‘Dexter’ Season 6 Finale Review

Published 3 years ago by , Updated December 20th, 2011 at 12:16 pm,

Michael C. Hall Dexter season 6 finale Dexter Season 6 Finale Review

What to know what happens next? ‘Dexter’ Season 7 Details Revealed

After a somewhat disappointing downturn for season 5, the Dexter hype machine – started by Showtime head David Nevins – proclaimed season 6 to be a chance to bring Dexter Morgan “back to his roots.”

While that may have been the goal – and there is plenty of evidence to suggest this – the execution of season 6 has been such that Dexter doesn’t really resemble itself any longer, and with the quality of the program arguably waning, one begins to wonder how the show’s final two seasons will fare. Since there’ll be several months to wait until season 7, one bright spot to point out is that after season 6, the only place Dexter can go is up.

The season started off promisingly enough with Dexter (Michael C. Hall) up to his killing ways and Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) in yet another ill-advised romantic endeavor, by continuing her relationship with Quinn (Desmond Harrington). Meanwhile, we were introduced to the two antagonists in the fire-and-brimstone preaching Professor Gellar (Edward James Olmos) and the acolyte under his tutelage/control Travis Marshall (Colin Hanks). The pair’s religious-themed killings coincided well with Dexter’s search to bring some notion of faith to his young son, Harrison. More so, however, the Gellar/Travis relationship served as a comparison of the relationship Dexter had with his father Harry (James Remar).

Instead of mining these potentially rich aspects, however, Dexter focused too intently on pulling a fast one on its audience, and unfortunately sacrificed much of the season in the process.

One of the missteps for the season has been the way in which the Dexter crew handled (mishandled) the nemesis, or threat of the Doomsday Killer. Because the disclosure of Gellar being a figment of Travis’ imagination was revealed at the three-quarter mark for the season, it left precious little time for the necessity of Dexter’s involvement. While the DDK killings felt like good spectacle, they did so especially to the characters – who seemed to be waiting idly by as one tableau followed another, as if letting the ritualistic killings run their course was an actual option. For the majority of the season, Deb, Batista, Quinn and Masuka were chasing down the prime suspect with all the effervescence of a child walking to school. They were all looking for DDK, but they seemed to be doing it out of obligation – there was never any sense of urgency or even real interest.

More troublesome is the fact that the Gellar delay effectively took Dexter out of the equation for the majority of the season. Instead of building Travis or Gellar into any kind of suitable threat for Dexter to extinguish, it became a superimposed ornamentation, designed to keep the characters trudging toward the inevitable end, while Dexter explored the concept of faith like he was leafing through some religious pamphlet.

Colin Hanks as Travis Marshall Dexter season 6 finale Dexter Season 6 Finale Review

That brings us to the concept of Mos Def’s Brother Sam, who seemed to be putting Dexter on a different path that might have served as an organic arc for a character that has been battling proverbial demons for so long now. Unfortunately, the untimely demise of Brother Sam summoned visions of Dexter’s biological brother Rudy (Christian Carmago) – allowing Rudy to take over as voice of reason in Dexter’s mind. This, too, could have been an interesting concept, one worthy of an entire season, actually, but like the Brother Sam storyline, it fizzled out before it really got going. And once more we were left waiting for the show to tell us exactly what everyone already knew.

At the onset of season 6, Nevins also suggested that the relationship between (adopted) siblings Dexter and Debra would undergo a certain change. “There will be a microscope on the Deb/Dexter relationship this season. Over time you’re going to see that relationship evolve and change, no questions about it.”

Many thought this meant Deb would finally uncover Dexter’s secret, or that it might mean her relationship to Dexter would become distant or strained; few could have imagined Nevins’ statement meant Deb would be exploring the possibility that she actually has romantic feelings for her adopted brother.

As disturbing and uncomfortable this notion may be, is it possible that the examination of the siblings’ relationship is the one thing Dexter got right this season? While you would be hard-pressed to find anyone cheering for this to happen, it does make sense – in its own twisted little way. How else could one of Miami’s finest be oblivious to the fact that a serial killer is not just among them, but spending much of his off time in her presence? Sure, Deb loves Dexter as a brother, but the idea of her affection being more than that might help ease the transition of her bearing witness to Dexter’s true nature.

Which, of course, is exactly what happened in ‘This is How The World Ends,’ leaving not only the episode’s title open for interpretation, but also the course of the remaining two seasons.


For the most part, the final episode was a typical cat-and-mouse game between Dexter and the now-obligatory big bad, who conveniently finds a way into Dexter’s life, discovers the ‘dark passenger’ and then sets out to harm Dex through someone he cares about – which at this point in the series is either Deb or Harrison.

Travis was never really much of a physical threat to Dexter, which to a certain extent justifies the ‘80s action movie staple of the child/wife/family member being used as leverage against the hero. So it was inevitable that Harrison would eventually end up in Travis’ hands – at least until Dexter could find a way to get the would-be Doomsday Killer in shrink-wrap.

It all seemed eerily reminiscent of every season that had come before, until Deb walked in on Dexter plunging a knife into Travis’ chest.

Jennifer Carpenter David Zayas Billy Brown Dexter season 6 finale Dexter Season 6 Finale Review

And now the speculation on how Debra will handle the revelation – and, moreover, how it will affect her feelings for Dexter, can begin. Deb has already shown she’s willing to take a pass on the law, as she did with Deputy Chief Tom Matthews after learning of his involvement with a dead call girl- so, legally speaking, Dexter may not have much to worry about. However, Deb’s rocky personal life has been repeatedly shaken to its core, so that this shock may be too much for her embattled psyche to withstand.

Was the ending enough to save what has been a dismal season? The answer is unequivocally no. Season 6 has been rife with laughable moments, such as Travis saying things like “Hello, whore!” and the bizarrely bad painting depicting Dexter as the devil. More troublesome is the fact that, for a series which has largely been based on the intelligence of its main character, Dexter sure did some incomprehensible things this season. Besides not picking up on his sister’s emotions, Travis’ insanity or Louis the creepy intern’s obsession, Dexter managed to call in a potential terrorist threat on his own cell phone, forget Travis had his keys and wallet and show up to his kid’s play in his “kill” gear.

What the finale does do is give Dexter the fresh start that season 6 promised. There is a lot of story left to be told like the true nature of Louis (Josh Cooke), the purpose of Quinn’s existence and whether or not the term ‘dark passenger’ has any meaning any longer.

If season 7 is going to be dealing with the kind of issue most fans have been hoping for, then many creative aspects are going to have to improve dramatically, or the audience is going to be left remembering Dexter for all the unintentionally funny moments and sloppy storytelling that marred its final seasons.

Dexter will return for season 7 in the fall of 2012.

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  1. The thing that bothered me most about this season, was Dexter breaking his code & putting more people at risk, by continuing to hunt DDK. I thought he was only supposed to go after killers that got away. Wish this season would’ve been the last, with a 2-hr finale that could’ve tied-up the loose ends you mentioned above.

  2. He was wearing the “Kill Gear” because it represented the Lion. But overall I didn’t enjoy this season too much.

    • I think he wore the kill gear from the night before. After his escape from the lake of fire, and his subsequent rescue, Dexter has a tearful reunion with Deb. Immediately the two are summoned to a crime scene, the nanny reminding him about the pageant. I think Dexter simply had not the time to change.

  3. I felt as if I was watching this season out of obligation. It was ok but I need up not enjoying it as much as in the past. Now with Deb seeing him and what he does I’ll be interested to see if he lets her in on the fact he was the bay harbor butcher and he sacrificed Doakes to protect himself.

  4. It is the Love Deb have for Dexter that she will forgive him…Dexter alibi will be, I killed him because he put your life in danger…Deb will see this as a form of love and protection from Dexter. But after this, she will keep her mouth shut (about her feeling for him) after what she saw and will cover up the “real” death of Travis Marshall.

  5. This was the most pivotal and promising season yet, and I feel there is plenty of room for development. Although your review supplied methods of improvement for the Showtime juggernaut; It did so without completely addressing the incredible turning points and plot developments season six had to offer for the future seasons.

    Deb is in love with Dexter, Deb caught Dexter in a kill, and the lab guy has a creepy obsession with Dexter. These events alone create a juicy and promising base for season seven, and albeit some character development was sacrificed and felt a bit rushed. I honestly can’t say it hindered my complete and utter excitement for the next chapter in the series.

  6. This season was boring. How about another serial killer that only kills serial killers? He could be scoping out Dex. Get an actor that would be good on screen, not Colin Hanks.

    • That’s… actually a pretty sweet idea. I never thought of that.

    • i get the feeling that is what louis is up to..

    • isnt that what this show is pretty much about. i mean dexter is a serial killer who mainly kills serial killers.

  7. This was overall a so-so season. I didnt wait in expectation each week for a new episode. Kind of like season 3. Still sub par Dexter is still pretty ok. Still when Season 4 concluded I believed that it would be near impossible to duplicate. Season 5 was very good IMO season 6 just doesnt measure up to seasons 1,2,4 and 5.

    • Wow! I have the same favorite seasons as you. I thought season 3 was a snoozer and I think that this season was sort of annoying. It really seemed rushed and a bit disorganized. So many things just seemed implausible where other seasons seemed like they could have actually happened. I also enjoyed season 5. This finale has me interested in what might happen next year… but the excitement and anticipation is really waning. I guess I’ll just wait and see, maybe I’ll be surprised.

  8. Maybe they should do a “24′ type filming for the last two seasons. A 24 hour race between Deb and Dexter to see who gets turned into the law or gets killed. Will Dexter be able to get believable assurances from Deb that she will keep his secret and not kill her. Or will Deb realize that Dexter is really a mega serial killer, either turning him in or bring her own kind of justice by killing him. Maybe at the very end having her own dark passenger revealing that she was made a serial killer by Harry too. Just an idea.

    • Ur dumb why would they spend all that money making the show to just have dexter get turned in….

  9. Spot on review, this all felt terribly forced. the big dexter deb reveal didnt have any anticipation to it. Not a very good season, and all the Dexter Drones out there will argue me until the cows come home… it’s frustrating to read all these Dexter Strokers praise this season when the show completely departs from what made it great. Dexter can do no wrong in so many peoples eyes so the show runners keep producing sub par seasons and I am left disappointed… its a shame.

  10. The sow often has its contrived moments that require the suspension of disbelief. In the final episode, the fact that the detectives all waited outside for Dexter to arrive, thereby allowing him to silently, and literally daface the mural bearing his face, was too much

  11. Disagree!!!! I loved this season! Every minute of it!!!! I thought it had amazing twists and a promise of another high action season next year…I know a lot of people that fully loved I this year also! So don’t say all dexter fans when apprntly you the writer of this artcle the only one that feels that way

    • THANK YOU! I thought it was so good and came onto this website expecting everyone to feel the same. And honestly? Why are people pointing out crazy things he gets away with now? That’s what he’s does every season. And this season at least had a good twist, unlike last season, which was kind of drab. And you all know this finale has you psyched because now he’s known and the only way to end the series is in a big-a** hunt or something like that. And DDK is the creepiest killer after Trinity. which is good. And everyone I know agrees with me.

  12. I respectfully disagree with much of the review.

    The main gripe about the season seems to be twofold. One, the mishandling of the DDK killer(s), especially the late Gellar revelation, and two, the fizzling out of Brother Sam/Dexter’s brother as a legitimate subplot.

    But I think it’s clear, in the wake of Rita’s death at s.4, that Dexter himself realizes his dark passenger will continue to create collateral damage. Dexter very obviously wants to rid himself of the dark passenger–that is fairly obvious. And I think this season represents the closest he has come.

    As to the Gellar revelation, I think it was necessary for it to come as late as it did. First off, there was the subplot where Dexter thought he could change Travis; true, as a serial killer, he should have been able to ‘spot the signs.’ But we have to remember that because of Rita’s death, he is no longer the typical serial killer- he is a serial killer who wants out. Whether he legitimately thought he could change Travis, or was simply blinded because he wanted to oh-so-bad, it’s clear that he was trying to find faith. For this reason, the Brother Sam story arc was a good complement to Dexter’s killing– murderer by night, man trying to find faith by day. It’s no coincidence that he received Sam’s bloody Bible. But at the same time, Brother Sam’s story had to end, because it was the shock Dexter needed to snap out of his blindness towards Travis. Sure enough, right after that, he visited the Church and discovered the true nature of Travis Marshall.

    This was a season of the battle between faith and denial. Unlike Dex, Deb finally conquers it in the last episode by overcoming her denial of her love for Dex, and embracing her real feelings. But I have to disagree that this was one of the season’s positives. For example, Deb claims that her love for Dexter illuminates the rest of her relationships. But that already had an explanation: she was always trying to find her father’s love, which had been so absent growing up because Harry spent so much time with Dexter. No wonder her paramours were cops, regardless of whether they were bad for her (Quinn) or good for her (blanking on his name, but he was murdered in front of her by Trinity. Man, i’m drawing a blank). I think this is further reinforced by the fact that she admits all her lovers have either been like Dexter or the complete opposite. Choose one, Deb. Though personally, I think the explanation that was in place before seemed fine.

    And I’ll admit that this season (though really, season 5 started the trend) was a season which, as you say, strayed from what made previous seasons great. First, I don’t know how that could even be avoided. Not to beat a dead horse here, but I think Rita’s death really was the changing point in Dexter’s life because he actually loved her (which is near impossible for serial killers) and he lost her because of his dark passenger. Could you imagine if he had lost Harrison in this season’s finale? (I think most avid Dexter viewers knew this wouldn’t happen, but I’ll admit I was holding my breath for a few seconds on top of that Transcorp bldg). But I stray from the point which is that I don’t think Dexter can ever return to the formula which made the first few seasons great.

    Still, I will gladly admit that this wasn’t the best season, or maybe even in the top half. Some plot holes are pretty ridiculous. For one, I agree it is baffling that the rest of the crew would wait for Dexter to arrive before doing any…you know…police work (especially at a time when the Miami Metro’s resources were so strained and they were facing heat for not catching DDK0. And then nobody bothered to question why the painting–so intricate, so carefully designed– had its face bashed in. And while I think the whole Brother Same/ice truck killer subplot had to end when it did, I think it would have been nice to see some more of Dexter’s brother as the dark passenger. Finally, that whole round trip out to visit Trinity’s family (I forget the son’s name) and his confrontation with Dexter— completely forgettable. And the season dedicated about two of its twelve episodes to that.

    Overall, I give season 6 just that. A 6/10. And that might be a tad generous.

  13. Disagree!!!! I loved this season! Every minute of it!!!! I thought it had amazing twists and a promise of another high action season next year…I know a lot of people that fully loved it this year also! So don’t say all dexter fans when apprntly you the writer of this artcle the only one that feels that way

  14. I agree with a lot of what was said… there was no real sense of urgency this season. The Geller reveal was well played (until the bit with the alter…”How could Geller close it behind himself?” I really didn’t see it coming), as was the Deb psyche moments… really find Quinn’s storyline useless, and the Lab geek story line has a BIG potential down the road (obsession? Dexter’s OTHER brother? Who knows?) but the ending reveal of Deb catching Dex… made ALL of the bad times worth it. I mean, seriously, fans of the show have been waiting for this for 6 YEARS!! DEB FINALLY SAW!!! SHE’S FINALLY GETTING A LOOK!!! Where the show can go from here next season… it’s unreal.

    • Yes! i agree i couldnt wait for Deb to find out Dex was a serial killer! the ending was very exciting and im sure many fans cannot wait for the 7th season, the ending is all that mostly counts, make the audience want more or dont.

    • season sucked, you know it did. Everyone blew except dexter and he was getting a little crappy by the end. Such a good 4th season too. (season 5 never happened in my head) the whole religion concept has been over used way too many times and this is a clear example of why its boring. The entire season had no originality.

    • What WE saw was Dexter killing Travis and Deb walking in, but did she really see Dexter killing or is that what the producers want us to think? She could have walked in and saw something else, but we won’t know for sure until next season. I loved all the seasons so far. Some episodes weren’t as good as others, but I still enjoy this show.

        • how can you be this blind, I dont get it… there are several shots where deb and dex/knife are together, clearly proving she saw.

          • I was expecting another fake out like we saw in previous seasons– Dexter in his kill room and another character entering what appears to be the same building/house/etc. but, Lo! Dexter is in a different location! Trick! At least they finally did it.

    • Really? You thought the Geller reveal was well played? I was watching the first episode of the season with a friend and the first time we saw Geller I said to her, “I’m not sure that he’s real.” Then, when they have coffee in the same episode (where Travis sees the waitress for the first time), the waitress NEVER looks at Geller. It was obvious from them on out that Geller wasn’t real. It was a terrible twist that was drawn out needlessly (and insultingly) for the remainder of the season (give or take).

      I actually felt a little bad for Hanks– he doesn’t have much presence so playing low key makes him almost vanish. But in the last two episodes he went a little over-the-top and we could see that he had the potential to be a real menacing guy. It’s unfortunate that they kept the Geller truth “hidden” for so long; Hanks could have done some pretty creepy tone shifts between timid Travis and creepy Geller personalities.

      As for the Deb discovery– she TOLD HIM to go back to the church and do a “final sweep.” Dexter said that he had Harrison’s pageant that afternoon and he’d be there after that– if Dexter’s first rule is not to get caught, he blew it in a tremendously clumsy way, he basically set up his own capture. Now let’s put all that aside– As far as Deb and the rest of the force knows, Travis is running the streets. Why would she send what she believes to be a mere, unarmed forensic investigator to an active crime scene while there’s a good chance that the killer might return to that location while he’s on the run? Added to that, why would Deb show up to the same location, alone, and with no gun drawn?

      It’s not the fact that she caught him that’s so dumb, it’s how it all went down. There were a lot of things in this season that could have been good but were just so poorly implemented that it made it seem like the story was crafted by a high school student.

  15. The last 5 minutes of the season seems to be a very awesome ending cliffhanger, with all these possibilities going through everyone’s mind of how Deb’s going to react to Dexter. But most likely she’s going to cover for him and take the credit for Travis and at the same time save her case-closed track record. Dexter gets what he wants and Deb gets what she wants. Pretty anticlimatic once you think about it.

  16. Dexter was terrible this year: too many plots thrown up all over the place, like spaghetti against the wall. Were it not for Homeland I would have cancelled Shotime after the first 2 episodes.

  17. I think this season was very well drawn out. Of course, most of the main storyline(DDK) was predictable. I had already put together that Gellar was a figment of Travis’s imagination by episode 6 and obviously Dexter wasn’t gunna die. The quinn/bautista storyline was just dull(was kinda hoping one of them would of been killed off). Of course most of you would compare any season after season 4 to season 4 since it was the best so far, in my opinion anyway. Anyone else get chills up their spine when Deb was walking into the church? I, personally, can’t wait until next season now. Just a year away :(

  18. I agree with Brett that this season was pretty drawn out. I also figured out the Travis/Gellar twist before it happened and … well, that just goes to show what sloppy writing the show has at this point. That’s what I would like to beat into your heads.

    Has the show grown and is the writing evolving? Yes, yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s by any means good. The show runners don’t know that much about pacing either, as the last moments of the finale were crammed in there without any anticipation for the audience. And while I may be happy the way it finished, let’s face it, it’s been a season coming. We basically just saw something that should have happened about 13 episodes ago. The entire last season was quite literally created for that moment and it was instead pushed off until now which made it dull.

    I also couldn’t help but point out the quirks that happened in this finale that wouldn’t necessarily have happened until now. Dexter dragged Travis from the roof of the hotel into the elevator and after Travis killing a police officer none of Miami Metro managed to check the building cameras? No one bothered to explain how Dex could stay awake during M99’ing himself? His child saw another man die and Dexter doesn’t care this time? And that was just near the ending.

    Let’s face it, I’m going to end up watching the season opener in about 9 months, but I’m not excited. Unless the writers stop treating their cast like they’re working on the show Friends and start making some dramatic decisions, I can’t endorse this show to others anymore.

  19. I thought the idea of religion in the whole season was kind of strange… It’s one of those things most writers don’t put in shows because either decision on Dexter’s part will anger half of the audience.

    The season was pretty good to me, seemed slow at some points, and yes the Bautista/Quinn subplot was very pointless… But the last couple minutes of the last episode was nonetheless amazing and opens huge opportunities for Dexter and Debra.

    Can’t wait for the next season now!

    • There was a lot of religion in Season 4 (“Trinity,” and Trinity’s own religiosity. Don’t forget that on the kill table, Trinity said, “God has sent you.” Oh, Avenging Angel stuff from season 2, too). The religion itself isn’t going to annoy people– it’s how clunky and forced it was. It would have made good subtext, but it was just a theme that was beaten into the ground with the obvious stick. I think it would have been interesting to explore, but this wasn’t an exploration, it was like the Noah’s Arc pageant with everyone dressed in their clearly signified garb. The tableaus themselves were Saw-level hack writing. Interesting in concept, but so over the top and ridiculous that they weren’t at all disturbing. Ice Truck killer’s kills– that was unsettling. Trinity talking women into killing themselves– creepy. Even Jimmy Smits descent into pathological deceit and homicidal maniacal power rage was horrible to watch. I really liked seeing Dexter’s reaction to betrayal. But this season was like a silly goth fantasy.

  20. This season was good, better then the 2nd, 3rd and the 5th (Just my opinion), but not as good as the 1st or the 4th, I enjoyed it, and the ending where Deb sees Dexter? Priceless…

    I could only imagine what happens in the next two seasons, I think that the last season will have the intern being a copy-cat of the ice truck killer and maybe Dexter getting rid of the dark passenger in order to be a good father.

    However, that is the last season, I have no idea what they can do for the next season, maybe (if you read the book “Dexter is Delicious”) they have some cannibals and some chick that has a fetish that makes her WANT to be eaten.

    I enjoyed that book, and think if its done correctly, it could be a great season 7.

  21. When Den finds out from the picture about the fire set in the ocean by Travis, isn’t she at all suspicouse that, that same night her brothers boat washed ashore and he had been stuck at sea.

  22. What an ending! Been waiting for something like this to happen. Now I’m thinking, how’s Dexter going to get out of this? Well…what if Deb faints after she witnesses this and Dexter quickly cleans up?

  23. I love Dexter…a few seasons more than others. This season was definitely different but it didn’t live up to the excitement that the show’s exec’s expressed would take place. I was expecting the show to go back to the kind of drama it had in season 2 and 3. The antagonist in this season was much of a challenge for Dexter and his pursuit was lackluster. Colin hanks just didn’t give me the creeps like serial killers should. The casting for the next nemesis should be deeper and more visibly psychotic or disturbed. Dexter needs blood.

  24. I love Dexter…a few seasons more than others. This season was definitely different but it didn’t live up to the excitement that the show’s exec’s expressed would take place. I was expecting the show to go back to the kind of drama it had in season 2 and 3. The antagonist in this season was much of a challenge for Dexter and his pursuit was lackluster. Colin hanks just didn’t give me the creeps like serial killers should. The casting for the next nemesis should be deeper and more visibly psychotic or disturbed. Dexter needs more blood.

  25. This season was weak. The best parts were the subplots about Deb and her shrink, Deb and LaGuerta and Deputy Chief, and Masuka and his interns. Too many continuity holes. (the boating incident, the mural that no one looked at – please.)

    Deb shall give him a bye, but I have no clue as to what Dex shall do.

    I rate the six series this way: 4, 2, 1, 5, 6, 3.

  26. Loved the theme of religion and his thoughts on it throughout the season. Love Dexter in the role of a father and love how he questions what Harrison can and cannot sense. Cannot wait until next season!!!!!

  27. I loved the majority of this season. The first few eps were really good.
    The things that led me down were:
    The casting of Colin Hanks – he is a good actor but the role needed a less familiar looking actor.
    Dexter making some dumb decision that went completely against what he normally stood for. I am trying to tell myself that it is because Dexter isn’t really who he used to be anymore. He is now mainly a father and perhaps this has changed his judgement a lot.
    Deb and Dexter – worst possible story line! Deb feelings towards Dexter as her brother and her loyalty to him as a sister were already strong enough to get a real Holy Crap moment during that last scene. She has been through so much and always counted on her brother to get better again. If the writers continued with that the scene would have been more effective to me. Now I just feel it was a bit lame because I got distracted by the ‘soap opera’ story line.

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