As the old saying goes; When you’re at the top of your game, there’s no where to go but down.
Which is why, following two excellent seasons that culminated in a thrilling face off between Dexter Morgan and Sergeant James Doakes, the downfall of DEXTER was inevitable.
Cue our painfully gruesome analysis after-the-fact.
If this summer’s DARK KNIGHT illustrated anything, it is that a hero is only as good as his nemesis. And with Doakes out of the picture, so to was the only real threat to Dexter’s extra-curricular activities. Not to mention, all the suspense, nervousness and edge-or-your-seat-excitement that came with Dexter always having to think one step ahead of well, everyone.
Instead, we were left with Miguel Prado played by “Special Guest Star” Jimmy Smitts. Putting aside the obvious fact that having Miguel played by Smitts was akin to hanging a “dead man walking” sign on the actor from the moment he entered the scene, was the disappointment that came when Miguel’s story-line went in the complete opposite direction of where we were hoping. Sure, Dexter learning about friendship was an interesting and important road to take. And yes, having Miguel take a liking to Dexter’s special brand of justice was entertaining. But then to ruin it all so quickly by having the two fast friend become enemies over the span of mere episodes. What’s Spanish for “boring” and “predictable?”
Frankly, a far more fascinating option, not to mention where we were hoping things would go would have been to have Miguel secretly be in cohoots with lawyer Ellen Woolf in an effort to bring Dexter down. Just imagine if Miguel’s friendship was simply a ploy to get close to Dexter and gather enough evidence to charge him with murder. Would not a perfect cliffhanger have come from Dexter getting arrested just as he finished uttering “I Do” to Rita? Now that’s what we call a season finale!
But moving along from our CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE: DEXTER EDITION comes another major flaw from season three. The supporting players and their stories. While we enjoyed the character growth shown by Batista, Laguerta and Masuka, we couldn’t help but tire of another Deb relationship gone bad. As well as the show’s futile attempt to create a red herring surrounding Quinn. DEXTER is not an ensemble show. And peripheral story-lines only work when they help contribute to Dexter’s journey.
Which bring is to the complete and utter pointlessness of “The Skinner.” What made the Ice Truck Killer work so well was Rudy’s deep, mysterious and ultimate familial connection to Dexter. While Doakes was a success thanks to the seeds laid out in the show’s pilot in combination with a season and a half of build up. In other-words, if one were to replace Dexter being kidnapped in the finale’s closing twenty minutes with Uncle Jesse and a broken-down tractor you’d pretty much get a very special wedding episode of FULL HOUSE.
Again, please keep in mind. We critique because we love. And to prove it, here are a few suggestions for next season.
Dexter (and by extension, the audience) need to be scared again. After defeating the Ice Truck Killer, Sft. Doakes, Miguel Prado and The Skinner, America’s favorite serial killer (to the detriment of the show) is 4-0. Which is why DEXTER needs to return to the formula that made it so successuful to begin with. Isn’t it about time someone Dexter works with, preferably Deb, but we’ll settle for Laguerta, discover Dexter’s secret? Because at this moment, we can’t help but feel the show is treading dangerously close to SMALLVILLE levels of ridiculousness. You know, how it’s almost laughable that Lex took seven years to piece together Clark’s secret identity.
Another suggestion, and fare warning, this may get a little gruesome. But it’s time to stop looking at Dexter as the hero. The guy after-all is a serial killer and as such, it’s about time he should face some serious consequences for his actions. Let’s put a stop to Dexter’s journey down the path of normalcy and kill Rita. Since the creative team is so intent on having Dexter experience fatherhood with Rita, how does fatherhood times three sound?
Final thought. DEXTER needs an endgame. While Showtime isn’t going to want to us calling for the end of the show that’s put them on the map. The network needs to take a page from ABC and allow the writer’s to end the series on their own terms. That or risk subjecting DEXTER to the most menacing villain of all; audience indifference.
Photo Credit: Dan Littlejohn/Showtime