I guess if you are in any way interested in tv at all, then you have at least heard about dexter, one of THE mega successful tv series of our age, that delas with the life of dexter morgan, a serial killer with sociopathic tendencies, a unique moral codex that e.g. only allows him to murder people that according to the code “deserved it” (rapists, other serial killers .. etc) and the desperate wish to become “a real human”.
Long before dexter we had a shortlived tv series called “profit” or “jim profit” in some countries, that was based on books by the same author that also wrote the books that the dexter series was based upon, which has proven to be too dark for television and got canned after the first series. unfortunately I might add. no wonder they tried to be a tad bit more careful with dexter, which was just one of the reasons why the decided to stray further apart from the book version, the longer the series ran.
While the first few seasons were almost flawless in many fans opinion, later ones while still better than many other tv series, became pretty illogical and/or weird at times. the portrayal of the “protagonist” also slowly faded from an extremely intelligent guy that always found ways out of discriminating situation, to something of a lucky buffoon that again and again was basically completely fucked, but then through miraculous chains of events came out unharmed and most importantly undiscovered. at one point they implemented sub-plots that were almost unbearable to watch, like one that went on for over a season, which I would call the “sgt. dokes incident”. as if that wasn’t bad enough, they decided to remove a major character from the show that they should have better let in, because it has given them the chance to take the series to a completely different direction. an opportunity that was completely ignored in favor of sticking to the same “dexter being miraculously saved no matter what mistakes he made” routine. secondly it was how they removed the character.
When they announced the final season, as usual speculations ran high as to how they will conclude it and what will happen to the most beloved characters. it is not like expectations were particularly high, since the seasons leading to this one, while still being good weren’t particularly exceptional. one thing that for sure that everybody wanted was closure. with this show basically being about a serial killer, a lot of people demanded that it would not conclude on a happy ending, while some others wanted what was basically a “Pinocchio” ending, with dexter finally turned into what he’d consider to be “full blown human” and ending up with his latest love interest and his son living happily ever after. while I could have lived with both, personally I wished for more. something more innovative. not that I expected it, but i have been watching every single dexter episode when it got broadcasted and all I hoped for was that some way they would end it on a high note.
I could not have been any more wrong. do you know the situation, where you have to turn in an English paper the next morning, which is essential for you not having to repeat class, but you somehow managed to ignore that until 6 hours before you have to turn it in and you just pull the most outrages bullshit out of your ass, just to come up with something and you end up with a result, even though it makes your school mates piss their pants in laughter? this is basically what the final dexter episode feels like. That final season was already full with bullshit and everything that the writers would occasionally get wrong throughout the years, repeated itself in the final season. the final episodes leading to the end were so bad, that if one hadn’t already watched it so far and was so close to supposed closure, one could have easily had thrown the towel at that point.
And then it came …. The “final” episode.
I will not try to overcomplicate it: dexter, Davina (his love interest) and his son are about to flee to argentina, but police is still in search for Davina, which complicates things. basically dexters cover gets blown and he is exposed for what he is. due to a string of events debrah (dexters sister and most beloved character of the series, maybe even more beloved than dexter himself) gets permanent brain damage (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). conveniently a storm breaks out, dexter uses the chaos to steal debrah from the hospital, “buries” her at seas, while Davina and dexter’s son are already on their way, with dexter having promised to get the next machine. this all concludes with Davina and the son arriving safely in argentina, while dexter ….? Yeah, what’s up with good ole dex? does he die? noooooo. does he get caught and thrown in prison? Nooooo! does he take the next machine as promised and join his new found family to live happily ever after? Noooooooo! dexter ….. you better sit down for this! ….. he takes up a different identity at a place unbeknown to the viewer, to become …. A FUCKING LUMBERJACK!!!! no, I kid you not.
Out of all unsatisfying endings to chose from, they chose …. To find something even less satisfying than anything anybody could have ever come up with. A FUCKING LUMBERJACK?????
Now, needless to say that a lot of viewers were furious. some others hid their anger behind statements like “meh, it started to suck after season 3 anyways”, while some few jokers actually found that solution to be totally plausible.
We could puzzle all day as to what the producers were thinking, but luckily (?) after the outrage, they have actually told us … kinda … well, they told us SOMETHING. in their minds dexter would never be able to get his urge to kill under control and therefore, even if it was only in a passive manner, would be a danger for everybody he loved, so he decided to let Davina take care of his son and chose total solitude. it was also explained that it was his actions in regards of taking on another serial killer, which let to his former lover rita’s death, which to me is complete bullshit and one of the major mistakes they had done in the series.
Anyway, the whole explanation is completely illogical. they have on multiple occasions re-written dex in a manner that shows him being possible of getting in control of his urges. it is his sense of justice that he can not control. they have shown him in a way too human and sensitive manner at times to now come along with that explanation. also, from the stories point, it does not solve anything. so he is a lumberjack now … ok, whatever … and he lives somewhere else … fair enough … so now everybody he loves is save …. Ooooh, wait a second. dexter is what? 35? 40? He has been in love twice over a couple of years, but he won’t start a relationship with anybody else until the rest of his life, just because he moved and switched jobs??? because otherwise, he could have just as easily moved to argentina with his family. also, his dna and fingerprints are in the system. according to the final episode of dexter, they know now who he is and all that he has done. he would be found. within the series universe he was the greatest serial killer to ever have lived!!!
And why kill debrah? according to the producers they had this ending fix for at least 2 years before the end of the show, but on the contrary said publicly that they might do a debrah spinoff. wtf? either they were lying or they wanted to further take away from the possibility of debrah dying. anyway, how shitty is THAT?
Now what? no spinoff, unless they would do it on a minor character, which would be absurd. debrah is dead, so even if they do another season one day, the second most important character is gone.
You know, sometimes if you want to do something really really special and surprising, then you should be self aware enough to understand a) if you are even capable of doing so and b) if it works at all. imagine a magician, that puts his hand deep into his top hat. sure, pulling out a rabbit would be predicatble, but instead lifting a turd of dogshit out the hat instead, just because it is “unexpected”, does not make the event much better. actually quite the opposite is the case.
There would have been enough choices. fans would moan either way, but not as much as with the ending we are stuck with. let them live in argentina, happy as can be or let dexter drown himself with debrah, so all his trouble is over and he ends up in embrace with his sister, one of the few people he ever loved. or for the darker and/or republican crowd: let the cops catch him, let Davina get caught at the airport and they both get executed while his son dies of a broken heart. shitty? yes, but at least better than what we got. hell, even “going sopranos” by just fading to black with nothing concluded or answered, right in the middle of some dialogue, would have been better.
I have seen a lot of bad series endings and read about a lot other rather odd and/or unsatisfying ones, but this one definitively makes my stinker top 5. It is even a contender for the top position. I just can not figure out if it is this one or the finale of Rosanne which is the numero uno stinker of all times.
And one final statement: I have been heartbroken when some of my favorite shows got cancelled without an ending and maybe even with a cliffhanger at the end of the last episode produced, but if the dexter finale teached me anything, it is that I should be glad, that those series got cancelled, before they got an ending like THIS.