‘Dexter’ Season 5 Finale Review & Discussion [Updated]

Published 4 years ago by , Updated December 14th, 2010 at 7:22 am,

dexter season 5 finale dexter tied up Dexter Season 5 Finale Review & Discussion [Updated]

Last year, fans of Showtime’s hit series Dexter were left in shock. After witnessing an entire season of truly wonderful performances and anxiety-filled storytelling, a sense of calmness set in as Dexter plunged his knife into the Trinity Killer (John Lithgow). But with Trinity’s dying breath and allusive rhetoric, the meaning of “it’s already over” had not yet been fully revealed.

With the revelation that Rita had been Trinity’s final victim, the world wondered what would come of everyone’s favorite blood-spatter analyst. As Dexter season 5 began, a dulcet tone appropriately accompanied the season premiere. From that, the given appearance of this season would be a sense of reflection for Dexter. Given what resulted from his brash temptation with fate, it appeared to be an earnest endeavor.

Of course, as this season continued, Dexter began to show signs of transitioning through the infamous 7 stages of grief, albeit with killing. Through this murderous reflection, Dexter stumbled across Lumen (Julia Stiles), a woman who presented the famed vigilante with an opportunity for redemption.

Now, with companion in tow, Dexter set out to exact revenge on Lumen’s would-be assailants. Unfortunately, with Dexter focused on things ahead, he unknowingly left himself open to attacks. With Quinn still questioning Dexter’s innocence in regards to Rita’s death, he hired the corrupt Stan Liddy to keep an eye on Dexter. Conversely, Deb has once again found herself unknowingly on the trail of her serial killer sibling, as the recent string of murders in relation to the “barrel girls” had raised suspicions about an experienced vigilante coupling.

With Deb inching closer to finding out her brother’s deep-dark secret, Lumen currently awaiting slaughter, Quinn questioning Dexter’s actions and Jordan Chasing having to confront Dexter’s dark passenger, there are only two things that are certain…

Anything can happen and no one is safe.

Episode Description:

Dexter’s situation grows desperate when he discovers that Lumen’s been set up. Despite knowing he’s being baited into a trap, Dexter risks everything to make sure he doesn’t fall into the same mistake again. In the Barrel Girls case, Debra lets her personal feelings lead her instincts once she concludes that vigilantes are more than just a theory. Quinn finds himself in a troublesome situation, which only Dexter can help him out of.


The term “acceptable” rarely finds its way into television reviews. While that particular word represents – for all intents and purposes – an adequate reception, when it is actually put into practice, it often brings with it a notion of disappointment. This disappointment stems from having inflated expectations, especially when it is often unwarranted.

With that, the Dexter season 5 finale was unfortunately acceptable.

dexter season 5 finale jordan chase Dexter Season 5 Finale Review & Discussion [Updated]

Throughout this season, the theme of redemption was extremely apparent. If not with the numerous philosophical innuendos, than defiantly with the heavy-handed grandiose statements that were consistently uttered by many of the characters. It is with this same heavy-hand that the character of Lumen was developed, executed and concluded.

For all the many seasonal story-arcs that Lumen received, the character served no other purpose than to allow the character of Dexter to slightly evolve past his current state. Sure, the implications that Dexter now knows he can be seen and loved for the person he truly is and the notion that his dark passenger may not be permanent will have positive effects on subsequent seasons, the drawn-out nature by which those realizations were acquired made the season, on some level, feel empty.

Lumen, as a whole, slowed this season down. Including Lumen in Dexter’s killing process was an intriguing plot, but when executed, it was generally over-emphasized and drawn out. This seasonal flaw served to replace actual angst that the series is known for with artificial tension stemming from Lumen’s inability to emotionally progress at an acceptable rate, given her present surroundings.

dexter season 5 lumen Dexter Season 5 Finale Review & Discussion [Updated]

If the disposable nature of Lumen’s character wasn’t obvious throughout the season, it was most certainly evident by the manner in which they wrapped up her character. With a simple look and a brief revelation to Dexter, Lumen was gone. While Lumen could certainly return in following seasons, her character served its purpose for this season and is no longer needed. If her character were to return, I would take that as a sign that the producers were unable to adequately development a rich story-line for their current season.

Fortunately, the character of Lumen did bring with her one redeeming aspect, Jordan Chase. The casting of Johnny Lee Miller as the character of Jordan Chase was a wonderful decision. While his character started out as simply a wealthy control-freak, the revelation of the character’s back-story and his transformation into an eccentric psychopath propelled Jordan Chase into an intriguing and suitable nemesis for Dexter. Even though Chase’s final moments were brief, they were executed with such emotion that it resonated perfectly with the viewer.

While Deb deciding not to pull back the curtain was a beautiful example of her characters growth, the fact that it was too obvious of a metaphor of her unawareness of her brother’s “extra-curricular activities” left the sentiment moot. On the other hand, the character of Quinn – who had numerous fluctuations in his feelings for Dexter – went through many stages of evolution throughout this season and when the season 5 finale concluded, the audience was left in the dark about how exactly he currently feels about Dexter – a wonderful touch that could easily be missed.

dexter season 5 deb quinn Dexter Season 5 Finale Review & Discussion [Updated]

In this past season, particularly these final episodes and specifically in the season finale, Quinn and Deb had more realistic and rewarding character evolution than Dexter and Lumen combined. With Quinn and Deb having half the screen time of Dexter and Lumen, it shows that the producers are able to still deliver rich storylines. Unfortunately, I feel that what resulted in the season 4 finale forced everyone to attempt a more overt approach with Dexter in season 5. Instead of continuing with the repercussions of Dexter’s activities, the season focused more on the positive consequences that his actions have. While endearing for a single season, it will quickly become stale if continued into the next.

As I originally stated, the season finale of Dexter was acceptable. While there were hints of genius, it was generally not up to the high standards that one has come to expect from Dexter. Of course, one could say that about this season as a whole. So, in that aspect, the finale was exactly what one could expect.

Perhaps the fault lays not in this season’s execution, but with my gluttonous expectations for exquisite storytelling.


While you’re here, feel free to check out some of our previous Dexter coverage:

Showtime to Renew ‘Dexter’ for Season 6
’Dexter’ Season 5 Premiere Review & Discussion
SR Pick: ‘Dexter’ In 60 Seconds
’Dexter’ Has Nothing on These Serial Killers
‘Dexter’ Season 4 Finale Review & Discussion

Dexter airs Sundays @8pm, on Showtime

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  1. As the time draws near, I hear an appreciative chuckle from my Dark Passenger. God I love this show.

  2. Can’t friggin wait!

  3. This is by far my all time fav show but this season I think was the best of all!! I look forward all week to Sunday night!! It totally sucks that tonight is the last episode for this season, I hope they don’t leave me hanging too much! Can’t wait!

    • I agree with you about this season. So many people don’t like Lumen and have been saying that this season was the worst but I could not disagree more. I will admit that it did take me a while to get used to the character and I was a little bothered at first but over the coarse of the last few episodes my fears where put to rest. I can’t believe all the senerios that are in place. Lumen, Liddy, will deb find out?, will Quinn find out?, what’s up with the nanny?, and how will things end with Jordan? Great TV….

  4. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

  5. Thats from 1st Corinthians 13:12 BTW

  6. I was very disappointed with the series finale and the whole season in general. By far the worst season they’ve done yet. The season finale wasn’t that suspenseful and nothing really happened. Would have been better if Deb found out about Dexter. She finds out in the book. Overall it wasn’t that great. I hope they do a better job next season.

  7. I absolutely loved the scene where Deb let the two, Lumen and Dexter go. I didn’t see it coming. It would have ruined the whole thing if Deb had seen Dexter. As it is, it is still the same balance with Deb not knowing.

    • Does BM stand for bowel movement? Because you’re a turd for spoiling it! Ugh!!!!

      • Why would you come on here then? Clearly this is a season finale review. Jesus are you that dense?

        • Ass

        • Oh by the way dumb ass, critics who give reviews don’t tell the damn movie. They tell what they THOUGHT of it.

          • Michelle,

            On this site, Review and Discussion posts for TV episodes are for talking about the show after you’ve watched it (hence, the “Discussion” part of the title.


          • LOL. You are calling someone else a dumbass? This is a review/discussion of what “happened”. As in past tense. This is a not a friggin metacritic movie review to not give away the movie. It is a TV episode discussion. Go crawl back into the hole where you came from.

  8. It was a solid season but so predictable. I knew that would happen when Clyde Phillips left the show.

    The finale had it’s moments but that seems to be the overwhelming consensus regarding this season; it had its moments, but in the end it did not have the depth, unexpected turns, or prolonged suspense as in past seasons.

    With another wide open ending leading towards next season it will be very interesting where they start anew in September.

    No matter what, I’ll be looking forward to it

  9. I agree Clark the season just had it’s moments. I wasn’t on the edge of my seat like the past seasons. And they started the season with the Mexican killing and they just abandoned it half way through. Didnt even really serve a purpose. I’m gonna keep watching cause it’s my favorite show on tv but I’m expecting alot next season

  10. Overall I don’t think it was the worst season. I still think that one belongs to the 3rd season. This season compared in that there was no moments that just left me saying WTF just happened? Like the Trinity Killer. There were at least 3 times in that season where I was just floored. It is still by far my favorite show on TV.

  11. Hopefully the show can continue to jaw drop with a completely fresh slate once again

  12. Another solid season of tv viewing, there is still NOTHING like this on tv to date!

  13. Did anyone notice what Deb said at the party?

    Dexter: “I want you to be happy”
    Deb: “I am happy. You must be to, now that it’s all over I mean.”

    WTF did she mean by that? Does she know that it was Dex behind the plastic sheet? Did Quinn tell her who Liddy was watching? Quinn must be even more suspicious now.

    It’s all speculation until next season. Personally, I don’t think any one season is better or worse than another. These are the chronicles of Dexter – it’s one awesome story.

    • Yes! Thank you! I thought I was the only one who noticed that comment, I actually hit rewind to hear it again cause I thoguht I was mistaken…what DID she mean by that!?!

    • absolutely Michael, I love the ending because it leaves open weather or not deb knows! “you must be happy, now that its all over” — what did she mean by that? I t seems right that now the story arc allows deb to find out about Dexter’s vigilati-ism. deb has always been so righteous, so black and white in her ethics, it seems a surmountable problem for deb to know what her bro is doing, but it will make itall the more awesome to see how the writers handle that conflict. I believe she realized it was dex, finally behind the plastic curtain, and the actress showed her conflict beautifully. wonderful cast, best acting on tv today.

    • If Lumen was living at Dexter’s condo and Deb was no longer bangin Quinn, where was Deb living all this time?

      • exactly my question and wats up wit the nanny. i mean she worked da, night she traveled and everything so when the hell did dexter have him. Deb was sleeping where……towards the end lumen was staying at the apt so wtf

    • YES! The first thing my wife and I said to each other after the show ended: “Deb KNOWS, did you hear what she said?!?!?”

      Season 6 is gonna be good!

  14. Deb knows!

  15. I still can’t figure out how Dexter got his knife back when his hands are tied behind his back. It’s a very disturbing plot hole.

    Kinda like the previous episode. I can’t figure out how Dexter can free his hands in Liddy’s van, the time when his hands are cuffed behind his back before he kick Liddy. The writers are pretty lazy I think, but overall this season is a good one.

    • He took it out of the case after he rolled the car before Jordan appeared.

      • But don’t you think Jordan would have noticed as he was tying Dexter’s hands behind his back?

    • When he killed Liddy you can clearly see him bring his feat under his arms to bring them in front right after he kicks him. Then when he stabs him he cuts the zip tie.

  16. I agree that the series is a chronolgy of a great character in Dexter Morgan. But, like most, I wasn’t left wanting. I guess every season can’t have a cliff hanger or then we would all be tired of that and say “that was predictable”. I know this much… I have NO clue what will happen next season.. and that in itself is a good enough cliff hanger to keep me coming back for more! Love this show.

    One other thing.. I think Vince needs a couple more zinger lines next season. I realize the topic of this season didn’t warrent much off the cuff comments, but hopefully he will be back with his dirty wit again to turn headsand receive appropriate eye rolls.

  17. When Deb says, “you must be happy, now that its all over”.

    it was a mistake on her part. She doesn’t know Dexter’s the guy. She said it, and quickly moved on glad that Dex didn’t notice.
    Good season, not the best but deffinitly a turning point in the series.

  18. Ive been a fan of Dexter since season 1. Every episode was better than the last, and every season was more shocking and twisted then the last leaving me Breathless. Season five was good, but it didn’t leave me with the same feeling the last season left me, in fact i feel that it was my least favorite out of them all :(

  19. Like many of the reviews, I kept waiting for that “WTF” moment that never came. Season 4 ended with such a shock that it would’ve been hard to top and maybe it is better that they didn’t. My mind kept trying to assemble off the wall twists thinking that I might stat one step ahead. For instance, I thought for sure the nanny was going to play some sinister role by seasons end. That idea sounds insane now. Deb’s comment was crazy though. For a second I thought I missed something! WTF was she referring to?! Well, there is one WTF moment, haha. Great acting while Lumen broke Dexters heart too. Can’t wait until next season!

  20. I’m glad you guys caught Deb’s final “you must be happy now that it’s over” comment – I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere else, and for me that was the true jaw-drop of the episode… Deb definitely knows! And obviously, so does Quinn.

    But it was so fast, and then Dex’s v.o. glossed over it. This is an amazing cliffhanger – just a sneaky one.

  21. Deb: “I am happy. You must be to, now that it’s all over I mean.”

    Just to comment on that, I don’t think she meant anything. Her statements could be open to speculations, but I don’t she knows about Dexter.

    One thing to add, did Dexter cover up for Quinn’s blood sample? I didn’t understand, because Quinn obviously knows that he was there.

    • why would he thank him if he did not think that dexter covered it up for him?

      • Better yet, if I’m Quinn, I would probably be thinking why would Dexter cover for Quinn (someone Dexter truely dislikes)? Quinn knows robocop was investigating dex and was ready to make a ‘big bust’. Quinn also knows the blood on his shoe was liddys. 2+2= ?

        • Quinn has incriminating pictures of Dexter, which Dexter knows. Quinn knows who Liddy was tailing, and probably feels guilty for the entire mess. Dexter also knows that Deb has feelings for Quinn. They did each other a favor: Dexter falsifies the blood results, Quinn keeps his mouth shut.

  22. Season 3 almost beat this season as the worst season to date but after seeing this finale it definitely drops to the bottom. They still have not said in the season what happened to the other brother in the first killings of the season. Obviously, they are not going to this season now. If I took the MOST predictable outcome this season could take, the writers did it. Obviously, the show cannot trump the season 4 finale but at least give throw in someone worth remembering. When I think of a finale, I think of it as shocking and sticks itself out from all the other episodes. Each season has had that before this one. What a complete disappointment. Hopefully, they can pull something better out of their butt next season that would actually make me want to pay for it.

    • totally said the first sentence wrong…season 5 makes it to the bottom…not 3…

      • Gotta agree with this. Season 1 was my favorite, 2 & 4 were also good – but I’ve got to admit, 3 & 5 were not as good. They were just far more boring, and I definitely expected at least SOMETHING more from this finale. (Spoilers) When Lumen killed Jordan, I was like what, that’s it? That was so easy… but then when Deb approached them, I thought – oh okay, after 5 seasons of teasing us she’s FINALLY going to find out about Dexter. Nope. Basically nothing at all happens. And I know a show doesn’t have to be flashy and have dramatic plot twists to be good, but Dexter is known for those, especially in its season finales. I know they were trying to mix it up by having the finale not be depressing, but it was just too much of the same old thing. I’ll only watch season 6 if I’m hella bored.

    • what season have you been watching??? you, sir, have no taste whatsoever. If you didn’t like the show, then why watch it just to rant about it??

  23. I doubt the goal was to top season 4s suspense and twists. It would have probably been too unrealistic if they had tried. Like the show house, Its gotten so repetitive; Oh no someones dieing! solve the mystery fast, house waves his dick at everyone and knows the solution, but cant do anything because his boss will go nuts. Dexter could become as repetitive easily but it hasn’t, so I’m satisfied with this season. I think they were also setting a foundation for the next season. When I start to see season 6 previews Ill probably get excited again.

  24. Love the show overall. Was a little disappointed by the fact that they leave so many roads back to Dexter unexamined. The car Dexter stole and then wrecked near Chase’s stabbin cabin would have raised some flags when it led back to the Liddy crime scene-ish area. At minimum they should have had Dexter cleaning/investigating the car (he was bleeding) and I would have given them a pass. I mean they can link people to crimes with a strand of hair. I doubt you can roll a vehicle and not leave some DNA in it. I would also think they would want to know who was in that whip when it was stolen and at a crime scene. Also, glad that Dexter fudged the bloody boot analysis so Deb could keep her f-buddy but honestly would noone want to know more about the camera equipment Liddy falsified under Quinn’s name. I doubt Liddy would have zero links back to Quinn or his investigation of Dexter. Phone records??? The chief and Deb both being hip to Quinn’s suspicion of Dex would have come into play. A few loose ends in that respect. Anything less than them showing Miami Homicide blowing the case intentionally is cheese.

    Ok I feel better now that I had my screen rant. Now I can go back to suspending my disbelief and enjoying the show. Kill Kill Kill. Hollar if you hear me.

    • it sucked plain and simple. horrible delayed progression. The suspense never paid off. They contradicted four seasons of character development with ay terrible simplified love story. What you said about the stolen car is too obvious and true. Too many stupid questions left unanswered nevermind the ones put forth. I did not see any effort in writing or acting this season. Julia Styles was a lame cop out, did showtime spend more money on a name or save money by thinking they invested wisely? The camera angles of the finale did not even go with the other episodes. It did not seem surreal, it seemed forced. Everything about this season was wrong and not Dexter at all. At the rate that last season was going I saw an ending coming close. Apparently the actors, directors, and writers realized this and decided that they would rather have a job writing a bad show instead have writing something worth while that actually have closure and relevance to the background that led up to this mess of a “finale” I am calling it quits with this show I believe. This whole season sucked. Dexter killed no one aside from those he called for the sake of a girl, a girl who meant nothing(whole message aside, retribution, rebound?) wah wah, this was all lame soap opera crap. They ruined the character that they created for the screen. I do not blame the actors, the writing and directing was terrible. I can say that wholeheartedly and I dont even have a bowel movement everyday and im unemployed. Goodnight, Breaking Bad is far superior to this. I am not lefting want more, I am left not wanting what I was given when I did not want this in the first place

      • pardon my english please, I know that I do not write well. Just want that to be known first now

  25. This season was absolutely terrible.

    How did it go from the best season last year to this cheesy crap this year?

  26. Slightly disappointed, but considering last years finale was crazy good I understand they realized nothing could top that this year, and I didn’t expect anything more. My only question is during the party at the end, Deb says to Dexter “I’m happy this is all over, and I bet you are too”, or something close to that. Why would she say the “bet you are too” part? He wasn’t very involved in the case at all, let alone emotionally involved like she was. Why would he be very relieved that it’s over? Did it have an underlining meaning. like she may know that he was the one helping Lumen, or was she just refering to something else? I can’t figure out what else she would be talking about.

    • I finally watched this season nearly 3 years after it aired, and came here because I couldn’t understand what Deb said to Dexter.. I swore she said “I’m happy this is finally over, I bet Lumen is too” which would have tipped Dexter off that she knew who was behind the curtain and let them go. That would have explained the fact she drove right past the recently demolished car and said “some people deserve to die” while speaking to the vigilantes through the plastic, since that’s exactly what Dexter had said to her earlier in the season.

  27. Do you think it’s because they just found out they were being picked up for season 6 a few weeks ago, so they didn’t know if they could do a cliff hanger?

    Not sure, but it was disapointing to say the very least. I feel like the writers and the cast probably thought they were hinting at some riveting cliff hangers (i.e., Deb asking Dex if he felt better now that it is over. Leaving us not knowing if she knows something or not) however, the execution was lackluster.

    Instead of wanting next season to start RIGHT NOW because the final episode was riveting, I want it to come RIGHT NOW to figure out wtf happened in this episode.

    • Film-Book dot com,

      If you continue to include a link to something on your site with EVERY comment I’m going to flag your comments as spam.


  28. LAME LAME LAME! no suspense, no cliff hanger, cheesy ending…..
    Deb should have found out about dexter, quinn should have been left in jail, not knowing his fate, dexter should have arrived just as Jordan was killing Lumin THEN killed Jordan slowly.
    SOOOOOO many other endings would have been better than this one! horrible! very dissappointing to say the least.

    • that wouldve been an awesome ending