Yes–this was the least enjoyable piece of television I have ever rated while writing for this site.
I don’t think I knew that I was just watching a hero’s love story when I first tuned in to Dexter eight-some-odd years ago. I also don’t think that I knew that I was watching what would become my least favorite premium cable show—well, Weeds actually holds that honor, but I never took the time to finish that series; I am finishing Dexter.
With only one episode left, Dexter has decided to tell the story of Dexter Morgan as a hero rather than the story of an evildoer by redeeming him with True Love. That’s right, the mastermind behind well over a decade’s worth of murders no longer needs to kill because he feels a real human emotion. Basically, the series wants us to believe that the most evil person on television is a saint and that all of the evil acts he has committed are justified and forgivable because he’s got some warm tender feelings for a beautiful woman. I’ve been duped as an audience member to believe that mass murder is okay, especially in the case that it is for True Love, which conquers all.
I just can’t f—ing believe that THIS is the story I stuck around for. The final season of Dexter was supposed to be his reckoning, not his Get-Out-of-Jail-Free-and-Move-to-Argentina Card! Like, I get it: Deb was shot. But it took 49 entirely uninteresting minutes of implausible and unlikely events that were so exhausting and boring that I had to stop myself from falling asleep twice. To top it all off, this was the penultimate episode of the entire series. This spot in any series is usually reserved for the thrilling departure into the climax and resolution, if not an actual partner to them. I’m exhausted, bored, and down-right pissed off…
The eighth season is literally a bookend to the first, but it’s at such a low, barbaric quality that it’s almost sickening. Instead of telling a unique and thrilling story, the series is literally telling the same story as it did back in the beginning: Dexter is going up against his brother who is written to be the ultimate adversary. Only this time it’s different: Saxon does not intrigue me as a killer because the series has made the benchmark for justified killing so low and intolerably uninteresting that his genesis means little to me. We’ve had a killer who broke women’s toes because his mother liked to wear high heels this season, and we’ve had a killer who removes the brain’s empathy center because he was put in a mental institution. These are not very original or interesting killers, folks.
But to my point about the benchmark for killing: rather than the belief that some people are just killers (but most people aren’t), the series has established a world in which evil actions are fully justified, and those who commit them are heroes. For some of these characters it is an addiction they now bear as a scar of ugly experiences from their past, but for others it is simply that someone has gotten in their way. Hannah and Deb are great examples of this: Hannah—aka “The Worst”—kills the moment that she becomes threatened, and it’s clear that she derives some pleasure from the act itself, although not a great deal of pleasure. Deb has now become the second member of the Brother-Sister Kill Team because LaGuerta got in the way of her brother’s life. Zach killed his father’s mistress for driving his mother to bouts of alcoholism, I could go on.
Yes, the criteria for justified killing in Dexter cannot be broken down into right or wrong because we’re lead to believe that every threat in our lives can be turned into an excuse to murder.
I cannot stress it enough: Dexter is an evil human being who does very evil things all of the time. He is selfish and he is a predator. Yet here I am expected to accept that the world’s most incompetent police* (that which never seems to pick up on all of the little incidents Dex has had revolving around gratuitous murders), Marshalls, and private investigators in the world have practically zero inkling that he may be responsible for some of these murders, rather that his worst crime is that he is harboring a fugitive. I’m also expected to see Dexter as a hero, and I am supposed to root for he and Hannah to get away.
No. I will not. Dexter has turned his once-perfect cop of a sister into a cold-blooded murderess, harbored a fugitive responsible for at least half a dozen murders, and killed literally over a hundred other humans (making him history’s most successful serial killer). He is a monster, and monsters deserve to be put down. I’m at the point that I don’t even care if Deb—one of my favorite characters of all time—dies because of the idiotic mess her brother has gotten her into, because all of my mental and emotional energy is aimed at my hope that Dexter, an evil, scary monster is finally put down for good.
The Code was thrown out last season, and with it any sympathy I may have ever had for the character or his terrifying life.
The series appears to literally be ending on Dexter’s fantasy from the season 1 finale:
* The police are incompetent in Dexter for the obvious reasons that they’ve never heard of surveillance (I know that you can scan faces caught on cameras for known fugitives) and that they clear less than 20% of all murders in Miami.