Monday, September 23, 2013

Dexter finale enrages viewers


Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) and his sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) in the final episode of <i>Dexter</i> as a series.

Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) and his sister Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) in the final episode of Dexter as a series.

Dexter's conclusion has outraged viewers, and the show's developers have gone into overdrive to defend the lack of gore audiences have come to expect of this serial-killing series.

The question of whether Dexter Morgan (played by Michael C. Hall) would meet an equally grisly fate as those he puts on his table, before disposing of their body parts into the ocean, was answered. But the answer, although surprising, fell flat in many ways.

The series finale of Dexter makes me wanna chop my body into pieces, wrap em up in black trash bags & throw into the ocean. 

Spoiler alert: The episode began with the knowledge that Dexter's sister Debra had been shot to the stomach and that the serial killer responsible, Oliver Saxon (played by Darri Ingolfsson) had escaped.

Fleeing fancy ... Dexter's girlfriend Hannah McKay (Yvonne Strahovski).

Fleeing fancy ... Dexter's girlfriend Hannah McKay (Yvonne Strahovski).

As always Debra (played by Jennifer Carpenter) has a foul-mouthed, wisecracking answer for everything as she gets wheeled away on an ambulance stretcher but the scene is quickly set for some torturous emotional ride that Dexter, the supposedly unfeeling psychopath, has to take.


Although the vision of her being wheeled away for surgery, admitting to her on-and-off again fiancé Joey Quinn that she loves him, is nothing new in the overused symbolic moments of the TV world, at least the scriptwriters allow her to survive beyond that clichéd moment.

Still, flashbacks for Dexter of his sister holding his son Harrison for the first time in the same hospital, could only mean one thing. Yes Debra does die, but it's after she has woken up and been cleared by a doctor as making it through the "danger period". What, do they mean her entire life up until now? But no, it's actually a small clot caused by the surgery that ultimately results in her demise, as Dexter faces a future with a sister living in a permanent vegetative state.

Dexter and his young son Harrison (played by Jadon Wells, 7).

Dexter and his young son Harrison (played by Jadon Wells, 7).

Lucky she has a serial killer for a brother, who doesn't even flinch at the illegality or moral conundrum of euthanasia. It's just another death at his hands. Although he did have the decency to tear up and whisper the words "I love you" – and it finally looks like he means it.

To see him carry her body out to his boat and travel towards the oncoming Hurricane Laura, was also possibly the only touching moment of the episode. It may have been naive to believe that this unbidden monster of nature, would swallow them up together in some heroic gesture of brotherly love by Dexter, but at least it would have been a significant end.

The question of "what about Harrison?" had already been neatly answered, with girlfriend Hannah McKay (played by Yvonne Strahovski) getting safely away with Dexter's young son.

As to Saxon, who up until now looked like the only one capable of outsmarting Dexter where other killers have tried and failed, he also gets brought to a swift end once it's clear that Debra is dead. And it was by a means so simple, it hardly warrants an explanation.

But for everyone's satisfaction, Dexter only needed to claim self-defence and his Miami metro chums were happy to overlook the blinding amount of internal investigation paperwork and once again find no fault in their blood-obsessed forensic. Who incidentally just happens to know how to strike the carotid artery in a person's neck, causing them to bleed out in seconds with the single stab of a pen.

From there it simply looked like the only one capable of finishing the job of Dexter, was Dexter himself. And why not? It seemed a noble gesture, and it finally showed him to actually mean the words that he loved his sister, and maybe couldn't live in a world without her.

But as you stared at the few floating pieces of the wrecked Slice of Life (his boat) and an article claiming there were no survivors, there was something a bit too fishy beyond those aquatic critters circling the carcasses of Dexter's previous kills.

And lo and behold the final shots show Dexter has become a logger, with a pretty crap beard, and an equally crap log hut and truck. The end.

Fans have taken to Twitter with an impressive array of bloodcurdling sprays for the show, with: "The series finale of Dexter makes me wanna chop my body into pieces, wrap em up in black trash bags & throw into the ocean."

Our own comedian Tony Martin suggested: "Good #Dexter ending: he dies and is delivered to the #SixFeetUnder funeral home. Then Michael C. Hall's two ghost dads could have a scene."

A fan tweeted: "#Dexter finale was underwhelming, disappointing rubbish. The writers were obviously lost at sea too. One big storm in a tea cup. :("

Another poster suggested: "The #dexter finale was like having a friend of 8 years suddenly drop kick my puppy... #wtf"

Dexter writer Scott Buck told The Hollywood Reporter: "We considered every option for the finale. But I don't think Dexter killing himself was one I ever took seriously. Dexter's survival instincts are so strong that that would always be a last option for him."

He said he didn't feel Dexter killing himself was believable enough.

"It's a worse sentence in a way to have to live with what he's done and killing himself might have seemed too easy a way out.

"Is it possible that that thought crossed his mind? Absolutely. It's so much darker and more horrible for him to have to live with what he's done. He's absolutely punishing himself at the end by having to deal with what he's done."

Even Michael C. Hall's co-star Jennifer Carpenter said that he didn't deserve to die.

"I think he needs to live a really long life. I'm picturing him being mummified [laughs], and someone wrapping him in his sins and him being encased and breathing against them. Pain would be a much harsher punishment."

Executive producer Sara Colleton said Dexter's biggest comeuppance was best portrayed as a self-imposed prison.

"What sums up the entire journey was the scene on balcony of his apartment before going on the boat to put Deb down — that's horrible to say aloud. The voiceover: 'For so long all I wanted was to feel like other people … now that I do just want it to stop'," she told Entertainment Weekly.

"It's the horrible awareness of what it was to be a human being and how overwhelming that is for him. His punishment is banishment. He sends himself into exile.

"Killing himself is too easy. When he turns and looks into the camera at the end he's stripped everything away."

Buck also clarified to The Hollywood Reporter that the last shot him staring down the barrel of the lens to the viewer was not out of a growing bloodlust.

"We wanted to leave it all in the viewers' head. I don't know what he's thinking in that moment; I know he's in this self-imposed prison and the reason he locked eyes is essentially so we can feel as uncomfortable as he does in his world. ... I don't think in that moment he's fighting the urge to kill; he's dealing with the reality of the misery of his life in that moment.

"It's the curse of his journey toward humanity, which now is having to feel what he feels. He purposely took that journey toward becoming more human and is now suffering the consequences."

Consequently Dexter's gravestone will never read "Bay Harbour Butcher" or "Blood Spatter Slasher". In fact given how it ended, he'll probably die of old age and his corpse will lie for weeks with feral cats feasting upon him.

Variety reviewer Brian Lowry has described the finale as a sloppy sendoff that "came too late to feel satisfying – or merciful".

Buzzfeed blogger Louis Peitzman simply said: "Dexter has been up and down for a while, but nothing could have prepared us for a finale that bad."

R.I.P. Dexter. What a dismissive waste of the inner vigilante in all of us.
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