Another Dexter finale comes to pass, another whopper of an ending to leave us hanging until next year. For a season that seemed low on bodies and a bit draggy, things certainly finished big and we’re left to spend months wondering how the heck Dexter will move forward from here.
The father, the son, and the serial killer...
Dexter’s a serial killer? Oh, that’s right! Once upon a time he did spend his evenings stalking and killing bad guys. It seems like he spent most of this season following Travis, which left him little time for the rest of Miami’s unclaimed villains. Regardless, tonight’s finale saw the return of Dexter’s table, and as a bonus, Dexter stabbed an illegal-immigrant would-be robber (and possible murderer) on the boat that served as his rescue from last week’s cliffhanger ending.
Travis’ plans to kill Harrison and set-off the end of the world were thwarted by Dexter. A cop did get killed, but in the end, Dexter outsmarted and out-fought Travis on top of the roof of a high Miami building, saving Harrison from being the sacrificial lamb (or lion, technically). Dexter took Travis to the abandoned church, where he killed him Dexter-style. That almost feels like an aside, compared to the big finish.
Last season, a sheet of plastic stood between Deb and the revelation that her brother was a serial killer. This season, there was no plastic. The episode ended with Deb watching her brother plunging a knife into Travis’ chest. Moments earlier, she admitted to her therapist that she’s in love with Dexter. I’m still uncomfortable with this development and I suspect the writers may have timed all of this intentionally, knowing Deb was going to see Dexter kill someone. If that’s the case, I really don’t think it’s necessary. If it were anyone else, I’d say that the timing couldn’t be better for Dexter. Character falls in love with Dexter, then learns he’s a serial killer so they have to figure out whether to turn him in or somehow accept it, turn their back on it, try to mentally deny it... whatever. But this is Deb. She’s always loved Dexter and she’s always been especially protective of him. Even if she weren’t in love with him, I think she’d think twice before throwing handcuffs on him. Regardless of the fact that it went unspoken, for the most part, Deb and Dexter's (non-romantic) love for each other was always pretty clear to me. Still, I suppose the romance element adds a whole layer of complication.
“Light cannot exist without darkness.”
The subject of religion was picked over and explored literally and metaphorically throughout the course of the season. Did Dexter come out of it with any sense of faith? That seems unclear. What was clear tonight as he looked down at Travis just before he killed him, was that Dexter sees how religion can be used by people to do heinous things. That’s an unfortunate reality. Brother Sam served as an example of the opposite of Travis and Dexter seems to get that too. When he was talking to Travis at the end, he spoke about knowing people who believe in God, who would never use their faith as a convenient excuse to kill people. He was dismissive of the idea that God put Travis on his table, which to me suggests that Dexter’s curiosity about religion never really amounted to much more than just that. In the end, he’s still a killer because he chooses to be and Travis was on his table because he put him there.
Dexter’s big life-lesson of the season seems to be that the purpose of his darkness is to remove people like Travis from the world. It sounds like a justification and one Brother Sam would likely disagree with, but at the very least, it keeps Dexter on the steady path of serial-killing guilt-free.
Batista put in for a transfer for Quinn, so we may not be seeing him back next season. Given that Batista nearly died because Quinn was too hungover to be around, I’d say he has this coming.
Louis expressed an interest in working full-time at Miami Metro but Masuka told him he needs more training. I honestly thought there was going to be some big Louis reveal tonight. We saw that the Ice Truck Killer hand was delivered to Dexter’s apartment, but Travis was the one to open the package and, after examining it, he put it on top of the fridge, where it went unnoticed. Near the end of the episode, when Dexter was getting Harrison ready for bed, I thought for sure part of the cliffhanger was going to be seeing Louis in the apartment later that night, or something but there was nothing. So, let’s assume Louis’ appearances this season were just set-up for something to play out next season. I maintain my theory that he’ll be the Season 7 villain and possibly a copy-cat Dexter.
Deb and LaGuerta pushed at each other a little bit tonight as Deb made a few remarks about how LaGuerta threw Matthews under the bus, and LaGuerta made comments about how Deb needs to take control. Nothing major came from their discussions but it’ll be interesting to see how their relationship continues to develop and whether Deb manages to assert herself with LaGuerta or ends up getting caught under the woman’s thumb.
That about covers it for the season. Religion was a topic definitely worth exploring on the series, and they used it to great effect on more than one occasion. Travis' ritualistic killings added some darkness and depth to the violence we usually see on this series, however over all, in terms of the rhythm and momentum built up over the course of the season, we've seen better. While it was interesting to see Dexter exploring religion, it didn't feel as though he was as personally invested in the Doomsday arc as he has been with previous villains. Sure, Travis dragged Harrison into the equation at the very end, but until then, Dexter's involvement seemed more fueled by curiosity and irritation than it was an anything else.
The bonds we've seen between Dexter and villains like Trinity, Lila, and Prado added much more depth to the pursuit and it showed in quality of the conclusions of their respective seasons. As great as Colin Hanks was at playing a villain, the big finish to the relationship between Dexter and Travis felt kind of empty. Perhaps if the subject of Travis also having a dark passenger had been explored further, that might not have been the case, but that reveal and connection seemed to play out too fast to add any real substance to the relationship Dexter was forming with Travis.
The big moment for the season was something we’ve all been waiting for: Deb has now seen what her brother is. Where does the show go from here? How will Deb deal with what she’s seen and how will it affect how she feels about Dexter, and their relationship in general? We have months to speculate.