I have a lot of fun watching Dexter every season, but goddamn if that isn't a show that delights in jumping over as many sharks as possible. Every season has had those moments that make you smack your head and say, "Whaaa?" Sometimes those moments work (Rita! NoooooOOOo!) and sometimes they just don't (Batista! Um, okay...I guess...I wasn't really following your storyline so I don't care about that).
But this season? This season Dexter wasn't wearing waterskis as he pirouetted over the great whites; this season the writers were wearing jet-powered Rollerblades in a skate park built over an aquarium filled with hammerheads.
So up first for discussion, we have the big reveal: after eight episodes of establishing a great duo, the writers suddenly decided to hire Chuck Palahniuk and M. Night Shyamalan to pen episode nine, leaving us with a cliffhanger where we learn that Geller has been dead the entire time--and every time we thought we were watching Geller and Travis talking, we were really seeing Edward Norton punching himself in front of the bar. Ugh.
I like being surprised as much as the next guy, but I simply can't handle that sort of unreliable cameraman bullshit anymore. Honestly, I don't know if I ever could. Yes, it can be an effective tool when it's done extremely well, but it's almost always a cheap way to get out of a tricky narrative that's been established. One of you guys will probably know if there's a more technical term for it, but the whole device feels like a Diabolus Ex Machina. And just like it's a cheap shot when some higher power comes down out of nowhere to save the day for our hero, it's so frustrating when we learn that half of the conflict we were invested in was only the imagination of a crazy villain/anti-hero. It cheapens everything.
So I was all sorts of pissed off after episode nine ended, but then the show did a good job of reminding us that we've been dealing with an unreliable cameraman from the beginning, because we've been watching Dexter have imaginary conversations with his dad since season one. Okay, fair point. I got back on board a little bit, although I still didn't appreciate the 180 that Travis took as a character. He was much more interesting when he was conflicted, obviously.
But it's okay. It's only Dexter.
But then the writers decided that they hadn't gone crazy enough, so they opted to have Deb go see a therapist for finally doing something other than cussing and whining, and in those sessions she decides that she wants to bone her brother. But that's okay, because they aren't related by blood. But...it still feels kind of gross, like hearing about how the Brady Bunch cast dated each other.
I was trying to figure out how I felt about that entire development, but then I got distracted by the realization that Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter really were married for a while. So now that the actors are divorced, the writers are going to make her character want to make out with her real life ex-husband's character? That's pretty awesome, because apparently the writers hate the leads and these final two seasons will just be a series of scenes where we get to watch as they torture a couple who couldn't make it work. Wow.
And then, of course, there are the final moments of the finale: Deb walks in at the exact moment when Dexter is plunging his knife into Colin Hanks' heart. Travis is wrapped in plastic on the table, Deb sees the entire action...there's not really any way to explain his way out of this one. And we've been told that there will only be two more seasons of Dexter, and that the show's conclusion would be set up in this season's final episodes. Last night we had that final twist, and the new intern/video game maker has sent Dexter the Ice Truck Killer's hand.Things are definitely set up for next season, and the sharks are lurking just beneath the surface, waiting to strike.
It's definitely crazy, it's more and more difficult to suspend my disbelief, and it's still gross to think about Deb and Dexter making out (or Michael and Jennifer doing it)...and I'm on board anyway. But I'm still hoping that the real set up for the series finale was all of this season's talk about God and the Devil and Heaven or Hell, so that Dexter can finish up his time on our TVs by jumping over the biggest shark of all and having a Buffy-style conclusion where Miami sinks into a Hellmouth and Dexter has to move on to Orlando. And then I REALLY want to watch that new show that features Dexter killing people in amusement parks.