Some fans clearly hoped for a humdinger final season - Dexter pitted against a serial killer spectacularly to eclipse all those encountered before.
Instead all is far more subdued, far more personal. Sister Debra is alarmingly in free fall after recent events, Dexter desperately striving to bring her back to normality. Now, more than ever, he wishes to settle, to be a good father to little Harrison (who hopefully has not inherited certain tendencies).
Newcomer Dr. Evelyn Vogel (Charlotte Rampling) has an important part to play. She had been close to Dexter's father Harry and helped him to perfect the growing lad's homicidal leanings (she surely thus not an asset to her profession). Psychopaths are her specialty - she now seemingly targeted by a former patient, she sent part of his victims' brains. Here is one Dexter badly needs to destroy, before he himself can embark on conventional family life.
Throughout its eight seasons, Michael C. Hall has been instrumental in causing so much to work well. Viewers could warm to his Dexter, he surely doing the world a favour dispatching major villains who had escaped justice. He, though, becomes his greatest critic - such a lifestyle bringing nothing but grief for those he holds most dear. Out of regard for them, should he not now head for a final kill - himself?
Early seasons were great, but the series wobbled - arguably its lowest spot Season 6 where so much was ludicrous. Adverse reviews caused me for long to steer clear of the final season, but temptation proved too great. Thank goodness I succumbed, this comparatively low key finale refreshing after certain earlier excesses.
(Twelve episodes. Modest bonuses include short features on how siblings Dexter and Debra evolved, we reminded of flamboyant serial killers dealt with en route.)
on 12 May 2014
This review contains spoilers and must be taken in context. I have watched all of Dexter's entire box sets from beginning to end, so I can only review S8 as a concluding part to a long running saga. I cannot review this without giving away the plot, or without sounding annoyed, so be warned.
Let's be clear: This season was the last chance for the writers to redeem themselves, to restore the tension, mystery, intrigue and suspense to Dexter and pull everything together in a satisfying concluding act that answered the key question of what happens when Dexter finally gets exposed. The death of a key person at the end of S7 was a perfect trigger for the net to close in on Dexter and for Miami Metro to turn Miami upside down looking for the killer.
The opening two episodes of S8 seemed to be nicely pushing us toward a manhunt with Dexter in the spotlight, with the smart and unflappable Dr. Vogel seemingly teasing Dexter with hints and suspicions. So it seemed that S8 would become a brilliant test of Dexter's ability to deflect suspicion while trying to survive long enough to kill a cruel bad guy.
But then the writers decided not to bother. Instead they brought back Hannah and the pathetic fatal attraction storyline. Then they revealed this season's killer to be a bit-part character who'd only spoke two lines. (At this point it became clear they were making it up as they went along). Then they introduced a possible protege for Dexter (a teenage killer) to teach 'the code'... but then killed him, off-screen, for no reason. Then they killed Vogel, on-screen, for no reason. Then they killed Debs, off-screen, for no reason. Then they killed the sub plots for Angel, Masuka and Quinn by simply abandoning them mid-story and never mentioning them again. Then they had Dexter fake his own death and abandon his son for NO GOOD REASON AT ALL having built up the fact he loves his son.
This whole season felt like a desperate grab for ideas, none of which stuck, and all of which were aborted in later episodes. The very end was terrible and made no sense at all. If only they'd piked just ONE idea and stuck with it, this could have worked. I can imagine the writers' meetings, with everyone having the "best" idea of their own, and the chief writer saying, "Calm down lads, we'll find a way to use them all. Now let's go for a beer."
People talk about how awful this final season was, or that it started going bad as early as S6, but for me it went wrong in S7 when Hannah was introduced. She destroyed the whole premise of Dexter. She gave him too much humanity and emotion. She turned him into a simpering fool who's nothing more than a lovelorn puppy. She also provided him a way out of trouble, somebody to confide in and keep his secrets. She was somebody for him to lust after, which is totally out of character for him. Dexter is a killer not a lover! And then we are asked to care less whether this woman escapes justice and we have to see Dexter try and protect her. No! We don't want this! She ought not to be in this series at all. Get rid of her! Every moment she appears is a moment of worsening quality of Dexter.
There are other mistakes too. The utter refusal to acknowledge or allude to Quinn's earlier suspicion of Dexter (in S5) is a major irritation. With Quinn randomly falling back in love with Debs (who incidentally murdered the police chief and got away with it) it seemed the perfect point to ramp up the pressure on Dexter... But no. Instead it's just a sub-plot romance between Debs and Quinn, with Dexter not involved at all. Quinn seems to be best friends with Dexter in this season and it's not realistic at all. They should have made Quinn suspicious again and work with Vogel to bring him down.
The S7 cliffhanger is conveniently glossed over, nobody suspects Debs or Dexter of anything, and it quickly becomes obvious that it will stay that way. It felt like even if Dex and Debs walked into Miami Metro shouting their guilt to the rafters, nobody would bat an eyelid.
The utter anti-climax of Debs' death is quite frankly ridiculous. She effectively dies off-screen (goes brain dead in a coma) and then Dexter switches off the life support in secret while the doctors are distracted by a big storm. Eh? Seriously? Is that the best they could come up with? It would have taken guts for the writers to have Deb confess everything and land Dexter in trouble, but no, the writers had no guts.
The very final scene? All I can say is just, what the hell is that all about? Dexter having killed his sister, faked his death and abandoned his son to the care of a serial killer who's fled the country, sits in an unexplained log cabin and stares into camera looking miserable. I like to think he's silently apologising on behalf of the writers for the mess he's made us watch. If only he'd shrugged his shoulders, it would have been perfect.
This final season was a wasted opportunity.
My perfect final season would have gone something like this: Dr. Vogel appears and (wrongly) suspects Dexter of being the Brain Surgeon, puts him under pressure and then finds something linking him to other killings in the past. Quinn too begins to reignite his own suspicions from S5 and the two of them go to Angel with their concerns. Angel dismisses them but then he begins to suspect Deb and puts two and two together. Vogel pursues Dexter and using her psychologist skill gets him to accidentally confess. Dexter takes the blame for LaGuerta's death and clears Deb of any trouble. He then spends the final 3 episodes trying to escape the team. In a final shoot-out, Dexter ends up dying in front of Harrison who sits in a pool of blood and is destined to become the new Dexter. Debs resuces him and brings him up as her own. The End. (And no Hannah anywhere to be seen).
on 24 September 2013
Dexter was about a journey. The journey of the protagonist, from emotionless monster to fully emotional human being. Each year took him a step forward in that journey, with each experience Dexter got closer to his ultimate goal. By the time season 8 arrived he was pretty much there. At this stage the series could have gone a couple of ways: go for a plot based, crowd pleasing high drama manhunt season going out with a bang, or, explore the character now that his journey to humanity was almost complete. Perhaps bravely, perhaps stupidly, the writers decided to focus on the character. The result is a somewhat unsatisfying weak season that's low on drama. Yet I respect their decision, despite the many negativity reactions to the season, personally I can still appreciate it for what it is. We see Dexter dealing with things emotionally, but not doing a very good job at it. This results is him making stupid decisions, and struggling to stay in control. It makes for frustrating viewing at times, but what else would you expect from someone who is relatively new at this human emotions stuff? Add to that the usual plot holes and leaps of faith, the usual padding in the form of the secondary characters and the end result is something that feels lethargic and unfocused. Moving on from the main body of the season and focusing on Dexter's ultimate fate, I'd say it is tragic and in my opinion a perfect way to end the series. All in all, a very good series, with highs and lows (this season would probably count as one of the lows), but one that as a whole I will look back on with great fondness.
on 13 October 2013
This season contains the worst writing and production of any drama I've watched. To say this season feels like a bad fan fiction would be insulting to fan fiction - I'm sure pretty much any Dexter fan could have written a stronger season than this.
It is laughable to think back to when the '2 season master plan' was announced after the sixth season ended. We all thought this meant that the endgame arc would be spread over a couple of seasons and that S7 and S8 would be closely related. The only thing that links the 7th and 8th season is the weakest element from the 7th - Hannah McKay. Somehow this character manages to be even duller than she was in S7 - although she does give us a few unintentionally comedic moments as the world's most moronic fugitive.
Every previous season of Dexter has had a clear main storyline - Trinity, Barrel Girls, Miguel etc... This season doesn't really have one. At the beginning of the season it appears that the main storyline is going to revolve around a new character Dr Evelyn Vogel, but in the end this character only really serves to introduce a woefully under developed antagonist, the 'Brain Surgeon'.
Instead of opting to use the more obvious and compelling storyline of Dexter's secret finally being exposed (You know, the one practically everyone wanted?) this season instead goes from 'Dexter meets someone who knows his secret' to 'Dexter must track down a new serial killer' to 'Dexter must find a way to control his depressed/angry sister' to 'Dexter gets a protege' to 'Dexter reunites with love interest' back to 'Dexter must track down serial killer' and then finally to 'Dexter plans to leave country'. An unfocused mess!
Unfortunately secondary characters not getting much to do is something that has plagued Dexter for years. This season has particularly dire offerings. Filler subplots include Masuka discovering he has a daughter, Angel debating whether or not to promote Quinn, Quinn blowing yet another relationship and Deb helping her new boss to expose a cheater. Most of these plots simply go nowhere or are just plain forgotten about. This was the final season! There should have been minimal/no filler...
It's not just the writing that seems amateur - the production/editing falls below the standard we've come to expect from this show. I can only assume this season was rushed (it aired months before Dexter's traditional calendar slot). The whole thing gives off a vibe that no one really cared about what they were making.
So after we've suffered through all this we come to the finale. Did it deliver? You guessed it - No. Without wanting to spoil too much it left me feeling... well nothing, apart from maybe glad that I no longer had to invest any time in this show.
The only reason I can really see for paying money for this turd of a season is purely to complete the set. Those involved with the making of this final season (particularly the writers) should feel ashamed of themselves.
on 1 October 2013
Dexter Season 8. Well, where to begin? Already people are starting to voice their dissent at the horribly weak ending to such a fantastic (at least at the beginning) show. Here's my addition to add to the growing multitudes...
Dexter was one of those increasingly rare shows when it first began. Compulsive viewing almost by definition, the first four seasons were are combination of mesmerizing characters, well constructed plot threads and macabre humour.
Unfortunately, from there it has been a steady decline culminating in this crushingly disappointing season 8 finale. Deborah's storyline was tedious, Batista virtually disappeared into a pale imitation of his former personality and even Masuka, the comic relief to the show, was replaced by a listless, drab, non entity of a character. Superfluous characters came and went, ceasing potentially interesting story arcs in their tracks. The college guy serial killer for example. I can't even remember his name but they spent two or three episodes building up a potential story changing plot line just to have him killed off randomly. They could have made him Dexter's protégé, someone to hand the vigilante torch to when Dexter leaves? But no. He dies. Off camera. For no reason at all. Thus making his storyline strangely irrelevant to everything else. I imagine the conversation between writers went something like this:
Writer 1: "Hmm, where should we go with this plot line?"
Writer 2: "Dunno. Just kill him off and let's grab some donuts."
And don't get me started on the star of the show. Dexter, previously a darkly humourous enigma, has progressively been turned into a boring, predictable paper mache substitute of his former self. Gone is the sarcastic, ironic personality of a genius psychopath with a moral code. In his place is a confused, rudderless mess of a main character which has lost virtually everything that made him a likable anti hero.
Also, the whole Dr Vogul, Brain Surgeon thing was completely under developed. There are so many different ways they could have taken that to make it more interesting, but instead it just fizzled out with Dexter finally dispatching the bad guy as almost an after-thought. The whole thing just felt flimsy and two dimensional. At no point did I ever feel Dexter had met his match with the Brain Surgeon unlike several of his other nemeses from other seasons. I was like the 'writers' (although I would be truly embarrassed if I had written this season) were just doing the bare minimum to cobble a season together.
To conclude my rant, here's my thoughts on the final episode. I need to say there are PLOT SPOILERS FROM HERE.
For Pete's sake, what were the writers thinking when they thought of this ending?! I mean, not to be overly dramatic about it (although it's a shame the writers couldn't have been a bit MORE dramatic when conceiving this episode!), this final installment was the most slap dash, lazy, disappointing, poorly written, just plain STUPID ending to an eight season show like Dexter I can think of. There are so many things that are annoying it'd take me forever to list them but fundamentally, the most glaring is WHY WOULD DEXTER ABANDON HIS SON AND FAKE HIS OWN DEATH? WHY?? Particularly as the whole season there was this (incredibly boring) under tone of Dexter reforming himself from serial killer to family man? Is it because his sister died and he felt guilty? Really? Is that really what Deborah, who loves her family vehemently, would have wanted him to do? Also, what was dumping Deb's body at sea all about? That's where he dumps the bodies of evil people so, it begs the question, why would he dump his sisters body there?
If there's any justice in the world, the final episode would be re-written and the writers of the original ending banned from ever working in television again
on 23 December 2013
Based on some of the negative reviews, I almost never bought the final series of Dexter.
Luckily, my wife persuaded me and I'm very glad she did.
It's certainly not perfect. Season 8 contains plenty of the usual hard to swallow moments but I doubt if anyone would be buying this expecting total plausibility. This is entertainment not gritty reality.
There are also a few just plain stupid bits that did make me want to give the scriptwriters a good slapping. For instance, a certain character is on all kinds of 'most wanted' lists - anyone with a brain cell would at least think of cutting/dyeing their hair (or wearing a hat) but no... none of the characters involved ever think to suggest this.
On the other hand, I know some reviewers have said the humour is missing from this series. I didn't get that at all. It's rarely laugh out loud funny but this is (very) black humour and it definitely kept me amused.
The tension is also kept ramped up throughout the series.
Some also moaned about the product placement. Sure, everyone is using iPhones and Apple laptops. So what? I'm not going to switch to Apple just because Dexter uses their products. Just ignore it and get on with following the story.
Overall, this may not be to the same standards as Series One and Two but it's definitely worth watching. Don't be put off by the critics. You'll have to make up your own mind about the ending. I'm saying nothing...
on 29 November 2013
The penultimate season was poor by any standards, but this final one sinks to a new low. Laughable, weak plotline which even drags in Charlotte Rampling in an attempt to make it seem more intellectually stimulating; Americans thinks anyone with a posh British accent is intelligent. The way Dexter gets away with just about anything is reminiscent of the Batman TV series of the 60's/70's - the one were every episode ends with an impossible situation for Batman and Robin to escape from. Of course, some ridiculous event happens to save them and Dexter can similarly pull a rabbit out of the hat at random. He could now seemingly murder the President and get away with it; the detectives he works with are laughably inept and believe literally everything he says. Throw in a joke US Marshall, who is even more stupid than the police, and what you get is an overblown mess, with holes in the 'plot' so big that you could drive a bus through them.
Undoubtedly the most laughable bit of the whole shambles is the ending. Trying to replicate a dramatic, big budget Hollywood-style ending they fail so poorly that I laughed out loud. Without doubt the worst final season I have ever seen - the producer(s), especially Michael C Hall, should have watched Breaking Bad's final season to see how it is done properly.
on 15 January 2014
SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW
I have followed Dexter from the very start and some of the eight series have been a mixed bag. Season 4 was without doubt the best of the lot and featured the Trinity killer. It was a terrific series. Series 1 was great and I liked series 5 as well with the character of Lumen making a memorable impact. I felt that series 6 and 7 were OK but not great and the 12 episodes seemed to be padded out. The final series is what I am supposed to be reviewing here so I will concentrate on that.
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.
The series was too long winded and even a little boring in places and most of the filler stories such as Vince suddenly finding out he was a Father added nothing at all. Dexter changed too much and all because of dreary Hannah. Letting off the brain surgeon would never had happened and he just didn't seem like the same character that we had grown to have a grudging respect for and things started to go wrong in season 7. The main cast were great as usual but a couple of guest spots weren't too good. Charlotte Rampling was hit and miss as Dr Vogel and Julian Sands was awful as Hannah's husband. I just felt that the series was losing it's way and developed into a soap opera. There was one instance in the final episode when little Harrison turned to Hannah and said 'I love you Hannah' and I cringed at the way it felt so out of place. The big problem for me was the character of Hannah ever since she appeared in season 7. She was one of the least plausable character's in the shows history. A much wanted criminal with several murders to her credit, she turns up as bold as brass, no disguise, not much attempt to hide, she was a weakness in my opinion and not the type of person that Dexter would sacrifice everything for. Dexter fell head over heels in love with her and Dexter in love meant Dexter becoming boring as his character started to change. I just didn't warm to Hannah and Lumen was a much better and stronger character. It's funny that for the first 3 or so series I couldn't stand Debra but by the end she was pretty much my favourite person in the show and huge credit to Jennifer Carpenter for consistantly great performances. Now I will give my take on the ending and some of it worked and a lot of it didn't. My biggest gripe was Hannah escaping and the only one to emerge virtually unscathed. She was a killer of innocent people and quite annoying a lot of the time. She didn't even seem too bothered when she read about Dexter's 'death'. Why kill off poor old tortured Debra in an almost underwhelming way just when she had hope in her life and what was that all about with Dexter dumping her in the ocean, a place that he reserves for the scum of the earth. Given the context of how things panned out, I think they did the right thing with Dexter choosing to live a tortured and empty life as punishment for the lives he had ruined. The easy way out would have been for him to throw himself off his boat to his doom but the choice to carry on living and to suffer felt correct, at least to me.
So the ending was frustrating but not a complete disaster. It certainly wasn't perfect but not quite as dreadful as so many people think it was. I would rather Hannah had been caught and arrested and maybe Dexter and Deb to have a suicide pact with both administering a fatal injection to each other at the same time. The writers had obviously decided that she wouldn't survive and this would have been a better way than the awful way they eventually killed off Debs in this episode. Harrison? I guess he would have gone off to live with Rita's parents. Blimey, I've rambled on a bit, sorry about that. To conclude then, Dexter was a programme that I will remember with fondness but it went on for maybe a couple of series too many. Micheal C Hall and Jennifer Carpenter made a great couple with fabulous chemistry and their acting was always spot on. It wasn't the ending I wanted but it did need to be bleak I suppose.
on 6 October 2013
There has been much to say about season 8 of late since it ended a couple of weeks ago in the US and recently in the UK. many of the comments have been negative BUT with some digging, you can find explanations from the writers as to why they made the choices they did. Much of this adds light to many of the scenes, especially in the final episode.
I am not going to give loads a way like some have done on here but like them, I do not see this as a strong season, I see it as the necessary one to complete Dexter.
Yes, there are many issues and some of the decisions like Harrison hurting himself is laughable BUT i also see a lot of good in it. I liked the fact that i was guessing until the end, always leaning to my partner and saying 'they're going to do this, or that'. What made it clearer are the writers comments that can easily be found on the net. This makes dexters last movements and actions right in my mind.
I have been an avid viewer since the very first episode and at the end of season 8, felt as though i had lost a friend.
Don't listen to all the negative comments, buy it and make up your own mind.
I am glad I sat through 8 seasons for the conclusion I was given.
on 12 March 2014
6 months late to the party (I just saw the finale) and no ones ever going to read this, but hey I want to say my bit on the end of Dexter.
To all that say Dexter didn't change, that Dexter was still Dexter, that's true right up to the point that Deb dies, at that stage he finally does change and realise that what he's wanted for 8 seasons, to live a normal life is not actually possible. Some people see that he chooses a life of solitude over being with Hannah as a sign that he's not changed, but it's the exact opposite it's because he's changed that he knows that if he goes to Argentina sooner or later those he cares about will come to a bad end, so he chooses to be alone and away from his son and Hannah, finally he puts someone ahead of his own needs, that's the character arc right there.
The other aspect of course is that he's punishing himself for Debs death, perhaps for all that he's done. You get the sense that there's no Harry in this new life of his, but equally there's no dark passenger either, there's just an empty shell.
Yes it's a very bleak ending, and might come as a surprise because of the sometimes comedic elements that sprung up every now and again in Dexter, but ultimately it's the most fitting ending and one that's been sign posted right from the start.