"Dexter" finally put something significant on the table in its Season 6 finale, and not just the Doomsday Killer Travis Marshall. Colin Hank's religious murderer did meet his fate, like so many other 'Dexter' villains before him, but the really pivotal development of the finale was Deb finally learning the truth about her adopted brother (who she's apparently in love with). Now that she witnessed one of Dexter's kills, the show can never be the same, and that's a very good thing.
That moment of recognition has been a long time coming. Critics of "Dexter" have accused the show of meandering in its past several seasons, turning into a darker version of a police-procedural where nothing was really at stake. So long as the show's beloved serial-killer of serial-killers could get himself out of every precarious situation and kill off every bad-guy, what was really the point of continuing to watch?
But now that Deb finally discovered the dark truth about Dexter's double life, the show has entered a brave new world. Its last two seasons are set up to actually mean something. Michael C. Hall told HuffPost TV in an interview last week that "Dexter and Deb have been on some kind of collision course from the get-go." After they collided tonight, the stakes of what the rest of the series can achieve have been raised. The resulting pile-up could be fascinating to watch.
There's suddenly a whole new set of questions for the show to grapple with. Will Deb keep Dexter's secret and let him continue killing? Will Dexter tell Deb the truth about Harry and the code? Will she turn him into their police colleagues? Now that his true identity's been discovered, how fast will his web of lies become unraveled? Could she possibly join him in his vigilantism? And no less important, will they just do it already?
Tony Soprano, another classic TV anti-hero, once said "there are only two ends for a guy like me ... dead or in the can." For "Dexter" to reach a satisfying conclusion, doesn't the same have to be true for Dexter Morgan? The fantastical nature of the show's storytelling often makes Dexter seem like an indestructible super-hero, but tonight's reveal went a long way towards showing the audience that he might just be fallible after all. And that's a reason to keep watching.
A few more observations from the Season 6 finale:
I knew Travis was a dead-man as soon as he ate a handful of Dexter's Cheerios. You don't eat a serial killer's breakfast cereal and live 'til lunch.
I don't think we'll remember Travis in the pantheon of 'Dexter' villains alongside Jon Lithgow's Trinity or the Ice Truck Killer. But his performance did demonstrate that Colin Hanks is probably more talented than his rapping brother.
Apparently Louis Greene sent Dexter the hand from the Ice Truck Killer case that he's been painting on. That obsession is getting creepy, but I can't bring myself to care.
It was about time Deb and La Guerta moved past their mutual resentment of each other. Between the two of them and Quinn and Sgt. Batista, it was starting to feel like "The Real Housewives of Miami Metro."