Dexter Series Finale Shocker: Looking Back at ‘Remember the Monsters?’

After 8 seasons stalking and chopping up Miami’s criminals, Dexter finally came to an end with a shocking finale on Sunday night…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Follow on Twitter @DamonMartin

If there was a running theme over the last eight seasons of Dexter it was the overwhelming notion that everyone that gets close to our lead character turns into a victim of some kind. There is a penance for befriending or loving a serial killer, and even when they didn’t know he was a serial killer it was almost like the universe had a way of getting each and every one of them for giving this cold, calculating murderer even a brief moment of levity in his otherwise sociopathic brain.

We learned early on that Dexter’s father Harry Morgan couldn’t live with the monster he helped to create and took his own life. We saw beautifully innocent Rita, who lived a life filled with so much abuse and pain, cut down because she chose to love Dexter and give him a family. On Sunday during the finale episode of Dexter we finally saw his sister Deb, who loved her brother unconditionally even after she discovered the dark passenger living inside of him, say goodbye to this world in a sad moment of woe.

There is so much to be said about this, the final ever episode of Dexter, but first lets recap what happened before closure at the end.

Leaving on a Jet Plane or Maybe a Bus

Dexter is in a mad rush to get out of town with his lady love Hannah, and there’s no time to waste. He gets to the airport in time with Harrison in tow, but gets a call from Hannah, who is stashed out in the ladies room because good old Elway is stalking the airport just outside their gate waiting to bust her back to prison. Always quick on his feet (with a nice product endorsement along the way), Dexter gets his son some Oreos while filling a random backpack with some travel items before he innocently sets it down in the passenger seating area and proceeds to tell the clerk that he saw that man (Elway) drop the bag in a suspicious way. Security quickly swoops in and takes Elway into custody, but Dexter’s plan works too well because in the midst of getting rid of his private eye adversary, he also gets the entire airport locked down and no flights will be leaving.

With a hurricane bearing down on Miami, time is running out and there’s no chance of getting on a plane now. Elway finds out the unfortunate news that Deputy Marshall Clayton (who showed so much promise but then died displaying typical stupidity) is dead, so he takes it upon himself to alert every contact he has in town about Hannah McKay. They are well paid, so he has no doubts that someone will report her whereabouts. In the midst of leaving the airport, Dexter gets a call from Deputy Chief Matthews who informs him that Deb has been shot and is being taken into surgery. When she was first being pulled into the ambulance, Deb begged her fellow officers not to call her brother because he was on his way out of town, but there wasn’t much of a chance they were going to follow through.

Dexter puts Hannah back at the hotel for safe keeping while he rushes off to see Deb.Episode 803

The Shot Heard Round the World

Through the last eight seasons of Dexter, no character has probably gone through more torment that Debra Morgan. She started out as a vice cop hoping to make it into the homicide division to make her father proud, but quickly fell in love with a serial killer (Dexter’s brother). Watched another older lover die at the hands of the Trinity killer. She walked the unfortunate path to find out exactly what kind of twisted notions live inside her brother’s head, and after all that when she finally found her way back to the man she loves, a bullet rockets through her stomach at the moment she’s trying to do the right thing by placing a multiple murderer under arrest.

As she’s being taken away into surgery, Deb quietly tells Quinn that she loves him, and in what had to be one of the saddest moments of the show, he doesn’t quite hear her.

Deb comes through surgery with flying colors and all she wants in this world is to go hiking, but more than that she wants her brother to leave town with Hannah and Harrison to start his new life. She pleads with him now that she’s through surgery and on the road to recovery to head to Argentina to be with his son and the woman he loves.

Dexter opts to listen to his sister for once, and he begins his journey back to his new family and his new life.

Hell No, I Won’t Go

Dexter shuffles back to the hotel where he finds Hannah has booked them on a bus that will take them to Jacksonville, far away from the hurricane and to a new airport that can get them bound for South America. As they are boarding, Dexter has an epiphany that he can’t leave knowing that the man who shot his sister (Oliver Saxon) is still out there breathing. He tells Hannah to take care of Harrison, and he will join them as soon as he wraps up one last piece of business in town.

Here’s where the story takes a turn for the stupid.

Saxon makes a mad dash first to secure a car (after pistol whipping someone at a grocery store) and then spots a veterinary clinic where he can get his injured arm patched up. The vet tech sutures his arm, but Saxon isn’t done with him yet after seeing a report on TV about Deb’s shooting with his name being sought in connection with the crime. At this point instead of using the veterinarian’s car to flea Miami, he instead decides to head to the hospital to presumably finish Deb off?

Saxon lops off the vet tech’s tongue to cause a distraction as he ends up in the emergency room, and he quickly swoops by security on his way to Deb’s room. Dexter knows this is where he has to be headed (why?) and there’s an ominous encounter as the two killers spot each other perfectly. Dexter standing like a bull in front of his sister’s room while Saxon looks back at him with a steely glaze, hand clasping the gun with sweaty anticipation. Before Saxon can do anything, however, Batista puts the barrel of his revolver into the killer’s neck and demands him to put down the weapon. Saxon is in custody and Deb is safe…or is she?

Goodbye, Dear Friend

We knew when Dexter entered the final season that not everyone from the core cast was going to make it. Of course several past characters have been offed for the sake of storyline (none more brutal than Rita, that one is still haunting), and there were a ton of periphery names that could have been sacrificed this year. Batista, Quinn, Masuka, Masuka’s daughter (what the hell was the purpose of adding her to the cast this season?), Jamie, the list goes on and on. The fact was with the show coming to an end the ultimate question really remained who was going to go — Dexter or Deb?

It seemed only fitting that either the show’s main anti-hero or his sister had to be the cap on the series before it signed off for good.

Just hours after telling Joey Quinn that she loved him, and saying goodbye to her brother who she believed was on his way to learning an Argentinean accent, Debra Morgan said farewell to this world.

As Dexter rushed into see his sister after stopping Saxon’s attempt to kill her, he finds out from Quinn that there was a complication from the surgery and Deb is not in a good spot. The doctor finally comes out and reveals that there was a blood clot that caused Deb to have a serious stroke and lose oxygen from several minutes. They were able to stabilize her, but only by use of a breathing tube. At this point the only way Deb could recover is to survive long enough to breathe on her own, but she would only live through feeding tubes and her brain is no longer functioning.

It was a tragic end for Deb, who lived her whole life for other people, and now it was her life that was being taken away. Dexter sat quietly while the rage filled inside of him, while Quinn could only break down when he realized he lost the woman he loved.

Saxon’s Gotta GoEpisode 812

With Deb gone for all intents and purposes, the job for the police now was to nail Saxon to the wall with no hope of him escaping prison and eventually the electric chair. Batista tries to get a statement from him, but Saxon only requests to see his lawyer. Quinn nearly loses control but he’s subdued before he can do any damage. Outside the room behind the glass sits a venomous Dexter, who is plotting inside his mind just how he can get to Saxon long enough to finish the job he started when he tied him to a medical chair and left him there to be arrested.

Dexter signs into the holding area to go do a test on Saxon for the police, and with the cameras looking on he enters the cell, puts on his rubber gloves and awaits the moment to strike. He promises Saxon that he’s not walking out of the cell alive, and he’s got a pen sitting on the table with which to finish him off with. Hearing this prompts Saxon to grab the pen, and stab Dexter in the shoulder. It was all Dexter needed to retaliate, so he pulls the pen from his arm, and proceeds to jab it directly into Saxon’s jugular. The blood starts to pump out as Saxon’s life comes to an end.

A quick review of the tape reveals that Dexter was only acting in self-defense, and he obviously has the word of Quinn and Batista on his side as well.

On a side note — has there been a more forgettable villain to oppose Dexter than this guy Oliver Saxon? The creators and writers behind Dexter tried so hard to sell him as a serious adversary, slipping away from crime scenes and evading capture even when it was discovered who he really was behind the mask. Saxon was made to look smart, but in reality he was by far one of the weakest characters Dexter has ever gone up against. He was no Ice Truck Killer, no Hannah McKay, and certainly not even in the same league as Trinity. Maybe it was the limited acting chops available to add anything to Saxon, or perhaps he was painted this way because in reality he was just background fodder to the final season that really circled around Dexter and Deb. Either way, Oliver Saxon will certainly go down as one of the most forgettable characters in this final season of Dexter.

So now Saxon’s dead, Deb is being cared for at the hospital and Dexter can finally join Hannah and his son in Argentina to begin a new life.

Hannah almost meets her demise on the bus, however, because just as the trip begins she comes face to face with Elway, who stalked her there after his expensive contacts finally paid off. He tells her that they will ride quietly to the next destination and then at that point they will leave the bus, and head to the local U.S. Marshall’s office where she will be taken into custody, he will collect his reward and Harrison will go to child protective services. Hannah has no intention of going so easily. With the bus trip coming to an end, she decides to have a drink of tea and offers some to Elway as well. He’s too smart for that, knowing that Hannah is the poison pill of Florida, but what he doesn’t see coming is the needle that quickly gets injected into his leg. Hannah had a backup from Dexter just in case, and Elway will crash out and wake up a few hours later, a little groggy and with his suspect nowhere to be found.

Tonight’s The Night

“I destroy everyone I love”

Those are the words of Dexter Morgan during tonight’s finale that ring truer than anything else he’s said during the course of the last eight seasons. There is a certain poetic justice that through all of the lives he’s taken in the name of justice and bloodlust, that it has been those that choose to stay closest to him that pay the biggest price. With Deb now laying in a coma, never to awaken again, Dexter finally realizes that no matter how hard he tries to have a normal life, he’s just not capable of making it happen and whenever he spills blood it always splashes on those around him.

Dexter decides to take his boat to the hospital and disconnect Deb from life support, and in the mad scramble of everyone there trying to get out to avoid the hurricane they don’t notice that he is wheeling out a body and loading it onto the ‘Slice of Life’. Dexter motors out into the middle of the ocean where he gives his sister her final resting place, deep in the bluest of waters. He calls Hannah and promises that he will be there shortly and then has a conversation with his son where he tells Harrison that he loves him and that he always needs to remember that everyday until they see each other again.

After saying his goodbyes, Dexter dumps the phone overboard and pushes his boat full speed into the oncoming storm. It was a bit too ‘Perfect Storm’ when George Clooney and crew decide to challenge Mother Nature, but it was a proper ending for Dexter because he knew there was no going back now. He couldn’t infect Hannah and Harrison any longer, and if he were to join them in Argentina it was only a matter of time before his virus of a life cost them theirs.

The scene fades to black but we’re not done yet….

The search and rescue team finds pieces of Dexter’s boat floating in the wash of the hurricane, and soon thereafter Batista gets the call that his friend is missing at sea and presumed dead. At a café in Argentina, Hannah looks on her iPad and notices a story in the Miami Herald that a forensic officer is lost after his boat was found in pieces amidst the hurricane that landed on shore. It seemed like a fitting end for Dexter, who finally realized that he is not capable for a normal life no matter how much he tries to fit that mold. His son will be raised by a reformed serial killer, but that’s neither here nor there. The end was fitting given the circumstances. Dexter joined his sister in a watery grave, and now the Miami police department might be able to catch a killer now.

Then they messed it up.

Seconds after we see the people in Dexter’s life go on with out him, we pick up at a lumberyard somewhere presumably in the northwest. A bearded man finishes his shift where he’s strapping down logs on a tractor trailer. He leaves the job, and heads back to his very humble home. It’s there that we realize it’s Dexter — alive and well — and working as a lumberjack. He sits at the table with a blank, emotionless stare, where he now sits alone with no one around that he can harm any further.

Final ReactionDexter Art by David Mack

While the entire run of Dexter’s final season doesn’t hold up to many of its predecessors there were plenty of things to like about it as well. I enjoyed the relationship shared between Dexter and Hannah. Sure it was damaged and doomed from the start, but so was the entire concept of a serial killer working for the Miami Police Department. It was sad to see Debra go the way that she did. It seemed she would ultimately be the one person in Dexter’s life that would not become a casualty, but alas even in his moment of sacrifice when he decides he no longer wants to kill, somebody had to die. Debra was it.

The ending as it was when Dexter drove his boat into the ocean to meet his demise was a fine closure point as well. He realized that everything he touches turns to dust. He’s incapable of real love or real connection, and the ones that decide to show him affection eventually meet the grave. It was a just ending.

Until the producers decided to add in the extra 60 or so seconds with Dexter still alive, now working as a lumberjack. I’m not sure there was a point to that other than to say, death was too easy of a way out for him. Now he’s here, alone, without his sister, without his son, without the love of his life, and he has to live with everything he’s done and everyone that he’s harmed. Maybe that was the meaning behind his survival, but for what was supposed to be a logical closure ended up as a muddled mess likely to join The Sopranos and Lost in the ‘what the f—k just happened’ category.

A great show comes to an end, and would have continued to be great if you just turn off the TV one scene before it’s intended to be over.

So what say you Dexter fans? Satisfied with the ending? Leave your comments below and give your thoughts!

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One Response

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  1. Silverbrain
    Sep 23, 2013 - 03:47 AM

    I would have preferred Dexter dying in the Hurricane, or Dexter showing up in Argentina, or even Dexter the lumberjack walking into the back of his cabin, into a kill room, and closing the door to end the series. Not content with his complacency in limbo. Agree it was 60 seconds too long.