There is no denying: Dexter is one of the most innovatory television shows ever made! Not only is the big hero of the story basically the ultimate bad guy who takes matters into his own hands and murders people whenever and wherever he wants. But the show also demonstrates in detail how these murders are committed, planning and execution included. There is more blood in Dexter than all Freddy Krueger–, Michael Myers– and Jason Vorhees-horror movies combined …
But here’s the real shocker! The show has style.
It’s never been the intent of the creators to shock the audience, on the contrary! The way these murders are portrayed is delicate and sophisticated, almost as if it was a piece of modern art.
The location where these murders take place also play a crucial part. The cheerful, almost dreamlike Miami serves as the perfect counterbalance for the darkness of a psychopath killing people at will. With its white beaches, waving palm trees and tropical climate, Miami was always the first and only choice the makers could make to keep the show from becoming too melancholy with the audience. Add to that the Spanish-tinged, upbeat festivity-music tunes and you know that Dexter isn’t so much a drama, but rather a black comedy with a big, fat grin on its face!
Although, to describe Dexter as a comedy feels a bit like stabbing someone in the back with a big kitchen knife. There are plentiful of joyous moments, that’s true. There is for example the wonderful Vince Masuka who makes an inappropriate sexual remark amongst his fellow colleagues. And there is also Debra Morgan who wastes no time using a whole new string of bad words whenever she emotionally responds to another freaky blood bath. But all things considered, the show still maintains a pretty dramatic undertone.
Is Dexter a black comedy? Is it perhaps a light-hearted drama? Or is it after all a freaky horror-spectacle? Whatever it is, Dexter is the sort of television show you could die for …
DEXTER – SEASON 1
Of course, everything begins with the beginning. In Season one, the show gradually presents us piece by piece of a bigger puzzle in terms of what kind of a person Dexter Morgan really is. It’s like reading a new chapter of a book. Each time we turn a page, we learn something new about him. The same is with the show. With each new episode, we get to dig deeper in Dexter Morgan’s private life and thus, we get a clearer picture on what makes him tick. Why did he become a serial killer? What drives him to murder all these people?
Just to be on the clear side, Dexter is not a ruthless killer who would randomly kill someone just for the fun of it. No, Dexter has a code. A code he inherited from his father-in-law. A code that should help him channel his urges for killing people. A code that tells him killing people is fine, as long as they’re bad people. Which is why Dexter only murders criminals. Criminals who have eluded the American justice system and are now back on the street, enjoying the very freedom they never should’ve had in the first place.
And only when Dexter is 100% sure and in possession of all the necessary facts that the person he’s tailing is in fact a perpetrator of the law, does he pertain the role of judge, jury and executioner. The phrase ‘Tonight’s the night’ does not only reappear in several seasons, but it also tells you everything you need to know about Dexter Morgan. At night he morphs into a vigilante, a dark passenger who will protect those who are too weak to stand up for their own …
But what does he do during the day??
That is where the show draws its real strength. If it had just been about Dexter killing people, this television series would be quite boring. Instead, that same Dexter Morgan is a technical forensics expert with the Miami police department. His area of expertise is – surprise, surprise! – in blood spatter. This means he investigates crime scenes and tries to determine what exactly happened by reading the pattern of the blood.
More often than not, we see a room full of blood like someone has been spraying a fountain from hell. But the makers of the show conveniently manage to shield the true horror of such nightmarish events. They do so by steadily pouring enough Latin and Afro-Cuban dance music into these scenes. This warm, upbeat music is the perfect remedy for the ice-cold, horrifying slaughtering, so much so that you forget to be appalled by the liters of blood.
It’s exactly this delicate duality of a man torn between his moral obligation as a police officer and his obscure passion for killing people that makes Dexter a one-of-a-kind, top-notch television show!
Season 1 keeps a fine balance between the eerie hobbies of Dexter Morgan (told through a series of fabulous flashbacks and creepy dream sequences) and a story that slowly yet vivaciously expands into a nice array of interesting plot changes.
In this story Dexter receives a kind message from the ‘Ice Truck Killer’, a mysterious murderer who drains the blood of his victims and chops them in little pieces afterwards. Then he displays the dried meat chunks as a sinister decoration for everyone to see. Both Dexter as well as the rest of the Miami police department are clueless as to who is behind these atrocities and it would appear this faceless figure is beyond the grasp of the authorities. But then, all of a sudden, Dexter gets a second invitation.
The beginning of a wonderful yet deadly cat-and-mouse game …
As with all great TV-shows, the question rises how it’s possible this show got its hands on so many awesome actors when virtually none of them have gathered any fame in and well beyond Hollywood. Even the main player Michael C. Hall – who enjoys the role of a lifetime as the darkly and deliciously devilish Dexter – doesn’t have a single famous movie in his career. He does however have a bit-part in the movie Paycheck with Ben Affleck (it’s okay if you don’t remember this movie, no one does) and another television series that was quite successful, named Six feet under. But his performance in Dexter is quite easily the very best thing he’s ever done. The man acts as if he was actually a cold-blooded killer in another life.
Also present is Jennifer Carpenter, another major talent undiscovered. She is/was the real-life missis of Michael C. Hall and plays the part of Dexter’s sister in the series. That must’ve been weird at first, wife in reality and sister in fantasy. No harm, no foul. Both actors get on well with each other and this translates evidently when they’re together in the same scene. The chemistry between both characters is at times bloody serious, but at other times you can really relate to the funniness of their relationship. Most especially with Dexter being so calm and Debra quite the opposite, she bursts with raw emotion!
Another major player who shouldn’t remain undisclosed is actress Julie Benz. Softer than wool and friendlier than Mother Therese is what you could call her character. She plays the girlfriend of Dexter and does it with all the right charm!
Another one worth mentioning is David Zayas who plays the admirably but somewhat insecure (solely in love) but oh-so professional police officer Angel Batista. Fun to know: Sylvester Stallone was such a big fan of the show and he liked their performances so much that he cast both Julie Benz in Rambo and David Zayas in The Expendables.
There are too many great actors to name who appear all throughout the show, but ending we do with a very talented and experienced actor. James Remar is perhaps the only one of the show who already enjoyed many successes in his career. He played a small part in What Lies Beneath, the Hitchockian thriller with Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford. But his most famous part was in the movie 48 Hrs., where he stars as trigger-happy crook Albert Ganz. Eventually, it doesn’t really matter what he did. James Remar will go down in the history books as the daddy of Dexter, a role which is far and beyond the very best thing he’s ever done!
DEXTER – SEASON 2
Season 2 in Dexter begins slowly, but make no mistake: there is a lot of ground to cover!
First of all, you have police officer Debra Morgan who still tastes the aftermath of her ill-fated affiliation with the Ice Truck Killer of part 1. She now temporarily lives with her psychotic brother who struggles to keep his dark demons a secret from her. Not only to his sister, but also to his colleagues at work.
Dexter discovers that the tip of the iceberg of his nightly shenanigans has been uncovered and now a huge investigation has been launched for the murders he committed! That should complicate things at work, especially considering the fact that the Miami Metro police department has joined forces with the FBI. To make matters worse, the bureau decided to send his top investigator, a man who goes by the name of Special Agent Frank Lundy.
Nolens volens*, Dexter is dragged into a nightmare where his deepest, darkest secrets are about to resurface, piece by piece.
And then there is Sergeant James Doakes, the brawny ex-marine who was never good friends with Dexter to begin with. He knows something is off with the all too kind blood spatter-analyst and decides to start his own investigation, on top of all things. This investigation proves to be nothing more than a sickly cat-and-mouse game. Sergeant Doakes doesn’t let Dexter of his side and begins to tail him after hours, well into the night.
Add to that the fact that Dexter is caught in a triangle of love. Due to a fling with another woman, things aren’t quite working out anymore with Rita and the kids. The mysterious woman with whom Dexter is sexually involved has the looks of a female vampire (as Debra so delicately put it) and causes more harm than good. She too has psychotic tendencies and wants Dexter all for herself. Last but not least, Dexter finds out more than he can handle about his stepfather, Harry Morgan.
But we shouldn’t complain. Season 2 serves us well and how! At the end of this season, we are faced with a climax that will shake the show to its very foundations. A harrowing moment that will have us gasping for air yet – once the scene has passed – have us stand up and cheer in pure joy. Needless to say, the end is an instant favorite amongst fans.
As with Season 1, Season 2 features some of the most outstanding actors working today.
There is for example Keith Carradine who’s so good you’ll forget he’s in fact an actor playing a role. The man who steps into the limelight as FBI-agent Frank Lundy claims all attention once he appears on scene and deservedly so! If Dexter was a movie, Keith Carradine would’ve snatched an Oscar nomination, for sure.
Another person who deserves a tap on the shoulder is British actress Jaime Murray as the nasty twat Lila Tournay. Her character is so atrociously vicious that she can drain the blood from under your nails. But – let’s be honest here! – what a stunning performance! She too will make you forget she’s just an actress and at times you’ll end up hating her … she’s that good!
But of course the show wouldn’t be the same without its main players.
Michael C. Hall returns as the dearly devoted Dexter who ends up talking more to himself (which leads to some very funny moments). Alongside him is still Jennifer Carpenter as his unsuspecting and foul-mouthed, but ever so sweet sister. The actress who was once married to Michael C. Hall shows us a colorful array of emotions in Season 2. Her character is sometimes utterly funny, yet at other times emotionally moving. She is far out the best actress of the lot.
Furthermore, you still have David Zayas as the family man who struggles to find someone to love and C.S. Lee who thrives as one of the funniest people of the show. Especially his overenthusiastic spontaneity for making another blunt remark (usually about sex or other taboos) will never go down without a smile or giggle. Let’s also not forget Julie Benz as the super-sweet mommy Rita with her honey-soft voice and – quite the opposite actually – Erik King as the tough Sergeant Doakes who will do anything in his power to uncover the truth behind what he thinks Dexter is keeping secret …
So there you have it! Dexter gets much more on his plate than he can handle.
With the name ‘Bay Harbor Butcher’ appearing all over the news and wildly spread out in every single newspaper in the country, he will have to take extra-special caution with what he does and when he does it. He is being watched by virtually anyone with a badge, including his own sister and the over-eagerly Sergeant Doakes and that makes his hobby of cleaning the streets of perpetrators in Miami a bit more of a challenge …
No matter how you slice it, Season 2 of Dexter is a thrill to watch!
Especially those scenes when Dexter is wriggling every which way not to end up on the wrong side of the law are moments in Season 2 that are both complex yet very amusing to watch. Or how his daytime job as a blood spatter-analyst is closing in on his darkly passionate outlet as a vigilante. And how he suddenly moves about from killer at night to prey during the day – all these wonderful elements make Season 2 of Dexter slightly better than part 1 and perhaps even the single greatest season the show has ever produced.
Now … let’s enjoy a perfect storm!
* Nolens volens: Latin for ‘against someone’s will’
DEXTER – SEASON 3
Season 3 of Dexter is once again a whole lotta fun from beginning to end!
This time however, there are some significant changes looming on the horizon, changes that might have a lasting impact on Dexter’s life. For starters, Rita is pregnant and the thought of getting married is not that far behind. Dexter is growing more and more into the little family of Rita and amazingly enough begins to adjust to his new role as father figure.
But at work things are also quickly changing.
Dexter is getting acquainted with the Assistant District Attorney for the city of Miami, a man named Miguel Prado. This man – a high-profile politician who’s particularly tough on crime – is the very first outsider who gets to take a peek behind the curtain of Dexter’s private nightlife activities. It’s also the beginning of a very strange friendship where mutual trust is of crucial importance.
Much like Seasons 1 & 2, Season 3 has its own character. Whereas Season 1 mainly focused on the double life of Dexter – blood spatter-analyst at day, psycho killer at night – and Season 2 was a tantalizing cat-and-mouse game between the Miami Metro police department and Dexter himself to make sure no one would ever find out the real truth behind the identity of the Bay Harbor Butcher, Season 3 is what happens when someone does actually find out that Dexter Morgan is the Bay Harbor Butcher and how that person chooses to deal with the information. More importantly: how does Dexter handle this new situation?
Once again, this new season is crammed with funny innuendos, colorful characters and a very exciting, original story that will grab any viewer by the throat and won’t let go until the very end!
As some things will never change – and why should they? – Debra Morgan is still a workaholic potty-mouth, a girl who swears so often you would need all the soaps bars in the world to clean out her mouth. Once again, she is the main attraction of the lot and not primarily as a result of her stunning looks, but rather due to the amazing performance of a woman who barely keeps the balance in check between emotionally-unstable and downright hilarious!
Vince Masuka joins the party as he still pours out the most obscene insinuations, although he keeps to himself for a while there. Angel Batista finally finds someone to love and Dexter Morgan – the big fish of the show – tries to get a handle on things when he has no choice but to split his precious time between his job as a blood spatter-analyst, his morbid hobby as a murderous vigilante and his moral obligation as a new daddy …
Speaking of new: Dexter (the series, not the character) is proud to add a big name to its long list of great yet unknown actors.
Jimmy Smits – you might remember him from the early ’90s standout police show, NYPD Blue as well as one of the few guys without a lightsaber in the new Star Wars-movies Episode II and III – clearly demonstrates it’s no silly coincidence why the man is so wanted as an actor. He plays his part as the mighty politician with such fortitude and zeal! Especially the delicate way in which he carefully carves out his emotions with each new episode is of sheer excellence.
Or how about the repeated back-and-forth swinging between Miguel Prado, the jovial bon-vivant and Miguel Prado, the authoritative magistrate who wants to end all corruption and crime with one swift blow, is another reason why both the character and the performance of Jimmy Smits is easily one of the all-time greatest performances you will see in this show!
Man, that guy is good …
Also new, but slightly less famous and a whole lot less impressive – though still a very good performance altogether – is Desmond Harrington. He stars as the new cop on the block, a cool character named Joseph Quinn who seems to be more interested in his fancy clothing and flashy sports car than the pile of police rapports on his desk.
Slowly but surely he will understand there is more in life than looking good and this train of thoughts will be the first of many great steps towards being a better person, instead of the knucklehead mannequin he is now.
DEXTER – SEASON 4
In Season 4, Dexter faces a serial killer who’s perhaps even deadlier and more frightening than he is. The ever-illusive psychopath has been killing innocent people over the past 30 years without the authorities ever closing in on him. Even top-dog Frank Lundy of the FBI painfully admits this is the one criminal that got away. What makes this ice-cold killer so special is the manner in which he performs his deadly rituals.
His name is Arthur Mitchell or the Trinity Killer as the FBI likes to call him and he is a force to be reckoned with. He doesn’t just pose a serious issue for the Miami Metro police department, but a dangerous threat to Dexter who seems especially keen on getting to know the current lifestyle and freaky hobbies of this mystery man …
As it goes, Dexter is trapped in a situation completely new to him. A newlywed wife, newborn baby and two teenagers who seem different every day.
Add to that the simple fact that Dexter is forced to give up his apartment (including the dark secrets this place beholds) so he can live under the same roof as Rita & the kids … and you’ll understand why Season 4 is once again filled to the brim with hilarious voice-over work, exciting new plot changes and – for the fourth time in a row – an amazingly original and sometimes bloody – but always bloody good! – storyline that will grab you by the shoulders and shudder you with fear, laughter, sadness and the occasional weirdness we’ve come to expect from a show like Dexter.
And the engine never stops with Dexter!
Just like Jimmy Smits who was nothing short of stellar in Season 3, Season 4 of Dexter also benefits from the exasperatingly awesome acting talent of none other than John Lithgow. Although his performance may be a bit similar to the only other time he played a human monster in the movie Cliffhanger, John Lithgow is looking to take things up a notch and presents us with a murderer who’s even darker and more masochistic than anything he’s ever played before.
The mean streaks he possesses in Dexter make it that much harder for anyone to believe that the scary killer of Season 4 is the same actor who’s been playing a seasoned comedian in 3rd Rock from the Sun. Quite the shocker this guy displays … what a performance!
And we didn’t even address the end of this season! No worries – there are no spoilers here (unless specifically told in advance).
The ending of Season 4 is one of the biggest spine-tingling shockers you’ll ever witness watching a television show. It’s a straight-out gobsmack in your face! A classic scene that will masterfully burn a hole in your eyes as you watch its eternal beauty yet horrifying reality, a moment so special in time one could refer to it as modern art. It’s a scene that will boil your blood with anger and dead-fright!
And most especially, it’s a sequence that truly deserves its place amongst the greatest moments ever shot for television … simply stunning!!
DEXTER – SEASON 5
(Careful now! This review contains minor spoilers!)
Season 5 of Dexter is different. The atmosphere is a lot more grim than before. You still have the sunny days of Miami, but the mood has changed. Something happened here. Something bad … and from the first frame of Season 5, you are confronted with the gruesome facts of last season’s finale.
A baby sitting in a pool of blood. Dexter who gazes in front of him with empty eyes. A wasp’s nest of photographers and police officers buzzing all over the crime scene. Thing are different and they will never be the same again. This is the message that’s fired away like a burning arrow in the collective memory of each viewer.
The question that everyone asks – real person of flesh and blood or fictitious character in the show – is: ‘What happens now?’
Dexter is a broken man, so much is certain. And that’s saying much, if you consider he’s still a serial killer. Confronted with the brutal murder of his beloved wife, the seemingly perfect in-law and affectionate father figure is left behind with a hollow feeling in his gut. He is consumed by tons of questions to which he doesn’t know the answer to.
‘How will he bring this horrible news to Aster and Cody?’ ‘Where will they live? In the same house where their mommy was butchered? No way that can ever happen!’ ‘And how will this tragedy affect the teeny tiny baby Harrison? Will he remember any of it?’
But the first – albeit not the most important – question that keeps everyone prisoner is: ‘What’s going to happen with Dexter?’
Dexter is looking to cure himself by any which way that comes across his path. He returns to his old apartment. He seeks comfort and support with his sister Debra who, for once in her lifetime, has to be the strong one in the family. And he rewards himself by returning to the one outlet that has always brought him piece of mind, his old hobby. Chopping up bad people on his nightly butcher table.
(*** SPOILER END ***)
But there is more! Against his will, Dexter finds a young woman who’s not so different from him. She too has dark demons because something bad happened to her. And just like Dexter she too is looking to fix herself, to find some piece of mind. And that can only be achieved by finding the people who hurt her and make them pay. She is looking for justice. And this is not the sort of justice that includes calling the cops and putting these perpetrators behind bars.
Her name is Lumen. And as a way of recovery, she seeks to kill those who have wronged her.
Of all the relationships Dexter has had – love or otherwise – the thing with Lumen is unlike anything you’ve seen so far. Dexter is almost like a teacher to Lumen. He is showing her the ways of killing someone, of prepping a kill room and how to stalk your prey for days on end. It’s a dangerous path for both parties involved. After all, Lumen is the very first who gets a front-row seat to the malpractices of Dexter.
It may appear to be the same as what Dexter and Miguel Prado had going in Season 3, but Dexter always kept Miguel Prado at a safe distance. In this case, Lumen gets to see the whole show up close and personal, right down to the sticking blood and broken bones.
After all that’s said and done, the last question that begs to be asked is: ‘Is Lumen a serial killer just like Dexter? Or just someone who is broken and wants to get fixed?’
The highly unusual relationship between Dexter and Lumen isn’t the only peculiarity of Season 5.
There is Joseph Quin alias Desmond Harrington who starts his own investigation, because something tells him Dexter might have something to do with the untimely death of Rita. Angel Batista (David Zayas) and Maria LaGuerta (Lauren Vélez) are a married couple now, but the first cracks are already starting to appear. And the always fascinating Jennifer Carpenter returns in her ordinary fashion of profanity where she still swears more than a sailor. It’s a character flaw that only increases in vulgarity once she’s confronted with severed heads and dead bodies of teenage girls stuffed in barrels. So you see, it’s not just the blood that keeps coming back. Dexter has some very interesting ingredients that return with each new season and as the saying goes: why change a winning formula?
Although Season 5 doesn’t offer a method-acting performance like Jimmy Smits in Season 3 and John Lithgow in Season 4, Julia Stiles in Season 5 is still quite captivating to watch. Her slow metamorphosis from tortured victim covered in blood towards a decisive fighter who wants to get on top of things is charmingly beautiful, although somewhat painful to watch from time to time.
On a visual level, Season 5 takes some very bold steps. The killing spree that colors your screen blood red is filmed with a superb cinematography though be it a little bit repulsive. But that makes it all the more worthwhile. Dexter is a TV-show that keeps the delicate balance between a gripping horror festivity and a police drama crammed with breathless action and entertainment of the highest order!
Oh, and the ending of Season 5 (even if no way near as dramatic as the one of Season 4) is once again a winning ticket that will make you bug out your eyes and drop your jaw …
What is most important about setting the mood in Season 5 of Dexter isn’t the camera work nor the visual effects, no, not even the acting performances nor storytelling. It’s the music. The music in Dexter has always played a far greater part than in most other television shows, but in Season 5 the mere presence of the music claims all attention. Some scenes are completely turned upside down, thanks to the wonderful work of Daniel Licht.
Each time Dexter and Lumen reminisce of whatever challenges they had to overcome in their bloody past, you hear an emotional melody of delightful Asian sounds. Or when something is about to happen that has ‘doom’ written all over it, the musical atmosphere changes instantlyinto a series of dark, menacing musical tones.
You may not always think about it whilst watching the show, but the music in Dexter is of excruciating importance! Just turn off the sound and watch the same scene that has just spooked you. The differences of a scene with or without music are appalling …
DEXTER – SEASON 6
Season 6 is probably the very best entry of the entire series and here’s why:
1) There’s lots of killing going around and every death is gigantically spectacular! It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen on TV. The bloodshed is grotesque and executed in a Biblical manner, invigorated with an eerie Gothic undertone that’s ten times darker than all other seasons combined. As a viewer, you perceive one bloodbath after the other, but it never becomes a cheap horror festival. With every new episode, the writers raise the level of the show to new heights!
Every manslaughter – no matter how distasteful – is fantastically choreographed, as if were a piece of modern art! Speaking of art, the paintings that appear all over Season 6 are both unwholesomely ugly and miraculously gorgeous …
2) The story. The story of Season 6 contains more action and bloodshed than ever before. Understandably so, given the fact that Dexter now faces two killers, a professor and his promising yet emotionally unstable new apprentice. Together they drown the cities of Miami in blood, because they believe the end of the world is upon us. They recreate passages from the Bible, mostly from the Holy Book of Revelation.
In doing so, both religious men unleash the Holy Book to the outside world, which ultimately leads to the creation of seven creepy paintings. Each painting (or tableau) gives away hints what their next sacrifice will be like.
Season 6 of Dexter is clever enough not to turn the whole story into a religious fanatical crazy-talk. You learn a lot of new things – some are interesting, others are simply disturbing – but fortunately enough, there is no lengthy spiritual sermon that lulls you to sleep. The story is like a fast train that stops for no one or nothing! Each new kill is darker, more menacing and more thrilling than the previous one.
If only the Miami Metro police department is up to the task to control this new crime wave …
3) As we’ve come to expect from a unique show like Dexter, there is much acting talent to be had. Newcomer is Jamie Batista (daughter of you-know-who!), played marvelously by the toothpaste-white actress Aimee Garcia. Whether she realizes it or not, she brings a new ray of light into the life of Dexter and it’s the umpteenth character you can thoroughly enjoy to watch!
Perhaps even more important is the casting of the bad guys!
The professor and his absentminded pupil are brought to life by Edward James Olmos and Colin Hanks. Both gentlemen do an outstanding job and together they form the most unusual partnership you’ll see during the entire show. Especially the youngest of the two might seem familiar as he’s the son of Tom Hanks, but this is hardly a reason why he’s snatched a part in the show. Colin Hanks still has a very long way to go if he wants to come anywhere near the acting abilities of his daddy, but the youngling did already impress once or twice. Once was in the top-notch war television show Band of Brothers. Twice – and in all honesty the far better performance – is what he demonstrates in Dexter … it’s far and beyond the very best acting he’s ever shown thus far!
And why not? If you have a chance to act in the same room as veteran actor Edward James Olmos, you’re pretty much obligated to rise above your own standards …
4) Change. If there’s one thing that makes watching Season 6 of Dexter a blast, it’s definitely the pertinent and permanent change. Especially the ending of this series promises a turnaround that will give Dexter (both the show as well as the character) a totally different dimension. You simply knów as a viewer that things will never-ever be the same again …
But there is so much more to talk about than the ending of the season. Halfway through the season we receive a slapping around our ears you won’t see coming for miles ahead!
(unless you’re some kind of a freak or a psychic)
One thing is absolutely certain! This is the last time Dexter will visit in the highest regions of the stratosphere. After this, whatever seasons will remain are good but never brilliant like the Golden High Days of Season 6 …
DEXTER – SEASON 7
(Careful now! This review contains minor spoilers!)
“Everything that has a beginning must come to an end.”
Even though Season 7 isn’t the last season of Dexter, it’s enough to notice that things are starting to unravel. And at last it happened! Debra Morgan has discovered the darkest of darkest secrets of her brother. And as expected, what follows is a waterfall of crocodile tears and endless amounts of stress.
Season 7 henceforth focuses a heck of a lot more on the relationship between Debra & Dexter Morgan and how that – now very open and honest – relationship tends to lose all stability, like a windmill in a hurricane. After all … now that Debra Morgan knows that her brother is a psychotic killer, will she ever be able to love him like she used to do?
It must be a pain in the but for the writers to stay original and unfortunately so, it shows! Season 7 is a lot less exciting than the phenomenal previous Season 6, but all is not lost. There are still many moments to enjoy, many moments that keep the entire story flowing and going.
Dexter Morgan makes new enemies with the Ukrainian mafia (quite the crazy folk, if you ask me) and these underworld figures are no people to handle with kid gloves. Leading man of the mafia is seamlessly played by Ray Stevenson who steps into the shoes of one Isaak Sirko, a man who wouldn’t doubt a single moment to bash someone’s head in, just to prove a point.
On top of that comes the agonizing reality that Dexter will not enjoy the freedom he’s been having all these years. Primarily – and you cannot blame her, now can you? – because his overprotected and more-than-ever emotionally unstable sister Debra wants to keep a close eye on him. Not only during the day, but also during the night. Dexter finds out the hard way that he cannot go anywhere anymore as he pleases …
As if the relationship between Debra Morgan and Dexter Morgan isn’t tense enough, Dexter falls in love with a mysterious woman who’s a prime suspect in a couple of strange murders. Her name is Hannah McKay and the role is played with absolute expertise by the pretty blonde Yvonne Strahovski.
Since no one can tell if she actually killed anyone or not, she is still free as a bird. She seems nice too, but Debra feels something doesn’t add up. However, her suspicions fall on deaf ears with her brother Dexter. He is all over Hannah McKay like plumes on a bird. Dexter feels that Hannah McKay is the very first person who truly understands what kind of a person Dexter is, his pure side as a blood spatter-analyst during daytime, but also his darker side during the night.
Never before was Dexter able to talk so freely to anyone about his dark passenger and his killing urges. She never seems scared of him nor does she ever judge him. And that is exactly why Dexter and Hannah McKay are so intimate with each other. They seem inseparable …
As tradition has it, Season 7 of Dexter also ends with a steel-hard punch in the face!
The climax the writers of the show throw in your face is not one easily forgotten, it’s perhaps even more bewildering than the climax of Season 4 (Rita dies) or Season 6 (Debra sees Dexter doing his darkest hobby). It’s the beginning of the end, that’s for sure! It’s the kind of climax that you won’t see coming from a mile away … and when confronted with the moment you’ll gasp for fresh air, simply because you cannot believe what your eyes have just perceived! As a longtime fan of the show, you wonder: ‘Where do we go from here?’
One thing is beyond any doubt: Season 8 of Dexter will be dark … very dark!
(*** SPOILER END ***)
DEXTER – THE FINAL SEASON
It’s a recurring theme amongst television shows. The last season of a top-notch series does not succeed in pertaining the same quality as the earlier seasons. Grand TV-shows that kept going until the final season was so flawed the writers had no other choice but to quit, are: Prison break, Heroes, The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad and now also Dexter.
Not to worry, the entire TV-show is of decent-enough quality, but the last season tends to collapse a little like a sand castle in the water. Only Arrested Development, The Shield, Game of Thrones and the almighty 24 have enjoyed a flawless run of perfect seasons.
But not everything is doom and gloom. Dexter – Season 8 (or: The Final Season) may be very much the weakest brother of the entire family, it’s still a season with a couple of unexpected plot changes. Some of those you will see miles ahead, others will smack you in the face like a bucket of cold water.
There is a lot less action and bloodshed (ooooh!), but that mainly has to do with the metamorphosis Dexter is going through in Season 8. Believe it or not, but Dexter is actually starting to feel human from time to time …
The story in Season 8 is as follows.
Six months after the tragic death of Captain LaGuerta, Debra Morgan still hasn’t forgiven herself. She turned away from her old job and is no longer working for the Miami Metro police department. What is she doing then? She works in the private sector as a detective.
She is not the only one whose life has been turned inside out. Dexter is also in a bad spot. He tries as best he can to rectify things with his sister, but she is adamant. She doesn’t want to see nor hear from her brother anymore. The relationship sister/brother seems to be wrecked for all eternity.
The only thing left for Dexter is his job as a blood spatter-analyst. And then there is the mysterious female doctor named Evelyn Vogel who’s come to Miami to help out the police with a couple of unsolved murder cases. She has already written three books and her branch of expertise is the general behavior of psychopaths. Dexter Morgan does not trust this woman one bit and with good reason: doctor Evelyn Vogel seems to know a great deal about Dexter’s past!
The female doctor is played by British actress Charlotte Rampling, a performance which is not bad but not great either.
It’s especially the new relationship between Dexter and doctor Vogel that gets most of the limelight in Season 8. Add to that the troubled relation with Debra Morgan and you’ll end up with a pretty need triangle. Things hardly get boring in Season 8 – thank God! – but some characters should’ve been dealt a better deck of cards. The wonderfully salacious Masuka or the strict police chief Tom Matthews are painfully absent in this last season, even though these two are two of the most interesting characters ever to appear in the show.
The big malefactor however is hidden within the last episode, entitled ‘Remember the monsters?’. The otherwise near-perfect television show that has been entertaining us for so many crazy years ends with a flabby finale that leaves much to be desired. Whereas pretty much everyone had hoped for a sassy plot change or a shocking apotheosis, we instead get a silly, stupid, slow ending which can hardly be called a closure of things.
The disappointment is tangible as the incomplete approach with which things slide into their final act seems rushed, almost as though the writers lacked sudden inspiration or the producers of the show ran out of money. Many of your beloved characters in Dexter meet their ending (whether it be by their sudden death or the end of the show) and once it’s over – you wished you could back and rewrite a better and more satisfactory final episode …
Is it bad? No. But it’s not great either … and Dexter knows this!
But not to worry. Season 8 still gets a big, fat 7 out of 10, which basically means: ‘pretty good, but just not good enough’.
Once you have found a way to come to peace with the final episode, you’ll notice the rest of Season 8 ain’t so bad after all. You’ll wonder why things couldn’t be more spectacular … or dramatical. Perhaps you were hoping for a more mysterious outline, bigger action scenes and more of a shock-therapeutical storyline with enormous bloodbaths.
Whatever the case, the final season of Dexter is nice-to-watch and contains a couple of fun-loving sequences, but all in all it could’ve – no! – should’ve ended with more a bigger bang!!
One thing is never a letdown and that is Debra Morgan. And no, we’re not talking about how she looks pretty. It’s just that her character is so original and so extreme and so natural, especially when she starts to swear or become really emotional. Aaah, Debra Morgan, what a character! And what a performance of Jennifer Carpenter in the end …
did you know?
During Season 8, Angel Batista wasn’t always played by David Zayas. His son David Zayas Jr. stands in for his father in some shots, as the two look remarkably alike.
Give it to me straight:
Dexter is a television show unlike any other you’ll ever see! You will root for the bad buy, I promise. Dexter kills people and you like him for it. This is why Dexter (the TV-show, not the character) is what the French would call the ‘crème de la crème’ of the television world. It’s not the best television show on earth, but it’s still pretty close. Especially the cast is so amazing …
It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about guest appearances of Jimmy Smits and John Lithgow, respectively making their mark in Seasons 3 & 4. Or the steady names of people like C.S. Lee (Masuka or the Asian guy making inappropriate sex remarks) or Jennifer Carpenter (Debra Morgan of the hyper-emotional sister of Dexter with her unlimited resource of newly-designed curse words).
The one we can’t forget – whom it’s all about in the end – is the big guy himself. Michael C. Hall plays Dexter with so much dexterity (yes, it’s a word! Look it up!) that it’s hard to believe the man is *not* a serial killer. Also, how can we ever see another movie or television show starring Michael C. Hall and *not* think about Dexter? He was clearly born to play this part just as much Kiefer Sutherland was born to play Jack Bauer 24/7 (actually, 24/9 coz there were 9 seasons of 24) or Michael Chiklis as Vic Mackey in The Shield.
Which is why it’s a bit of a pity that Season 8 is the weakest of the bunch. Season 7 was already a notch down, but Season 8 sinks even deeper. It’s not bad and it certainly isn’t a cowardly stab in the back, but the refreshing shock-events that we’ve come to expect of a brilliant show like this are few and far between in the final two seasons of the show.
Fortunately, with an absolutely outstanding cast and gripping storyline, you stay true to the show till the very end, almost as though YOU were the one tied to the table, wrapped in plastic.
Move over, Hannibal Lector, here comes DEXTER!!!