Dexter: The Eighth and Final Season Blu-ray Review
Spoiler alert: Since this is the final season of ‘Dexter’, it’s almost impossible to write this review without spoilers. So if you haven’t seen it, I wouldn’t read anything about ‘Dexter’.
Given the nature of the show and its rabid fanbase, there was a lot of pressure on the creative team behind ‘Dexter’ to send off our favorite serial killer properly. To make matters worse, the series finale for ‘Breaking Bad’ aired barely a month earlier to rave reviews, adding that much more scrutiny to the longer running ‘Dexter’. Unfortunately, the ‘Dexter’ finale proved to be hit and miss, leaving most fans with too many unanswered questions and too many holes that weren’t filled in, and we haven’t even gotten to the last few scenes yet.
If you weren’t told this was the last season, you wouldn’t be able to tell from the first 10 episodes. It starts out like any other season; Dexter meets a “big bad” that he has to go up against, Debra overreacts to everything, Quinn mopes around constantly and Batista plays dad to everyone. I’m simplifying of course, but that’s really how the previous seven seasons started and played out. Dex always gets his man and nothing ever really gets resolved. But if this wasn’t the final season, I would be praising the first 10 episodes for presenting a worthy villain for Dexter to go against. The plotline of Dr. Vogel and her deranged son shed some light on Dexter’s childhood and how Harry came to teach Dexter The Code. But the fact is, this was the final season and it followed the same formula, and that’s a bit disappointing since this was the chance for the showrunners to switch things up and arc the show differently.
So let’s focus on the last half of the last episode (this is where you turn away if you don’t want to know what happens), which felt completely separate from the previous episodes in the season. The season had started to present the idea that Dexter didn’t have the “need” to kill anymore. The draw of his dark passenger was significantly less than the draw of his love for Hanna and Harrison. Dexter was starting to grow and as he says, become human. This gave hope that maybe Dexter isn’t doomed to misery after all. So that made the ending more confusing because in what seemed like a sudden change of pace, Dex decides to kill himself to protect the ones he loves. If it had ended as the screen faded to black with Hanna and Harrison walking in the distance, I would have been happier, but finding Dexter alive as a logger didn’t make much sense to me. I did not follow ‘Dexter’ for eight years to watch him end up as secluded from humanity as possible. Is he simply punishing himself? Is he trying to avoid human contact so he won’t “feel” anymore? Does he still have the need to kill? Does he “hurt” because he’s not with Hannah and Harrison? So many questions.
Obviously, I’m disappointed in how it ended. I normally prefer sad endings for heroes, but in the case of ‘Dexter’, I wanted something more. Even as he wrestled with his need to kill for eight seasons, there were so many glimmers of hope that made rooting for this anti-hero possible. For me, there were only two acceptable endings; either he escaped to start over with Hannah and Harrison or he died. Anything in between would be a letdown and the final episode proved that. As for Deb dying; it felt completely unnecessary. Killing off the second main character in the series could have been a hugely emotional ending, but they dragged out her ending as painfully as possible. I’m also not sure why Dexter dropped her in the ocean, where he dumped so many bad guys. It didn’t seem like a fitting end to Deb. A character’s death should serve some purpose and have a hugely emotional impact on the audience. Deb’s death seemed like a waste.
Although I loved the scene with Dexter, Quinn and Batista reviewing the footage of Dex killing Saxon, that was a small consolation for the way the show ended. After seven great seasons, the time finally came to do something different with ‘Dexter’ and it seems like the opportunity was wasted. I sincerely hope that the final scene of Dexter at a logging company wasn’t mandated by Showtime, but it felt so out of place and insincere that it smelled of studio meddling. I am such a huge fan of the show and I’ve forgiven its sometimes declining quality over the years, but this last season felt like a sucker punch to the gut. Maybe there are some tentative plans to bring Dexter back for a movie, but until then, this final season will leave a bitter taste in the mouth of most ‘Dexter’ fans.
DEXTER THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEASON BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: ‘Dexter’ looks beautiful on Blu-ray. I used to live in South Florida and seeing Miami shine through on the seasons of ‘Dexter’ is always a joy for me.
Audio: The audio was also very well done.
Featurettes (14:09): There are a handful of short, very promotional featurettes. ‘Dexter’ has never had the proper supplements, but we really needed something for the last season. Again, another wasted opportunity.
Ray Donavan Bonus Episodes: The first two episodes of Ray Donavan are included.