Dexter, S8 Ep12 – Remember the Monsters?

Dexter s8 ep12--Dexter and Hannah

Eight seasons and it’s over. Is this the end you expected?

The cliffhanger for seventh season had most fans wondering if Dexter would get caught and face his crimes in the final season, but instead it has been a plodding, uneven, generally disappointing mess that could have been written off as so-so if it were a mid-series slump, but for a final season this is appalling. So many plot holes were left unanswered and glossed over. So many important elements were mishandled, like Hannah’s return and characterization. Remember when we thought she was back for revenge because she poisoned Dexter, but suddenly none of that mattered anymore because they were in love again? This season started off strong, with plenty of potential, but then it went downhill with too many fake-outs (the identity of the Brain Surgeon and Hannah’s true intentions) and false starts (Zach’s entire storyline). The side plots for Quinn and Masuka were trite, boring, and didn’t play into the larger story arc at all. You would expect the final season of a show, especially one that has been planned for a couple years, to be more thought out and have more gravitas to it. This season went out, not with a whimper, but more of a shrug, like not even the writers really knew what they wanted to do.

Dexter s8 ep12--Dexter with Deb as she dies in hospital

Even Deb was bored this episode, she’s sleeping. What, too soon?

There were some good moments in this episode, especially with the acting, but it also lacked the urgency it should have had. Elway’s threat against Hannah wasn’t particularly strong because he had never been developed into a particularly strong character in the first place. Deb’s death was not what I had expected. After climbing her way back from rock bottom this season, I had hoped for a better ending for her. If not living out a happy life, then going out doing what she does best. But instead of dying in a blaze of glory, she dies as Dexter’s last kill, a last act of mercy to save her from years of life in a brain-dead coma. And then there’s Saxon, who finally dies at Dexter’s hands, but in a less than climatic way. He could have been a great villain, someone truly menacing, if he had been properly introduced earlier rather than going through two fake reveals. And it really bugged me that Dexter’s co-workers finally saw him kill someone—with video evidence—and despite all the suspicion over him through the years and the obviously cold, calculating, and well-practiced way he jabbed that pen into Saxon’s jugular, they still didn’t think he was a serial killer. Come on, guys! Doakes suspected him, LaGuerta died trying to find proof against him, even Quinn once thought Dexter was up to something. But they let him go without any question.

Dexter s8 ep12--Dexter riding his boat into the storm

Let’s pretend it ended here, shall we?

Then there’s Dexter’s fate. If they had stopped the episode a minute sooner then I might have been okay with it. It wasn’t the best ending, going out sort of quiet and sedated, but it would have felt true. Dexter somehow sneaked Debra’s body out of the hospital in the chaos of the evacuation and tossed her into the ocean. Deb was possibly the one person he really couldn’t live without and her death made him realize that he destroys the people he loves. He decided to make a sacrifice, taking himself away from Hannah and Harrison so that they wouldn’t suffer the same fate as Deb. If it had ended right there, with him riding into the storm, that would have been fine. The extra bits showing everyone believing he was dead—but no one seemed to be asking what happened to Harrison, another plot hole—would have dragged it out a bit, but still could have worked. For a show that opened with Dexter stalking and killing a man who murdered children, this was a tap on a triangle rather than a bang on the gong. But Dexter killing himself after killing Deb would have been poetic. After a season focused so strongly on their dependence on each other, if he had realized that he needed her more than anything and let himself go down with her it would have, at the very least, worked with the themes of the season.

But no. No, they didn’t leave it there. Instead, Dexter’s a lumberjack, and he’s okay. (Does he kill all night and work all day?) Apparently too cowardly to kill himself, Dexter’s abandoned his son with a serial poisoner and run away to the land of plaid and flapjacks. It’s like a joke: How did Dexter end? He became a lumberjack. I mean, I get it; he took himself away from the world so he can’t hurt the people he loves and no longer bothers with a good cover life, abandoning that part of the code along with his family. But a lumberjack? Really? And poor Harrison doesn’t know what happened to his dad, and Hannah’s stuck with someone else’s kid. Dexter’s never been the best father, what with the murdering and all, but this was one of his worst moves. Leave Harrison with Jamie or someone stable, not with a woman who thinks moving to another country will solve all her problems.

Dexter s8 ep12--Dexter as lumberjack

Lumberjack Dexter in all his glory.

The creators of Dexter said that the ending would be divisive, and boy is that a fact. I’m sure some fans will be able to find the deeper meaning—Dexter spent his whole life trying to build the perfect cover family/life, trying to feel emotions like normal people, and once he had all of that, once it was no longer a cover, he lost it all, throwing it away because he was afraid to ruin it.

But I can’t look past the lumberjack beard.

That ending was unexpected in a bad way. But you be the judge: What did you think of the ending? Sound off in the comments!