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DEXTER's Last Murder

Dexter poster

Written by : published Thursday 26th September 2013

It's always sad when a beloved, long-running television series comes to an end. This is the case in Showtime's Dexter, with this week's episode, season eight's twelfth, "Remember the Monsters?," serving as the last episode ever. In it, we see the final chapter of the story of the serial killer with a moral compass. Sadly, the last thing to be killed is fans' hopes for an amazing conclusion.

Dexter is about a psychopath with no emotion. In the final year, the titular character (Michael C. Hall) finds feelings for his family and friends, to his great surprise. It's been a slow build to this triumphant moment, the point where his lack of empathy has been cured and he can actually love and miss and grieve and have compassion. What a fantastic note to go out on!

Except, Dexter doesn't enjoy these things. It may be because he finds his heart just in time to have it broken, as Oliver Saxon (Darri Ingolfsson), the Big Bad of this year, murders Dexter's sister, Debra (Jennifer Carpenter). Faced with losing her, Dexter rethinks what he wants out of life, and decides the best thing he can do is end it.

Dexter's death is seen coming from a mile away. He begins acting erratically, killing Oliver in police custody, turning off Debra's machines and stealing her from the hospital. He's always been so careful and so sneaky. To act irrationally, out in the open, is a turn for him, and that's why it telegraphs the sad climax.

The fact that nobody notices Dexter's behavior is "Remember the Monsters?"'s first mistake. I don't expect Quinn (Desmond Harrington), who has just lost the woman he loves, or Angel (David Zayas), rationalizing the behavior of a friend in pain, to pick up on Dexter's coldness in the video of him slaying Saxon, barely putting up a tiny bit of effort to make it seem like self defense. But surely someone notices his actions of killing Debra, stealing the body, and sailing out to sea in the middle of a hurricane.

Mistake number two comes when Dexter undoes the sacrifice. As much as I hate to see Dexter commit suicide after dumping his sister's body, deciding that Harrison (Jadon Wells) and Hannah (Yvonne Strahovski) are better off without him, there is a way to understand Dexter's twisted reasoning. It doesn't quite gel with what the show has been building towards, but people do weird things when they're upset, and while this installment doesn't really spend much time on Dexter blaming himself for Deb's death, it is mentioned.

Then we get a glimpse of him working as a lumberjack. There is no explanation as to how Dexter escaped his wrecked boat in the middle of the storm, nor do we find out anything about his new life, such as if his dark passenger and Harry (James Remar) have returned and he has gone back to killing. A look in his eye says that might very well be the case, but it's left ambiguous.

What is the point of that final scene? To let viewers know that Dexter is alive? If so, why doesn't he show remorse for abandoning his son? Or something that proves he has stopped caring? Are we expected to believe all of the emotional stuff earlier in the hour was an act? It really doesn't make sense.

Not to mention, there is no closure for Quinn, whom is told by Deb she loves him just before she dies, no wrap up of the Masuka (C.S. Lee) and his daughter (Dora Madison Burge) arc, no revelation about Dexter's secret life by Miami Metro, not even of a glimpse of how Harrison might take the news when Hannah breaks it to him. There's just no ending to speak of for most of the show's players.

Now, there are a couple of wonderful bits in the finale. I love Dexter beating his instincts at the end of the penultimate episode, and how that carries into the last one. I love the flashbacks of Dexter and Deb shortly after Harrison's birth. I love seeing Hannah outwit Elway (Sean Patrick Flanery) and escape. I love that both Eric Ladin (The Killing) and Amy Pietz (Caroline in the City) guest star. I love seeing Matthews (Geoff Pierson) not act like a total jerk.

But those things aren't enough to make up for a terrible handling of the main character. I totally agree that a show runner has the right to end their series the way they'd like to, without worrying what fans will think. On the other hand, I do think it should be fitting for what has come before it, and "Remember the Monsters?" is not. In the end, Dexter's finale is one of the worst series finales in recent memory. If that's not sad enough to make a serial killer cry, I don't know what is.

About the author JeromeWetzelTV

JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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