Dexter was one of the upper tier shows on T.V. for its first four seasons until it decided to throw up on itself. Geez, these last four seasons have been just awful, like somebody having feelings for their brother awful. So if you are one of the very few people who have kept watching (which I commend you cause there is like six of us left) your probably hoping for a ending that makes up for the past four years. Look, I have been pretty hard on Dexter but that’s because its never lived up to what it could have been. Lazy creative decisions and silly plot devices have plagued Dexter since Rita died but, for me at least, the show still has the ability to entertain me. Dexter is still one of the more fun shows on T.V. as each week we tune in for Dexter Morgan’s unique personality and the sunny Miami vibe. It has been a show that loves familiarity a little too much but I can forgive it (somewhat) for that as it has been one of my favorite shows for the past 8 years. So before we say goodbye to Dexter Morgan and Miami Metro, lets look back at some of the best moments from the series 8 season run.
5. The Whole “My Bad” Episode
This is one of the best and worst episodes of Dexter. Best in the sense that it covered the death of Rita and Dexter’s discovery of his son so well. The emotions that suddenly emerged from our emotionless killer was powerful television. Watching Dexter deal with the death of his wife had the makings of a major turning point for the character. The episode did a great job of showing, presumably, the post Rita Dexter who is now experiencing emotion overload for the first time. But after that the show totally forgot about Rita and started down a very redundant path. My Bad was the episode that would be the sole answer to Rita’s death as the rest of the season (and series) looked to get back to the “status quo” of the Dexter we saw the past four seasons. It is the last great episode of Dexter and the last time the series felt like it was going in uncharted territory.
4. Bay Harbor Butcher
I love that moment when Dexter sees on television all the body bags that he has dropped into the ocean. It is the first “oh ****” moment in the series and the first time the possibility of Dexter getting caught felt real (well semi real cause it was only season two). This moment would launch one of the best storylines in the series and the second best season of the show. Dexter was not fighting any big bad guy but was fighting the fear of being exposed. Like all shows Dexter follows season long arcs and instead of just regurgitating the first season, Dexter choose to do something different and move the series forward. Progression is the ingredient for every great show and Dexter had it early on with a powerful second season arc.
If the writers had any sense they would of revisited Dexter getting caught for the final season. They should of one-upped the second season and exposed Dexter as he ran from those closest to him but honestly any idea sounds better than what we got this final season.
3. Brother vs. Brother
Season One of Dexter helped to introduce the main characters and the vibe of the show but it was also an adaptation of Jeff Lindsay’s book, Darkly Dreaming Dexter. That was an excellent starting point for the show (after the first season the series went its own way) but it was the end of both the book and first season that is one of the character’s most memorable moments. Dexter’s first big bad guy serial killer is not only similar to him in his desire to kill but is also Dexter’s long lost brother. The storyline of the first season ends in tragic fashion as Dexter has to fight his desires with the code his adapted father has set for him and a sister that deep down he loves. Dexter being tempted by a life with someone who understands him, the moral code he has no emotional attachment too, and saving his sister by picking sides is what made for such a thrilling conclusion to the first season of Dexter.
2. The End of Season 2
Doakes wasn’t a bad guy but he was one of Dexter’s biggest challenges. He is somebody who Dexter can’t get rid of in normal fashion (doesn’t met the code), which makes him the most untouchable adversary in the whole series. Throw in a crazy love interest (Lila Tournay) who takes Dexter’s step children hostage; and you have some insane situations for Dexter to claw his way out of. That is what made the climax to the bay harbor butcher storyline so great, Dexter’s inability to kill his way out of it. He had to use his head as he found himself in increasingly bad situations. I know that Season 4 is where Dexter finally stumbles but the last few episodes of Season 2 were the ones I feared for Dexter the most. It was perfect pacing and plotting as the hunt for Dexter Morgan was a fresh new direction even if it was a place we all knew the show would go. Like I said earlier, what is funny now is that we have never really revisited the police on the hunt for Dexter. Not saying that we needed another Doakes but I always thought that one-day we’d see Dex in handcuffs. Probably not.
1. Rita’s Death
This is not only the greatest moment on Dexter but also one of the greatest moments in television history….period. Ranks up there as one of the most shocking moments in modern media (only The Red Wedding ranks higher on shocking T.V. deaths) as not only Rita’s demise but also the brutality of it all totally shattered all who watched the season four finale. Rita’s death showed the audience that Dexter wasn’t invincible and that a totally innocent person, one who he had feelings for (I’m convinced he did) and a child with would be killed because of the life that Dexter chooses to live. The darkness of Dexter’s double life finally hits home. I now love everything about that story decision but at the time I felt a little out of it for a couple of days. Honestly it disturbed me. I had invested too much in the character to see her die that way and by not showing her death, we are left with the same feeling as Dexter, we were too late. Rita’s death was horrifying and brutal and very much in line with a show about a serial killer. This is the consequence of living a double life and the first time Dexter really lost control of all the variables in his life. You also have Harrison, who is left at the scene of the crime and who now could become something Dexter never wanted for his son, to grow up just like him.
This twist should have been the start of a darker and more intense Dexter but the show was never willing to break from the status quo. The show runners needed Dexter to go back to doing what he does best instead of dealing with the ramifications of his wife dying. So number 1 on this is the best moment of the show and also the moment that lead to the shows decline. Almost as if the show runners felt one big bold move would last them till the end. They were very wrong.
Now after reading Number 1 jump four years and we are at the end. Dexter is ending and it is defiantly time for him to walk off into the sunset or be buried six feet under. However the ending tonight, because most likely its going to suck, just remember the good ol’ times when Dexter actually was run and produced by smart and competent people. Remember when Dexter actually mattered.