“Argentina” was by far the best episode from the seventh season of Dexter (S07E08). The editing, general quality of story-progression, lighting, acting, costuming, etc. was about as perfect as I could want any episode of this lengthy series to be. I would call “Make Your Own Kind of Music” a sister episode to “Argentina” in that it not only references its predecessor so beautifully, but also maintains the stylistic choices from season seven that were much beloved here at We Love TV More. How the episodes differed, however, is so upsetting I barely have words.
It’s no secret that I am Hannah McKay’s worst enemy; had I any position within the arc that took place between seasons 7 and 8 I would have killed her dead. I would have been a bad guy just like Dexter, for the sake of those around him.
I do not want to be put into the camp of TV viewers who dislike a male protagonist’s female companion simply because of her role in his life, rather the opposite. I do not see this as a healthy way to experience stories and I’m not interested in making a villain of good people who stand in the way of bad people.
Dexter Morgan is a bad person. He may be a vigilante, but he still hunts human beings like an animal: he’s a predator. He has channeled his killer instincts and operated along a specific moral compass for the most part, but as an audience we’ve seen him grow past his code and kill simply because he felt like it. This makes him a definitional bad guy no matter which way you slice it. Hannah is not the standard female romantic lead in a premium drama: instead of getting in the protagonist’s way she enables him.
“Argentina” offered a small glimpse into the world of Dexter as a companion with Rita once more while “Make Your Own Kind of Music” offered the conclusion of a world that once included Rita. “Argentina” featured Harrison’s siblings Astor and Cody one last time; Astor, finally a young adult, having reached some closure with Dexter regarding her mother’s death. “Make Your Own Kind of Music” presented Harrison as loving Hannah as his own mother, with barely any mention of Rita rather than a poignant remark in which the child indicates a blond woman in a drawing as “his mother”. As viewers we have no way of knowing whom Harrison is referring to, but context from the episode almost certainly points to Hannah.
This is a painful transition into what will almost certainly be a disappointing end to a once loved series.
I could be writing about the twist, that Vogel is related to The Brain Surgeon, but anyone who’s watched Dexter could have identified that twist from a mile away. As far as seasonal story progression is concerned, Dexter has been a one-trick pony since season three. Dex meets someone who fascinates him—a friend, a lover (twice), or someone to look up to—tries to learn from this person and then is ultimately betrayed. Sometimes he lets them live, but for the most part they end up on his table. The entrance of Vogel is no different, and what truly matters to me as a viewer is how Dexter leaves his relationships in the series’ end, not the men and women who ultimately end up on his table. So, given the type of viewer I tend to be with this series, I am frustrated.
It is very hard to like watching Dexter. When I was younger it was a morbid fascination with violence that brought me to the show, but as an adult I find myself only fascinated by the relationships and rules in which individuals function when morality is not black and white, and how good people survive in a world in which a bad person reigns supreme.
Morality has crumbled in this world and I am watching as it rapidly fades into dust. Namely I find myself lamenting the loss of Deb, who incidentally once functioned as the female protagonist who gets in the male lead’s way. She has lost herself in a moral-lacking haze of PTSD-induced murder and law breaking (laws that protect people from other people, aka the kinds of laws that matter*). The once paragon of television, one of the two honest, good people on Dexter is now not just an accomplice to murder… She’s committed it herself. Worst of all, she’s let herself get away with it. Now Deb is allowing Hannah to live under her roof, a stark contrast to the Deb who first begged Dexter to kill Hannah in “Argentina”.
I am lost in this world, I am frustrated, and I wonder why I am doing this to myself. I have loved Dexter since the series premiere, but as a human being I have grown in ways that lead me to respect the series less and less as a viewer. It has become a series that revels in evil rather than one that makes the viewer think… And I honestly blame the entire turn on Hannah McKay.
* – I don’t care what you do to your body (drugs), but if you do stuff that hurts others… well, you’re breaking some laws of humanity.