • Couldn't have ended worse even if this had all just been Harry's nightmare after bringing Dexter Home with him. A very disappointed end to a once terrific series. At least you'll be free to pursue worthier fare, Robin.

    Viewer score: 15 / 100

    Posted by Yogabon, 24/09/2013 6:55pm (7 years ago)

  • Great review, Robin. I thought I was harsh at the score I was going to give it, but seeing your score shows that I can't sugarcoat on what was a horrendous finale.

    It was so horrible, I find the Dexter apologists defending the bad writing more entertaining than watching this episode. Apart from the ones you already touched upon, the other things I had problems with the finale:

    - Saxon had no good reason going after Deb at Hospital, when there are easier targets like Astor and Cody (who doesn't even get a mention in the episode, but I suppose they were never interesting in the first place), assaulted someone in broad daylight, something that happens a lot in Dexter i.e. Issak shooting Louis at the docks, plans to kill Deb because...? Hmm, bad writing, I guess. When you see the contrast with Meth Damon aka Todd from Breaking Bad, even with a small screen time, good writing (having acting chops helps too) can make a character compelling. While Saxon will go down as one of the most lamest villain ever.

    - Dexter dumped Debra's body into the ocean. I know the Dexter apologist will say that because Dexter blames himself and Debra is another one of his victims is why he did that... blah blah blah. The fact she was dumped to where all the criminals and serial killers Dexter have killed throughout the years. Also, she was weighed down, so most likely Deb's body will be wash ashore after the fishes finished taking chunks from her body. I suppose it's cheaper than having a funeral.

    - Harrison said he loves Hannah, as corny as that scene was, you would think if there's any person he loves, it would be Jamie. You know the women who practically raise him being a 24 hours live-in Nanny. I suppose it's why Dexter abandon his son... oh sorry, protecting his son. Protecting his son by leaving him to another serial killer. I don't remember seeing Hannah and Harrison spending too many times together. I don't know who I feel sorry more to, Harrison or Hannah. Speaking of Hannah, nobody seems to care in the bus that she jabbed a needle into that guy and told out loud her plans. Anyway, once that guy wakes up wouldn't he tell where Hannah and Harrison went off too to the police.

    - The ending, despite his boat being wreck in pieces, Dexter's super killing powers saved him from the hurricane. Yep, I called it that Showtime would play it safe by keeping Dexter alive, most likely because of that spinoff that nobody wanted. I suppose there's some interesting stories with Dexter being a lumberjack/truck driver. Those trees seem evil looking.

    If I knew Dexter will be this train wreck in the end, I would have never watch it in the first place. The only thing I will miss from this show is reading the reviews pointing out how horrible Dexter has become.

    Viewer score: 30 / 100

    Posted by Dan, 24/09/2013 5:41am (7 years ago)

  • Yeah the writers drool all over the script after they fell asleep drunk on their own self satisfaction :-)

    Posted by The TV Critic, 23/09/2013 10:28pm (7 years ago)

  • Hahaha, best review ever!

    And yes, I suppose I've been waiting to see how it all played out until I really allowed myself to sound off.

    I think my post just shows that I was far more troubled by the fact that the creators couldn't bear to kill their prize creation (or that Dexter even became their prize creation, after all) than any actual specific episodic plot details. I already expect any individual episode of Dexter to be filled with plot holes, plot fluff, and asinine story telling.

    For the record, I have no interest in a spinoff. Much of my post was snark. Although I'm guessing you know that and you really just hated this episode so badly that you still feel like I was more kind :P

    If I were to give this a score out of 100, I would have added 5 - 10 points just for leaving Ghost Harry out of an entire episode.

    And reading your review of Walt White's scene where he silently approaches the gate for the first time really puts the stark contrast of these two shows into perspective. In Dexter the same scene would have inundated us with some nice Inner Monologue!

    What is the Dexter equivalent of a Breaking Bad fingerprint? A freight train perhaps?

    Posted by Brando, 23/09/2013 9:56pm (7 years ago)

  • Sounds like someone was itching to flex his tv critic muscles :-)

    You are kinder than I. I think the producers have been asleep at the wheel for 3 or 4 years.

    I thought this was so generic and lazy at times it's like they don't even read their scripts twice any more.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 23/09/2013 9:36pm (7 years ago)

  • Sorry for the massive tl;dr post that I'm about to paste, everybody!

    Ultimately, the ending/resolution was a letdown for me. Given the course of the series the past few seasons (including this final one) it wasn't actually the terrible finale I expected, but there was a lot that felt off. The point I'd like to touch upon is Dexter's decision to impose self-exile. I can't apologize any longer for the comparisons I draw between this and Breaking Bad. Both have very dark subject matter, lead characters that act out morally reprehensible behaviors, and thus the shows have to deal with the consequence of these actions. In Breaking Bad, these consequences are coming down full bore. And from many different directions. Not so on Dexter.

    Dexter's decision to impose self-exile as a trucker is a letdown because it exposes exactly what has been a problem with the show for a very long time. Dexter is always always always in control. Even when things start to unravel, they only unravel until Dexter decides he will change everything in a snap. And then he does. Easily. He orchestrated nearly everything on this show. I think that's why the show began and continued to lean so heavy on his inner monologues and conversations with Ghost Dad. Dexter was at the center of almost every plot movement. Mostly, I am disappointed he never faced real consequence, only self-imposed judgment.

    In this show Dexter has always been Judge, Jury & Executioner, and here is no different. I understand that Rita & Deb were "taken" from him and so there was consequence for his actions in that sense. I guess what I mean here is he never had to meet with Judge or Jury through the series run. Oh wait, Doakes & LaGuerta (and Deb & Matthews in half-assed ways). But Doakes and LaGuerta became characterized as villains. We rooted against them because they were loathesome, meddlesome people. This is part of why I liked Agent Lundy so much. He was not characterized in a way for us to hate him and root against him. Anyway, Dexter never had to face the law. He never had to face Miami Metro. He never had to face Angel, who for years considered Dexter his best friend. He never had to face Masuka. Hell, he never really had to own up to or face people like Sylvia Prado, Cody & Astor, Rita’s parents, or even Jamie (whose role in the show enabled him to be the serial killer he was). He never had to own up and really understand the gravity of his actions. Even with Deb, she loved him til the end and her anger was resolved within just a couple of episodes. When you really boil it down, she didn’t even feel hatred toward Dexter for being a serial killer…she felt hatred toward Dexter for putting her in a position where she had to choose between him and killing LaGuerta. That isn’t consequence.

    Not to mention his exile does not quite make sense. He comes to the conclusion that he destroys the lives of all those he gets close to. This conclusion was true, when he was Dexter the serial killer. He is constantly putting his family in friends in the line of fire because of his lust for the kill. But did he not finally come to the realization he no longer needed/wanted to kill to be happy and fulfilled? Is he not smart enough to realize that he destroyed lives because he killed people? Is he really that mopey that he thinks it's just because he has an aura about him that destroys lives? Logically he could understand that giving up the life of the serial killer and living a “normal” life with Hannah & Harrison would probably keep them out of trouble just fine. What enemies would he have left? Especially after faking his own death? Who is going to come after them? No one. So why choose this moment to punish yourself? Because Deb died? That’s all it took? I don’t mean to say that to minimize her death and the effect it may have, but come on. I just think it was silly.

    I imagine we’re supposed to come to the conclusion or understanding that because he truly loves Harrison and Hannah, he realized he needs to leave them alone. That he was finally being heroic and selfless in his decision to sacrifice his own happiness for the happiness of others. His decision is narcissistic and taking the easy way out, however. It does not take into account that his presence in those lives of the others is a part of what they view as happiness and fulfillment. What, Harrison is just supposed to be cool that daddy doesn’t exist anymore? He’ll just forget about him and be happy? They spent all of this time trying to convince us that Dexter & Hannah really loved each other and gave each other an escape from their dark passengers? Does he think she will no longer need that completion or escape? Please. Ice cream ain’t gonna cut it.

    Another show on last night, Boardwalk Empire, saw a scene where Nucky Thompson mentions his son's birthday is the next day, but clarifies his son is not with him and that his son is probably much better off being without him and just forgetting he ever existed. The other character in the conversation challenges Nucky and basically says, "It just sounds like you're taking the easy way out, without having to work through and fight for the relationships that actually matter to you." This rang through while watching Dexter's end. The character has too much power. He decides what is reasonable and what is not. What is valiant and what is not. Just like Nucky Thompson, the character is completely unable to view the world as anything but centered entirely around themselves. So in this way, his punishment to live his life devoid of happiness as a blank staring trucker is just the next self-involved decision in a string of many in Dexter's life. Human life does not carry on as "happily ever after," nor does it go "happily never after." Are we supposed to believe he will just be a zombie forever? Dexter The Trucker, as this ended, would actually be an interesting spin off to me, because I want to know what the heck they were thinking. Human beings innately seek out essentials like food, clothing & shelter, but human beings also innately seek out pleasure. Be it in the form of happiness, sex, hobbies, sports, laughter, artistry, professional success & accolades, etc. Am I to believe Dexter will just haul loads forever and deny himself all pleasures until he croaks? He will never have the urge to kill again? He will never have the urge to connect with human beings again? He will never have the urge to have sex again (which, even as emotionless Dexter in early seasons, he showed he still had functioning hormones)? He will never think, “Hmmm…yeah this sucks. Maybe I’ll go down to Argentina after all and see those people I like being around.”
    To me it shows nothing more than the writers/producers loving their character so much, but understanding they couldn’t give him a happy ride off into the sunset because of the moral message they would be sending and then implications thereof. Back to Breaking Bad. The whole show is deconstructing itself as we speak. It has done a wonderful job of getting us to relate to, like and root for Walt & Jesse, but now is showing that their actions truly were wrong and morally awful and they’re literally losing everything piece by piece. The message is, “We’re glad you’ve joined us for this ride. We love these characters, too. And deep down we believe they’re good or have some semblance of good in them. But let’s not forget that they made the beds they are lying on now. They chose to murder, steal, lie, and go so fiercely against the law…oh, and got tangled up with some pretty brutal people along the way.” Dexter could have taken these last two seasons to a similar message, while still maintaining its integrity and individuality. Instead the message seems to be, “Damn we love our show. And Dex is pretty cool, right? Wouldn’t it be awesome if it were legal to have a serial killer that just killed all the bad people? It would be even nicer if he were really a great guy, too. Like Batman, but a serial killer. So. Cool. Wait, what? Not so cool? Only kind of cool? Oh, well yeah, I guess murder is murder, but… And well, yeah, okay fine let’s give him a few slaps on the wrist. We love him, but you’re right…he should be sent to his room for a little while to think about what he’s done.”
    The problem for me comes to the search for the answer to this question: What does Dexter care about most in life? For 7.5 seasons I would say the answer was pretty clear: Killing people. Yet the show tried more and more to get us to believe it was the following: a friend who could accept him fully, a father figure who could accept him fully, a lover who could accept him fully, back to a friend and moral guide that could accept him fully, a sister who could accept him fully, back to a lover who could accept him fully, back to a sister who could accept him fully, and a mother figure who could accept him fully. Sure, that is a desire for human connection, but they’re all intertwined with Dexter’s desire to just be a killer and for people to accept that about him and still love him completely. Taking his brother (ITK), lover (Lila), friend (Miguel), father figure (Trinity), wife (Rita), lover (Lumen), friend & moral mentor (Brother Sam), surrogate children (Astor & Cody), and mother figure (Dr. Vogel) away via death or exile (in the case of Lumen, Astor & Cody) never broke him. None of the relationships apparently meant enough to him. But I am now supposed to believe that his love for Deb was such that it was beyond all of these things so as to truly break him? And also believe that his love for Hannah was such so as to erase his #1 desire: to kill? I just don’t buy it. Perhaps if from Season 1 Deb was the only person he had a *real* relationship with, but that’s not even the case. It hasn’t been until these past two that they have tried to establish a true and meaningful relationship between the two. And Hannah? Well, we’ve discussed that plenty I suspect.
    Coming to this conclusion, that killing was the thing most important to Dexter, it is that last point that irks me the most. Deb dying and delivering a blow to Dexter I believe. Not the knockout blow, but I do think it would be the blow that delivered the most world shaking consequences to him from a relational standpoint. But what would truly be hell for Dexter? What would truly be misery and unhappiness? Not this self-imposed nonsense. Strip away every modicum of a relationship he had (exposure to friends, family, public, everyone). If you take away the magical disappearance for his desire to kill then the ultimate punishment would have been a forced life (probably via a life sentence in prison) with the inability to kill. Solitary confinement even. I have the feeling Dexter would break so fast and go into true madness if you took away his ability to connect with people and his ability to kill people. That would have been too harsh, though. That’s the sort of outcome for a supervillain, not a superhero. I forgot that he’s a superhero. My bad.


    Posted by Brando, 23/09/2013 4:57pm (7 years ago)

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