Dexter Season Finale Review: The More Things Change...

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I'm pretty much over the existential angst of Dexter Morgan.

In the course of the concluding monologue on "The Big One," he reiterated what's been clear for seasons now: he'll never change. For that reason, Dexter stopped being a character study a long time ago and settled in as a thrilling suspense drama.

It's one I've still enjoyed immensely, but this season finale made me realize how the show doesn't really have many directions in which to go at this point.

Quinn and Dexter

I was hoping Lumen would stick around because at least that would give us something fresh next season: Dexter in a relationship with a true killing partner.

But she woke up, conveniently exited with a quick speech and we were left where we always are:

Dexter lamenting who he is, yet embracing and accepting that Dark Passenger at the same time. He'd like to be normal, he doesn't understand human contact (I did love the line about how connecting with another is the most "impossible" thing in the world in his view), but he also knows he never will.

Such a conclusion made the finale feel empty and even the entire season feel like a waste. What journey did Dexter really go on? Should we have any reason to think he'll be a changed man next year?

No matter what happens on the show, viewers always know how it will end: the main antagonist will end up on Dexter's table; Dexter will appear to have some kind of revelatory moment... but, in the end, will remain who he always has been.

I'll stop here and shower praise on two performances from the season: Jonny Lee Miller was perfect in the role of Jordan Chase (how creepy was that scene where he lunged at a tied-up Lumen?!?); and Jennifer Carpenter shined as Deb. She made us feel her pain, struggling to do her job as a cop with how to react as a human being to the heinous crime she was investigating.

(Sidenote: it was a ludicrous stretch to think that fruit seller would point Deb toward a camp just because Jordan had driven in a certain direction on the highway. Didn't they tell us the camp was out of business for two decades? And wasn't it clearly way off a main road?)

(Second major plot hole complaint: it was way too quick and tidy for Quinn to just show up with Deb at Harrison's party, free and in the clear. What about Liddy's phone records? Quinn's prints on his van? The surveillance equipment signed out in his name?)

It was that final, non-parenthetical point that gives me hope for season six. I hope it's the show's final one, because everything is starting to feel very repetitive these days - and I hope it gives viewers the one storyline we've been craving:

Deb finding out about her brother and dealing with the consequences. Between Quinn seemingly learning the truth this week, and Deb letting her vigilantes (standing behind TV's most contrived plot device of the season) run free, that possibility seems stronger than ever. Either way, I'll be tuning in. But it will be without high expectations that anything ever really changes on Dexter.

What did everyone else think? Were you hoping to see more of Lumen next year? Satisfied with the lack of a cliffhanger for an ending?


Editor Rating: 3.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (101 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


I am ready for new a new direction for season 6. Unlike most of you, I watched all of Season 5 before I saw any other Season because it was available on UVerse on Demand. I loved it as a stand-alone Season and it compelled me to buy the first 4 Seasons (which I watched in order). The acting, especially Mr. Hall) mesmerized me. Although some of you did not care for Season 5 you do agree that the acting was supurb. If the promos are correct, and Dex is recharged and refocused, we are in for a great Season.


for all those who don't think deb would find out about dexter and be okay with it, you should know, if you don't already, that in the books she finds out and is in fact ok with it. deb mayb be a hard core bad ass do gooding cop but she is able to understand that type of motivation. cops kill the bad guys all the time, or the bad guy just gets to sit and jail and have a blast. dexter does what needs to be done and deb would understand it!


Felt like it was rushed and badly written. The penultimate episode opened up so many possibilities. Maybe its better for them to do the ending in two episodes as this seems like a cramming of everything into an hour. While I was watching it, it felt great. The plot may not be good but the acting is superb and filmed and choreographed very well. Things I liked:
- Deb and Dexter between the plastic shielding.
- The beginning half, right up until Dexter went to camp Jordan. That was intense.
- The final lines for the season. They're always great. Things I didn't:
- Basically, the stuff after Quinn got arrested, except some bits at the end. The missing car as many pointed out. The fact that them confronting Jordan chase was done in such a hurry. The murder was the main letdown as in previous episodes, there were elaborate plans while in this one, Dexter just got lucky. Overall it could've panned out into two episodes and some of the previous episodes had pretty useless material. But they were saved by the fact it was Dexter and they can't keep this up. Now, future seasons. They pushed the restart button, opening up a billion possibilities. A season where Dexter starts trying to stop killing and fails at the end. Deb discovering Dexter. Quinn knowing Dexter is the killer. The next serial killer hopefully is better than this one (maybe one who does the same thing Dexter does, making Dexter think it's Lumen coming back, and then more plot twists). This season started great but ended too early.


Yawn on this season, and on the season finale: double yawn. Once Dexter got married, it all went down hill. We saw way too much family stuff last year, although the evil John kept us glued to the TV. I was honestly glad to see Rita go bye-bye. And then this year, it was blah, blah, family - yea, the are gone; oh, darn, they are coming back for the summer. If I want to watch more family stuff I would would watch network TV. I want more evil Dexter and less of the cute kids. For me, this season was bummer.

Saad khan

The finale was very cliche and everything pitch perfect which isn't Dexter's series forte... I still feel this is the most Pg13 season till date... there is a story of rape and all but thr is not actually anything gruesome at all this season... I'm disappointed overall this season but nonetheless I will wait for season 6 but obviously not as enthusiastically as I was waiting after season 4 ended.


This finale seemed way to easy -- almost like the writers got a little lazy. The part that bugged me the most was the missing knife from the killing kit that Dexter just happened to have on him and concealed. When exactly did he conceal it? In the haze of crawling out of the wrecked car?


Smee again, this time about Dexter - Quinn thing. Maybe, just maybe, by saying "I owe you one" Quinn meant not only the blood work, but also relieving him of a persistent and growing problem which Liddy became after Quinn gave up pursuing his hunch on Dex. Let`s face it - he was in the "damned if you do, damned if you don`t" position - going to get in trouble and lose Deb regardless of him arresting Dexter or refusing to do so. By taking Liddy out Dex unknowingly did him a favor. For now we can only hope their new "I know that you know and you know that I know" relation will be well played in the next season.


I just rewatched and I think Deb does know it was Lumen and Dex behind the curtain. She's a smart cookie, she will realize why Lumen left when she did. She even references Dex now being solo at Harrison's party. She knows, its just a matter of her admitting it, then realizing it wasn't a one time thing for Dexter.


I think this season's plot would have been perfect for the final season of Dexter. The plot lines had so much potential for great television, if they didn't have to tie them up in certain ways due to seasons to come. Deb could have found out, he could have had a confrontation with Quinn (that could have ended in several ways). The scene in the camp would have been so much greater if Deb found out at the end who was behind the curtain. I feel this would have been the best possible situation for Deb to find out about Dexter. During the episode, I really thought this was the time where she found out. She finds the vigilantes, lets them go, and then sees it's her brother. Unfortunately, they went a different direction. As I said before, I think this season had the perfect setup if it were the final season. I think some phenomenal scenes could have come to fruition with all the emotions and circumstances that the season set up. This does leave some interesting possibilities for next season though. As for the Quinn/Dexter dynamic, it's now almost a little game; "I know what you did, and I know that you know that I know, but we'll act like everything is normal", if you will. It reminds me of the scene where Jordan Chase is in the police station with Dexter giving his blood sample. But at the same time, it's different, because Quinn isn't a bad guy; he's a cop. That dynamic may or may not work out, we will have to see.


I was sorely disappointed with the way the Dex-Lumen relationship was written off the show. Of course I felt such relationship was unlikely meant to last, and I knew killing her would be just repeating the previous season`s finale, but this was just cruel. It also stripped her of my sympathy because she left Dexter when he obviously needed her most. There was this beautiful moment when Dex was looking at sleeping Lumen with tenderness and love, never portrayed before as peaceful and human in all five seasons. And then BANG. Why? Now Dexter seems to be slipping back into shadows, denied something only Lumen could possibly provide: a strong counterweight to the Dark Passenger. With such writers` approach, the series will soon be nothing more than another boring procedural. Pity.

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Dexter Season 5 Episode 12 Quotes

Don't be sorry your darkness is gone. I'll carry if for you - always. I'll keep it with mine,

Dexter [to Lumen]

Deb: You don't like Quinn much.
Dexter: I don't like him at all. But I want you to be happy.