Despite the fact that it was the SECOND TO LAST EPISODE OF THE ENTIRE SERIES, practically nothing happened last night’s episode until the final two minutes. Up until that point, Dexter felt like a bad sitcom finale, where where all the characters gives each other hugs, say their goodbyes, and wave through their tears. Apparently, Showtime forgot that Dexter is A SHOW ABOUT A GODDAMN SERIAL KILLER, and decided to turn it into a sappy Hallmark movie about a sweet serial man who kills people who has to go on a trip with the woman he loves. Awwww.
This show. THIS SHOW. Twenty bucks says that half the staff and cast watched Breaking Bad live and DVR’d their own shows. Indeed, as bad as Dexter has been this season (and it has been appallingly bad), it has doubly suffered from having to air against Breaking Bad. It’s a good contrast, however, in how to and how not to end a series. Showrunners, take note.
Before we get to the developments in this episode, let’s just relive the sappy moments.
Sappy Moment #1
Deb and Debra briefly mourning the death of Evelyn Vogel: “If it weren’t for her, we never would’ve found our way back to each other.”
Sappy Moment #2
Harrison says goodbye to Jamie the Nanny. “Harrison’s going to miss you,” Dexter says. “Monkey’s gonna miss you, too,” says Harrison.
Sappy Moment #3
Debra finds the ring that Joey bought her, and they have a moment. “You’ve kept this here the whole entire time?” Keep in mind, during these sappy scenes, the score is bad rom-com piano tinkling.
Sappy Moment #4
The Chief says goodbye to Dexter. “If you ever need anything … you’ve always got a place … you’re like family … blah blah blah.”
Sappy Moment #5
Nikki and Masuka have a father/daughter bonding moment. I still have NO idea how this relationship services the plot at all.
Sappy Moment #6
Dexter gives Quinn his blessing to date Debra while he’s gone. “I want her to be with someone who is happy.”
Sappy Moment #7
Batista says his farewells. “He will always be right here, in our hearts.”
Dexter even gets a little choked up. “I’ll miss you guys, too.”
Sappy Moment #8
Debra and Hannah bond over their shared love of that crazy guy, Dexter.
Sappy Moment #9
Dexter’s tearful farewell to Debra.
Sappy Moment #10
Dexter says goodbye to Harry. “I never thought this day would come. You don’t need me anymore.”
Besides a series of really sappy moments accompanied by a sentimental score, what actually did happen in the episode?
There were an incredible amount of stalling tactics employed. 1) After Vogel died, Dexter explained to to Deb, then explained it AGAIN to Hannah. 2) After Saxon was interrogated by Quinn, Dexter walked out and explained it AGAIN to Deb. 3) Dexter randomly figures out where Saxon’s kill room is in one scene, and in another scene, he walks around in the abandoned hospital for a few minutes. 3) Dexter brought in a realtor to sell the Slice of Life, which allowed them to fill some space by bringing in someone to buy it, reject him, and wait around for a confrontation with Oliver Saxon when he feigned interest in buying the boat. The confrontation really had little bearing on the ultimate outcome of the episode. But it did 4) give Dexter an opportunity two scenes later to, again, reiterate everything that happened on the boat with Saxon to Deb. 5) Dexter also spends more time in front of a laptop building evidence against Saxon, so that he can draw him out, and then explains all the obviousness to Harry. Of course, there were also the 6) 10 sappy moments that took up the majority of the episode.
Keep in mind, too, that not only is he explaining many of the developments we’ve already seen to other characters, he’s also reiterating many of them through voiceovers. Everything happens three times.
Basically, the first 49 minutes of the episode were all designed to capture Saxon in his own kill space, where — after spending the last three episodes emphasizing over and over and OVER again that the only thing keeping him from going to Argentina was that he had to kill Saxon first — he finally said (and I’m paraphrasing), “You know what? I know I have Saxon right here in front of me, and it would be easy to kill him and get this over with, but nah! I don’t really need to do that anymore. The last three episodes were pretty silly, weren’t they? Well, what can I say? We ran out of material four seasons ago, and we’re just killing time and collecting paychecks.”
So, Dexter calls Debra and he says, “Oh, remember all that stuff about me HAVING to kill Saxon before I could leave? Well, forget that. Why don’t you come here and take the credit for arresting him?”
Debra quickly makes her way over to Saxon’s kill space, but little does she know that the federal marshal — who thinks that Debra is helping Dexter hide Hannah — was on her tail the whole time. While Debra is having a heart-to-heart with Dexter, the federal marshal spots Oliver Saxon tied up to the kill chair. Saxon says that Dexter is crazy and tied him up.
“Get me out of here, before he comes back!” So the marshall removes the restraints and Oliver, naturally, stabs him in the chest.
Then, in a scene directed almost as hilariously bad as the Harrison treadmill scene last week, Debra busts in. “Don’t move,” she says. Then Saxon shoots her, and she shoots back. Saxon shoots her in the gut; she gets him in the arm. Let me screen capture this to illustrate how ridiculous it looks. Keep in mind, this is all in weird slow motion.
Good lord. Then Debra, lying on the floor and bleeding out, calls the cops and asks for help.
We end with a rambling Dexter monologue while he — unawares that Debra has been shot — takes Harrison to the airport.