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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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+.


I too was really disappointed in some of the insulting stretches this season. Dexter has always asked us to suspend disbelief, but some of this season's plot "twists" and deus ex machinas were way too much. Case in point was the painting. How did they even know there were dead bodies in there? Someone had to have gone in, and it's well beyond suspension of disbelief to try to convince us that no one walked another 5 feet to notice the GIANT WALL PAINTING OF A DEMON IN A LAKE OF FIRE! Yes, it would've stood out more than that previous sentence. And the worst part is, there was a plausible explanation, since Dexter was the one who thwarted the Wormwood attack. There would have been speculation about how Travis found that out, but a LOT of people knew so it would've been a decent path to take. Plus, it would have tied Dexter to Travis in the public eye (ok, in the other characters' eyes anyway), the same way Dex has been publicly tied to so many previous Big Bads. Disappointed they went the way they did. The Gellar thing I can almost forgive because I can see how it would seem like a good idea on paper, but ridiculous plot holes like the painting are unforgivable imho. But how 'bout that ending? Whew! I've never been so eager to get a year older before.


FANTASTIC write up. You encapsulated how a lot of us felt about this season. Very, very good analysis!


Again, MARVELOUS REVIEW! I'm surrounded by people who think I'm crazy for hating this season so much... I feel like I wrote this article. It was a crazy good last 30 seconds that was pissed all over by a hideous season. The acting was awesome, everything else was garbage.


I think your right about the possibility of Scott Buck wanting the Deb/Dex connection all along. Listen to the clip of his explanation of the finale. He says he feels "that their relationship had been leaning in that direction for a few seasons now so it's only logical to explore it." I personally think this seasons failure is all on him!


UGH, don't like the Dexter/Deb thing the writers are forcing on us; and what happened to our vigilante killer? We saw very little of that this season. I was disappointed as those little vignettes gave depth to the show. This season was good especially with Mos Def. After his part was done, the show lacked luster or something. But I don't like cliff hangers. That was one thing I always liked about Dexter is that the last episode wrapped up everything. I was very disappointed with so many things. La Guerta makes me sick, and that whole bickering thing between Batista and Quinn got on my nerves. I am intrigued, however, with the lab geek/game creator. This will bring an interesting flavor to next season. I hope we will learn early on in next season that the "love" thing between Deb and Dexter was just a horrible delusion of Deb's. You can say they aren't really related, but come on! They grew up together.


@duh The reviewer won't ever change. Matt is the Editor-in-Chief of TVFanatic so basically what he says goes.


I thought that the ending made up for the whole season. And lets be honest! Dexter's worst episode is still better than any other show's best episode. Except Mad Men, Son of Anarchy and other elite shows.


Van, are you not aware that the series is based on a series of books written by Jeff Lindsay. And that Deb is actually supposed to find out? Which is what we have all been waiting for.... And back to you Enid... How is it that you find Dexter a scary show? Its not scary, nor is it supposed to be.


Enid... Rita died at the end of season 4!! We just finished season 6 and YES I saw it coming! Deb sent him to the church, hello! Why would he choose the church, knowing people would know he would be there, to commit a murder? EPIC FAIL!


Your a cunt. I'd like to see you do anything productive, besides criticize. Faggot.

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