I haven’t been this excited/nervous for a series finale since Lost closed its hatch doors on us three years ago. The same question that ran through my head then is running through my head now with Dexter. “What is going to happen?” The Showtime hit drama about TV’s most unusual protagonist, a serial killer/blood splatter analyst/dad, officially ends September 15th. It is time for Dexter to pack away his knives for good, but for a show about a psychopathic serial killer, can he really just stop killing? This is why the ending of Dexter is so intriguing. His fate is very limited. Will Dexter get caught? Or does he turn himself in? If so, how will his friends at Miami Metro react? What will happen to his son, Harrison? Will Dexter survive a life behind bars? Will he escape (probably, given his uncanny ability to evade the law)? What if Dexter doesn’t get caught? Will we have a satisfying enough ending? Is it okay if Dexter keeps on killing but the show ends anyway? The last option for an ending would be if Dexter dies, either by suicide or murder. No matter what happens to Dexter, it is important that fans get proper closure.
After eight seasons, I still don’t think everyone is ready to say goodbye, not even the actors. At last week’s Comic-Con panel, the stars of the show bid an emotional farewell, leaving Jennifer Carpenter in tears. Also on the panel were Michael C. Hall, Desmond Harrington, David Zayas, Aimee Garcia and Yvonne Strahovski, who were reunited with former cast members Julie Benz (Rita), Erik King (Doakes), and Lauren Velez (LaGuerta). Additionally, executive producers Sara Colleton, Scott Buck and Manny Coto were joined by former show runner Clyde Phillips. During their time on stage, the actors thanked their fans, got nostalgic and shared their favorite memories, and spoke briefly about upcoming episodes. Despite wrapping production just a couple weeks ago, all the cast agreed that it hasn’t hit them yet. Hall added, “there’s some unconscious part of us that hasn’t accepted or recognized it yet. Five or six months from now, we’ll start knocking at the door wondering why we’re not doing Dexter again.”
Only four episodes in and I know there will be a few “surprise mother fuckers” along the way. My seat belt is fastened and I am ready for this final twisted ride with the Dark Passenger (and thank god for seat belts or else our Dark Passenger would have been a goner at the end of last week’s episode, but more on that later).
This season begins six months after Deb fatally shoots LaGuerta to protect Dexter. Although Dexter has gone back to his normal life of analyzing blood, playing soccer with Harrison, delivering donuts to work, and of course killing murderers, Deb is spiraling out of control, for she has quit her job as detective to be coked up and in bed with scumbags. She believes that she “shot the wrong person in that trailer” and is abusing drugs and alcohol to deal with what she did and live in the “shitty fucking hell” she thinks she deserves to be in. She hates Dexter and when he asks her why, she responds, “because you made me compromise everything about myself that I care for.” Jennifer Carpenter has been absolutely incredible thus far. She really brings Deb’s struggles to life through her raw and heart-wrenching performances. Why she wasn’t nominated for an Emmy, one will never know. SNUB SNUB SNUB, I tell ya!
The Deb/Dexter relationship is one of my favorite aspects of the show. The bond they share is what keeps Dexter human. I think he’s an anomaly to the whole psychopaths-have-the-inability-to-love thing because he truly cares and loves Deb. Deb feels the same, well maybe more since she admitted to being ‘in love’ with Dexter, and that is why she’ll do anything to protect him. Or so we thought.
At the end of last week’s episode, Deb confronts Dexter about their father’s death. Harry did not die of a heart attack, but rather committed suicide because he could not cope with Dexter’s true nature. By giving him a code to kill by, Harry created a monster. Upon hearing this, Deb nervously responds, “I think I know how he felt…why he killed himself. But he only got it half right.” Deb then grabs hold of the steering wheel and jerks the car sharply, causing into to veer off the road and plunge into a lake. A fisherman sees the accident and jumps in to pull Deb out of the car. As the car is sinking, Deb realizes her mistake and the episode ends with Deb surfacing with Dexter in her arms. Deb saves Dexter’s life yet again. Does this mean she is finally ready to accept him? We’ll have to wait for the next episode to find out.
In addition, season eight opened with the introduction of the new big bad, which Masuka named the “Brain Surgeon,” because he removes the same piece of the brain (anterior insular cortex) from all of his victims. What is interesting about the anterior insular cortex is that it’s the portion of the brain responsible for producing empathy, something that all psychopaths supposedly lack. Miami Metro brings on Dr. Evelyn Vogel, a neuropsychiatrist specializing in profiling psychopaths to help with the case. It turns out that Vogel was Harry’s close friend and she actually developed Harry’s code for Dexter. She confides in Dexter after she finds brain pieces on her doorstep leading her to believe that the Brain Surgeon is one of her former clients and is after her. Dexter and Vogel team up to look for the killer, who they determine is A.J. Yates based on the scar on the back of his head (from a surgery to remove a lesion that Vogel thought was responsible for his psychopathic issues) that matches the one on his victims. Dexter does his usual stalking and breaks into Yate’s home and finds several women’s shoes (trophies?) and a stabbed woman tied up in the basement. Dexter drops off the woman at the ER and then tries to catch Yates, but obviously fails since we’re only on episode four. I am still wondering, however, if Dexter is right about Yates. All of the victims with the missing brain so far have been male and Yates collects female shoes.
Meanwhile in this episode, Dexter enlists in Vogel to help Deb deal with her PTSD; Dexter discovers that Vogel has been keeping notes on Dexter the entire time and is using him as a “lab rat” like all her other clients; Quinn is having a lot of sex with Jaime even though he is probably still in love with Deb; Masuka’s sperm donation back in the day actually produced a daughter with that same discernable and obnoxiously hilarious chuckle; and Haley James Scott Bethany Joy Lenz joins the cast as Cassie, Dexter’s new next door neighbor who may shake things up romantically for Dexter as he deals with both Deb and Yvonne Strahovski’s Hannah McKay who is slated to return in a big way sometime later this season.