Editor’s Note: I know Dexter’s finale came out over a month ago, but since the show’s now available on Netflix I thought it’d be a good time to talk about it. Also, spoilers.
The main weakness of television is that after a certain amount of time, a series tends to run out of ideas. For the good of many shows, its fans tend to only celebrate the good days (despite where it’s been for the last twelve years, The Simpsons shall always remain for me the best sitcom ever produced on television). Dexter, however, has gotten to the point where it’s hard not to distinguish its great seasons with its bad ones. In its first four years, the show was one of the freshest and best things on television. Yet soon afterwards it became clear that the writers didn’t know what to do with the show. Storylines were repeated, characters stopped being interesting (how could the Miami police department not see through Dexter after all those years?), and the series became boring. Dexter still had some strengths (Michael C. Hall always delivered), but I stopped watching the show a couple of years ago. I hoped that “Remember The Monsters?,” the series finale, would help redeem Dexter but it only further reveals the weaknesses of the show. It’s a punch in the gut for anyone who has ever loved Dexter.
There were so many problems with the episode it’s hard to begin. While having Deb die isn’t a terrible idea, I found it unbelievable that Dexter would still care about her. Plus Dexter wasn’t exposed as the Bay Harbor Butcher. And worst of all, Dexter didn’t die. No, Dexter decided just to fake his death and take a new life as a lumberjack.
While that last idea came courtesy of Showtime, it proves how aimless Dexter has been in recent years and felt like an insult to the show’s fans. It also hurt that Dexter had its finale a week before Breaking Bad’s own one. Both shows have similar premises (a man doing the wrong things for the right reasons while having a direction connection to the law), but the difference is how the shows transitioned their characters. Breaking Bad had Walter White become increasingly more wicked and evil until he finally broke. But Dexter made the decision long ago that its eponymous protagonist wasn’t an antihero but a good guy, the friendly serial killer more or less. Breaking Bad ended with a spectacular bang where Walt faced the wrath of his sins while Dexter ended with its hero getting off easy. It was a conclusion that for me may have destroyed my love for the show. “Remember the Monsters?” was a forced hour on the fans of Dexter and an embarrassment for the once great series.