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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?

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (496 Votes)

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

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Thank you for your opinions - they are so right on the money. The whole Debra in love with Dex thing was just pathetic - and insulting. Sure, Deb has had dysfunctional relationships, yeah. But this isn't enough to explain this level of dysfunction. It would actually make more sense if she had been Dex's bio-sister and watched her mother die too or something - as it is, she's no more dysfunctional at her core than most women in america, and we aren't falling in love with our brothers over it. She was tricked by Brian, who was capable of acting like a functional partner - there were no signs that he was a serial killer. I don't see how she was dysfunctional at all being with him. And we're supposed to believe she's some kind of a freak because she fell in love with an older man? Needy maybe, but an incestuous nutcase? Come on. This is a serious leap, even for this show.

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If they kill off Debra, now that she knows, i'll stop watching!!!

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I think the show continues to be brilliant. The Deb loves Dexter is interesting. The psychiatrist has put this notion into Deb's mind and Deb is mixed up enough to be considering it. To me, it is really small compared to the season of all the questioning and exploration Dexter does. Parenting and nature verse nurture, religion, heaven, hell, forgiveness, and the possibility that a person can change. Dexter, to me, is getting careless. Why? Couldn't be about religion as I think he sees that as hogwash. Could he think that his son would be better off with someone else? Is he raising Harrison to be a serial killer without knowing it? I thought the introduction of the character, who was able to overcome his dark passenger through religion, was very cool.

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Maybe this final momment was just a Dexter's dream...like Debra was dreaming him in previous episode...

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Suspend your disbelief and logic people - it's Dexter d'oh

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Much as I don't care to get involved in ANY watercooler banter about a mere tv show - "EWWW" Matt Richenthal? It appears that about 24% of your survey group understood incest involves close relatives (read: blood). That you try to speak for "everyone" from your prudish ignorance is laughable.

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I totally agree. I'm completely disappointed with the season. That Deb is in love with Dexter is ridiculous. That she discovers Dexter's dark passenger by happenstance, instead of detective work, is very disappointing.

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Well, I don't think there needs to be a reason for everything to happen. It's like real life, things in your life don't happen simply because there's a future reason. They simply happen. I mean, of course, Deb didn't have to be IN LOVE with Dexter so that she would go to the church and talk to him, there could be tons of reasons. But that's the one the writers chose. She is in love with him because she is. In real life things like that have no explanation, so I don't see a reason why there should be in any show. Personally I do not want to see them together, and I don't think they will be.

Wolfshades

I deliberately waited until the end of the season and then watched the episodes back-to-back. Maybe it was because of that method of viewing that I actually loved this season. A number of things: 1) "pfft" is right - there's a decided lack of logic applied in this review. 2) the reason Travis didn't immediately grab Harrison as soon as he saw him had nothing to do with fear of the babysitter - quite simply the idea didn't occur to him until he saw the pic of Dexter with Harrison and realized he was his son. Harrison could have easily have been Jaime's kid (there's that logic thing, when one takes the time to think it through). 3) Deb apparently feels marginally OK with her incestuous feelings toward Dex because he's not her natural brother. OK it's still creepy and wrong (and frankly I was a bit creeped out when I learned the two actors were actually seeing each other IRL at one point), but at least it's not out and out incest. Still, eww. I agree with the review on this point, I think. 4) As "pfft" said, the Batista-Quinn thing is not done. It's a set up for the next season - I think Batista will still detest his partner through the season, even as Quinn remains close enough to Deb to finally figure out the secret she's keeping. Batista will end up negating Quinn somehow. It was a good season, in my opinion. I liked it.

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Forget everything stupid thing that happened this season 'cause all that matters is that Deb knows Dexter's secret now. After runnng through all the possible outcomes for Season 7, there is only one solution that I can think of that works -- After a couple soul-searching episodes where she nearly turns Dexter in, Deb will be killed in the line of duty by some crazed psycho, who Dexter must then hunt down for the rest of season. Dexter might actually disappear for an episode or two at the beginning to avoid being arrested, but then he'll be free to come back to Miami and avenge Deb's death.
Supporting evidence --
* Anyone who ever found out who Dexter really is was killed or disappeared for good -- ITK, Doakes, Miguel Prado, Trinity, Luna, etc.
* Deb is already so messed up that this will put her over the edge mentally and the they can't let that go on for very long.

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