'Dexter' Season 5 Finale Recap
by Sandie Angulo Chen, posted Dec 13th 2010 10:15AM
Well, this is it, folks. Another season of 'Dexter' comes to a close, but instead of a heart-stopping bloodbath like last season, we're left with a bittersweet birthday party, a sense of closure, and even -- dare I say -- a dose of optimism.
Sure, there was the Jordan Chase murder, but that was a) completely expected and b) a tad anti-climactic... until Deb showed up. The real oomph of the episode was the fantastic scene when Deb, confirmed in her belief that the killers were indeed a "vigilante couple," spares Dexter and Lumen.
That sequence coupled with Dexter's decision to spare Quinn (who looked perfectly positioned to take the fall for Liddy) after talking to Debra, and the necessary Lumen/Dexter breakup, were the emotional centerpieces of the episode.
Kudos to the readers who precisely predicted that neither Lumen nor Quinn would get killed. It was refreshing that the writers didn't have Quinn go the way of Doakes or Lumen murdered, a la Rita. That would've been lazy and beneath them, frankly. Both of them survived the season, which means there are two people in the world who know (or at the very least strongly suspect) the truth about Dexter.
Michael C. Hall, who once again deserves an Emmy nomination for his performance, and Jennifer Carpenter were especially extraordinary this season finale.
In a series known for its very special guest stars, Carpenter is underrated (and for the most part overlooked come awards season) but continues to deliver pitch-perfect performances. She's funny (her laughable attempt at Spanish infused the episode with much-needed levity) and vulnerable and one of the best supporting characters on primetime.
As Quinn said last week, she's almost like a guy; she's tough, swears like a sailor, sleeps with whomever she wants, and doesn't put up with B.S. But she's also vulnerable and kind; it's a shame there aren't more female characters like her on TV.
As for Hall, he's simply amazing. To go from five seasons as an openly gay funeral director ('Six Feet Under') to five seasons as a closeted serial killer would be a tough transition for a lesser actor to pull off, but Hall manages to make a psychopathic murderer not just mesmerizing but actually beloved. By comparison, as much as I loved 'The Sopranos,' it never bothered me to believe Tony would get whacked one day, but Dexter is such a wounded soul, it's impossible for me not to root for him.
The special guests Julia Stiles and Jonny Lee Miller were both brilliant last night. Not many of Dexter's chosen victims get to deliver monologues from the table, but Miller's motivational speaker was compelling (and eerily right in many ways -- especially regarding Lumen's transformation) until the instant Lumen plunged the knife in his chest.
Lumen, in the end, changed Dexter for the better, even though she broke his heart. Dexter was positively gutted when Lumen explained that she had to leave. He was much more devastated than he looked after Rita's death. Dexter's response, sitting on his kitchen floor, was award worthy. His touching promise, "Don't be sorry your darkness is gone. I'll carry it for you always. I'll keep it with mine," was poetic and even made my eyes get watery.
As much as transformation was a major theme of this season, things have gone back to status quo with this ultimately hopeful episode: LaGuerta and Batista are giving it another go at their marriage; Deb and Quinn are stronger than ever; Masuka is, well, enjoying the company of a busty date; and Astor and Cody will spend the summer with Dexter and Harrison (and super-nanny Sonia). What's more, Dexter for the very first time believes that there's a possibility his Dark Passenger could possibly vanish one day, just like Lumen's.
-- It's obvious why Lumen was allowed to live; she could never implicate Dexter without coming out as a victim/accomplice/murderer herself. Not to mention that she clearly loves Dexter. But what about Quinn. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Dexter saved him for Deb, but who's to say Quinn and Deb will stay together? Quinn has to suspect Dexter even more now, and one day he could start following him around again.
-- Dexter cleared Quinn's bloody shoe, but isn't Quinn still the prime suspect? His fingerprints are on the van; his (fake) signature on the surveillance-equipment requisitions; and the phone records implicate him too (even if Quinn did lie about letting the calls go to voice-mail). It doesn't make sense that he'd all of a sudden be free and clear of suspicion.
-- What purpose did the multi-episode Santa Muerte case serve other than to set up Deb and LaGuerta as foils? Who else found it an ultimately unsatisfying case and plot device?
--"Lumen sees me for what I really am, and she hasn't turned away from me. She hasn't turned against me. She's someone I can share my life with. I will not let her die." -- Dexter to Harry
--"It must be terrible going through this again. Losing your wife -- the woman you loved -- and now Lumen, I imagine it seems to you like some sort of terrible curse." --Jordan to Dexter
--"I understand what these women went through... I know what it's like to be taken by some sick bastard... to know you're going to die." --Deb to Dexter
--"I' fucking swear I'm taking Spanish after this." --Deb
'Dexter' season 6 premieres some time in 2011 on Showtime. I know I'll be watching.