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?

The Big One Review

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

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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.