After a return to form in Season Seven, Season Eight was terrible in every sense of the word. Plots that went nowhere? Check. Lack of forward momentum? Check. New characters (as well as old ones who had outlived their usefulness) eating up screen time? Check.
As for the finale itself, it left a sour taste in my mouth. The fact that over half of the episode was spent resolving the Brain Surgeon case just goes to show how far off the rails this season went.
Were there a few good moments? Yes. Dexter pulling the plug on Debra was oddly poetic, even if it was followed up with the completely idiotic scene of Dexter wheeling Deb's corpse out of the hospital and onto his boat. Dexter tossing Deb's body into the ocean was somewhat moving as well - everything came somewhat full circle. I liked Quinn's reaction to Dexter's murder of Saxton, because it called back a past event without beating us over the head with it.
I'm still not sure how I feel about the ending of the episode. Dexter faking his death was an obvious twist that I'm sure many viewers saw coming. I like that Dexter is now completely alone - it's a fitting punishment for the decisions made by his character throughout the series. Still, a lumberjack? That's really the best they could come up with? It felt like they were trying to go for a similar ending as The Shield, but it just didn't work in the context of the series.
The early seasons of Dexter will remain all time great television, but many of the choices made by the writers in the later seasons definitely dropped it down a peg. There were so many missed opportunities. The fact that nobody except Deb found out Dexter's secret is kind of a slap in the face to longtime viewers. Then again, the way this season went, maybe it's a good thing the show was finally strapped down to the kill table and put out of its misery...
5. Convoluted Big Bad. In last week’s penultimate episode, Oliver Saxon (aka The Brain Surgeon) became a rather effective icy villain. Yet for most of the season, Dexter kept trying to fake-out fans on The Brain Surgeon’s identity. By the time he was revealed as Dr. Vogel’s son, the storyline had become so tangled it was difficult to feel emotionally invested. Here’s one EW recap reader’s summary of the Brain Surgeon storyline that was posted in the comments last week: Vogel: Dexter, I want you to kill the Brain Surgeon. Dexter: I don’t want to. Vogel: Please kill the Brain Surgeon. Dexter: I will kill the Brain Surgeon. Vogel: Kill all these serial killers. Dexter: Okay. I found one named Zach Hamilton. He will die. Vogel: Don’t kill Zach Hamilton. Dexter: I NEED to kill Zach Hamilton. Vogel: Don’t do it. Dexter: I will not kill Zach Hamilton. I will teach him the code! Vogel: Cool. Dexter: He cannot be taught the code! I must kill him! Vogel: Don’t. Dexter: My mistake. He’s cool. I’ll teach him the code again. Dexter: That guy you wanted me to kill wasn’t the Brain Surgeon. Instead, your SON is the Brain Surgeon! I will kill him! Vogel: Don’t kill my son the Brain Surgeon. All he ever did was kill my other son and threaten my life. Dexter: I NEED to kill him. Vogel. I know, but don’t. Dexter: Okay. (I’m really going to, though) Vogel. What a relief. Dexter. Look at this video of your son killing Zach Hamilton. Vogel. The horror! Dexter, please kill my son the Brain Surgeon. Dexter: Will do. Brain Surgeon: You picked Dexter over me! I will kill you AND Dexter! Dexter: Okay, now I REALLY need to kill Brain Surgeon! Brain Surgeon: Sorry Dexter. Can we forget all this if I buy your condo? Dexter: I don’t want to kill you, I want to bang my girlfriend. Brain Surgeon. Okay, thanks for letting me go. Dexter: Nope. I’m calling my sister right now to arrest you. Also, please don’t tell on me for my serial killing even though I told on you for all the brain surgery.
Originally posted by turtlebayunlimitedThank God this is finally over.
The last four seasons had the odd bright spot but were mostly just a slog to get through. Dexter was unrecognisable as a character by the end and not in a good believable-character-arcy sort of a way. He basically spent the last two years being a slightly whiny guy who occasionally killed people.
Massively underwhelming end to a show that had so much potential.
Season 8 blew big time, mostly due to the over-emphasis on the Hannah character, but I thought the finale was okay. Not the direction I would have gone in, but they had some decent moments and it felt like the end.
Best scene for me was Batista and Quinn finally seeing Dexter killing a guy and being like "Help us out, so we can let you go." No, it wasn't the scene we were all looking for all 8 seasons, but we already got a lot of that with Doakes, Deb and LaGuerta in previous ones. We know what it's like when someone figures out his secret. This was an interesting swerve to me and, if the end was really for Dexter to just walk away from it all, a good payoff to get that moment in there.
Plus, I think Quinn would have helped Dexter even if he knew everything. And he was in a position to help. He always had questionable ethics.
I also liked the two actual killing scenes, except they could have picked a MUCH smarter way to do the Deb scene. It made no sense that Dexter could just walk in there and pull the plug (not even going into how she had a pulse even when he removed the pulse reader) and walk out with her body. The hurricane wasn't enough justification.
No Masuka was weird. Didn't like that at all.
No Harry was weird. Didn't like that at all, but you could tell last week that Harry was saying "goodbye," even if it was a small scene.
Anything with Hannah was a miss. If it was Julia Stiles' character, I think it all would have clicked, but it wasn't. Was Hannah written into the story because Stiles wouldn't come back? Because Stiles was a perfect addition in Season 5, I thought, and filled the void left by Rita. Hannah never hit that mark, especially with all of the immediate acceptance of her so early in the season.
I do agree with the idea of leaving Harrison with whoever Dexter's love interest was, though. It's a fitting bookend, as Dexter grew up without a mother, now Harrison grows up without a father. They just picked the wrong character to do it with, or handled it wrong with the right character.
Didn't mind the lumberjack thing. It was weird and off-beat. There had to have been a better "Dexter in isolation" job, but I really liked the silent moment at the end. That was it. He's done.
Overall, this series should have lasted only 5 seasons. It had the same problems 24 had when it went beyond 5 seasons (including bringing in Manny Coto). A lot of the payoffs that were sooo important earlier in the series weren't addressed (Astor/Cody, baby Harrison's Dexter tendencies, and revenge for Doakes) and what was important in the series either got dismissed or lost in new storylines that people didn't really care about.
Still, a lot of the important things were addressed: Dexter finally telling Deb he loves her and letting her go, Dexter realizing Trinity was right about how Dexter would always be Dexter no matter where he went, Deb paying the price for LaGuerta and knowing Dexter's secret, and whether Dexter was Nature or Nurture. He was clearly Nurture (Vogel/Harry), but hurt so many people that he believed it was his Nature and had to stop himself.
But yeah, stop after Season 4. There were some great moments after that, but ultimately they took too long to have Deb find out Dex's secret, and that killed so much momentum.
Also really glad this is over. I thought Dexter was brilliant when it first started, but the show went for way too long and eventually ran out of good ideas.
The bit with Dex and Deb in the hospital and then on the boat was totally unbelievable, but was well done and a fitting end. I thought it'd have been better to have the ending be him heading into the storm, but the last scene with bearded Dexter simply staring was pretty chilling.
I'm still surprised that the last few episodes of the last season didn't revolve around with everybody finding out who Dexter really was and him being on the run or captured at the end. Though he was played as the protagonist for the entire show, in 'reality' he is a cold-blooded murderer and I thought that the proper closure for the character was to finally get his comeuppance.