After seven bloody seasons, more than a lifetime's supply of industrial-strength plastic wrap, and a seemingly endless number of terrible and/or misused supporting characters, Dexter will start unspooling its final 12 episodes this Sunday. It's been quite a bumpy road at times ('sup, Season 6!), but with nothing to hold back, Dexter is primed to speed toward one hell of a conclusion. Below are some of my big wishes for the final run; please share your own in the comments!
Keep the focus on Dexter and Deb
Season 7 marked a substantial uptick in quality for Dexter because it stripped away the secondary and tertiary elements and really zeroed in on the relationship between Dexter and Deb, especially in its early episodes. Of course, it helped that the writers finally let Deb in on Dexter's secret, but I was pleasantly surprised by how complex their relationship became in the aftermath of Deb's newfound knowledge. The events of the Season 7 finale should make that relationship even more complex and challenging, so there's absolutely no reason why it shouldn't dominate most of the show's runtime each and every week. We know that Dexter has learned to compartmentalize and handle all the details of a major cover-up, but how in the world will Deb deal with killing LaGuerta and covering it all up to protect her brother? I'm guessing not very well.
Try to find something—ANYTHING—interesting for the supporting characters to do
One of the worst-kept secrets on television is that Dexter's supporting characters are terrible. They've always
been terrible, but they've been particularly problematic since Doakes died at
the end of Season 2. Like most fans of the show, I have some residual
affection for Masuka and Batista, but it's been several seasons since either of them has had an intriguing storyline. Sorry, but Batista quitting his job and opening a
restaurant does not count. And it's just staggering that Quinn is still alive.
I'm weary that the show can find compelling things for these characters to do
outside of the occasional bout of comic relief; if it can't, it should just leave them on
the sidelines. I'm not sure anyone actually cares whether Quinn can pull his life
together after a half-decade's worth of screw-ups. But the news that Aimee Garcia's
Jamie is being upped to series regular doesn't instill much confidence in me.
I'm not exactly sure how or when the show plans to
bring Yvone Strahovski's Hannah back, but I eagerly await that episode.
Hannah is one of the remaining wild cards that could completely disrupt
Dexter's plans to escape, Deb's plans to lock her brother up, or both. At the
end of last season, Dexter "chose" Deb over Hannah by turning in
evidence that proved Hannah killed Sal Price, but he certainly didn't make that
decision lightly. Although Deb desperately wanted to put Hannah behind bars and keep
her away from Dexter, there were small moments where she could understand why
Hannah and Dexter shared a connection. I wasn't entirely convinced that Hannah
actually poisoned Deb, even though she admitted to doing so, but it's not like
she's an innocent individual otherwise. As you'll see below, I don't think
there's room for Dexter to get some kind of "happy ending"—either with
Hannah or without her—but there's definitely room for more exploration of the
kind of things that Hannah brings out in him.
Dial back the procedural murders-of-the-week
Just like the unnecessary focus on frivolous supporting characters, I don't see why we still need to see so many of the procedural elements in the show. At this point, the dominant story of Dexter and Deb working their way through LaGuerta's death and all the terrible things they've done should always get the majority of the screen time. Dexter found a nice groove last season by pulling Dexter and Deb's story into the episodic kills, and that's something that could work again—but only if the two characters have a different perspective. Deb isn't going to be remotely supportive of Dexter's decision to keep killing, the last vestiges of the Code, or anything else. Maybe we should see more of Deb trying to stop Dexter.
Don't be afraid to take Dexter to really dark places, and make him face the consequences
It's the final season; there's no more reason to hold back. For years, Dexter has struggled to balance his urges and his fleeting moments of humanity. If the show's writers decide that his urges should completely and permanently take over, that sounds fantastic to me. Dexter isn't a hero, he's not even really an anti-hero. The dude is a murderer, period. And now he's destroyed his sister's life by bringing her into his world of constant self-destruction, epiphanies, and cover-ups. Season 8 doesn't need to be about Dexter's rehabilitation; he cannot be rehabilitated. Play that up, and let us see the impact that it has on the people closest to him, most importantly Deb. Most of all, there should be real consequences for years and years of terrible activity. I don't think prison is the answer, but maybe death is. This show is not building to a happy ending.
What's on YOUR wishlist for the final season of Dexter?
AIRED ON 9/22/2013
Season 8 : Episode 12