brandon ross

video storyteller

Dexter Fans Rejoice; It’s Almost Over

I limit myself to one TV series at a time. There were the Ed years, the Arrested Development years, and my stints with The Office, Star Trek: TNG, and The Walking Dead.

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.

Thank goodness.

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.

Dexter

 

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.

 

Souvenirs

I get attached to the strangest things.

Pencils.

Shoes.

Rocks.

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.

Hoarder? Probably.

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?

Maybe.

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.

Random Ramblings II

Aren’t all hypochondriacs eventually right?

It’s fine if too much coffee is killing me slowly. Just don’t make it painful.

Maybe higher consciousness is a curse.

Ninety percent of my daily conversations result with a giant billboard in my brain flashing, “Who cares?”

Ninety-nine percent of my time on Facebook results with me whispering out loud, “Who cares?”

I hear a lot about death by chocolate, but I think that’s just a way for fat people to make a joke.

My girlfriend has short-term memory gain. She remembers things that never actually happened.

Being in a coma for the last 20 years of your life might be great. I bet you’d have some awesome dreams.

Sometimes I just want to be left alone. Left alone on an island far from civilization. With stockpiles of food, of course. And a good wi-fi signal.

I often pretend the exciting part of my life hasn’t started yet. I wonder how long I can believe that. Once I’m confined to a hospital bed, I think the gig is up.

I secretly suspect that couch pillows carry more germs than public toilets.

People sometimes say, “He died doing what he loved.” But that’s not really true unless he loved dying.

They say idle hands are the devil’s workshop. That doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve always imagined the devil having a much fancier workshop. Also, is the devil small enough to set up shop inside your hand? Does he have a tiny set of tools? What kind of significant manufacturing could possibly occur inside a hand?

It would be really cool if cowboys were still around to save the day, because no one really likes police officers anymore.

Somewhere thousands of light years away, the Heaven’s Gate followers are smiling at us from a shiny spaceship and sipping sweet arsenic (because once you pass through the gate, arsenic becomes a nutrient).

Anyone seriously trying to bribe me should start with a Cracker Barrel gift card.

Do you think nursing homes have cliques? And they all sit together for bingo night? And when one of them wins, they all take selfies together and post it on Facebook?

Sometimes I wash my hands before and after using the restroom. Makes me feel like a surgeon.

You know those stick figure decals people place on the back of their car, representing each member of their family? I think if a child is adopted, that sticker should have an asterisk next to it.

People keep asking, “Can’t we all just get along?” Stop asking. The answer is obviously no.

One In A Million

A good example of the kind of experience that gives me purpose happened last week. During a trip across New York State collecting the stories of veterans, I sat down with a man named Anthony Wayne.

Mr. Wayne is 98 years old, and he is the last surviving member of the U.S. Antarctic Service Expedition led by Admiral Richard E. Byrd from 1939 to 1941. His expedition was the last of the age of Antarctic exploration with wooden-hulled sailing vessels.

I sat down with Mr. Wayne for about an hour for a video interview. He had trouble recalling some details of the expedition and his Navy service. He did remember the ice, the cold, and wrestling a penguin.

Thaisi and I joined him for dinner in the assisted living facility where he lives. We sat in a quiet room, Mr. Wayne smiling most of the time. He ordered a liverwurst sandwich, his usual. He had the waiter dab some mustard on the sandwich. We talked about his love for old cowboy movies. Anything starring John Wayne.

He complained about his failing memory and the bland food they serve where he lives. But he spent most of the time smiling. He seemed happy just to have company and to share his story.

You can Google his name and find plenty of information. He’s had a book written about him, a documentary is in the works and there’s a mountain named after him in Antarctica.

I have about 10 videos to edit before starting on Mr. Wayne’s. It’s one of those stories you feel honored just to tell.

It’s also the kind of story that keeps me from cashing in all of my chips, buying a boat, and heading for the nearest deserted island.

anthonywayne

Front Yard Chicks

birds

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.

The truth is, George Jones should have died years ago.

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: