“Dexter”: Excellent early seasons marred by sloppy end


Photos courtesy of Kenny Martin

Dexter kills Saxon in full view of a camera. Once again, he gets away with it easily.

Kenny Martin, Special to The Skyline View

If you haven’t watched “Dexter” yet, stop reading now (spoilers) and watch the first four seasons. They’re classics. But only those, otherwise you’ll be disappointed. “Dexter: Season eight” continues in the vein of recent seasons, and ends a series that once was so gripping and beautiful on a low note.

From the start, the final season of “Dexter” had problems. Batista was back on the police force, despite having left in season seven to open his own restaurant. His reason for coming back was LaGuerta’s death, who died at the hand of Dexter and Deb, yet there was absolutely no investigation into her death. Another instance of
Dexter having things go his way.

Additionally, the only thing Batista did the entire season was name Miller to sergeant, a character few remember and nobody knows anything about.

Continuing from prior seasons, Harrison is a completely normal kid, despite having seen his mother murdered and been left in her blood for hours, strikingly similar to what happened to Dexter. And we all know what became of
Dexter. Ever since season four’s shocking finale, I’d been waiting for Harrison to show psychopathic tendencies, but not a hint of one ever appeared. On top of that, Harrison has no personality; he’s always sitting in the corner coloring.

Compare Harrison to Astor and Cody, who provided distractions in Dexter’s life, such as asking Dexter to go camping or forcing him to deal with the emotions of a preteen. Additionally, Cody got in a fight with a kid to defend Dexter’s reputation. Astor and Cody were two characters I cared about, as they allowed Dexter to experience normal childhood for the first time, but they were written out of the show entirely by season eight.

Quinn’s a character who had so much potential that got wasted. I was hoping he would be the new James Doakes. He was during season five, but he changed due to Deb and never went back. In season eight, Quinn could have
investigated LaGuerta’s death personally, but instead his only goal in life was to hook back up with Deb.
He even entirely ignored Deb’s confession about killing LaGuerta. Pathetic.

Masuka used to be an invaluable part of the show, with his hilarious one-liners and banter with Deb, but in seasons leading up to eight, he wasn’t funny anymore. In season eight, he didn’t even try to be funny. Instead, he was preoccupied with the daughter he didn’t know he had. But that story arc didn’t go anywhere, so what was
the point? In addition to Masuka’s over-the-top comedy, the writing in general used to be witty and playful, but in later seasons it was all serious and trite.

Season eight started out interesting, despite the aforementioned problems. Dexter met the true architect of “the code,” Deb was in an unpredictable state and hated Dexter, and Dexter found a disciple, Zach, whom he could teach the code (that would fill the gap Harrison left). But then Deb suddenly was fine and Zach was killed off before he could be developed. At that point the series hit rock bottom.

The writing was sloppy and rushed. The main villain, Saxon, was introduced out of nowhere, and was not fleshed out at all. There was no way for audiences to sympathize with him. Hannah McKay (and I never cared for her character – she’s no Lila!), supposedly a calculating killer, goes out in public without altering her appearance at all…And nobody notices!!!

In the finale, Deb dies anticlimactically, right after she tells Dexter she forgives him. That was her life’s meaning? Her death should have been devastating, like Rita’s, but instead it wasn’t because she was a shell of the character we used to care for. The ending seemed like a cop-out for the writers to avoid making any decisions.

Does Dexter the lumberjack kill? Will Hannah care for Harrison? All of the other characters seem like they faded into oblivion.