When this season of Showtime’s serial killer drama Dexter started, there was reason to be excited. The show was returning from a creative resurgence in its seventh season and all signs pointed to the show ending with a bang.
Final seasons always come with lofty expectations, but based on the shocking season 7 finale and the way the show bounced back from the horrendous religion-themed season 6 (Colin Hanks as the big bad? Really?) it looked like Dexter had a chance to go out on top.
Months later and Dexter isn’t ratcheting up tension going into it’s final installment, and it’s much more likely to go out with a whimper than a bang. This season of Dexter started out promising enough. There was tension between Dexter and Deb, a strong performance from Jennifer Carpenter, and great guest stars like Charlotte Rampling. A few episodes into the final season, however, and it felt like the show had already flat-lined.
Now Dexter is a certifiable mess going into the final episode, and it’s much too late to save the season. It’s made even worse for sharing the same night as another long-running antihero show about to go off the air: Breaking Bad. Watching Dexter after watching Breaking Bad is like eating at a five star restaurant and then chasing it down with McDonalds.
It remains to be seen whether the series finale will be satisfying to viewers. Perhaps the creative team put all their efforts into the final hour and just ignored everything leading up. But what can be said, now that there’s only one episode left, is that season 8 is pretty bad.
So here, in no particular order, are all the reasons Dexter’s final season might just be its worst:
1. Boy, Deb Recovered Quickly
It’s nice to know that if you completely throw your morals out the window and murder someone you’ve known and to some degree respected for years, you’ll be fine in no time. All it takes is some alcohol, drugs, a sexual harassment suit of a boss, and a little suicide dip into a lake. After that cleansing near murder-suicide, Debra Morgan has been more or less fine and dandy. Remember how she shot LaGuerta in cold blood at the end of last season? I’m not sure Deb does anymore.
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2. Oh Hannah
I was excited when I heard the lovely and talented Yvonne Strahovski would be returning to Dexter this season. In season 7, Hannah McKay was a flawed and interesting character. She was certainly no saint, yet she was more survivor than predator. It was interesting to see her complete acceptance of Dexter’s “dark passenger,” despite the fact she couldn’t exactly relate.
Coming back this season, Hannah has had most of her complexities sanded down to accommodate a potential happy-ever-after for Dexter. She’s not a character so much as a goal for Dexter to attain, which does short-shift to the fine work previously done by Strahovski to make Hannah a multi-dimensional person.
3. Masuka Gains a Daughter
I understand the creative team’s impulse to give Masuka something substantial to do in the show’s final season. But seriously, a long-lost daughter? The storyline has added nothing to the season and only slowed down momentum.
4. Hi Cassie! Bye Cassie!
By far one of the biggest issues of this season has been introducing new characters and then dispatching them in five seconds. In the last season of a television show, no one wants to get to know a new character. We want to begin the sad process of saying goodbye to the characters we already care about. Not even the show cared about Cassie or Zach, quickly and painlessly dispatching them. If they didn’t really matter to the storyline, why even include these new victims?
5. Speaking Of Zach…
Dexter meets a budding serial killer named Zach and takes him under his wing. Soon though, Zach is taken out by the real big bad of the season, the brain surgeon. It’s not that the idea of Dexter with a protege isn’t interesting, it’s that it’s been done so many times before. The show beat this particular horse to death in both seasons 3 and 5, so it’s unbelievable they returned to this particular well again for the final season.
6. Jaime and Quinn
Has anyone ever actually cared about these two characters? Together, apart, having sex, pining over someone else: still boring. Desmond Harrington proved he could be a charismatic actor every time he popped up on Gossip Girl, but Joey Quinn has always been a snooze.
7. Quinn and Deb Get Back Together
Oh who cares. Seriously, does anyone care? I guess it’s a step up from “in love with your own brother” but weirdly it still does not feel like much of a step up for Deb.
8. Doctor Vogel
It’s not that Doctor Vogel wasn’t a good idea in theory, it’s that in practice the show handled the whole storyline so poorly that her death barely had any emotional impact. By introducing Doctor Vogel, the show once again felt like it was dealing with tough moral questions on the nature of evil. That is, until it decided to completely toss that aside for some weird “spiritual mother” nonsense and an evil long-lost son. The great Charlotte Rampling deserved material so much better than what she got.
9. Just Dye… Your Hair!
Hannah returns to Miami a wanted fugitive. What’s the first thing she does? If you guessed “not alter her appearance in any way and continue going out in public in plain view,” give yourself a prize!
There are narrative leaps viewers are willing to take for the sake of a good drama and then there are just lazy, stupid shortcuts. Why doesn’t Hannah go to Argentina first and have Dexter meet her there? Why doesn’t she at least dye those beautiful golden locks? That whole scene with Harrison on the treadmill is what I’ve felt like watching Dexter all season.
10. Dexter Loses His Killing Edge
Goodbye dark passenger, hello mild mannered family man? In the penultimate episode, Dexter decides he no longer has the killing compulsion. Of course he does this at the worst time possible, allowing Daniel to escape and shoot Deb. What should have been a huge moment for the character and the show ended up feeling lazy and unearned.
What do you think? Do you think this has been Dexter‘s worst season? What ruined the final season for you? Sound off in the comments!
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(Image courtesy of Showtime)