Major SPOILER ALERT. So how did Dexter end? Don’t even think about reading this blog if you haven’t watched yet. This is for the fans who want to digest a satisfying conclusion to Showtime’s Dexter, which ended its eight-season run on Sunday, Sept. 22.
A Sea Change: Dexter Goes Out With Whimper [Spoiler alert] As befits a series of Dexter’s caliber, the cast commented prior to the final episode that it ended as the creators intended all along. And it wasn’t with a bang, or a well-aimed blade, nothing that would have a viewer biting nails or clenching fists. Action was doled out in drips not splatters. It seemed that the writers, as well as their characters, had lost their taste for killing and wanted to concentrate on the internal struggles Dexter faces rather than the facade he had created for the world.
But the ending was far from a letdown; indeed, Dexter fans will likely be discussing it for weeks to come. And they might come to the conclusion, as I have, that their love of Dexter had a huge part in determining the ending.
It opened with Deb in the hospital, seriously wounded but expected to survive. She begs Angel and Quinn not to call Dexter, but to let him leave as planned. They comply, but only for a time. Dexter, clever as always, manages to get the U.S. Marshal Elway off Hannah’s tail, but flights are canceled and the airport is evacuated. Dexter receives a call telling him that Oliver Saxon escaped and Deb was shot. Knowing Saxon will be going after the Morgan he can find, he leaves Harrison with Hannah, tells her to find a different flight and goes to the hospital to protect his sister. After assuring himself that Deb will be fine, he says another farewell to Hannah and Harrison, and puts them on a bus heading to another airport. Inside it, Elway is waiting to take her into custody.
Hannah proves she doesn’t need Dexter to protect her when she puts Elway down for a long, long nap — and so deftly that a sleeping Harrison does not stir.
Life for Hannah and her young charge goes well, but for Dexter it’s another, sadder story. He gets to the hospital just as Saxon is making his move and is captured by Angel. But complications of Deb’s wound has left her brain dead. “I screwed up your life, Deb,” he told her earlier, and his decision not to kill Saxon when he had the chance was the worst mistake of all.
At the police station, he watches Quinn and Angel interrogate Saxon then, when Saxon is alone, he visits the holding cell. “You forced me to take a look at myself … You took away my chance at a happy life,” he tells Saxon.
Making his actions appear to be in self-defense, he lets Saxon wound him then sticks a pen into the man’s neck. He watches as Saxon bleeds out before pressing the help button. Watching the recording of the event after the fact, Quinn and Angel decide that, yep, clearly self-defense though they know otherwise. “I’m glad he’s dead. I wish I could have done it myself,” Quinn says, proving there is a killer in many of us if circumstances are right.
Standing on the deck of his house and looking out at the grey ocean, Dexter thinks, “For so long, I wanted to be like other people, to feel what they felt. Now that I do, I wish it would stop.”
In his final hour in Miami, he goes to the hospital, disconnects Deb from her life support and carries her to his boat, giving her a burial at sea before heading in toward the storm. When the pieces of the boat are found, he is presumed dead. From someplace in South America, Hannah reads the account online and thinks she is alone.
A good ending but there was more: In a final scene in what appears to be the Pacific Northwest, Dexter is sitting at a table in a ramshackle cabin, silently staring at nothing.
Clearly this was not the ending I, and likely most fans, expected, but it was the right one. Dexter is now fully human and needs to deal with the life he has led.
Will Dexter eventually come to grips with his past, and perhaps go back to Hannah and Harrison? Will he do what apparently he could not do in Miami and kill himself? Will he ever, at the least, find some peace? Fans can decide his end for themselves. For my part, I am an optimist. Dexter is waiting for redemption and it will find him. And what a stand-alone film that would make.
Photo: Credit: Randy Tepper/Showtime