Goodbye, Dexter Morgan

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What’s there to say about the series finale of Dexter? It just wasn’t good. The whole season just wasn’t good, for that matter. DISCLAIMER: If you want to skip the part where I rant about the final season and talk about how great the show was as a whole, skip to the end of this article.

I feel as though the writers had good intentions of bringing everyone’s favorite serial killing back to his roots with the introduction of Dr. Evelyn Vogel, a psychologist who worked with Harry Morgan to develop “The Code” for his deranged son. However, Dr. Vogel’s character just made the conflict center on the relationship between her and her former patients and previously presumed dead son, Oliver Saxon, who was dubbed the Brain Surgeon.

Meanwhile, the writers put the various side characters into pathetically boring side-stories, like Masuka’s biological daughter becoming an intern at Miami Metro and Jamie being a complete bimbo with Quinn. Instead of Miami Metro tracking the Dexter/Hannah/Brain Surgeon saga, the writers tasked new characters (a private investigator and a state marshal) with the job. Like, there’s no drama there. First of all, I don’t know either of these “bad guys.” And second of all, both of them seem like they came out of a lame, ‘90s surfer flick.

In the end, Dexter was once again torn between his love for his sister and his love for Hannah (and his son, who he ends up abandoning just like his mother did to him…but that’s a discussion for another time). Dexter, showing a character arch, decides that neither of them deserves his wrecking-ball of a lifestyle. Cue a random flashback of Deb and Dexter holding Harrison for the first time and then snap back to reality with Dexter pulling the switch (or presses the button) on Deb’s life support, because taking a turn for the worst after a successful surgery is totally a feasible plot line for the Showtime hit.

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Dressed in his iconic kill outfit, Dexter sneaks Deb’s body out of the hospital and onto his trusty boat, “Slice of Life,” and sails into the eye of the very poorly CGI-animated storm. Regardless, Michael C. Hall’s performance in the final moments of the show are breathtaking, as he tosses his sister’s lifeless body into Bay Harbor – she is just another victim, no different than any of his other kills. In a cathartic act, Dexter continues on into the storm.

After the storm passes, Hannah reads of Dexter’s death, as she sits in an Argentinian café with the innocent Harrison.

But after a brief blackout, we are introduced to a lumberyard and follow a strange, bearded man into his small, dank home. He lurks in the shadows into the final moments when he sits down and stares at the camera – it’s Dexter Morgan. But the Dexter Morgan we know is dead – and so is his dark passenger (both Harry’s ghost and Dexter’s narration are void from this scene).

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While I criticize the show’s eighth season, let’s not forget what a cultural revolution this show sparked in terms of premium cable television. Dexter used to be the epitome of the office water cooler – from discovering the true identity of the Ice Truck Killer, to Trinity’s final kill. Dexter, the character, is a loveable serial killer – the first of many anti-heroes to grace the small screen in this golden age of television, paving the way for the other anti-heroes to follow him, like Don Draper, Walter White, and Sargent Nicholas Brody.

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So, cheers to you, Dexter Morgan. Doughnuts on you?

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BREAKING BAD and DEXTER Bring Their A-Games

Sunday night had a spring in its step as both Breaking Bad and Dexter wowed me with jaw-dropper after jaw-dropper and various other physical signs of amazement, like convulsions and gasps. (That was a weird sentence, but I thought it was kinda funny, so I won’t backspace it).

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First, on AMC, the word is out. And Hank and Marie are not happy about it. The writers and actors must have had a serious heart-to-heart before shooting the intense and delicate scenes because the show has seriously never been better. The chilling silence between Hank and Skyler in the diner brilliantly escalated to a Claire Danes caliber freak out on Anna Gunn’s part, who is, at this point, begging for that sweet Emmy. A few short moments after she’s asking Hank, “Am I under arrest?!” Marie decides to join the mix by taking Holly away from her sister – and she’s not a happy camper. The chemistry between the sisters has never been better as their shouting match, juxtaposed to a crying baby, erupts in the house.

Walter also had quite the episode, burying his money in the desert – but not after Huele lives his fantasy by lying on the enormous pile of tender bills.

Meanwhile, Lidia’s back and nastier than ever. With the help of Adam, she is able to wipeout her new, uncooperative meth cooking team, but the emotion hits home as she refuses to look at the dead bodies. The camera angle is perfect as we see her high-heels stumbling through the barren wasteland, sullen with the blood and guts of the dead.

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Over on Showtime, Hannah McKay is back – without a vengeance? After drugging Dexter and Deb, she fails to follow through and kill off the only people who know the truth to her years of crime and homicide.

After getting back with Hannah, Dexter decides to take her along on a trip to the Keys to catch Zach Hamilton, another one of Dr. Vogel’s experiments, in the act of murder. However, private investigator Deb is on the trail, leading to the most uncomfortable walk-in since the kids of Modern Family catch their parents in the act. Deb walks in on Dexter, Hannah, and Zach in a kill room. With some comic relief, Deb immediately leaves, but it also speaks volumes to where she is mentally as a character. She is beyond broken and staying would have only made her mix of depression, guilt, and anxiety worse.

While I was blown away by this episode, I was not wild about the ending when Dexter finds Zach dead in his home, killed by none other than the Brain Surgeon. I thought that teaching Zach “the Code” would have made for an interesting storyline, but at the same point it could have taken the limelight away from the title character.

Hopefully both these shows can keep it up in their final stretches, or else I’m gonna have to send someone to Belize.

A Word on DEXTER Season 8

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We’re four episodes into the eighth and final season of Showtime’s once-fan-favorite hit Dexter and I am not impressed. For starters, have the writers forgotten that the show is called “Dexter,” and not “Deb“? Because it seems to me that she has been the star of the show – taking away some precious kill time from everybody’s favorite serial killer. Or should I say, “everybody’s once-favorite serial killer,” because the show has sharply declined in its popularity and relevance. In the the show’s fourth season, The Trinity Killer had audiences on edge, climaxing with one of the greatest water cooler episodes (surpassed by Game of Thrones‘ “Red Wedding”), in which Dexter finds Rita dead in the bathtub only moments after indulging his urge with Trinity on the table.

What went wrong? Surely, the show needs to end, but at what price? By diluting the episodes with irrelevant and often repetitive Quinn and Jamie nonsense, we lose sight of how cutting-edge (pun intended) the show used to be. I guess Dexter’s just somebody that I used to know…

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(props to the Tumblr community for already making this gif)

 

DEXTER Has “A Beautiful Day”

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Last night was the night – the eighth and final season premiere of the Showtime phenomenon Dexter. If you’ve been living under a rock for the past eight years, the show follows Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), a blood spatter analyst at Miami Metro Police in the Homicide Department, who abides by a strict moral code set up by his foster father to quench his thirst to kill.

Last season, Dexter’s sister, Deb (Jennifer Carpenter), finds out about his “dark passenger” and her guilty conscience tips her life out of balance, causing her to take her first life, that of her Captain, Maria LaGuerta.

Season eight jumps six months forward from the fateful day in the shipping container, and it’s “A Beautiful Day.” Deb has moved on from Miami Metro and serves as a private detective for a consulting firm and Harrison, Dexter’s three-year-old son, is talking now – which will definitely come to bite him in the butt.

Miami Metro’s new case is that of a serial killer who cuts into his victim’s brain post-mortem and scoops out the anterior insular cortex, which is the part of the brain that controls empathy – something that psychopaths don’t possess. Deputy Chief Matthews, who has taken LaGuerta’s death as a sign to come out of retirement, has called in Dr. Evelyn Vogel (Charlotte Rampling), a famed neuropsychiatrist, to consult on this very gruesome case.

After a few run-ins with Deb and a fit of unwarranted road rage, Dexter chats with Vogel about the killer’s motive, where she proceeds to question Dexter extensively on the Bay Harbor Butcher. She admits that the killer is likely to be one of her former patients, though she does not say whom.

Later, Dexter finds himself in the middle of Deb’s drug bust, and in one of his animalistic rages, he stabs and kills Deb’s perp, only this time he doesn’t meticulously cocoon him in plastic wrap.

At the end of the episode, Vogel passes by Dexter and hands him a sealed envelope; enclosed in it are disturbing drawings from his youth. Immediately, Dexter pounces on her, but the unflinching Vogel simply spits out, “You can’t kill me… I don’t fit Harry’s code.” Consider my jaw dropped.

Once again, the supporting cast lagged, and has been lagging for the past few seasons. After both critical and viewer complaints about the unnecessary side stories for the various members of Miami Metro, the writers lumped Quinn in with the Batista clan, as he’s now seeing Jamie, unbeknownst to her brother Angel, who gave up the whole restaurant gig after LaGuerta’s death sparked his passion for law enforcement.

Regardless, I still have great prospects for the final season, as the Dexter/Deb relationship is flawlessly portrayed by the real-life divorced couple of Hall and Carpenter. With only eleven episodes left, what do you think will happen? Will Dexter get caught? Will he change his ways for Harrison? Will Angel die (fingers crossed)?