Dexter – Season 7, Episode 12 “Surprise, Motherfucker!” Review

Rating:    8.9

I feel like the entire world has Stockholm Syndrome for Dexter. I could not have possibly been any more livid than I was last night. I’ve gotten over Rita’s death; it wasn’t Dexter’s fault that she was murdered, at least not directly. But LaGuerta is another story entirely, and I am ashamed of my fellow viewers for being so excited over her demise.

Dexter was once a morally ambiguous show. I’ve said before that the series is cathartic for many who have been the victims of horrendous crimes, or who’ve had loved ones that have met an early end by the hands of another. Dexter has progressively degraded from an ambivalent superhero, to vigilante, to antihero, to villain. He’s almost an archfiend to my thinking, but his alignment of good v. evil is really up to the individual viewer.

I feel as though I have been duped, like I am a complete and utter idiot for caring about Dexter’s life. I love him. I’ve loved him since his small-screen debut in October of 2006 (my Political Views on Facebook actually read “Dexter Morgan”, circa 2007 and have not been changed). I am a long-time, diehard fan, and only now do I realize that I have been a chump.

And Deb’s in the same exact place.

I’ll state it plainly and simply: LaGuerta is a good person and Dexter is a bad person. The entire point of Dexter was that the “protagonist” killed bad people, and, despite his inability to feel human emotion, he mostly was a good person himself. So somehow his emotional impotence gave way to him doing the right thing. Now he has crippled but developing emotions, which matured with an altogether evil alternate persona, and he’s taking Deb down with him.

Sure, I see the parallels to his mother’s death peripherally to LaGuerta’s. This part of the story is where the conflict of season seven resides, within the divergence between “your life or mine”. Well, it ought to have been Dexter’s. Deb didn’t need to kill him, but for the sanctity of her character—the ultimately flawed and profane “good cop”—Deb should not have shot LaGuerta.

I wanted LaGuerta to catch Dexter at the very end of the series. I wanted the entire eighth season to be Dex on the run. I wanted the FBI to go after him. I wanted Deb and Angel— the two constantly morally just characters of Dexter—to be forced to go after him. I wanted Dexter to realize that he’d been wrong, that he was sick and that he needed help. I did not want Cliff McKay to send Dexter down this code-less road where he could kill his boss of nearly a decade, another good person (at least when it comes to justice surrounding life and death). I wanted the series to prove to the audience that it, too, did not believe in cold-blooded murder. But maybe I’m even more of a dupe because I expected moral lessons where there were none to be found.

I do not know if there is a real message to be gleaned from the season finale, or if I’m wrong for expecting one. But I do know that a series where fans can actively root for a cold-blooded murderer yet admonish a good cop—and actively root for her death—is not the kind of fan community in which I want membership.

All of that being said, “Surprise, Motherfucker” was an excellent hour of television. So, despite my disgust, I’m forced to give the season finale a high rating.

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