September 21, 2013 by Susan Miller
Steven: How far ahead of the writers did you feel during this week’s episode?
Susan: Ahead? I don’t know if I felt ahead. It’s weird to watch this at the same time as Breaking Bad because you see Dexter trying to make the same movements, with none of the grace. Oh, Dexter’s leaving Miami. Oh, look at his apartment all boxed up. Look, they brought back a bit character from season 3 (Miguel Prado’s wife). Were we supposed to remember her? Is that important? And then, with the cliffhanger ending with Deb getting shot, all I could think was – no way the writers pull the trigger, AND, no way all of that can be resolved in one episode. So do I feel ahead? No. Not really. Mostly I just feel confused.
Also, in Breaking Bad, everyone is finding out that Walt is a terrible person and he has to pay for his narcissism. Dexter, meanwhile, is being celebrated by his POLICE OFFICER co-workers and has just been magically cured of his addiction. Basically, we’re supposed to celebrate Dexter. Huh? Seriously? I don’t think we’re supposed to celebrate anti-heroes. That makes me feel icky.
Steven: The way they have dispensed with Dexter’s addiction makes me also feel icky indeed. This is one argument for film over television. We defend TV a great deal around here–as we should–but there is something to be said about one story told with unity. The biggest difference between Dexter and Breaking Bad, in my mind, is Vince Gilligan. While Dexter has had an ever changing staff of show runners and writers and producers, Breaking Bad has had a bona fide auteur, whose work will be studied alongside those classic works of Truffaut, Fellini, and Hitchcock.
The other thing that bothers me about this season–he says, as if there is only one other thing–is how much pointing there’s been. “Look at what’s going to happen in three episodes,” the writers say as they point out Vogel’s murder-y son. “Oh, it’s almost here,” they squeal, tapping your shoulder. “Look, look, it’s happening! Aren’t you surprised?” For instance, we’ve known that Hannah is going to try to get on a plane and that whats-his-bucket is going to try to stop her for like…a season and a half. (I’m pretty sure I’ve been seeing that airport confrontation snippet since last year: “Don’t miss the final season of Dexter, which will end like this…”)
Or am I the only one who has felt like a horse with blinders on?
Susan: I honestly don’t know what they’ll do to end it. We’ve been seeing scenes in hospitals and airports, which are kind of confusing, because they appear to be the same place, but that’s another issue. Then there was another one in the promo this week that looked like Dexter was in some sort of open cell. Wha? Like I said, I have no idea how all of this is supposed to wrap up in an hour.
It’s also sort of infuriating that this whole thing with Deb and Quinn is supposed to be the stand-in for emotional impact. Like, Deb is going to be dying in an ambulance and confess all her sins to Quinn and then Quinn is going to glare at Dexter and we’re supposed to feel like that’s what we’ve been waiting for for 8 seasons? Really? Quinn is going to be the one to arrest Dexter? Since when is that what anyone wanted? What about Batista? Or Captain Matthews? Or Deb? Or Jamie? There are so many more interesting and logical ways this could’ve gone, but no. We’re going to get more Quinn, because Desmond Harrington is the prettiest boy on the show. Good grief.
Also, Lem. Seriously. Why bring him back for that stinker of a story? I should’ve known better than to think Lem would get a hero’s end.
Steven: You think Quinn is the prettiest boy on the show? You don’t think he’s too skinny? I always think he looks hungry. And grumpy. But that’s another issue. Yeah, I’m pretty resigned to disappointment at this point(ment?). Maybe that’s why the writers have been pointing so much? They’re keeping our expectations at reasonable levels.
Argh. There was so much more the show could’ve been! I would’ve even preferred the crazy direction the books took–the happy reunion with Brian, the serial killer-y children, the dark passenger as a real thing, the demon Moloch–because for all its bizarreness, the novels at leave are cohesive and comprehensive (I assume, I’ve only actually read about them on Wikipedia). At this point Dexter is devoid of the supernatural, devoid of metaphor, and devoid even of the most basic psychological explanations. I don’t even get the sense that there’s a single narrative, let alone a meaning behind that narrative. Argh.
One more episode to go, and then we can all begin wondering what could’ve been.
Susan: Well, yes, he’s definitely too skinny. His cheeks are sharp. Have you noticed that? Poor thing looks like a starving wolf. But even with that, he’s the prettiest boy on the show (other than Dexter and Oliver). I mean, you don’t have that many other options. There’s really just Batista, Matthews and Masuka after that, and they’re all stuck in the world’s worst C-stories. Your pointing rant made me think of Michael Scott’s Powerpoint demonstration. Classic.
Maybe the spin-off will cover the books? That would be weird and stupid, but you know what? I bet we would watch it. There’s really no excuse for us at this point. We deserve what we get.
So do you think they’ll really kill off Deb and turn her into a bench?
Steven: I think that Deb would have just as much agency as a bench as she does now. But you’re absolutely right…we are still watching.
Susan: Since this is our final blog post before the finale, what other things do you want to predict? Final verdict for Dexter? Last shot of the series? Spin-off possibilities?
Steven: Dexter’s fate: Either he is caught by someone who hasn’t earned the privilege, or he escapes (which he doesn’t deserve) and magically resolves his dark passenger situation by including more fiber in his diet.
Last shot of the series: Dexter living in an exotic, tropical paradise but being mildly unhappy. [Voice over]: I’m in this tropical paradise, and yet I’m mildly unhappy.
Spin-off: Loyal followers of Dexter groan for two seasons, critics utter nothing but cricket noises, and then Dexter 2.0 “Now With More Nudity” is discontinued. America begins the healing process, including candle light vigils and a letter writing campaign to Showtime President, David Nevins, in hopes that history will not repeat itself. Keith Urban writes a song, “What Coulda Been,” which is hailed by critics and audiences alike as a perfect embodiment of the nation’s collective grief. Best line: “But Showtime had a time slot/ And didn’t care you didn’t have a plot.” That’s when the Second Great Recession begins…True story.
How about you? Same questions.
Susan: Dexter’s fate: Deb spills the beans to Quinn. Quinn stares angrily at Dexter. Dexter says, if you let me go, you can marry my sister and be happy and then everything will be fine. Quinn agrees immediately. Dexter goes off to Argentina with the miraculously escaped Hannah and Harrison. Once he’s gone, Masuka goes to Captain Matthews to collect.
Masuka: You owe me, Matthews. Now that the Morgans are gone, you owe me big.
Matthews: “Thanks for covering Deb and Dexter’s tracks for the past 8 years. They’re like family to me. Your daughter can work here as long as she wants.”
Masuka: Creepy laugh. Exits. Tokes up with daughter in blood lab.
Last shot of the series: In a horror movie turn, Dexter walks in on a bloody Harrison, standing over Hannah’s lifeless, stabbed up body on the floor of the bathroom. Harrison yells, “I learned it by watching you!” and bursts into tears. Dexter hugs Harrison and laughs. They eat ice cream. Curb Your Enthusiasm music plays. Roll credits.
Spin-off: It’s literally the exact same show except Masuka is now the serial killer and he’s hiding it from his daughter. Deb is Doakes. Quinn is LaGuerta. Batista is Captain Matthews. Captain Matthews is, weirdly, ghost Dad Harry. Angie Miller is still around but is never, ever, ever referenced. It runs for 8 years. Dexter comes back at the end and kills Masuka and reclaims his old place. The third spin-off begins when he rediscovers his love for killing and finds 3 more blonde wives. Another 8 years pass. We cover the show for the rest of our lives.
Steven: Can I change all my answers to your answers?
Next week: the finale is finally here. I have literally ZERO expectations. Honestly, it will be nice to see it put out of its misery. I never thought I’d say that, but here we are. RIP, Dexter.