Of all the big TV revivals that are coming down the pop culture pipeline, I'm not sure if anything shares the exact same anticipation frequency as Showtime's new season of Dexter, in which Michael C. Hall's killer-of-killers will get one last hurrah to follow-up on the much maligned Season 8 finale. Nearly eight years after that finale aired, the show's star and its creative team are well aware of what the fan discourse has been for that season on the whole. And Hall thinks there's a pretty specific reason that the character's prior swan song put fans off.
Dexter's panel for [email protected] featured Michael C. Hall, showrunner Clyde Phillips, executive producer Scott Reynolds, EP and director Marcos Siega and new star Julia Jones, and there were lots of teases and details to enjoy regarding the upcoming season. After the group discussed the genius of using Dexter's silent smile for the revival's first teaser, Hall reflected on silence being a big factor in why fans were left so dissatisfied by Dexter's final flash-forward. In his words:
You know, one thing I think that was confounding about the ending for people is Dexter didn't say anything to us. We were accustomed to listening to his voiceover. A fundamental part of the experience of the show was feeling like you were in on his secret, and implicated as a result. And the fact that he just looked at the camera and didn't say anything, I think, was a part of what was like, 'Whoa, what are we supposed to do with that?' So yeah, that look to the camera [in the teaser] is kind of like, 'Hi, I'm back. Hello again.'
It's certainly hard to argue with such an assessment, and not only because it's coming from the dude who lived in the character's headspace for nearly a decade. Before viewers even see Michael C. Hall's fully lit face, his narration kicks in, putting everybody right there in the (dark) passenger seat for his journey. So for a show that so fully adhered to the idea of cycles being repeated, it only makes sense for the series to have ended in a way in which it began, with Dexter's disembodied voice cluing us in on where his mind was at in that new setting, or some other insightful nugget to cling to in lieu of more episodes.
I guess if it was abundantly clear that the lack of narration was fundamentally important to Dexter's evolved nature having moved away from the terrors he caused and suffered in Miami, then it would have been less confusing. But it wasn't that first thing. So there you go. But while we're here, let's go over some of the worst final lines that Dexter could have given its main character to close out the series.
"Welp, that happened!"
"Did I forget to turn off the oven?"
"We're gonna need a bigger...coat. Wait, Jaws wasn't set in Florida."
"Snow business like blood business."
"My only regret is not trying to hook up with Deb a lot sooner."
Speaking of Deb, or not, fans will very likely be seeing actress Jennifer Carpenter again as Debra in the new season, along with John Lithgow's Trinity Killer, though presumably through flashback or hallucination, as opposed to mystical resurrections. And while she doesn't appear in the new trailer released along with the panel, you can check it out below to hear some of that sweet, classic Dexter Morgan narration.