After 8 seasons on the air, Showtime’s hit series Dexter has finally come to an end. In the highly-anticipated conclusion to the tale of Dexter Morgan, everyone’s favorite blood spatter analyst ends a life for the last time. But did the right life come to an end - and, more importantly, what did you think of the ending?
Throughout Dexter’s season 7 & 8 journey, the once thought-to-be emotionless serial killer has been attempting to explore another side of himself, hoping to understand what it means to be human and to feel human emotions. Thanks to Dr. Evelyn Vogel, as well as Debra and Hannah, Dexter was able to touch upon the origins of his creation, the everlasting love of a sibling and the potential to live happily ever after. But in the end, it was Deb who fell because of Dexter’s sins and Hannah who took on the responsibility of Dexter’s most prized possession. As for Dexter? He somehow skipped out on more child support.
Yes, it seems that, with all the foreshadowing and exploration of Dexter becoming more than he was meant to be, the path that he chose to go down was based on one thing: everyone he loves ends up getting hurt. With that, Dexter has given up the chance to begin a new life with Hannah and Harrison; instead, Miami Metro’s one-time finest has decided to become a lumberjack, for the time being. So... was the Dexter series finale somewhat of a letdown?
As with any series, Dexter has had some high and lows throughout its run on the air, but audiences were still ready and willing to explore whichever avenue producers decided to go down. When Dr. Evelyn Vogel first appeared on the show, it was thought that it would be her who would bring down the Butcher, but as the season progressed, her story-arc allowed us to explore more of Dexter’s past, allowing fans to learn much more about the character before he walked off into the sunset. Still, no matter how much character progression and evolution the season introduced, it was as if the finale threw it all away for a twist ending that is not only wholly unoriginal, but was also awkward in execution.
It seems, at least in part, that Debra’s death was ultimately the only way producers would be able elicit an emotional response from viewers. If Dexter died, viewers would (momentarily) be sad, but would ultimately understand (he’s a murderer, after all); if Hannah died, viewers would be happy; if Dexter was caught, viewers would want to know what happens next.
When caught between a rock and a hard place - or, in this case, a series that’s coming to an end - it appears that the Debra’s death was the only way to end the series; that is, if Showtime president David Nevins is still trying to drum up interest in a Dexter spin-off (which probably wasn’t helped by AMC’s spin-offs of Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead).
That said, television shows are never really about the start or ending – it’s about the journey. So while Dexter’s series finale was much more a forgettable conclusion than the ending of an earnest opus, it’s impossible to deny the fact that Showtime has brought 8 great years of entertainment to our televisions. Sure, there were a few hit or miss seasons here and there, but Dexter will forever be known as the show which made the world fall in love with a serial killer – and unfortunately, like with most tales about serial killers, this one ends poorly.
Dexter aired October 1, 2006 – September 22, 2013 on Showtime.