Committing to only watch one series at a time makes it easy to limit your television intake. It also lends itself to getting borderline obsessed with a show.
It is through that prism which I have enjoyed the adventures of Dexter Morgan for the last year. After binge-watching the first six seasons on Netflix, I’ve had to watch the last two seasons in real time.
And tonight I (and the rest of the world) say goodbye to Dexter as the series finale airs on Showtime.
I don’t know that I’ve ever encountered a show with such wasted potential.
When Dexter was good, it wasn’t just good—it was great. But when it was bad, it was worse than bad—it was boring.
Without question, the best seasons were one and four. The stories were compelling, the characters complex. It was a ride you didn’t want to end.
But since the Trinity character left the show at the end of season four, the writers of Dexter have continuously underachieved. They’ve misfired on characters development and plot, year after year.
I kept watching, waiting on them to pick up the pieces and return to what was once the best show on television.
I’m still waiting.
That brings us to season eight. The final season. A season which promised surprise, suspense, and—just maybe—a return to greatness.
Yeah. About that.
Unbelievable, this season brought more of the same.
I’m not sure what goes on inside a writers’ meeting for a show like Dexter. In my mind, I imagine a lot of the meetings ending with something like, “Okay. Good enough. Let’s just wrap this up so we can get home on time. I’m tired of being here.”
This season has been frustratingly awful. We were handed clunky writing and a complete lack of any kind of compelling storyline up until episode ten. The pinnacle of awfulness during that drought saw Dexter spear a man with a curtain rod, through a mattress.
We’ve only seen Dexter’s real challenger/foe emerge in the last three episodes. Has anyone at Dexter heard of a story arc? Most of this season, things have been so tidied up in the last few minutes (with one exception) of each episode that it more resembles a sitcom formula than a TV drama.
The last episode saw things end almost exactly as they began. Instead of creating a season-long storyline to develop these characters, we’re left with one single episode.
The only real advancement we can take away (s0 far) from this season is that Dexter has lost his need to kill. He’s become normal. AKA boring. Dexter became the complete opposite of itself from season one. Most of this season has felt more like a Lifetime movie than a Showtime production.
I have no doubt there will be surprises tonight. Good surprises, hopefully. And I’ll enjoy the last episode.
But when Dexter meets his final fate tonight—whatever that may be—much of me will be happy the show’s writers can’t screw up any more than they already have.
With that in mind, I’ve written my own end to Dexter below.
Farewell, Dexter Morgan. I’ll never forget the good times.
My final episode for Dexter:
When Dexter learns his sister has been wounded by the Brain Surgeon, he’s snapped back into reality. He’s reminded of why he can’t simply walk away from the life he’s created (something he reminded himself of just one episode ago).
He comes home to his apartment, only to find the Brain Surgeon waiting for him. Hannah is tied up in a chair, with a gun pointed to her head. The Brain Surgeon/Saxon instructs Dexter to inject himself with a waiting syringe of M99 if he wants Hannah to live. Dexter does so, and blacks out.
Dexter awakes to find himself strapped to a table, the same way he’s done to his victims for the last eight seasons. Around him are pictures of his victims. The Brain Surgeon has researched Dexter through Dr. Vogel and her files.
Meanwhile, Debra informs Quinn that Dexter might be in trouble. She tells him where to look. Quinn walks in on Saxon just as he kills Dexter. Quinn kills Saxon as Dexter dies. Dexter’s dying words, “Take care of my sister.”
Quinn looks around and realizes what happened. He sees the photos of Dexter’s victims. He realizes they were people who needed to die (for the most part). He decides to cover up what Dexter did.
Dexter is buried, Hannah moves to Argentina.
Debra is so moved by Quinn covering up Dexter’s crimes that she sees how much he loves her. They adopt Harrison (remember him?) and live happily ever after.
Dexter is redeemed from killing because wants to, to killing because he has to, to being killed to save someone he loves.
From The Writing Life by Annie Dillard, courtesy of brainpickings.org.
I get attached to the strangest things.
Seriously. I find myself with emotional attachments to these things.
As if they’re physical memories.
As if I’ll lose the memory if I lose the object.
As if they’ll end up in a museum someday and not in a garbage bag as my children clean out my house after I’m dead.
But every Spring I make myself throw things out.
And it hurts.
What’s the point of keeping all these things? Do my memories become less real if I don’t have a physical souvenir?
I can move people in and out of my life like a shuffleboard game, but I’d rather not throw out a Lucky Charms pencil I got when I was seven years old.
The human experience is a strange sticky tree, branching out in directions you can’t explain and could never predict.
Best I can tell, these newborn birds in my front yard get fed about every 90 seconds. Two different birds come to feed them. Pretty amazing to see their entire day revolve around taking care of these chicks. Photos by Thaisi Da Silva.
One of the most astounding things about George Jones is that he survived a period of extreme self destruction.
He lived hard. Drinking. Cocaine. Shooting at people. Wrecking cars. Think 2012 Randy Travis times 100.
From those years came some of the best country music the world has ever heard.
He liked his songs about cheating. Drinking. Honky tonks. Real country, if you ask me.
He mourned the passing of his country music heroes with a song called, “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?”
He might as well have included himself in the song.
He was one of the last greats of country music. Hank, Merle, Buck, Johnny, Willie, Marty, and George.
Amazingly, he outlived almost all of them.
I had the honor of meeting George backstage in the late 1980’s. He had all but given up on country music until Randy Travis came along. He started recording again, and was touring with Conway Twitty and Merle Haggard. His wife, Nancy, had helped him turn his life around.
George wasn’t overly friendly when I met him. He signed some photos, took a picture, and thanked us. It wasn’t his personality that made him special. Or the ridiculous baby blue leisure suit he was wearing.
In an era of music where the singer’s personal life and off-stage antics often overshadow their music, this was never the case with George.
The voice. That voice. Good singers can sing you a song. George Jones made you feel the song.
One of the things I liked best about George was that he wasn’t afraid to cover other singers’ songs — and have them cover his songs.
His voice had given out years ago, but he kept touring. Almost like he didn’t know what else to do.
George had planned his last concert for November 22 in Nasvhille. It might be best that concert never happened. Because there’s no right way to say goodbye to a legend the size of George Jones.
My favorite of his songs:
We’re all changed by people moving in and out of our lives. It’s a strange thing.
You take a piece of them with you, they take a piece of you.
And you’re now carrying around a little more, a little less.
Your mass changes.