Dexter Season Finale Review: The Ruined Reveal

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Dexter finally went there to conclude season six. It aired the scene many viewers have been clamoring for for years: Deb witnessing her brother in all his blood-filled, Dark Passenger-based glory.

Many fans may believe this will make up for an incredibly sloppy, disjointed, suspense-free season. I have no doubt the producers are banking on that, as sites and message boards and water coolers will now be dominated by talk of where things will go in season seven.

But don't count me among those cheering because we're seemingly headed in a new, exciting direction. I can't let go of how we got there.

A Panicked Dexter

It was simply a mess of a season. Two cases in point from the finale: Travis is literally feet away from Harrison in Dexter's apartment... only instead of snatching him (what, was he afraid of Jaime? Is she tougher than the cop on the roof he killed without hesitation?), he sneaks into the children's pageant and does the deed there. Why? Simply because the script called for it.

And are we really meant to believe that not a single police officer had stepped inside the house where Travis painted that mural? No one had seen Dexter's face painted on the wall because EVERYone was waiting for the blood splatter specialist to arrive? We've seen enough crime scenes on this show to know that's never happened before.

That sort of leap in logic, that kind of desperate attempt to drag the season out, littered almost every episode. It was lowlighted, of course, by the insulting Gellar-is-dead reveal, which was as transparent and as terribly-written as any storyline on any show in recent memory.

So, really, there's no point in over-analyzing "This is the Way the World Ends." It was as heavy-handed and predictable as any other outing. And, really, it's not what anyone will be talking about tomorrow. I find it hard to believe anyone cares about the fate of Travis Marshall; or LaGuerta's words of rooftop wisdom; or Quinn and Batista's pointless bickering, which almost came across as a wink-wink from the writers that nothing outside of Dexter matters (these two fought, Batista tried to get Quinn transferred, and the end result was... nothing. It was just Quinn telling Batista he won't be getting transferred).

All anyone will be discussing is The Moment.

Let me state this: I'm glad it finally took place. I am VERY curious to see how the show will handle this discovery going forward.

But, my goodness, I'm appalled at how it got there. Why the writers felt it necessary to throw in the disgustingly misguided notion that Deb is in love with Dexter is positively mind-boggling. Really? Is that the only way they could come up with her arriving at the church? Because she simply had to tell her sibling how she felt at that moment?

And, really, did the writers have so little faith in the Deb/Dexter relationship as it had been constructed that they had to conjure up this wayward storyline because they think the reveal will now have more of an impact on Deb? It's legitimately insulting to all those who have watched the show from the beginning.

The Deb and Dexter connection has been the focal point of the series. They have been brother and sister in every sense of the world. As I wrote last week, it's been refreshing and unlike any other male/female relationship on television. It's also simply been very well done. Did any viewer doubt the love between this pair? Did anyone feel it necessary to throw an incestual wrench into the show, as if extra gravitas was needed for when Deb finally found out her brother's secret?

And does anyone even think this development accomplishes that goal? Are you more curious to see Deb's reaction next year because she's in love with him, as opposed to "merely" loving him?!?

To watch Deb give Dexter some sort of lovelorn look when he got close to her was nothing short of gross and staggeringly tone deaf on the part of the writers. NOBODY wants to see these two together. (Okay, correction, in our poll of nearly 2,00 readers, 24% wanted to see them together. To all of them, I say: EWWW.)

Look, Dexter has been through three showrunners. Seasons four, five and six were each manned a different person. It's very difficult to maintain consistency in these situations and it's possible Scott Buck, the current head, wanted Deb to have feelings for Dexter all along, but he could only implement his vision now that he's in charge. I obviously have no idea.

But I do know that the constant changing-of-the-higher-ups has had an impact on the series as a whole. To many, myself included, season four was the apex; season five a letdown; and season six an outright mess. Am I anxious about where events now go on season seven, based on the final moment? Of course.

However, I'm also upset that this season really served as nothing more than a set-up for next season (can I get 11.59 hours of my life back, please?) and I'm absolutely mystified by the decision to mar the Deb/Dark Passenger discovery by the former's unnecessary, repulsive revelation of love. I'm more confused than angry. What ON EARTH are the writers thinking?

What did everyone else think?


Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (496 Votes)

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


@Anon, maybe they both had different tones. If you heard two similar voices in the same room, but one was responding to the other, you might assume it were two different people. We've seen that, at least in Dexter's case, Dexter himself can be doing what his brother did (killed the Farmer) when Dexter was going to meet Jonah.


I also was very disappointed and uncomfortable with Deb's confession of love and feel it was not only unnecssary but inconsistent and contrived. Here's where I'm confused... In an earlier season, didn't the writers lead up to the possibility that Dexter is really Harry's biological son??? Didn't Harry and Dexter's mom, Laura(?) have an affair?


@DexDementor - right on the money - they took things to a farcical level here


Dexter really did lose the plot entirely this season, I agree with the reviewer. It was devoid of suspense, intrigue and basically all that came before in previous seasons. A real disappointment. I actually wasn't bothered if I missed episodes of it - quite in contrast to plugging it to all I knew about it being the best thing ever a few years back. The actor playing Travis was terribly casted, although with the character so weak I'm not sure others could have saved him. Debra and her psychology sessions were the height of boredom and her new-found 'love' for Dexter just bizarre in a way I cannot imagine being credible in any shape or form. Instead of pulling me in, this season pushed me away with its sloppyness. Mos Def however was great, always enjoy watching him on-screen. In the next season Dexter should be hunted down with the wrap-up taking place over the electric chair as the season finale. Best kill it off soon, I don't think any show can sustain more than 7 seasons anyway.


Just saw the season finale which I think was pretty good. But after watching it I got an itch to check out the details surrounding the Gellar/Sixth Sense plot twist. Check out episode 7 right around the 20 minutes and 30 seconds mark and listen to the witness testimony of the girl that Travis/Gellar let go during episode 6. The girl talks as if she heard two different voices and even references Travis as the 'younger' one, which makes it sound as if she heard the voice of an older person in the room. If Travis was imagining Gellar all along why did she hear two different voices? Looks like they f***ed up on that one. Still liked the season though.


I think Dexter is going to tell her he got kidnapped by Travis and that's why he fell off his boat and then he kidnapped his son and tried to kill him so that is why he killed him because he was looking out for her and his son so that he could never harm them again. Deb is so stupid she will fall for it. She was going to let the chief of Police off for leaving the hooker dead in the hotel so why not her brother. She didn't even try to let him know that bitch of a Captain threw her under the bus by making it seem like Deb ratted him out. This season was a let down. Very sloppy. Also her falling for her brother just dumb!


The season was uncomfortable because Dexter was uncomfortable. He was given two chances to be 'normal' and happy (Rita then Lumen) and he lost them both. He was dealing with the thought that maybe Harry didn't even try to find his light. That Dexter was first at the house with the painting. OK, that didn't feel right, but let's go with Deb being in charge and saying, "No one go in there until Dexter gets here."
That they are divorced in real life makes this uncomfortable for me. There is no blood (snicker) between them. Parents are dead. Why the ick factor? Dexter has always said if he could feel anything for anyone it would be Deb. His love for Harrison is unconditional, natural bond. His feelings for Deb? Well, we will find out won't we? If this turns out to be a "Dallas" shower scene I'm gonna be very disappointed.


I bet when the next season starts Deb seeing Dexter kill will be a dream


The whole Deb/Dexter thing is gross but come on, they always leaving you wanting more, now that she knows he is a killer. I'll keep watching. I didn't care for the whole religion thing this season but the storyline was still good. Michael C. Hall is a hell of a actor. I would like for Quinn and Deb to get back together and forget the brotherly love. I still prefer Dexter over Homeland, I only started to watch that cause it came on after Dexter and I loved Damian Lewis in the show Life. I don't think this is the worst season of Dexter at all, not the strongest but still kept me interested.


Just watched the Dexter 6 finale. I agree with almost all that has been written in the original post. Up front, I have to say this is my favorite show - that's why I am so immeasurably disappointed in this whole season 6 mess. In a phrase," Holy Franknf&*ks", this was a boatload of very ROBOTIC WRITING this season. They tried to do too many things and tackled too many larger issues which were ultimately handled very superficially. I think we will look back on Season 6 as a casualty on the way to ending the whole show. Forget about Harrison being sacrificed - Season 6 was. They needed to set up some "mechanical" things to push the plot forward and that's just what they did. Sad. Memo to the writers - this ain't no Wuthering Heights. They did not establish this romantic thing between these adoptive siblings in any previous seasons. Therefore - we are not only turned off by the inappropriateness of the relationship - there is no reason for us to want to accept this as something that we might have seen coming. Bad story telling. I remember seeing video of a Comicon Panel a couple years ago and Sarah Colleton, an Exec. Producer, said they hadn't ruled out a Dexter/Deb romance, I thought it was the worst idea I had ever heard and can't believe they actually "went there". I love this show for it's subversive humor and I have laughed along with the show as Dexter's dry, sarcastic narration has made me feel like and insider. This is the first time I actually laughed at the show - when I saw the painting of the Beast with Dexter's face on it. Again, Holy Frankenf&*ks, what were they thinking? And, there have been far too many things this season where Dexter has miraculously found clues, survived death, etc. This isn't just about concentration on "character" stories by the writers - this is also a suspense show. Even with the fantasy element here, this is just lazy writing. Overall, they have used the technique of dumbing down characters when they are on their way out. Rita was dumbed down terribly leading up to her death in Season 4. So much so, that we couldn't wait for her to die. If they have dumbed you down (Quinn) or made you heinous (LaGuerta), you are most likely on your way out. Overtime, they have made Deb much smarter than she was originally. So much so, that we have had a hard time believing such a great detective wouldn't have suspected her brother may be up to no good. So, they now have to "dumb her down" with the current story line. So tedious that they use this rubric over and over again. Deb is not being treated like Doakes - whose dogged detective work did him in. The sparring between Doakes and Dexter was wonderful stuff. Not that they could have done this with Deb but she is smarter than to be "in love" with Dexter at this point. When I watched the first season of Dexter, I thought it was probably the best execution of a new series I had ever seen. All things were explained and you could make leaps of faith for the fiction of the show. Now it's so unbelievable that it's hard to take it seriously. So, Producers and Writers of Dexter - take some time to rediscover what made this show great so that the last two seasons are a worthy ending to this once stellar show.

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