Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dexter: What The Hell?

(The following contains spoilers about Dexter)

I started watching Dexter about four years ago. Early enough where I can catch up to it, but late enough where I can binge watch to a point where I’d get a good feel of what I thought of the series. After just two episodes, I immediately remember thinking “Wow, this show is pretty entertaining.”

The show was very easy to watch. I was hooked on the characters and really thought it was unique. It had the mood of a drama but was more a dark comedy.

It had some fantastic moments early on, culminating with the death of Dexter’s wife in the infamous John Lithgow season (the fourth). It easily moved into my top-five shows (Lost is far and away at the top, although now-a-days, Breaking Bad could challenge depending on the conclusion).

And then things started to turn. The show got a bit more outlandish. I found myself bored at times, looking at the clock midway through episodes. Each season after season four was worse. Yes, it had its moments, but the show certainly was not what it was at its peak.

Dexter finally announced it was concluding after eight seasons, maybe two seasons too late, but still, I thought it could go out with a bang.

Then I watched the series finale. It was the worst episode of any show I had ever seen.

It absolutely boggles my mind that someone would write such garbage. Yes, the final season of Dexter was pretty bad to begin with. They introduced a random daughter to one of the minor characters Masuka, a story that went nowhere. They brought in a woman who was extremely important to Dexter’s past and makeup, and besides her being killed off, was just an annoyance throughout the entire season. It felt as if they were forcing things on the audience with no real satisfaction in the end.

It is extremely ironic, because that is exactly how the finale went. The whole episode snowballed to the point where I was laughing out loud during the final 15 minutes. Let me explain:

-Dexter’s sister Deb was shot and brought to a hospital where she seemed to be doing okay. The doctor’s said no major arteries were hit; there was no real lead up to anything potentially bad. Then completely out of nowhere, her conditioned turned for the worse and she went brain dead. It just felt like another thing that was just force on the audience.

-Dexter – who was leaving the country to be with his girlfriend Hannah and young son Harrison – comes back to be by Deb’s side. Hannah was a convicted serial killer herself who had just poisoned Dexter and his sister earlier in the season. And now Dexter is not only going away with her, but letting his son go with Hannah alone. “I’ll meet you there,” Dexter said to Hannah and Harrison. Who in their right mind would EVER let their son just fly to another country with a serial killer?

-At the hospital, Dexter confronts the killer (Oliver Saxton) he has been trying to capture. He was re-captured in the hospital, which is something I actually bought. But while Saxton was sitting in jail at Miami Metro (Where Dexter used to work before resigning to run away with Hannah and Harrison), Dexter somehow was able to freely visit his jail cell using a lame excuse. Who decided that letting a former employee walk into the prison cell of the man who shot his sister was a good idea? Dexter provokes Saxton to attack him, Dexter then kills Saxton, the two cops he is friends with reviewed the security tape and determined…it was self-defense. Yeah okay, sure.

-Dexter goes back to visit Deb (on life support), and decides to cut the cord so she wouldn't suffer. Now for my favorite part. While all this is happening, the hospital is moving patients due to a hurricane that is coming. Dexter takes Deb from her hospital bed and just wheels her out of the hospital to his boat which is docked. There were probably 40-50 people he walked by without anyone even glancing at him. He continues to wheel out dead Deb and carries her onto his boat. He takes the boat and drives out (with impending Hurricane conditions) and drops her into the water.

-And now for favorite part No. 2: It hits Dexter that he causes everyone he cares about to suffer. So with a son with a serial killer in another country, Dexter decides to seal his fate and drive his boat into the heart of the impending Hurricane (which really looked like something out of the movie The Perfect Storm). The next day, they find parts of his boat destroyed. This into sequence felt like a part out of the movie The Room, which is considered the worst movie of all time. But The Room is so bad, it’s good. This was just so bad though.

-They focus in on Hannah and Harrison sitting. Hannah sees on her iPad an article about Dexter’s presumed death. She barely reacts to the death, wiping one tear away, and then asks Harrison if she wants ice cream. That’s your first reaction? One tear and some Ben and Jerrys?????

-And finally, we pan in on the final scene of some workers cutting down trees. For about ten seconds, I thought it was a preview to some new show on Showtime. Then we see a man walking, and guess what, it’s Dexter! Somehow, he survives driving into the heart of a hurricane. They show him getting into his new home (a lifeless log cabin), and he sits down, he stares into the camera, and end series.

All of this in the final 15 minutes.

Just typing all of this gives me anxiety. People devote hours upon hours of to these shows. I went online afterwards and read that this ending was planned for years. Someone actually had this idea and no one said “Ya know…you might want to change it.”

I learned a lot from watching Dexter. Shows seem to have a shelf life of about 4-5 seasons before things turn. Usually there’s one or two defining moments that turn out to be the peak of the show. Dexter’s moment was his wife’s shocking death.

I also learned that it is never a good sign when a showrunner is replaced midway through a series. The showrunner for the first four seasons left and was replaced by two people. Coincidentally, season five is when the show took a turn for the worse. I actually read an interview with the old showrunner where he stated his thoughts on how he wanted the show to end. And it was far and away better than how it did.

Dexter will always have a soft spot for me. In one breath, it was simple, entertaining, and had some great characters. But it’s a tale of two shows, and unfortunately, the second half put a very dark cloud over what was supposed to be a strong series.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree. Season 8 had a very weak beginning. I found the whole Dr. Vogle arch extremely stupid. Out of the blue she just comes out and says that she created Dexter and his code and now she needs his help. Definitely should've have the ending coming.