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08.24.2017
Dexter: The Final Season (2013)
Movie Review by The Mortician
02.24.14

Dexter: The Final Season (2013) DEXTER is without a doubt one of my all-time favorite television shows. This is the final (eighth) season of the show, which follows blood spatter expert Dexter Morgan (played flawlessly by Michael C. Hall) as he works his day job at Miami Metro and stalks and kills serial killers by night with a code his cop dad Harry gave him when growing up. Always complicating things is drama queen cop sister Debra and their police comrades. This show was brilliant from the beginning of its 2006 run, with Season 1 dealing with the crazed Ice Truck Killer (who turned out to be Dexter's long-lost brother). Season 2's highlight was Sgt. Doakes, a colleague of Dexter's, who got onto him with mere intuition and nearly caught him. Season 3 had Jimmy Smits turning into a psychotic District Attorney who briefly joined Dexter in taking out the slime until he broke Harry's code, becoming a mad dawg killer that had to be put down. Season 4's highlight was The Trinity Killer, which pitted Dexter against brilliant actor John Lithgow, playing a most memorable "family man" serial killer. Season 5 was one of my personal favorites (although most Dexter fans disagree) as Dexter teamed up with Lumen (played by the awesome and sexy Julia Stiles), who was raped by a group of rich pervs doing sort of a HOSTEL type of thing with lovely ladies...but she got away. Lumen and Dexter then track down all the perps and lay down the law, Bronson style! What a great concept, like Camille Keaton joining forces with Charles Bronson to take out the bad guys! Season 6 dealt with the Doomsday Killer and had Dexter wrestling with religion, which was interesting but overall, this was kind of a weaker, drawn-out concept. The twist at the end was pretty cool, though, with Sister Deb finally catching Dexter in the act of killing the Doomsday Killer (in a church!) and realizing what he was...a serial killer who offs bad guys! Season 7 focused on Deb trying to deal with her brother as being a serial killer and helping him to "stop" (which didn't work out, of course) and Deb ended up having to shoot her boss in order to stop her from exposing her brother as a killer... In Season 8, there's a new killer to contend with (The Brain Surgeon, and yes, he takes out victims' brains!) as well as the aftereffects of Deb taking out her boss...Deb goes on a downward spiral of guilt and even tries to kill Dexter in one sequence! Dex must also contend with a shrink that returns to Miami, a mother figure who, it turns out, (implausibly) helped create the murder code his father Harry gave him. Actually, this is only a fraction of the issues Dexter is dealing with in Season 8, as he finds true love with Hannah, a serial killer hottie who kind of replaces the Lumen character from Season 5. This is part of the problem with Season 8- too many new plot twists are introduced even as the writers scramble to wrap up all the other stories and character arcs from previous seasons. Everything in season 8 feels a bit "off kilter", from the actors' interaction with each other to the continually mounting story twists until we get to the point where there are so many plot holes that the whole thing just starts to sink. I'm sadly not sure why this happened...the writers seemed to pen themselves into a corner that was just too difficult to get out of, even with the proper "suspension of disbelief" that the viewer must have to buy into all this. In the previous seasons, it was so fun and awesome to watch Dexter kill the bad guys right under the noses of the police department he works for, using their own tools and techniques to hunt the baddies down. Also of note was the great voiceover commentaries that Dexter always had, Robert Bloch style, answering questions from those around him properly even as the voice in his mind told the truth to himself and the audience. It was brilliant! These elements are all sadly missing in the final two seasons of DEXTER, especially Season 8. Things are dark, serious, and not 'fun' at all. Season 8 feels far removed from the classic first 5 seasons, almost like it was made decades later in a "reunion show" type of way, with the actors struggling to find their performances and the writers trying to balance what the show once was with what it had now become. Dexter and Deb aren't the same...they've changed to the point where they're hard to relate to...the storyline feels forced and phony much of the time, and the addition of Dexter's "surrogate mom" is cliché and silly...borrowing too much from the Norman Bates' mommy obsession routine. The show used to be original and daring, turning the clichés upside down, but that's not the case with Season 8. All the characters act erratic, there's too much story and talky exposition, and a general lack of suspense. The special effects at the end are horrendous, especially when a hurricane hits and Dexter goes out on his boat and the sea waters are flat and calm even as the storm is only 20 minutes away! Extremely bad CGI. SPOLIERS HERE- What happens to Deb is ridiculous, she is killed off in the most dissatisfying of ways (off screen), and really, for no reason at all, other than the writers felt obligated to do something drastic to one of the leads so there was "consequences for their actions". Lame. Paul Kersey and Hannibal Lecter always got away with their deeds and it made it more FUN! Dexter is devastated and throws away the potential of his new life with Hannah by driving his boat into a hurricane (named after his mom!) in the Atlantic, and somehow ends up in Oregon (!) hiding out in isolation as a LUMBERJACK in the final shot! Honestly, all this makes no rational sense, and the decisions the characters make throughout Season 8 are inconsistent and contradictory to what they have been from the beginning---even with all the things they have been through. All in all, a terribly disappointing end to an otherwise stellar television series. But all is not lost- lead actors Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter do deliver great performances, even when saddled with sub-par writing and effects, and there's still some very cool and fun moments in the season. Disappointing ending or not, I am still a diehard DEXTER fan that can't forget all the joy and escapism the show has previously given me...Check it out if you're a diehard DEXTER fan, and let's hope they come back sometime with a movie or something and right the wrongs of this universally disappointing ending to an otherwise top-notch slasher television drama!

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