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Homeland and Dexter Season Finales: My Take

by at . Comments

Thanks a lot, Showtime.

Due to a pair of startling finales last night - the conclusion of Dexter Season 7 and Homeland Season 2 - that network kept me awake for hours, my mind churning over the direction of Deb on the former and the future of Carrie and company on the latter.

So while colleagues Miranda Wicker and Dan Forcella did an outstanding job reviewing each of the episodes - read Miranda's take on "Surprise, Motherfucker" now and Dan's rundown of "The Choice" - I had to step in and express my reviews as well...

Deb vs. LaGuerta

DEXTER I hated Dexter Season 6, despised it, would have given up on the show entirely if not for the concluding scene that finally revealed Dexter's Dark Passenger to his sister. Any long-time fan simply has to give Season 7 a chance after that.

And thank goodness I did. The dozen episodes that comprised this run were on par with the iconic Dexter Season 4, with the drama's title character no longer running from who he is, but embracing it and trying to explain it to Deb, while finding a murderous soulmate in Yvonne Strahovski's Hannah McKay.

I actually wish Hannah were locked up and we weren't stuck watching her difficult-to-believe escape from the police; that was my one complaint of the finale. It was time for her great storyline to end. But everything else kept me glued to the screen, with that final, contained-based confrontation between Deb, LaGuerta and Dexter growing as tense as it gets.

Even though we know Deb would shoot LaGuerta, didn't we? She clearly wouldn't turn the gun on her brother, not with one season remaining. Yet it was still shocking when she took this homicidal step, a kill that even Dexter himself wouldn't have gone through with just a couple weeks ago. It was against any semblance of Harry's Code. And it was an unexpected, terrific step for the series to take. It's bold, it's different and it sets up a fascinating dynamic for 2013.

So here are heading into Season 8: brother and sister are on the same evil team and there are more opportunities ahead for Jennifer Carpenter to try and wrangle an Emmy from Claire Danes. Oh, and Quinn may be dating Jamie! Count me in.

Brody Decides The Future

HOMELAND Here is why I loved the season finale: Because any other show of this nature would have concluded the episode with the bomb explosion. That was the action-packed cliffhanger, right? That was the event that would leave fans wondering and talking all the way through the winter, spring and summer.

But Homeland went beyond the body count. It took us inside the Brody/Carrie relationship once again, it delved into the terrific Saul and his wife and his connection to Carrie (I could watch that voicemail message for hours) and, just like the season premiere, it concluded with a smile.

Yes, various developments this season strained credulity, Carrie's car accident and Nazir kidnapping topping that list. But I can forgive the series because it always comes back to its characters; it may set crazy events in motion around these people, but the emotional payoff is always believable and worthwhile. And the performances are among the best on television.

From Saul uttering the mourner's prayer to, heck, even Chris Brody breaking down at the viewing of his father's taped confession, the finale continued to up the emotional stakes. Does it seem very hard to believe that Nazir could really have plotted such an elaborate scheme, that the dominoes could have fallen so perfectly for it to work? Yes.

But I don't care. I just want to watch Season 3 to see how these fascinating individuals respond to the attack.

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

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Also, I am a little confused as to why Nazir's death would be necessary for the plot to still occur. Sure, that might have made them relax, but I would imagine that as long as Brody was a Congressman the CIA would have tight surveillance on him even if all his tips were 100% truthful. Don't get me wrong, I didn't miss an episode and was glued to the television, and there were many things to love (I was rooting for the "villains" Isaak and Hannah in the episodes more so than any of the good Miami Metro officers), but all the good things have been pointed out in previous comments. And I understand it is TV, and some things need to be overlooked for great television moments, however, these shows have had amazing and successful seasons in the past without compromising as much "reality" as they did in these seasons. One last gripe, Dexter has to be one of the worst parents ever - he never even sees Harrison anymore.

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The original Dexter was very careful and covered almost ever option, this one flew by the seat of his pants it seemed like. Also, just about the show in general, I think things happened a little too quickly (especially the LaGuerta storyline). To me, there was never that dramatic slow build of LaGuerta getting closer and closer to discovering Dexter like there was with Doakes in Season 2. Or maybe just because over the seasons so many people learned of Dexter's secret that it just doesn't carry the same suspense as when Doakes was investigating. I think Homeland also suffered similar criticisms in moving a little too fast (seemingly satisfying a need to have some major event each episode) that it harmed what was previously perfect pacing. There didn't need to be all these crazy action packed moments - to me the biggest shock of the season that made me wanting more was Saul discovering the video. Also, I am a little confused as to why Nazir's death would be necessary for the plot to still occur. Sure, that might have made them relax, but I would imagine that as long as Brody was a Congressman the CIA would have tight surveillance on him even if all his tips were 100% truthful. Don't get me wrong, I didn't miss an episode and was glued to the television, and there were many things to love (I was rooting for the "villains" Isaak and Hannah in the episodes more so than any of the good Miami Metro officers), but all the good things have been pointed out in previous comments. And I understand it is TV, and some things need to be overlooked for great television moments, however, these shows have had amazing and successful seasons in the past without compromising as much "reality" as they did in these seasons. One last gripe, Dexter has to be one of the worst parents ever - he never even sees Harrison anymore.

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Judging by the reviews and the comments, I may be in the minority, but I feel that this season of Dexter was average when compared to previous seasons. To me, seasons 1, 2, and 4 were the best - then all the others in some order with probably 3 as my least favorite. This season was plagued with Dexter (and the writers) making careless/stupid mistakes such as killing Victor then taking his cell-phone with his body to his boat, being fine with a meeting in the outside portion with Isaak when the police were on 24-hour Isaak surveillance, turning Hannah in when she knew about him and Deb (sure she loved him, but don't you think she said she loved the husband that you know she, um, murdered), and finally, going after Estrada the very week he is released when he finds out from Mathews that LaGuerta thinks he is the butcher and knows of his history... hmmm, don't you think he could've laid off of Estrada until the LaGuerta's investigation of him blew over. The original Dexter was very careful and covered almost ever option, this one flew by the seat of his pants it seemed like. Also, just about the show in general, I think things happened a little too quickly (especially the LaGuerta storyline). To me, there was never that dramatic slow build of LaGuerta getting closer and closer to discovering Dexter like there was with Doakes in Season 2. Or maybe just because over the seasons so many people learned of Dexter's secret that it just doesn't carry the same suspense as when Doakes was investigating. I think Homeland also suffered similar criticisms in moving a little too fast (seemingly satisfying a need to have some major event each episode) that it harmed what was previously perfect pacing. There didn't need to be all these crazy action packed moments - to me the biggest shock of the season that made me wanting more was Saul discovering the video. Also, I am a little confused as to why Nazir's death would be necessary for the plot to still occur. Sure, that might have made them relax, but I would imagine that as long as Brody was a Congressman the CIA would have tight surveillance on him even if all his tips were 100% truthful. Don't get me wrong, I didn't miss an episode and was glued to the television, and there were many things to love (I was rooting for the "villains" Isaak and Hannah in the episodes more so than any of the good Miami Metro officers), but all the good things have been pointed out in previous comments. And I understand it is TV, and some things need to be overlooked for great television moments, however, these shows have had amazing and successful seasons in the past without compromising as much "reality" as they did in these seasons. One last gripe, Dexter has to be one of the worst parents ever - he never even sees Harrison anymore.

Wolfshades

I was gobsmacked by the writing on Homeland, and at the incredible detail in the manner in which Brody was betrayed/used. That video changes everything, and there is now no one in his corner at all except Carrie. Not the CIA, not his family or friends. No one. Can't possibly picture a scenario where he gets redeemed. Can't wait to see what happens next. Dexter's storyline flowed perfectly right up until the shocking end. It was all so logical, and therefore compelling when Deb came to the end of logic and reacted according to the only choice she felt she had. Wow.

Aries93

Though I love both shows, the only thing that really made the finales was the death of LaGuerta (by Deb) on Dexter and the massive explosion (and framing of Brody) on Homeland. Overall though, they were both fantastic.

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I give my heartiest endorsement to Jennifer Carpenter for Emmy consideration. I have felt for several years that her performances in Dexter have been way under-appreciated. To me, she has been the human heart of the series. I'm not convinced that Hannah will play much of a role in the final season of Dexter. Yes, she's on the loose, but she's a fugitive. She doesn't seem like the kind of character that would risk her safety by continuing to insert herself into Dexter's life. My bet is that she's quietly living in Argentina and that we won't hear from her again.

Jose t

This is the kinda review I needed to read.... No disrespect to miranda but she was just wrong on her review.... Matt needs to do ALL the episodes not the first 10.... It was a nice read but I wanted a longer review.... Sucks that we have to wait 9 months for more homeland and dexter... As far as the shows goes, homeland might be "better" from a critical pov but dexter was more entertaining!

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As a huge Homeland fan, it's hard to admit, but there is no doubt Dexter wins hands-down over Homeland this season. Jennifer Carpenter for the Emmy? Why the hell not!!!! She was brilliant from blurting out that she loved Dexter, to those final minutes of the premier and of the finale. Great performance.

Dexter Quotes

I love Halloween. The one time of year when everyone wears a mask... not just me. People think it's fun to pretend you're a monster. Me, I spend my life pretending I'm not. Brother, friend, boyfriend - All part of my costume collection. Some people might call me a fraud. Let's see if it will fit. I prefer to think of myself as a master of disguise.

Dexter Morgan

There are no secrets in life, just hidden truths that lie beneath the surface.

Dexter Morgan