The Dexter season finale aired last night and if you haven't seen it there will be spoilers ahead, so fair warning. This season started out promising with Edward James Olmos giving us a villain almost as creepy as season 4'sTrinity Killer played by Jon Lithgow. The combination of Olmos and Colin Hanks as two religious fanatics intent on recreating the End of Days created an eerie but interesting season that started to fall apart around the time Dexter discovered Olmos in a freezer. The beginning of the end essentially, no pun intended.
Maybe it's because Colin Hanks hadn't created a strong enough character for us to believe he alone was the Doomsday Killer, or maybe it's because Jon Lithgow set the bar unattainably high for 'Big Bad's' on the show, but last night's season finale was a mixture of predictability, boredom and textbook plot devices ending with a slightly redeeming final minute. I never thought I would find myself missing Edward James Olmos's Professor James Gellar, but as soon as Dex found him frozen solid in the freezer the entire season started to fall apart.
That aside, what bothered me most about the season finale was the behaviour of our beloved resident serial killer. Throughout six seasons we have loved Dexter and rooted for him, even when he's cutting off bad guy's limbs, but how the entire last episode played out made us wonder if they brought in an entire new staff of writers -- because I didn't recognize this Dexter at all.
First it was the ridiculousness of having him tied to a boat by DDK that exploded but that Dexter was miraculously able to set himself free. Then it was having Hanks be able to walk into a preschool concert and walk out with Harrison in his arms as Dexter chats on the phone mere feet away. Seriously -- not one parent saw him walk two feet around the corner to take a call? Really? The entire scene on the top of the building with Hanks killing the most incompetent armed police officer ever and then believing that Dexter would actually inject himself with the animal tranquilizer was laughable. After watching what Hanks pulled off the entire season as the Doomsday Killer leads me to believe he wouldn't have been so stupid as to believe that Dexter would go down that easy.
What really disturbed me and made me question how well we knew Dexter was his putting his need to kill DDK before the safety of his own son. After the Wormwood incident, where he realized that if he hadn't notified police a lot of people would have been killed, I thought the safety of Harrison would take precedent over his need to exact his own kind of revenge on Travis Marshall, but I was wrong. I couldn't believe that after coming this-close to having his son's throat slit in front of him he would have been happy to either throw Marshall off the building or leave him to the police, but instead he dropped Harrison off with the babysitter and set up his kill room.
By the end of the episode, I was just annoyed. Mostly because of what started out as a promising season was ending pretty disappointingly -- exactly how I found season three with Jimmy Smits. The final minute with Deb walking in to see Dex killing Travis Marshall will make for a promising season seven premiere but doesn't erase the fact that the final two episodes of this season were a major letdown. Dexter clearly missed his calling as a detective, seeing as he was able to figure out DDK's next move faster than any one of the trained Miami Metro officers on the case, just another plot device that left me shaking my head this year.
Here's hoping that Deb's witnessing of Dexter's 'dark passenger' in action isn't explained away in one episode as a paternal reaction to seeing his son in danger, although I have a feeling it might be. The groundwork for season seven has already been laid with the introduction of lab geek Louis Green and new detective Mike Anderson, another new character who started out promising but ended up doing absolutely nothing. Both characters had minor roles this season, but having the video game making Green send Dexter a hand in a box shows us that there's more to this character than meets the eye, but I'm not sure I even care at this point. Maybe Jon Lithgow set the bar too high, but this season came in like a lion but went out like a lamb.
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