**Warning: Spoilers for Dexter Season 8, as well as the series as a whole to follow… you’ve been warned.**
About 2 days ago, I finally saw the Series Finale to Dexter (for the second time). I watched the show almost completely on Netflix for the first time all the way through, and I have to say: I enjoyed every minute of it…
Dexter, and all the people he interacts with on a daily basis, are just that… People. They’re flawed and they make mistakes, everything from moral ones to mistakes on their jobs, and above all else, there’s consequences to every action; Even Dexter’s own. Karma is a harsh mistress, and the only reason some of us are able to get on with our lives, is the belief that those who have wronged us will in turn have some kind of hardship visited on them as some form of universal reparations.
Cosmic Balance, one might say.
Yet Dexter, it seems, never has to deal with this concept. How many lives has he destroyed? Yes, plenty of murderers, pedophiles, and psychopaths… But also, his sister, LaGuerta, Doakes, Hannah, Rita, Astor and Cody… Innocents… Caught between him, and his dark desires… What is his punishment?
His punishment is the reason I think the finale was good… He lives.
“He lived through the whole series!” some might say, but did he really? He was alive surely… But he prosecuted his actions without remorse, time and again, without empathy or guilt, he killed. Here’s the interesting part though: as the series wore on he became human. He experienced love, and true loss, fear, pride, a sense of true justice (in Lumen’s case). More than that, he began to feel at all.
At the end, we see him living in his self-imposed exile, and he looks at us (the viewers)… One would imagine he should have died in that hurricane, that he ventured in hoping for it… Yet, instead, through his own guile, or because someone was keeping his head above the water, he survived… His punishment, and his torture, is that every day he is confronted by who and what he perceives himself to be: a monster, and he has to live with what he’s done. More so, he has to live without the human connections that gave his life true meaning.
Discovering his humanity and then being deprived of it… Forced to continue living… I see no greater anguish. Death is easy in the world of Dexter, it happens and then it’s over. If Dexter was killed, he would be gone, yes. But would he be punished?
The alternate ending of Dexter, which was thought up by one of the writers who jumped ship after Season 4 (Trinity Killer), describes the end of Dexter, as the whole series being a flashback, as Dexter was being administered the fatal drugs during the course of his execution. I like this ending less, although I would have loved to see it, because of the fact that it would make everything that the viewer sat through, meaningless. Whether it actually happened, or not. Dex dead means he’s learned nothing but that the state thinks he was wrong for taking it into his own hands. What actually happened… The ending that was actually filmed, may have been slightly rushed, but it was an ending that provoked my researching far enough to find this other ending, and thinking enough to write all this out… I guess by any measure, it was cerebral television.
Now, a lot of people still hate it, and if you’re one of them, then I’m sorry. But you knew what you were getting into from the title of the piece. I hoped you enjoyed the show and can reminisce about it for time to come, I know I will.