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Dexter: Do You Take Dexter Morgan? (season finale)

by Debra McDuffee, posted Dec 14th 2008 11:52PM
Dexter finale
(S03E12) This was a really interesting finale for Dexter, unlike any they've ever done before. I'm not sure how well-received it's going to be amongst the Dexter fans; I'll be anxious to read the comments.

Me? I really liked it, and I think the growth that Dexter experienced as a person was really important for him. All along, I've posited that Dexter, though he thinks he's a deviant, is more like everyone else than he realizes: same insecurities, same fears. To see him overcome some of these and accept happiness was profound.

Everyone has secrets and they need to be respected. That's the theme of this episode. After the jump, we'll see how the different secrets played out in tonight's finale.

Rita's Secret
Rita was married before Paul ... interesting. I wonder if this will be more significant next season, or if it was introduced just so that Dexter could see that it is OK to keep some secrets. It's another way that Dexter realizes he is just like everyone else -- sort of, as he says -- because we all have secrets.

Deb's and Batista's Secrets
Deb's sleeping with Anton could have bit her in the butt tonight, and cost her the detective badge. Instead, it played out a bit differently. Batista realized that he couldn't un-recommend Deb when he had his own secret about how he met Barbara. His confession to Maria invoked her response that some secrets are OK to keep. TMI, Angel!

Ramon's Secret
Wow. I never would have guessed that Ramon was covering for the deviant Miguel all this time, and when Dexter found that out, he was already thinking like the good father he wanted to be. "You don't always have to destroy a wounded animal. Sometimes you just remove the thorn."

This was a satisfying and humane ending to the Prado brothers saga. You had the feeling that Ramon and his family were going to break the cycle and be OK, and we didn't have to have Dexter kill all three of them.

Maria's Secret

Again, some secrets just need to be respected, and Dexter helped Maria see that no good would come of exposing Miguel as Ellen's killer. Sometimes we need to live with our secrets, even if we are driving over a highway named after them every day.

Harry's Secret
OK, not much of a secret that Harry was boinking his CI, Dexter's mother. But that was the whole reason Dexter couldn't forgive him, and he finally does this episode. Dex gets that Harry was doing the best he could, and that is just what Dexter was doing this whole season, as he tried to have a friend and confidante, and now move on with a life with Rita and the kids.

It's huge that Harry's imperfections helped Dex realize that he can feel, and that he wants to be a good father to his son and protect him, just like Harry did for Dexter.

I will say that the Skinner thing was a bit anti-climactic, though I get that this season wasn't really about the Big Bad. The Skinner turned out just to be another killer, and now he's gone, and that's OK. Dexter knew just how to set him off balance; he saw the Skinner's need for control right away. Dexter was never scared, and neither was I as a viewer. In fact, this was probably one of the least tense episodes of Dexter ever, and I still loved it. That's good television.

"Dexter Morgan, family Man."
We end this episode about secrets and this season about humanity with Dexter promising "to be the very best husband and father that I can be; a completely, utterly honest vow."

Dexter also says, "All of my previous attempts at human connection have ended in death, and now I have a partner for life; how did that happen?" Dexter realizes that he has nothing to offer a child except himself, that no one is perfect, and that he chooses happiness and admits that life is good. This is a huge leap for Dexter, who against all odds, has realized that he is a part of humankind, not just a deviant killer.

I like that they took this path -- a lot. They could have just as easily reverted Dexter back to his first season, introverted self, after what happened when he bared his soul to Miguel. But we've already seen that Dexter. Instead, now we'll get to see Dexter grow, see new aspects of him, watch as he integrates Dexter Morgan, family man with Dexter Morgan, serial killer. Season four's going to be fun.

Other things:
  • I love the initial aerial shot of Miguel's body being discovered; so artistic, with the green grass and blue water and juxtaposition of the peacefulness of the scenery with the violence of the death. So thoughtfully shot.
  • Deb: "Me in a dress; I feel like a transvestite."
  • The scene between Deb and Maria when she gave her the badge was nicely done. Maria definitely learned this season that a personal life beyond work is important, and it was good to see that Deb somehow gained this perspective as well.
  • All the theories of conspiracy and manipulation that we had for this season, all a waste. Well, not really, because it was fun to speculate. But season three was all about human connections, human flaws and just plain old humanity, and how Dexter fits into all of that. He's one of us, "dark passenger" included.

Last week, I was wondering how they'd wrap up so many loose ends, thinking that they'd have to leave a few for next season. They left virtually all of them. My predictions for season four: Deb will find out that Dexter is Harry's biological son; We'll delve deeper into the mystery that is Quinn; Batista will find out some things about Barbara that surprise him; Masuka will have a girlfriend; Maria will also have a personal life and not put work first.

What did you think? Are you satisfied with this finale and with season three in general?

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Alex

Once again I'm very late to the party, due to not being in the U.S. and having been kept busy by a new relationship. I don't know how I let that get in the way of Dexter. Won't happen again.

Just want to say, I still love the show, I don't think S3 is any worse than one or two, possibly even better because it gets harder to surprise your audience after two seasons but they still managed it.

I did however find the season finale slightly disappointing, as I did those of the previous seasons. I didn't mind that the big finale wasn't (much) about Miguel, but I had hoped for at least some loose ends to be tied up. I was specifically hoping for Deb to find whatever she was going to find in the archives before the season ran out. It's a finale, not just a setup for the next season.

But overall I still love this show, and even this episode, just not as a finale. I really enjoyed Deb waking up cursing. And pretty much everything else.

Oh, and you seem to be having a very eloquent troll problem here. Just ignore her, she won't go away.

December 31 2008 at 4:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mick

I think Dexter left some of his blood at the cigar factory.

December 17 2008 at 9:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
thatgirl2k4

And I hate to tell you this while you're laughing, Corsair, because I wouldn't want you to choke, but awards aren't always given on merit--connections count sometimes over quality.

Yes, it's shocking.

As for us all being fans and all fans being equal, well, no. That's simply not true. There were people who watched who no doubt would've liked something to burst into flames, simply because they like explosions. The opinion of that kind of fan with that kind of mindset shouldn't matter as much as that of a person who has a better handle on more complex storytelling. Who are the people more likely to have a greater grasp of what makes for good drama? Why, writers of fiction! And yeah, a writer is better qualified to discern good writing than this "regular" viewer you're talking about. The high-and-ighty danger here is rooted in your anti-intellectualism and silly charges of elitism, so watch your step.

In any case, glad to see you've modified your tone, which was rude, dismissive, and absolutist just a post or two ago. Yes, we are all just fans, entitled to our opinions.

Oh, by the way, some writers from the first seasons have moved on, the good ones it looks like. To me, I mean.

Just my opinion.

December 16 2008 at 11:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to thatgirl2k4's comment
bmxzero

The writing staff for Season Three was nominated for best series by the WRITERS Guild of America. Other professional, working members of the Guild nominating their peers for outstanding work. People who know writing because that's how they make their living. Not someone on a board who just calls themselves a writer. I think that speaks volumes to the perceived lack of quality to the writing of this season of Dexter.

December 17 2008 at 8:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Corsair

I think you need to read bmxzero's comment. If you're willing to dismiss the Golden Globes and the Emmys, I wonder if you think the Writer's Guild is also part of the conspiracy of "connections" you are talking about.

thatgirl2k4, I think Dexter is by far one of the most provocative shows on the airwaves today. It is written by a top notch group of writers who are doing their best to bring a show that deals with a very perplexing subject matter.

I don't know why you think you have more merit than the other guy that watches the show for the explosions. The only thing that says is that they like explosions and you don't. There is no objective merit there, only preferences. Because we are only talking about FANS, one's view is equal to that of another. You being a self-proclaimed writer, like me, does not change that. There is nothing in a writing class that can prepare you for analyzing a program, the scripts, or the acting.

You may think you have some wisdom that helps you view the show in a different way, but you only have eyes, like the rest of us. Just deal with it "writer"; you are just one of us.

LC

December 19 2008 at 10:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Corsair

Okay, okay, Collin, I get that we are talking about opinions. Like I said below, we're just fans discussing a good show.

-You are right about the Skinner. I did mention that one of the things that was flawed about this season was that the Skinner didn't really need to be there. I did think early on that they were going to tie him into the Prado family and it was going to be one big conspiracy. It was a little bit of a let down that the Skinner thing deflated that way, but if they had tied it in to the Prado family in another way, I think it would have been too predictable. So it was unexpected, but yes, something of a loose ending they had to tie up before the end of the season.

-I like Smits too and thought he played the impeccable ADA well. I did wish they had a two hour season finale instead of the one hour one.

-Okay, Quinn time. This is just a guess, but maybe they're setting this guy up for some bigger role in the future (like they did with Doakes in season 2). Maybe he is meant for something more and they just wanted to plant seeds. This guy is a dubious character capable of deviant behavior... so he fits right in with Bautista, Deb, Masuka, and Lt. Laguerta. Honestly, those cops have more ethical issues to deal with than homicide investigations!

-I will continue to make my case for the writing being fine, though not excellent. I mean Michael C. Hall is a fantastic actor, as is a good portion of the cast, but even he wouldn't be able to make the character work if there wasn't at least a bit of skill in the writing. I mean you can only dress up a turd so much and even then it still stinks. Could the writing be better? Definitely. But what does that mean? What is better and better to whom? Me? You? The critics? I say it is fine because it allows the actors to do their jobs (and they do it well, good job Michael C Hall on a Golden Globe nomination 2008).

-Overall you are right: These are OUR opinions and nothing more. I look forward to reading your counterpoints.

LC

December 16 2008 at 10:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Corsair's comment
mb

I agree with you 100% that Michael C. Hall should get a lot more credit for his portrayal of Dexter. He should've gotten the Emmy for the past two seasons, in addition to the Golden Globes as well. I think that the character of Dexter is now defined by Hall's performances, and I couldn't picture anyone else in that role.

So having thought about these posts for most of today, I have to admit that I am in agreement with your points that you've brought up. Especially with Quinn and how the writers are setting things in motion this season, to open up possibilities for next season. I just saw the abruptness of the writers direction as "missed opportunities," that could've been interesting for this season. You hit the head on the nail with Quinn fitting in perfectly with the other deviant personalities in the department.

Boy, do I miss Sgt. Doakes. Erik King's performance was superb when played against Michael C. Hall.

Part of my criticisms of this season was perhaps because I was too impressed with the first two seasons of Dexter, and that I saw the changes in Season 3 as trouble. After all, when the writers start implementing sudden changes in a television show, things tend to fall apart rather quickly. Some examples of shows that I enjoyed but later detested include:

- The Sopranos (fell apart and became terrible after Season 2)
- Weeds (hilarious first two seasons, then unwatchable ever since)
- Lost (brilliant first two seasons, then the writers got cocky and ruined everything after the beginning of Season 3)

Uh oh... just noticed a pattern here. In my opinion, of course.

But my fear (this season) was that Dexter was also headed towards trouble just like these other shows. It remains my favorite show on television, and perhaps I'm being a bit protective of it.

But you've made great points, and now I see that it was a pretty good season. Could have been done better, but it could've ended up much worse. Point taken.

Now bring on BSG! Cheers!

December 16 2008 at 11:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Corsair

I hate to tell you guys this, but when a show gets Golden Globes nominations and an Emmy nomination(for best show in the Drama category and for Michael Hall's acting) it tells you something.

I laughed at some of these posts. I especially liked the line from thatgirl2k4: "It was objectively bad to people who know what's good." We're all viewers and you don't have any special insight into what is "good." Collin's very right to say that it is his opinion because there is no objective way to say that it is good or not.

I didn't think the writing was idiodic or lame this season; that's my opinion and I'll reply to Collin's post in a minute to keep debating. But it is lame to say that some of you, I won't say any names, know better than anyone else here because you have some inside information the rest of us don't; no college writing class or film school can give it to you either. Oh and if there were "Writing 101" mistakes, I think the those guys would have got fired already.

The truth is that the professionals are in charge of producing, writing, and performing in Dexter. The rest of us are just fans; we're not even professional critics. And if you are a writer, whooptidoo, you are a writer. It still does not give you any insight that the regular viewer doesn't have; I know because I write and view. So don't get high and mighty and call the rest of us "me-too-ism" sufferers.

LC

December 16 2008 at 10:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
thatgirl2k4

Collin, I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought a skinned child was cheap writing. It was disturbing, and not in a good way. There were a number of off-notes this season and I think they were all attributable to sloppiness. A lot of the dialogue was downright idiotic, new characters came out of the blue and added little to the forward motion of the show relative to their screentime, and the domesticity angle was lame. Very, very lame. But there's no gainsaying the show was more successful this go 'round than its two previous seasons. I think a lot of this has to do with me-too-ism from new viewers and critics. Now everyone wants to say they really dig the show about the nice guy serial killer. It's trendy. A complex show has been sufficiently dumbed-down to appeal to lunkheads who would like to believe they're cognoscenti. IMO, of course.
So who are the grumblers, given the through-the-roof ratings? Mostly people who toil as writers. People who know how hard it is to write creatively were appalled by the sloppiness and inauthenticity of season 3's scripts. Some blunders were of the Writing 101 variety and they were inexcusable. You are absolutely correct to say the writing was inferior. And I don't think you have to couch this in a diplomatic "just my opinion." It was objectively bad to people who actually know what's good. As for people who want to point out the obvious to defend their lack of discernment--that this is "make believe" and there's no need to get fussy or object to poor creative choices--well their standards are lower. Also, in the very first episode, the Dexter character was livid about the killing of children. In S3, Dexter strangled a man for potentially targeting Astor. It was inconsistent with the character to not be affected by the sight of a dead child. The writers very plainly fucked up. I throw my shoe at them.

December 16 2008 at 8:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to thatgirl2k4's comment
Kallie

Is it not just as disturbing that this "child" was working as a doorman for a dope dealer? This moral conundrum is one that always begs the question of how old is 15 really? Had Wendell been arrested as a drug dealer crony, it would be have despicable of him. But he dies (tragically, yes) and now it's despicable of the writers to show his death in such a way. Sadly for his character, he HAD to die, that was his meaning in the story. And sadly, in America so many young people like this are forced to turn to this life and work, sometimes worse.

December 16 2008 at 11:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Becky

From the first episode of season 3, I thought that the writing had suffered and I guessed that the writers had strayed from the books. I'll never stop watching Dexter, but I found the writing to be really lacking in substance this season. The dialogue was just off, most of the time.

I agree that the blood on the wedding dress could be a sign of things to come. Also, after Rita announced she was pregnant, it seemed to me that she and Dexter went back to being super awkward. The one thing I liked at the beginning of the season was a new, sexy Dexter and then that fizzled. I don't think this marriage is going to work.

December 16 2008 at 4:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mb

I know I'll be in the minority when I say this but I didn't think that Season 3 was that great at all. It was ver-r-r-y slow, and there were too many things that didn't work out right. I don't know if the Writers' Strike affected anything, but I can summarize my opinion by saying that the writers for Season 3 didn't seem to work all that hard this season. Simply put, Dexter Season 3 wasn't the same clever show the previous two seasons were.

Here's some of the things that didn't work for me:

- The absence of the true villain this season. And by this, I mean who exactly is the bigger threat here? Miguel Prado? George King? Dexter's naivety? I know we live in a world of grays, but the writers sure got sloppy when it came to putting a story together. There wasn't a clear definition of who the bad guy(s) would be. George King slipped in/out of the picture but didn't really strike me as the villain (he was more of a serial killer who got noticed). So I guess Miguel was supposed to be the villain then, right? So why didn't he seem that way to me?

Probably because another problem was....

- Jimmy Smits cannot play a villain well. I enjoy his acting because there is so much warmth in his work, and it's easy to see how NYPD Blue fell apart after he left. Such a fantastic actor, and he was the absolute wrong choice to play Miguel. The character needed to be colder, troubled or more mysterious. With Smits, we got a character who didn't quite seem to be Dexter's antithesis. It just didn't work for me, but I enjoyed Miguel and the friendship he gave to Dexter until he was turned on to the Dark Side.

- Quinn. I know he was brought in to the office with the loss of Sgt. Doakes, but what happened with this guy? There looked like something interesting was about to happen with the guy's background, but the writers killed it off. Also, no romance with Deb at the end, even though we all knew it was headed that way. So why was he there? And the IA investigation that never was? Sloppy writing. And it's too bad because I actually dug the guy, and found his character interesting. Too bad the writers didn't know how to use him.

- Rita's annoying behavior. (to Dexter:) "Oh, so I told Syl about Miguel seeing Maria at her place." WHA-WHA-WHAT?!?! What did her character say? And if her portrayal of a hormonal mother-to-be-again is supposed to justify moments like that, kill her off. Now. What kind of rotten dialogue did they give Julie Benz this season? Again, sloppy writing. Why not have her get together with Denny from Greys Anatomy while we're at it?

- The torture and killing of a minor. Yes, that bothered me tremendously. That didn't need to be shown, and it didn't need to be seen. Yes, I'm a grown adult and these things happen in our world... but this was tasteless and not needed for this show.

- Other things: Ramon's sudden confession that Miguel took the blame for his treachery. Anton's hot/cold personality. Debra's inability to see what is happening right in front of her.

...

I've probably turned twelve people onto Dexter this year, and they have ALL said the same thing: They all love Seasons 1 & 2, but are bored with Season 3. They ALL agree that it's simply too slow this year.

Ok, whatever. Having said all that, Dexter is still my favorite show (besides BSG). Yes, it could have been written much better, but it was still entertaining. I'm looking forward to Season 4, and I hope Jimmy Smits gets his own series soon (as long as he doesn't try to play a bad guy).

December 16 2008 at 6:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
5 replies to mb's comment
KevinInChains

i really loved this season...but i noticed something
Season1- brother
Season2- lover
Season3- friend

what connection will he make is season 4? I do think that Deb will learn about Dex being related to I.C.K. I kinda hope Rita does have the baby(im still skeptical it'll happen) and its a girl and he & Rita name her Laura.

December 15 2008 at 7:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
radwimp

This season started out pretty slowly, but the last few episodes really pulled everything together. It wasn't perfect, but this is by far my favourite season yet.

December 15 2008 at 5:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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