So Dexter had 3.3 million viewers watching its final episode ever! I must admit I tuned in with a bit of trepidation, I was concerned whether TV’s favorite serial killer would get a fitting send-off. While a fairy tale ending for a man who has killed close to 100 people would be disingenuous, having Dexter sitting in a cell for the rest of his life, or dead, would be disappointing.
I love a morally ambiguous character who works on the right side of justice, and I’ve loved Dexter and his dark passenger since I first read Jeff Lindsay’s Darkly Dreaming Dexter many years ago. As I’m touring around promoting my own morally ambiguous character, Berg, in my crime fiction novel The Enemy Inside, I often try to explain to my readers why people love a ‘good’ serial killer. To me, the answer is simple: I think many people feel that justice, true justice, has been lost in a modern justice system that seems to be increasingly dedicated to setting the guilty free. I think many people feel, as do Berg and Dexter, that ‘some people just need killing’. I love exploring this in my books, there is a wealth of characterization to be discovered in the fine line between justice and vigilantism and what tips a seemingly normal person over to the ‘dark side’. I talk more about this here.
Anyway, back to Dexter. The end was ok, it certainly could have been much worse. Would I have ended it the way they did? No…for a couple of reasons. WARNING, SPOLIER ALERT. Firstly, I don’t believe that Dexter would have willingly left Harrison, certainly not with a fellow serial killer who has no problem removing those who become inconvenient to her from her life. And Deb stroking out in the hospital? Come on, that felt like a cheap way for her to die. One thing I DID love is the scene where Dexter kills Saxon right under the nose of the Miami Metro with a PEN. GOLD. Anyway, it’s easy to critique when you’re not doing the writing and the writers on Dexter have done a great job for eight seasons.
Here’s how I would have ended it:
We open with the doctors working on Deb in the hospital, who is coding. Quinn calls Dexter, who is at the airport with Hanna and Harrison, telling him to get to the hospital. But Elway is lurking and the three of them are too conspicuous together. Hanna tells Dexter to go and that she will ‘take care of it and see him in Argentina’.
Dexter arrives at the hospital to find that Deb has died (sorry, Deb, you die in either scenario, it’s not that I don’t like you, your potty mouth delighted me on a weekly basis and once made me snort red wine out my nose). Quinn is devastated and says he wants Saxon dead. Dexter, with that look of calm rage on his face that we all know and love, says ‘so do I’ and leaves the room. Quinn frowns says goodbye to Deb, kisses her, and walks out, following Dex.
Elway is still stalking Hanna at the airport while swigging what we can assume is his special home brewed electrolyte mix. He’s jostled from behind by some random dude and drops his bottle, which rolls under a row of seats. The guy who jostles him apologizes and searches for it for a few moments, finds the bottle for Elway hands it back to him. Elway is about to drink from it, when he smiles and shakes his head and drops the bottle in the garbage. He goes to a nearby café and orders a fresh bottle of water from the cashier, while looking around the airport for Hanna. A uniformed server who is making the coffees hands the cashier the water bottle, who gives it to Elway. He cracks it open and takes a drink while he walks back into the airport. A few moments later he starts to choke and falls on the floor. Cut to Hanna throwing her café uniform in a corner, paying off the jostling dude, grabbing Harrison’s hand and boarding their plane.
Saxon’s bleeding and seriously pissed off. He takes the gun and sets off in search of Dexter, seeing a news report about Deb’s death. A cop recognizes him and follows him, Saxon kills him and looks up Deb’s address from the cop car, driving it there. Dexter sees the cop car out the front of Deb’s house and thinks nothing of it. He goes inside with the intent of getting a weapon, as his knives are now with Miami Metro. Quinn watches from the car. Saxon jumps Dex. Epic fight ensues, and Dexter gets the upper hand. Quinn here’s the sounds of things breaking and rushes inside.
Quinn arrives as Dexter calmly dispatches Saxon despite the fact that the guy is unarmed and surrendering. He draws his gun and asks Dexter what the hell he’s doing. Dexter calmly goes about wrapping up Saxon’s body for disposal with garbage bags and tell Quinn ‘what you wanted’. Quinn watches Dexter and realizes that Dexter’s done this before, and says as much, asking ‘Are you going to kill me now?’ Dexter says no, that Quinn doesn’t fit his code. They discuss the code. Quinn realizes his suspicions about Dex in previous seasons are true and asks if Deb knew about Dexter, he says that she did. Gun still drawn, Quinn asks who else Dexter has killed. Dex tells him about the Russian dudes from the Koshka Brotherhood and Travis Marshall. Quinn asks if Dex killed Rita. He says no, Trinity did, and he killed Trinity for it because he loved Rita, as much as he was able. Quinn asks if Dex made the blood evidence against him go away in the Liddy case, Dex says yes. Dex asks Quinn if he’s going to arrest him. Quinn says no and puts away his gun, remembering that he killed the Russian guy for Nadia and covered it up. He asked what Dex will do with the body, Dex tells him he’s got it under control. Quinn walks away.
Dexter watches Deb’s house burn from the shadows, regretting letting Saxon live and realizes Vogel was right, and there is a place in society for him. He dumps Saxon’s body on his boat and unties it from the dock, knowing the boat and body will disappear with the approaching storm.
Cut to Argentina, where local asshole is heard boasting about raping women to his friends. He spies Hanna sitting alone drinking a coffee. Hanna looks nervous under his intense gaze, abruptly leaving the café, her coffee undrunk. At the encouragement of his friends, the asshole follows her. Hanna moves faster and faster, trying to get away, the man following. She darts down an alley in an attempt to get away, breaking into a run, only to find a dead end, the man laughs as he corners her, pulling out a huge knife. Cue Dexter, who emerges from the shadows, with his trusty syringe, rendering the man unconscious. The next thing we see is the man on Dexter’s table, surrounded by the usual photos of his victims and wrapped in plastic (does anyone else always think of Twin Peaks every time they see this, or is it just me?). As Dexter’s about to kill the asshole, his cell rings. He gags the man and answers. It’s a newly promoted Quinn on the other end, explaining he has a problem that needs Dexter’s ‘unique set of skills’. Dexter agrees to pay a visit to Miami and they arrange to meet. Dexter hangs up, explaining to Hanna, who we see sitting in the corner of the room, that Quinn has ‘another job for me’ and asks Hanna to look after Harrison for a few days. Hanna agrees and asks if Dexter wants her to keep teaching Harrison The Code. Dexter says it’s a good idea, as ‘Harrison was born in blood, just like me’. (After all, the family that kills together, stays together). Cut to Dexter’s face as he plunges the knife into the chest of the rapist, blood spattering over his facemask. The end.