This review of Dexter season 8 will contain spoilers, so if you want to find out what happens then read it, if you know what happens then read it, but if you don’t know what happens and don’t want to know then you probably shouldn’t read it….but that’s just what I’d do in your position…
Before I get onto the review I would like to comment that I was delighted that this was the last season of Dexter because since season 4 the show has lacked any direction and had begun to go in so many circles you would have thought it was stuck on a roundabout (that’s a circular thing that cars drive round for people who don’t know). Seasons 1-4 were very strong (season 3 less than the others) and deservedly put Dexter up there as must see TV, however seasons 5 and 6 in particular were dreadful and really put the series on a downer, before season 7 sort of (but not really) got it back on track. With season 8 being the last, you wouldn’t be criticised for thinking that we would receive a season on par with the first four, because the writers had definitive direction and could truly stretch their wings like never before. So on to the review.
What I loved.
- Debra dying.
- For me the best part of season 8 was Jennifer Carpenter’s performance in the final episode, she was excellent.
- At first you are forgiving for thinking ‘what is it with bullets bad guy’s use never being as good as the good guy’s bullets?’ and ‘thank god Deb remembered to put on her plot armour!’ For the second time in her life she has been shot and looks like she will pull through (I’m not saying it has never happened before but it’s fairly unlikely, especially because both times she was left for a good time bleeding out) but then the twist came in as it turns out she has developed a blood clot, suffered a stroke and is likely to be little better than a vegetable for the rest of her life. Wow, you felt it was coming after she forgave Dexter of everything but so brutal. It is always sad to see a character that you like (and I think most people like Deb [I do anyway]) go out in such a sad manner, not with all guns blazing, but rather in a hospital bed where she is alive but not in reality.
- The sad part about Debra is that she was always portrayed as the morality of the show, yet was the one who received the most punishment. That is the sad story of Debra Morgan, she should have received the ending Dexter did and vice versa, that would have been the fair outcome, but TV is a cruel mistress.
- As a side note you would have thought that Dexter could have waited for a second opinion before killing her, but then again I’m not a doctor so what do I know?
- Boat scene.
- I thought it was well done and the visual of Dexter driving his boat into the heart of the storm to kill himself (or so we thought) was brilliant.
- However, I will go further into this later (never a good sign).
What I liked.
- Brain surgeon.
- The best villain Dexter has had since season 4 by quite some margin. He didn’t really do anything for the first eight episodes but when he showed up, he showed up. His scenes in particular with Dexter were especially chilling, although you always had that feeling he was more than out of his depth (which clearly he was because he got got).
- Good for him killing his mother, showing every man with mummy issues how it’s done.
- Shouldn’t he have had an English accent? Or did he go to a psychiatric facility in America?
What I disliked.
- Dark passenger.
- The dark passenger was impotent this year and became a total nag. It seemed as if the writer’s didn’t really know what to do with him, but felt that they couldn’t leave him out.
- To think that when Dexter discarded his dark passenger everything was looking rosy….then shit hit the fan.
- Does the ending mean that Dexter’s dark passenger has returned? I doubt the writers thought it out that much, although how cool would it have been to have Harry standing behind Dexter in the final shot? I think that would have been a better ending.
- Dexter’s passage.
- Dexter is a show about a serial killer. Dexter as a serial killer is cold and meticulous. Dexter in season 8 was almost unnoticeable from the Dexter of previous seasons. I understand that they were trying to make Dexter grow as a person and become more sympathetic, but it didn’t need to happen. Would people have cared if Dexter had still been getting pleasure from offing criminals? I seriously doubt it. I like Dexter (the character), but this was his weakest season because they softened him. That isn’t what the show is about, and the new softer Dexter really hurt season 8.
- Is it realistic to think that a serial killer could really go cold turkey the way that Dexter has? The writers tried to make it look like Dexter was moving away from his killing ways, but is that realistic of a man that must have killed hundreds maybe even thousands of people in his life?
- Could the spin-off that has been talked about be Dexter as a lumberjack? Who knows, sounds better than science class with Masuka.
- Debra’s burial.
- The symbolism of Dexter taking Debra out to sea is clever, essentially he is saying that she is his last victim and is therefore giving her his own ceremonial burial. However surely Debra deserves a proper burial, surely she deserves a grave; surely people who cared about her deserve to know what has happened. None of this happened, but who knows maybe there was CCTV.
- I’m sorry but surely a hospital worker seen the man that was carrying a dead body on to a boat and thought that this guy doesn’t work for the hospital.
- Would Debra sink without anything to weigh her down? I thought dead bodies generally floated.
- Dexter’s workload.
- Yes it is boring to see a man do his actual job when his hobby is more fun but Dexter and Miami metro homicide take flexi-time to a whole new level of extreme.
What I hated.
- The ending.
- To describe it in one word, awful. One of the worst endings to a show that I have ever seen.
- The sad thing is that if they had killed Dexter when he drove his boat into the eye of the storm, it would have been a beautiful ending. The only thing that could kill the world’s greatest serial killer is an act of nature, but they decided to do something more underwhelming.
- I understand that Dexter has decided that because the people around him are always being hurt that he wants to distance himself from the two people left who he loves, but kill yourself don’t fake your own death. Dexter should have ended in one of three ways; he kills himself, he gets caught or he lives happily ever after. Somehow the writers managed to not deliver any of these and instead decided to deliver a totally flat ending.
- It is as if the writers thought that this was a clever ending that Dexter looking into the camera as a man that has taken everything good out of his life and decided to live in seclusion as self-inflicted punishment was a good ending, but it wasn’t. Often TV shows and movies will shoot a few endings and test how they are received and then choose the best one, you have to wonder why that wasn’t done here (or worse was that the best ending….?).
- It is sad because Dexter was once an excellent series and has many loyal fans, and they deserved a better ending than this. So very disappointing, it ruined what had been a pretty good final episode.
- In many ways the ending of the character Dexter is a perfect but unintentional analogy of how the series Dexter has went from its early years. A vibrant series that in the end became an empty shell of itself.
- Wow did they neuter Hannah. In season 7 she was one hell of a badass, in season 8 she was almost reduced to a damsel in distress. First she was stuck in an abusive marriage (although she did eventually kill him), then hides about in Debra’s apartment (for what seemed like forever) before hiding in the ladies room in an airport. What happened? This bitch was crazy before. Yes eventually she got some of her sass back by drugging Elway on the bus (didn’t anyone see a lady stick a guy with a syringe and think it was abnormal? This isn’t Glasgow after all!), but it was all too late, again as if the writers didn’t really know what to do with her.
- If I was a fugitive, I personally would have cut my hair and put in coloured contacts….but then again that is me, I am very cautious when it comes to these things.
- I’m not sure if I would have been so willing to take a man back that had turned me into the fed’s, I guess it must have been true love….or poor writing.
- Poor Hannah got dumped with a kid because Dexter didn’t want him anymore, and is stuck in Argentina (the poor man’s Mexico….or is that the other way about?).
- Everyone that isn’t called Dexter at Miami Metro Homicide’s storyline.
- The writers at Dexter really don’t know how to write for anyone but Dexter or Debra, do they? Would anyone actually miss the rest of Miami Metro Homicide if they weren’t in the show? I seriously doubt it. Every attempt throughout the years that they have to give these guys a side story it has come up flat (remember Batista and LaGuerta’s relationship? I too would also like to forget it).
- Do I care if Quinn wants to be sergeant? Do I care if Quinn doesn’t really love Jamie (boy’s name) but actually loves Debra? The answer to both is no, and neither was able to grab my attention, because who cares about Quinn?
- So Masuka has a daughter now? Couldn’t care less, why would I? You can’t sympathise with Masuka because he is a loser. That doesn’t mean I don’t like him, but who cares if he has discovered his long lost daughter? Masuka is at his best when he is making weird pervy jokes, but this season they neutered him and it hurt his character. Who cares if Masuka develops depth? Nobody, nobody cares at all. He hasn’t had depth for seven seasons, so why start now?
- Ugh, dreadful character that added almost nothing to the season. Quite frankly she wasn’t really needed; she just became a lady that Dexter would go to for advice on people to kill. She was really there to help with Debra and Dexter’s relationship, but she could have done that with a much more marginalised role than she actually had. Her death in the end had almost no point to the season at all; he was going to kill the Brain Surgeon anyway so her death didn’t add to that, and even after her death Dexter chose the happy life that she had argued that he shouldn’t be seeking over avenging her death by handing Saxon over to Debra. Pointless character that added nothing to the season.
- So he goes from crushing on Debra pretty hard to trying to get revenge on her for not liking him back. The guy was a dick, had an unsatisfying final scene and was a poor antagonist.
- Debra’s progression.
- Debra goes from being emotionally torn and detached from her brother and her friends, dropping in to a life of drugs and poor sexual partner choices (STD’s were in her future it would seem….oh wait she’s dead….never mind), to driving Dexter into a river (maybe a lake) to saving him and then to everything being back to normal all in the space of five episodes. The best thing Debra did all season was dying.
- What was the point of this character? Hasn’t Dexter had an apprentice before? (It also didn’t turn out well). Can people really sympathise some snot nosed rich kid that has decided he quite fancies being a serial killer because the country club has started allowing black members? (I made that last bit up, but you never know). The further problem was that who cares when Zach dies? Nobody because he isn’t an established character, imagine if that had been someone like a Masuka or worse Harrison, it would really have hit home how dangerous the Brain Surgeon was. Instead we got some nobody that appeared in four episodes.
- Is this the final season?
- How far into the season did it start to feel like this wasn’t just another season of Dexter? Episode 11 maybe? So episode 11 out of a 12 episode season, hm. When a show makes it into its last season it should have a greater focus because it knows that this is it. The writers can be more aggressive with their storylines because they know that if they kill off a major character it doesn’t really matter because it is over. Up until the last two episodes season 8 felt like just another season and it should have felt special. The writers messed up the ending and they messed up the last season, quite an accomplishment.
- The concept of the season.
- What really bothers me about the last season of Dexter is that they went for the Dexter vs another serial killer move, rather than going for the more sensible and what would have been more exciting Dexter vs the police. The best season and most exciting season of Dexter was season 2, because it had the chase, it had Dexter acting desperate because of the pressure he was under and it had Doakes (God I miss Doakes [Surprise MOTHA FUCKA!!!]). Who could have stepped up and taken that role? Masuka maybe? (Gets him with forensics and shit). To be honest Quinn would have been best suited to the role and it actually would have given him something proper to do.
- Dexter kills Saxon.
- I liked the way that Dexter killed Saxon, because it was clever and I like the way he acted after pushing the button; however Saxon got first stab and went for the shoulder? Are you the stupidest serial killer ever? Go for the eye, go for the neck like Dexter, not the fucking shoulder you idiot!
- Also is it me or surely two cops can’t just look at blatant video evidence of one man killing another and then decide that it is self-defence so just let him go. He just killed a guy! And it’s on video! Surely you can’t just let him go because you are pals.
- What about Harrison!
- Am I the only one who thinks what Dexter did to Harrison was incredibly selfish? Sure Dexter doesn’t want to hurt those around them and he thinks that his presence does that, but I imagine Harrison would rather have his dad around.
- Also Dexter wants to keep Harrison safe so he leaves him in a foreign country where he doesn’t speak the language with an unstable serial killer? Not exactly the best choice. Maybe he should have left him with Astor and Cody (remember them? Don’t worry nobody does).
- Won’t people wonder where Harrison has disappeared too? After all, his father is presumed dead and he isn’t with his aunt (cause she dead too), so where’d he go? Either he’s been paedo snatched or he is one well-resourced six year old.
- Miami ain’t safe!
- I’m not from Miami so it isn’t fair for me to judge but it doesn’t look like what I would call safe. In fact quite the opposite, it looks like a haven for serial killers and weirdo’s (sorry Masuka). Dexter doing it for the Miami tourist board one step at a time!
So there it is the Dexter season 8 review, if you were wondering what I thought about the season, just have a little count of the totals (3 positives and 16 negatives). The sad thing about it is that this season of Dexter had so much potential, yet none of it was achieved. At almost every turn the writers got it wrong, and they fell back into the mistakes that they made in seasons 5 and 6. It really annoys me because I really like the series Dexter, and I really like the character Dexter and we as fans deserved a better ending than what we got. We deserved closure, but we didn’t get it, and that is sad.
To be honest Dexter has been dead for years, with the writers clearly having run out of ideas after season 4, this was further confirmed in this season. Dexter ran 2 or 3 seasons too long and in many ways has tarnished the legacy that Dexter will leave.
I tried my best to not make references in this write up to Breaking Bad (which is also in its last season, and if you didn’t realise that then what are you doing with your life?), but it really was very hard. Almost everything that Dexter has done wrong, Breaking Bad has done right, and Dexter’s poor season (I would say the 3rd worst one, only better than 5 and 6 [which were awful]) hasn’t been helped when it is on the exact same night as the excellent Breaking Bad final season.
There is almost certainly going to be a Dexter spin-off, which is…..how can I put this best…..a poor idea. Some shows just don’t deserve or require a spin-off, and Dexter is one of those shows. Not to keep going back to Breaking Bad, but a Saul Goodman prequel spin-off makes total sense, but does anyone from Dexter really deserve one? They aren’t going to do Dexter in his new life and they can’t do a Deb spin-off now, the only two characters that actually could handle a spin-off. Does anyone really care or want to see a spin-off about anyone from Miami Metro Homicide? They couldn’t write for them in Dexter, so is it really going to be better if they have their own show? Probably not. A show about Harrison as an adult could be an option, but would be ill advised because it would have to be set in the future. Hannah is a possibility, but she would be stuck in Argentina with a kid, not what I’d call great TV. The only other option that would be left is a prequel, about Dexter’s early years, but do we really need any more of the Dexter story? I don’t think we do, and it isn’t helped by the fact that it is highly unlikely that Dexter and Deb are highly unlikely to be played by the actors who played them in Dexter (Michael C. Hall is 42 after all, he can hardly play a man in his late teens early twenties). As I have already said, not every show warrants a spin-off. It will more than likely happen though, and if it is being written by the same people who were recently writing Dexter (which I believe it is) then it will probably be shit.
So what did you think of the final season of Dexter? Were you as disappointed as I was? Or did you think it was a fitting end to a long running series? What do you think about the Dexter spin-off idea? Leave a comment and let me know.