Wrap ups, send offs, big goodbyes, and “The End’s”, are some of the hardest parts of all storytelling. Is a lesson learned? Does the main character live on? Do we get the obligatory double ending where nothing makes sense? In Dexter’s world, we meet the finale with what all fans can come to expect from the enduring psychopath; to face the storm head on.
With Elway’s presence threatening to undo Hannah and Dexter’s plan to leave Miami and Saxon hot on the loose after shooting Deb in the last episode, Dexter races to save those he cares about and put an end to the bloodshed he’s caused most of his life.
We’re treated with a final clash between serial killers, a pair of heartfelt flashbacks, and a moment of sorrow that will leave some viewers wishing it wasn’t so, like me. There are plenty of rushed moments and loose ends to tie, but in the end, the show “Dexter” ends with less reflection and more, a statement: Nothing ends.
Let’s take one last Slice of Life and into “Remember the Monsters?”
Dexter and Harrison are at the airport with Dex in a hurry to find Hannah. He gets a call from her from the ladies room where he finds out that Elway is close by. Dexter spots him and makes a short plan by going to a shop and purchasing items including a backpack. He then sets it under a chair and tells a boarding attendant that Elway left it. Security apprehends Elway and everyone including Dex, Hannah, and Harrison are evacuated from the airport.
At the abandoned hospital, Angel, Quinn, and Miami Metro rule Clayton’s death a murder by Saxon and they rush Deb to the hospital. Deb pleads for them not to call Dex. As Quinn rides in the ambulance with Deb, she recalls all the bad things she’s been a part of, but Quinn reassures her that being back on the force will be good for her. When they arrive at the hospital, Deb passes out, but not before whispering that she loves Quinn.
Matthews arrives and he and Angel agree to call Dex. When they do, Dex suggests to Hannah that they leave the city and fly from another location. He’s going to go see Deb in the meantime.
Saxon is seen bleeding from the arm. He knocks out a man by his truck and steals it.
Dex arrives with Harrison to the Hospital. They tell him that Deb will pull through.
Back at the airport, Elway is released. He calls Clayton and tells his voicemail that his contacts will report to him if they see Hannah. He then calls the Marshall’s main office and they inform him that Clayton was killed in action.
Deb wakes up and sees Dex and asks why he isn’t in Argentina. Dex feels guilty for leaving Saxon alone with her, but Deb tells him she’s responsible for her own life. She still wants Dex to be happy and tells him to go be with Hannah. After a doctor arrives to tell them that she’ll likely make a full recover, Dex reluctantly departs. Jaime is outside the room with Harrison and Dexter recounts a moment shortly after Harrison was born when he and Deb went to see Harrison in the nursery and are excited about the future even though Dexter is afraid he doesn’t know what to do to be a father.
In the present, Dexter asks Matthews to post guards near Deb just in case Saxon shows up. As Dex goes to leave, Elways is there. He offhandedly asks if he’s going to meet back with Hannah and that Clayton’s murder is partially on his hands. Dex threatens him to stay away and leaves.
Saxon spots an animal shelter and goes inside. He forces a male vet to stitch the cut on his arm. As he does, Saxon watches the news on TV and finds that Deb was taken to the hospital while the police are still searching for him. He decides to take the vet and his car.
At the hotel, Hannah tells Dex they can get away by bus to Jacksonville and then fly out from there. They make a plan and Dex tells her he’ll catch up later. He can’t leave until Saxon is caught. As the bus comes, he tells her to take Harrison. They each exchange goodbyes including Harrison who admits to Dex that he loves Hannah.
Saxon stops outside the hospital and forms a plan to get inside. He cuts the vet’s tongue out and lets him stumble into the main entrance where he sneaks in from the distraction. Dex comes in seconds after and realizes what Saxon is doing. He grabs a fork from a patient’s room and finds Saxon just outside Deb’s door. As they are about to rush each other, Angel gets the drop on Saxon and apprehends him. Once he’s taken away, Dex goes into Deb’s room, but she isn’t there. He finds Quinn who tells him that Deb is back in ICU. The doctor tells Dex that a clot formed and caused a stroke. She may recover the ability to breathe on her own, but she’ll never be able to eat, converse or live on her own again. The doctor thinks only a miracle would cure her, but Dex leaves saying he doesn’t believe in miracles.
He recalls once more the moment when he and Deb held Harrison for the first time. Deb recounts when she was a kid and thought there were monsters in her room when the lights went out and that Dexter was there convincing her the monsters weren’t real and he stayed with her regardless. She knows he’ll be a good father because he was a good big-brother and always made her feel safe.
Hannah talks about Argentina to Harrison, who falls asleep in his seat. Someone gently grabs Hannah’s arm and it’s Elway, sitting across from her. He explains what will happen when they arrive in Daytona. He plans to take her to the Marshall’s field office and also take Harrison to child protective services.
At Miami Metro, Dex sees Saxon in an interrogation room. Angel and Quinn enter to tell Saxon to cooperate. Saxon mentions his lawyer and jabs Quinn by pretending he doesn’t know who Deb is. Quinn attacks Saxon, Angel stops him and Saxon requests the presence of his attorney. Dex ponders letting the state handle Saxon from here on out.
On the bus, Hannah gets some tea from her thermos and offers it to Elway, who mocks the gesture. Hannah then injects a syringe with horse tranquilizer and then leaves the bus with Harrison.
Back at Metro, Dex signs in to perform a GSR on Saxon. He enters his holding cell and puts on his rubber gloves while telling Saxon that he wants to blame Saxon for what happened but that it’s truly his fault. He also says his eyes are own and he sees a trail of blood and body parts. He then explains that he intends to kill Saxon with the pen on the table. Saxon sees it and grabs it first, stabbing Dex in the upper left shoulder. Dex retrieves the pen and plunges it into Saxon’s throat. Saxon then bleeds out and dies.
Quinn and Angel review the footage of the murder and question Dexter about it. Dex wanted to look him in the eye. Angel and Quinn understand and decide to make up a story that it was self-defense. Angel tells Dex to go and that he’s praying for Deb.
At the condo, Dex is reflecting as the storm approaches and he ultimately decides to take matters into his own hands. He takes his boat to a dock by the hospital, donning his familiar brown wears. He enters Deb’s room and sits down on her bed. She’s still unconscious and hooked up to a breathing system. He tells her he would change everything if he could. He grabs her arm and apologizes to her. Deciding he can’t let her live like this, he shuts the machine off and disconnects her from it. The monitor slowly beeps until she flatlines as he whispers “I love you, Deb” into her ear. He then takes her from the hospital to his boat.
The storm is almost on the city as Dex drives out to the ocean and stops just short of the storm. He then calls Hannah as they board the plane and tells her and Harrison both that he’ll see them soon and that he loves Harrison. He tosses the phone away and then holds Deb’s face in his hands. Gently he picks her up and lets her fall into the ocean where she sinks and fades away into it. His final narration tells us that he destroys everyone he loves and he can’t let that happen to Hannah and Harrison. He has to protect them from him. Dex then drives his boat into the storm.
After the storm passes, the coast guard finds a piece of Dexter’s boat, but no body.
At Metro, Angel receives a call and listens only to ask “Dexter?”
Hannah and Harrison are sitting in a cafe eating as Hannah reads an article on a tablet about Dexter’s boat being found but no Dexter. Hannah holds back her tears and takes Harrison to go get some ice cream. Fade to Black.
A final scene fades into a lumber yard where a truck pulls up. A man exits and disconnects a chain around the trees on the bed. The man is revealed to be Dexter. He leaves the lumberyard and goes to his small house where he sits down and stares out the window for a moment. He then faces forward, closes his eyes, and then reopens them staring right into the camera as the show fades to black once more.
My thoughts were a bit garbled from the moment Dexter drove to the boat to the hospital, to the moment when he let Debra Morgan fall into the ocean and sink like so many victims of his past. I’m not going to lie, I choked up. Deb was always my favorite character from day one and watching her final moments was hard. I don’t blame Dexter for what he did, nor am I angry with why. Inside I always knew one of them would be falling so the other could live free. I didn’t think the choice would be out of her hands, but for Dexter, it was all he could do. This was a surreal moment that made me forget the absurdity that was the rest of the episode and take in the entire scene. Had the show truly ended with him driving into the storm, I would have nodded and said “That works.”
But it didn’t. We were treated with a short segment with Angel sparking Dexter’s survival and with Hannah realizing that she’ll be raising Harrison on her own. I get those moments even though I don’t deem them necessary. Instead, we are given a wordless segment that not only shows us Dexter’s hidden life after leaving Miami, but that he’s alone, still reflecting, and sees us.
I’ll rant a little and then return to moments I thought really worked. To begin with, Saxon was meaningless, or, a meaning to less ends. Season eight introduced a flow of heavy themes involving Vogel as a maternal figure for Dexter. I was on board because I thought her agenda was much larger than we knew. Once it was clear it wasn’t, I stopped believing in that portion of the plot. Enter Zach, the protégé. Zach had a willingness to carry on the torch, but, sadly, he wasn’t a character the audience was really going to get behind, so he was disposed of rather quickly. Saxon had shoes he couldn’t fill in. He was never going to be as smart as Dexter’s brother or as the Trinity killer. There was just no way. Saxon villain role was to put him in the position to destroy Deb, at make Dexter choose to end her life. As much as this episode parallels a combination of familiar films I’m left only truly loving the moments he and Deb shared together, and that’s what they did do right.
At first I thought the flashbacks were overstating the relationship between Deb and Dex, but more and more I began to realize that Deb’s statement about Dexter always making her feel safe, that was what was needed to finally set Dex on his path. Nothing else from the plot mattered, not Elway, not Angel, not Quinn (Even though his sorrow with Deb in the ICU made me think she was already gone) Not even Hannah truly mattered in this plot’s final moments. It was always about Dex and what he had to do to finally put Deb in a better place. I want to be angry, but I can’t be. Jennifer did such a great job with her scenes and even though her pleasant attitude should have been the obvious twist of her fate, I never thought she would be the one to go.
Was this an agreeable ending to the series and a franchise as a whole? It is and here’s a simple reason why. Dexter has to endure, no matter what. I really wanted that storm to kill him, to sweep him away and drown him in the tempest that was his killing way of life. But that’s too easy for Dex. His trouble is that he’s too perfect at what he does and he’ll continue to live knowing what that life of killing has cost him. In seeing that he’s still alive, we have hope that he’ll, one day, be reunited with Hannah and Harrison. Though, Dex will fight to make sure that doesn’t happen, but writing is writing and ratings are ratings. Was Angel’s call from Dexter himself, or was it just a call to Angel “about” Dexter? Why put that scene in there at all? It has to keep us going, it has to keep us believing that things aren’t over for him. Time will tell.
Overall, this episode provided a rich moment that I’ll watch a dozen times over. Deb’s final scenes and beyond until she reaches the sea shook me up, and I’m glad. Everything else about the episode was just to make that scene happen, and though it fit for a Dexter show, I wasn’t as glued or impressed as I have been in the past with previous finale’s. All I really wanted was a single moment, and I got it. I’m satisfied. This could have had the same impact if the show ran only five seasons, but it still happened and I can appreciate the effort put into it.
Where Dexter, or the rumored spin-off’s, prequels, whatever, ends up, I’m glad I stuck through it. It was a great premise, and had some solid sticking points. I’ll miss Rita, Trinity, Debra, even Doakes. I’ll even miss Dexter and rewatch the first two seasons, from time to time. Thanks for reading my season eight reviews on Dexter. I’ll have others in the future I’ll be reviewing.
No more words