Dec 20 2011

Dexter Finale Review: “This is the Way the World Ends”

Published by at 12:00 pm under Reviews,Television

Really, Dexter? You made me sit through unequivocally the worst season in your history so you could give me exactly ONE minute of relevance at the very end?

Needless to say, something very, very significant happened in the closing moments of the Dexter season finale last night, and join me after the break so we can discuss it away from the ears of those who don’t wish to know yet.

Deb knows.

“Holy shitballs Dex!”

At long, long last, after years of ignoring every possible clue, Deb finally knows about Dexter’s darkness. She walks in on him executing Travis Marshall, and after twelve weeks of relative inanity, it finally seems like the show is going places.

But first, we should probably rewind. The Doomsday plotline went out with a whimper, rather than a bang, as the episode title implies. As it turns out, Travis had no ultimate world-ending plan up his sleeve, and was content to wait on top of a building for God to whisk him away and destroy the earth himself. I can’t help by think it would have been a more  humorous ending to just leave him standing there after the eclipse, wondering what the hell he should do now as he slowly shuffles away. You had to wait for the MAYAN apocalypse in 2012, idiot!

Anyway, Dexter foils his plan, and has extra motivation to do so seeing as his son was to be the final sacrifice in Travis’ “make shit up as you go” plan. Oh this guy who came knocking is a cop? Time to gas Miami Metro homicide. Oh, Dexter has a son? Yeah sure, throw him up on that altar then. God’s will is kind of freewheeling it seems.

“Err wait, was I supposed to grab the kid dressed like a lamb?”

I’ll ignore stupid moments like Dexter bashing in his own face on the wall, as I’m sure a cop saw that mural before it was defaced and would have reported it as such. And as for how Dexter imagined that Travis would tell him to inject himself, and prepared a fake needle accordingly, I don’t know. Maybe he always just has one on him in case that scenario ever crops up. And really, did Dexter need to off that Cuban? I know the show is about serial killing, but we’re getting a bit casual with it here.

But again, it’s hard to avoid the main point of this episode, and thus this entire series, the fact that Deb now knows Dexter’s secret. Well, some of it anyway.

I see what the show was trying to do with this idiotic “Deb loves Dexter” plotline. They were setting it up for this moment where Deb CAN’T turn on Dexter because she’s his sister AND she’s in love with him, which somehow equals “double love” that’s incapable of being broken by such a silly thing as mass murder. I would have been perfectly content with them skipping the whole gross love story, and her just protecting him out of brotherly love, as I would have bought that she would have done that WITHOUT the urge to get in his pants. Her love for him now makes every scene with the two of them unbearable, and speaking as an adopted child, this idea that just because you’re not really related to your family, that you can fall for them, is complete bullshit, and EXACTLY as gross as it sounds.

NOPE NOPE NOPE.

The big question, of course, is what happens now? Something we’ll have to wait probably another 8 months to find out.

Dexter could explain away this kill by saying that Travis kidnapped Harrison and he wanted revenge, free of the police. Sure, he’s still a murderer, but he’s not forced to tell her the other 99% of the iceberg that sits under the surface. She didn’t hear him say he’s a serial killer, so perhaps he could get away with it?

But the scene she walked in on is the key most likely. They did know that the Bay Harbor Butcher’s M.O. was strapping people down with plastic and knifing them in the chest, right? That was like five years ago, but I do believe they had that much figured out. Not to mention that it’s pretty obvious Travis is a serial killer, and potential Butcher target. If this is the case, Deb should put it all together and have no choice but to realize that Dex is the Butcher.

Even THAT however, is not the full story, as she’d have to learn about the deaths of Brian, Doakes, Miguel Prado, Trinity, Jordan Chase and his team, and all the other murders since the Butcher’s alleged demise. She’d had to learn about Harry’s training of Dexter into this killing machine, and finally figure out if despite all this, Dexter is the same person he always has been. With a hundred or so death notches in his belt.

Also, you probably shouldn’t be killing someone at the exact place your sister told you to go at the exact time she told you to be there.

The part about Dexter I’ve never bought is that he’s always claimed to be a monster. But in reality, punishing mass murder with death doesn’t seem to be monstrous at all, and protecting the innocent has always been Dex’s utmost priority. Yes, he works outside the law, and has the brain chemistry required to kill without thought or remorse, but monster? I don’t think so.

I’m of the notion that Deb should just learn everything early next season. There’s no point beating around the bush and having her spend an entire season uncovering all of his misdeeds, so it’s better to get it all out in the open right away now. These last two seasons are supposed to be a structured arc and wrap-up for the show, and now that Deb knows, it should be the catalyst for all that to start.

Noticeably absent from the finale was Lewis, who the show is setting up to be a major player next season. Travis opened Dexter’s package containing the defaced Ice Truck hand, but I doubt he’ll find that for a bit after what just happened with Deb. He seems like he’s going to be the Riddler to Dexter’s Batman, getting inside his head, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do as a foil.

Again, I think the vast ,vast majority of this season has been a giant waste of time, but it’s hard to deny that this is in fact the biggest development in the history of the show, bar none. This moment was skirted around many times, but now there’s no going back, and I can’t wait to see what Dexter and Deborah do next.

 





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18 responses so far

  • JB

    I liked this season despite A LOT of misteps. Definitly the worst season of Dexter but I did enjoy most of it.

    Deb finding out this way though just seemed tacked on. She just happened to walk in on him during a kill. I think it would have been better if she found out last season when she used actual detective work and found Dex and Luman behind the sheet. She was already thinking about letting the murdering couple go without knowing it was Dexter so it would make sense if she still covered for him without haveing the whole “Im in love with my brother” sub plot. Then you can go the path of her dealing with this new imformation without the story being gross.

    Overall this season had some good scenes but wasnt tightly written as past years with too much having to be forgiven for the sake of where the writers wanted the story to go. No one saw the painting with Dexters face on the devil and no one heard when he smashed it with a hammer? Yeah….ok.

  • Rosstopher

    I have only recently got into Dexter, at least since last spring when I got Netflix for the first time. I knew I’d like it, American Psycho is one of my all-time favorite movies.
    Anyways, I think Deb will not freak out as much. She already walked in on him last year, and she said that she approved of what Lumen and her accomplice. At least next year will be a barn burner, this season was good. Ill always need my Dexter fix, and thats what this season was, a fix.

  • J

    More screen time for Deb next season! And that’s always a good thing

  • http://mandyatlarge.com Mandy

    Gahhh… thank god this forced, predictable, awkward season is over! Let’s hope next year they stay on track and away from these little experimental plotlines… NO MORE imaginary friends!!

    And hey, Babysitter made it! Woo!

  • Gladeye

    Maybe Dex will immediately kill Deb, like moments after she sees him, now. That would spice things up. I like swearing as much as the next guy, but she overkilled the F word long ago and she’s too tightly wound and always anguished. There’s only been hetero love and sex on the show too. Maybe Dexter could get involved with a dude he has to kill next season. Or maybe, in an incredible coincidence, two or three characters could become permanently wheelchair bound.

  • Sara C.

    Let’s just say the end of this episode was the end of last year’s season finale and pretend this whole thing never happened.

    Deal?

  • CriticalBill

    I would like to go on record and say, “Told you so.”, and follow it up a few “Nener-nener’s”.

    Yep, this season as been pointless and one huge build up for the last 10 seconds. You actually mentioned what I wanted to say with the police should still remember about the Bay Harbor Butcher and the next thing out of Dexter’s mouth should be admitting to being just that.

    I’m not sure if the divorces between Hall and Carpenter was ugly but I’m sure it was awkward with them on the set, and there’s no telling how the writers deal with any “on the set” problems and demands…if there is any.

  • BorisDoesNotApprove

    A friend of mine told me this idea of what could happen next season:

    Deb walks into the church and sees Dexter killing Travis. She passes out from the shock. Dexter finishes with Travis, and packs him away to be disposed of later. Then Dexter goes to Deb, wakes her up, and tells her she passed out. She tells him what she saw him doing, but he passes it off as a nightmare from the shock.

    The reason we think this is how the season will start is because just a few episodes ago we saw that Deb was uncomfortable in that church, and had to leave to “get some air”. It wouldn’t be too far of a stretch for her to “pass out” from seeing the paintings and scene in the church again.

    This wasn’t one of my favorite season of Dexter, so I hope it gets better as the series comes to a close.

  • jaromir

    It wasn’t my favorite season, but it certainly wasn’t the worst…With that said, I think they need to cool it a bit on the show with Dexter vs. Serial killer of the season. Miami appears to be a hot zone for serial killers.

  • Cylong

    Wait, what happened to that chick they introduced in the beginning of the season; the one with the amazing ass?
    I honestly thought they’d go somewhere interesting with her; some sort of big reveal about her true nature later in the season and flesh out Masuka’s character in their own story arc, but now it seems that her introduction was just a convoluted setup for Lewis.

    Here’s hoping she comes back next season; i thought it was implied she’d be returning anyway.

  • JohnC

    Yeah, awful lot of people forgetting that season 5 existed…

    Honestly, Dexter has never been a “good” show.
    He never gets captured due to some circumstance far beyond his control*. This happens in nearly every episode that amps up the “will Dexter be caught?” factor.
    If you call shenanigans now on all the plotholes and inaccuracies, I think your lobotomy may have worn off.

    Colin Hanks sucked as a villain, I’ll give y’all that. EJO had the right level of creep and ick to him, while the Travis Marshall character was flat out boring.
    Glad he went out with a whimper, since it was very fitting.

    *You want a list? Here you go:
    -Kid in the junkyard seeing Jesus instead of Dexter (I, at times, confuse the 2 of them)
    -Deb not realizing Dex’s secret in the season 1 finale.
    -The BHB evidence (more so having to destroy an assload of evidence and doing so with relative ease).
    -Sgt Doakes not leaving anything that would’ve incriminated Dexter.
    -Lila offing Doakes.
    -Rita being blissfully ignorant (she was dumb as shit, so this is a freebie) of Dexter activities, even with Paul warning her and the obvious signs that Dex was up to no good.

    Damn, that’s just off the top of my head of the first 2 seasons.
    But it shows how convoluted the story has always been, relying on a lot of Deus Ex Machinas and blind luck.
    So accept it and move on.

  • T

    Just to clear up one point, Dexter is a monster in the sense that he has the constant urge to kill people. It’s not like he’s a crime-hating vigilante who’s frustrated with the incompetence of the law – he’s a sick man who has been intensely trained to use his illness to put away those who have escaped justice. Although in recent seasons he seems to be grasping the concept of “good,” we were led to believe in the first few seasons that had Harry not instilled The Code in him and veered his attention towards murderers, Dexter might have done much worse. In that sense, yes, he is very much a monster. Recent seasons have shown him in a more positive light – probably due to the growing popularity of the show and the character – but his origins are as a psychopath who needs to kill and has been trained to do so “appropriately.”

    Also, many times in the first several seasons, when Dexter targeted a new random killer (God I miss those), it often seemed like he was angrier that they escaped justice, rather than angry that they killed people.

  • James III

    Mayan Apocolypse? Wow you are as dumb as your article here! The Mayan Calandar ends in 2012. Which means nothing more than, a new era they didn’t foretell.
    Anyway it’s pretty clear you have to pick apart every detail to have some substance for your shitty critic blog. It’s television. If this was anything close to being more realistic, it would have been over long before season 3.
    Give the writers credit, they are doing what they need to, keeping the show moving forward and giving viewers something to discuss.
    Try doing something creative, instead of making a name for yourself by picking apart what others created. Maybe you’d have some respect for the art of storytelling.
    Rated Arrgh for pirates, fuck off!

  • James III

    Why is the thought of incest so much more creepy than a serial killer?
    Next series for Showtime, the protagonist is an incest loving man that only has sex with partners that consent. I think serial killers should be as taboo, or more so than consenting incest between non blood related step/foster siblings.

  • SVRN

    james, sounds like you’ve got a fetish for incest and you’re pissed off paul called it weird. which it is. so i guess that makes you weird too then?

  • kozel

    I think the problem is we got taken in to the strong bond that deb and dexter have, and to change that now to her falling in love with him was not thrilling but just uncomfortable…. it changes the whole make up of the show.
    I hope that den never mentions her feelings to dexter, I sorta think what kept her safe is the fact she is dexters sister, throw a twisted love scene into it and dexter could change……….

  • blah

    THis show is a joke. I never realized it had any kind of following and that people took it so seriously. Maybe brilliant, complex, multilayered shows with depth and respect for the audience (THE WIRE, BREAKING BAD, SOPRANOS, SHAMELESS, and so on) have spoiled me or something. I always thought the show was a dark comedy a la OZ or something (a prison show that has so many surreal and hilarious bits that it’s impossible to take seriously but is genuinely good, especially with its artful and inspired direction). But actually, no, this show is trying to be a real serial killer show and trying to force “deep” elements into its plot.

    Pretty sad. This show is bad. Season 4 has a lot of good moments and Season 1 is entertaining enough, but after that.. give it up. I’d even give a pass to 2, which is daring in many episodes but ends up being unsatisfying. Season 3, 5, and especially this season are horrible. This is a simple minded show for simple people with simple and boring characters. The only character who is interesting is Dexter, but he’s hard to watch because he’s such a piece of shit.

    The forced brother-sister-love plotline is just because they don’t know where else to go with the show. Again, another way to try to force depth onto the show. I wouldn’t consider it incest — they’re not blood-related. Also, his adopted sister fucked his REAL LIFE brother, so it actually kinda makes sense.

    Still, this show with its invisible friends and stupid convaluted plots… “dark passenger”… I mean, it’s stupid as fuck, really. Please, if you want a comedy, watch CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM. If you want a deep entertaining show watch BREAKING BAD, which is bleak as hell and daring as fuck yet is on basic cable! WARNING… it will spoil you from ever being able to look at 2-dimensional boring as shit shows like this one ever again.

    The only cool thing about this finale is how they pissed off all the “fans”… but in the long run, no one is going to watch the next season. I know I won’t.

  • Adam

    “this is in fact the biggest development in the history of the show, bar none. ”

    Dexter’s wife dying was a bigger development in my opinion. Adding to the above post, part of this show’s stupidity has to do with how stupid the characters are. Deb LIVED WITH Dexter and has been involved every step of the way in Dex’s life and so on yet “doesn’t know anything”? When she’s portrayed to be one of the more intelligent characters on the show generally?

    I definitely think the writers have no respect for the audience. They create insanity and stupidity with things like “invisible friends” and the repetetive, boring narration. This season was a huge waste of time and has thankfully been criticized endlessly online. Everyone else just has ignored this trash since halfway through season 5 thanks to the awfulness of Stiles and the realization that season 4 was a fluke and will never be improved upon.

    God, anyone remember when EVERYONE was dorking out online over season 4? It was good enough. Lithgow is a genius afterall (see his performance in Blow Out for example). But didn’t one of the main writers or creators or something leave the show after that season? It’s just went waaaaaaaay downhill since then. There’s just something really boring about this show overall. Nothing really drives the narrative forward. The “dark comedy” aspect perhaps needs to be played up more.

    This show’s attempts at complexity are embarassing. There are so many flaws, so many stupid leaps in logic, it’s all a joke. Nothing mindblowing here. In an age where The Wire happened a decade ago now (!), it’s sad that television hasn’t improved one iota. Breaking Bad is great though.

    Only show worse than this travesty is Walking Dead. I mean, remember when The X-Files got REALLY REALLY REALLY FUCKING BAD after a while? That’s Dexter which started out average at best and has produced exactly one good season (4) in 6 years.

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