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Tonight's The Night, Dexter.


Yesterday, I watched the finale of Dexter, a television series that I have been fixated with. Upon watching the finale, I was left extremely heartbroken and I was unable to think about anything but the travesty of this episode. I woke up this morning experiencing an intense sense of sadness over the finale and although I reminded myself that it was only a television show and nothing to be upset about, I could not stop thinking about it. I began to wonder how a television show could cause me such sadness and how it could affect me to the point that it was dictating my emotions.

The reason that I love to watch television series is because they generally run over a long period of time. The characters have time to grow, their relationships develop and become more relatable. This provides you with the capacity to grow connected to a character. It allows you to intertwine yourself with the story and in that moment, you become a part of it; you belong in their world. When we re-watch old shows, it almost feels like a reconciliation. We experience the same emotion that we feel upon greeting an old friend. With films, I have always felt that there is not enough time to truly get to know a character and you don’t invest yourself into the story. However, with books, we connect to something, we see ourselves in characters, we feel that we become a part of each other and in a strange way, we almost claim some sort of ownership over the story.

Dexter is a perfect example of this. I completed the eight seasons of this show in two weeks. My days consisted of watching back-to-back episodes and growing attached to the characters and the stories. My main connection was with the protagonist, Dexter. He was so self-aware and he had a darkness inside of him. He had learned to control that darkness, but it sometimes consumed him. He referred to this darkness as his ‘dark passenger’ and there was a great part of me that could relate to him. The ability to relate is what establishes our connection; being able to find common ground, a mutual interest, a bond. His darkness interferes with every aspect of his life and the series follows his interactions with people and the way that he eventually builds connections with them. I was able to experience this with him, and I immersed myself into the show. I think that the most significant thing that I found in him was his isolation from people, his abstinence from interaction, his inability to feel. These were things that I could relate to.

His relationship with his sister developed beautifully and was the one facet that made him more likeable. Their relationship persevered amid everything else and he went out of his way to protect her. However, after building such strong characters, and a solid relationship, everything was ruined in a 50 minute episode.

When we read and watch things, we yearn for a happy ending which quite possibly stems from the fairytales that were read to us as children. We were brought up under the illusion that when the story ends, the characters journey has been completed. We were taught that there is always a resolution, everything is restored, there is justice. The bad guy is always caught and the good one lives happily ever after. This ending has become unconventional and producers are now using their initiative to create open endings, leaving the audience guessing. After watching some of the impeccable seasons of Dexter, I had high expectations for the finale. My attachment to his character had strengthened throughout the series, and I wanted a happy ending for him, or for him to at least have progressed.

If you have not yet watched the finale, please do not read on.

Upon watching the finale, I was left in a mist of betrayal. The last time that I experienced this sort of treachery was during the final two seasons of the Gilmore Girls when the original writers were replaced and the series went downhill. I could not comprehend why they chose to destroy such formidable characters and I felt the same way about Dexter. I was hurt by their decision to kill off Deb after everything that she had endured in the show. The most terrible part was the fact that Dexter, her brother, who withstood everything, was the one to kill her. He then dumped her body into the ocean, as he did with his other victims. This was almost an insult to their entire relationship and I felt terribly cheated by this. It was not so much the decision to kill her off that bothered me, but the way that they approached it.

Then there was the fact that they spent entire seasons building a relationship between Dexter and Harrison, which demonstrated Dexter’s love and admiration for him. He was willing to do anything to protect him and there was no way that Dexter would have abandoned him. The producer’s decision to send Harrison off with Hannah was improbable and Dexter would never have done that. He would not have abandoned Harrison, especially after his relationship with Harry. Hannah’s entire character was also pointless and there was not enough chemistry between her and Dexter for him to even contemplate giving up his life in Miami to be with her. His relationships with Lila, Rita and Lumen were more believable, but there was not enough depth to Hannah's character.

I also felt that they should have heightened Vogel’s character and displayed more of her interactions with Harry, which in turn could help her connect more with Dexter. Her son should have also had more time on screen in order to develop his character because there was not enough inclination to want him dead. Saxon should have killed someone closer to Dexter which would generate more hatred towards him, for example if he killed Jamie. Dexter would also have not faked his own death because the seasons demonstrated how he almost became human, and in the end, his decision to have no human contact meant that he was back where he started. There was no resolution.

Alternative endings:

1. Dexter is sitting beside Deb's hospital bed holding her hand. Harrison is sat beside him. Deb opens her eyes, says something consisting a swear word, and smiles. This would almost demonstrate that his dark passenger has left, and that his bond with his family is stronger. 

2. When Deb has been shot, Dexter realises that he cannot leave her, and at the same time, he wants to leave Miami. Deb eventually recovers from the shooting, and Harrison and Dexter accompany her abroad to begin a new life together.
3. Hannah is caught whilst boarding her flight and a police officer takes 
Harrison back to Dexter. After visiting Hannah in jail, he realises that Harrison deserves a good role model as a mother and he bids goodbye to Hannah. He moves in with Deb and Astor and Cody eventually come to live with him.

An old producer of the show described how he would have ended the show, and even this would have been a magnificent ending.

‘Dexter’s opening his eyes and he’s on the execution table at the Florida Penitentiary. They’re just starting to administer the drugs and he looks out through the window to the observation gallery, and in the gallery are all the people that Dexter killed.’
(Image Source: here)

1 comment

  1. Hi Kratz!

    I never would have guessed that you would like Dexter, haha. Provably because you were a very different person the last time I checked your blog. :) I'm pleased you seem to be more content now :)

    I started watching Dexter when it first aired but I wasn't completely sold on the last season so I ended up watching the last few episodes of season eight in a very orange hotel room in Manchester in October. my ONLY reaction to the ending was "OMG he's a lumberjack!" (I still have my flight ticket from then and I for some reason I have scribbled down "lumberjack" on it, haha).

    After my first intial reaction (OMG Lumberjack!!) I started thinking about everything else and I guess, for me it made sense to kill of Deb. Her character never developed enough for me. She calmed down a bit and she was promoted to a lieutenant, but that was it. Dexter getting caught, Dexter running away, Dexter dying - all those endings would have just raised questions about what would happen to Deb, I think. Now we know what happened.

    If I am not remembering it wrong, she was brain dead so was not going to wake up, was she? I think Dexter did the right thing by unplugging the machine. Think that is what Deb would have wanted. As for dumping her in the ocean I completely agree with you. I really didn't like that he did that.

    Lumen was my favorite Dexter girl but I guess Hanna has been the only one caring for Harrison (except for Rita). I took it as Dexter left him with Hanna to protect him from himself, Dexter. I don't know. :)

    I was going to write a blog post, my first one since 2012 and I came to think about you and looked you up and I ended up writing the longest comment here instead. :)

    I hope 2014 treats you well, Kratz.

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