Hurricane Laura causes Dexter and Hannah’s dream trip to go through some complications. With Saxon on the loose, Elway on a mission and Deb suffering from a fatal gunshot, things don’t seem to go as planned. Can Dex finally, truly, embrace normality and leave the darkness behind or is it all part of a fantasy?
THE ABSENCE OF LIGHT
This is indeed a bad, inconsistent finale, fitting the deteriorating quality of this wreck of a final season. Is it satisfying, or in Deb’s words, worth living for? Well, it depends on how we decide to perceive it. It definitely is a polarizing weak finale; meaning, there’s a bad and then a worst aspect to it…yup. I believe the writers of the show have accidentally created one of the most depressing semi-dramatic resolutions in recent TV history. And by depressing, I mean the stories that leave you with nothing to reflect upon, no creative sparks and only emptiness, self-contempt, resentment towards life and the ever-haunting question of “Why”: Why did the author (if any) feel the urge to tell us this story at all?
Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly lots of absolutely good depressing or even disturbing tales out there (adaptations or inspired works as Roman Polanski’s Bitter Moon, or Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita) that bring intellect to the table, force you to delve deep into the structure of the story and analyze the nature of its conflicts, character motivations, moral questions, etc., and yes of course they leave you frightened and distressed as hell, but through experiencing those bleak emotions you gain something new; you become more enlightened.
Then there are obnoxiously bad depressing stories (A Serbian Film, the Saw franchise), and now sadly, DEXTER, the series. Yes, the finale brings down the entire series for better or worse, because the whole thing is meant to be grasped as a serialized work of art. I don’t care if the show has changed executive producers along the way, or if the network has meddled with its creative process, it is what it is in the end. Put yourself in the position of a future fan who stumbles upon the complete 8-season DVD set and is eager to find out what it’s all about. He doesn’t care whether it was created by Producer A or B, he’s just experiencing it as a complete package.
And this is what he/she’ll ultimately learn after watching the whole thing (hopefully back-to-back): There’s no salvation for serial killers, even if they had no choice in becoming one in the first place… Hooray! So what? Didn’t we already know that from historical facts? What was the point? To follow the life a psychopath who wanted to have a taste of normal life, to twiddle it (and not CRAVE it, which is what the new showrunners seems to believe about the character) and ultimately found no choice than being another clueless, psychopathic individual? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I’m not saying they should have gone with a happy ending, not at all! Go dark, but go deep…don’t just give us some shallow, meaningless resolution. There was no desperate NEED to feel human in Dexter like Pinocchio or whatever (ugh) to begin with. So an ending which revolves around that particular idea of giving up the chance to live a normal life fails on its own.
But let us step out of this aura of misconceptions for a while, and look at the matter from a different angle. There are two ways to perceive the episode; 1) as an individual installment, or in a broader sense, as a finale to this pointless final season. 2) as the definitive final chapter of the entire series. These two viewpoints will affect the way we’re going to judge and rate this episode as fans. If that is not polarizing enough, there also happen to be what I’d like to call as two separate endings, fittingly, as they don’t seem to make sense when put together… I say fittingly, because the whole season has played out like a poorly written action/adventure video game. And like most games of that genre (even some of the really good ones), there’s usually more than a single ending; alternate good/bad/creepy/comical/secret endings, if you will. We’re going to explore these two ways to look at this episode as we go forward, and then deal with the 2 distinct endings separately. It goes without saying that both interpretations will lead us to a depressingly awful (or awfully depressing) realizations. So be warned…
Next: Approach #1…