The DEXTER Season Finale: Awesome or Asinine?


Warning: Huge Spoilers Ahead. For the love of God… stop reading NOW if you have yet to watch DEXTER’s season finale

Every movie or TV show has one. That one guy who walks out of the theater at the end of The Usual Suspects proudly proclaiming that he totally knew from the get-go that Kevin Spacey was you-know-who. Truth be told, this TV Addict has never been that guy. 

Which is probably why we’re still reeling from last night’s DEXTER season finale. Trinity exacting revenge on Dexter by killing Rita in a blood-soaked bathtub as baby Harrison was left crying in a pool of blood. Now that my friends is how to end a season…. or is it? (Cue ominous music… da, da…duh!)

Because as shocked as we were about last night’s “game-changer” and as happy as we were to see the emotionally needy deadweight that is was Rita gone (Pause for a moment to pat ourselves on the back having called for Rita’s death almost a year ago to the date), Michael Ausiello’s postmortem with DEXTER executive producer Clyde Phillips has us somewhat disappointed to learn that killing off Rita was nothing more than a by-product of the writers painting themselves into a corner. Explained Phillips:

“The story evolved and it kind of became inevitable. We knew that we had to do more than kill Trinity. It’s a little bit of a corner that we paint ourselves into. Last year we tried to avoid that and actually I think we didn’t do as well as we could have. We killed off Jimmy Smits’ character [in the 11th episode] of 12 episodes and then we had to figure out what we were going to do in the 12th episode. This season, we knew that we were going to take Trinity out in the 12th episode and we think that the audience knew that, too. We had to raise the bar to as high as possible and then figure out what to do next year.”

Now don’t get me wrong, Rita’s death shook-up what amounted to be a very entertaining, albeit highly-predictable season-ender that Dexter disposing of Trinity in a timely fashion and Deb learning just enough about Dexter’s origins to keep things status quo. Unfortunately, it also continued to re-enforce the downside of DEXTER. Namely, that after four seasons, the show now must rely far too heavily on coincidences (see: The family’s perfectly timed trip to DisneyWorld and Rita’s idea for a spontaneous honeymoon getaway) and stupid people (Will Deb ever get a clue, will Trinity’s family bother to question why the grieving Kyle Butler on the front page of the Miami Herald is being referred to as ‘Dexter,’ and will anyone in the police department even bother to ask why on earth Rita was targeted by the Trinity Killer?) to work.

Which is why — if this series is serious about finding itself on every critics ‘Best of the Decade’ list in 2019 rather than an also ran — it’s time to continue the bold trend set by the decision to off Rita and proclaim next season DEXTER’s last. Seriously, DEXTER needs an endgame. And while Showtime isn’t going to want to hear this, the network needs to take a page from ABC (see: LOST) and allow the writer’s to end the series on their own terms* (Dexter versus Deb!). That or risk subjecting DEXTER to the most menacing villain of all; audience indifference.

* If it helps, we’ll promise to tune back in when Harrison grows up and Showtime launches DEXTER: THE NEXT GENERATION

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  • Dave

    I some what saw Rita dying coming in one way or another. Although I saw it coming I still did not expect and was still shocked at last nights episode. I agree whole heartedly on the coincedances and the plot gaps(last night had a ton of them). But I am still somewhat wondering if Trinity actually killed Rita. If he did the writers did a horrible job on timeline of the episode. But with him killing her I think it will bring a lot more suspision on to Dexter. With Quinn, with Elliot, and hopefully if they’re not completely dumb the homicide department and Trinity’s family. If they continue fromt his plot point next season could be huge.

  • bws

    Trinity definitely killed Rita. There is no question. Dexter, the person, has three major difficulties going forward:

    1) Explaining to an already suspicious Deb what he was doing at the house so fast and 2) Getting his story straight with Miami PD about how he was using a fake name with the Mitchell family FOR A LONG TIME. The family WILL give testimony. And 3) making sure the FBI doesn’t find any Dexter secrets at the Rita crime scene.

    Those aren’t insurmountable but they are still big. As for Dexter’s explanation of why Trinity went after Rita, well, it fits his profile. Trinity made an attempt at one last quadrillogy, kidnapped the boy, bludgeoned the real Kyle Butler, indirectly caused the suicide of Christine, and then killed Rita in the bathtub. It wasn’t perfect, but it works. Dexter can also say that Trinity was going after Deb’s family because she was hot on his trail. The pieces fit.

    So yes, absolutely fantastic finale. “Dexter” should see some Emmy nominations for MCH, Lithgow, and best Drama.

  • BizarroP

    one of the best shows currently on t.v.

  • chrispian

    bws, Trinity fixed the Kyle Butler problem himslef, by killing Kyle Butler. They’ll say Trinity killed him because he found something out, or was just another one of his victims. Only Trinity’s family cause problems because they saw what he really looks like, but the odds of anyone showing them pictures of both men would be pretty obscure at best. Still, there is some room for them to revisit this. Someone else on one of the build sites or Trinity’s family could cause problems.

    The real issue is, with Trinity’s murder of Rita, people will be taking a lot closer look at Dexter.

    Great episode. Planned or not, it was amazing.

  • Sapheron

    My question is, won’t it be a cop out if NO ONE from the police department remembers seeing trinity in a chit chat with Dexter? The man walked into a freakin’ police department, they must have cameras if someone doesn’t remember him. Rita could, save for that fact, have been chalked down to just another of trinity’s victims since a little boy had been kidnapped just before that.

  • bws

    chrispian, Arthur’s family will give testimony about Dexter being around A LOT in the last few weeks. They will know very well what he looks like. The police won’t show them pictures right away but they will mention “Dexter” as being a friend of Arthur. “Oh, what was Arthur’s friend’s name? Kyle Butler? I hate to break it to you, but Kyle Butler was murdered by your husband/father. Nope, that’s impossible. He was there when the police broke down the door. Oh Really? Take a look at this photo. Is that him?” Dexter would have to show that the family is insane and just making up stories to get out of that. His only defense is to say that he was on the Trinity trail but didn’t want to say anything to his co-workers and his sister because he was unsure. But Dexter is not a detective. That puts him in hot water because he’s already lied to his sister about why he was there. He said he got there so fast because he “heard about it” not because he suspected Arthur Mitchell.

  • sleek628

    I wish the header of your post said Spoiler Alert! Unfortunately had to DVR Dexter last night….

  • Dave

    Sleek, Why would you read anything about the episode that was tagged as being mind blowing before you watch it? LOL You set your self up to be spoiled.

  • makila

    I can tell by the title of the article that he was going to talk about the finale therefor contain spoilers.

  • anonymous552

    I like the suggestion that Rita will be back as a countering influence to Dexter’s father (the “Dark Passenger”). Besides, with all the money Julie Benz spent on getting her breasts done between seasons 3 and 4, she should get some return on her investment, not just one season then a write-off.

  • Susan P.

    I thought the episode was awesome! We were down to the last five minutes and wondering if there was going to something mind blowing aside from killing Trinity, which was inevitable. My husband and I sat straight up on the couch with our mouths open and couldn’t say a word as the whole Rita thing played out. Nothing better than being totally surprised, shocked and awed.

  • Mike Thompson

    Dexter will dispose of Rita’s body so no one knows what happened to her ? Dexter would be stupid to do it any other way.The hard job he will have is to explain her disappearance .

  • bws

    Mike Thompson – that’s a possibility. A morbid one but still a possibility. It would be easier for Dexter to keep his cover if he were to do that.

  • LarryBraverman

    I believe that it’s already been decided that next season will definitely be the show’s last.

  • Dave

    Larry I think after this season Showtime had already bought two seasons. Either way I think with the ratings Dexter pulled last week and most likely this week I bet Showtime wants it to stick around.

  • Jillian

    Er, my sister hasn’t seen the show yet.

    I called her to warn her not read the site because I didn’t want her to be spoiled. Please consider putting the cut just *before* the comment about Rita… might be nice since it’s on the front page.

    thank you!

  • Happy2B

    Things to ponder for next season: how does Dexter escape the sympathy then scrutiny of his sister and co-workers? How will he explain to Deb how he was clueless about his brother but still able to save her life in the old family homestead? How will he deal with two sure-to-be traumatized kids plus a baby? I was always sorry that the kids on the show didn’t mirror the kids in Jeff’s books (who have their own dark passengers)–I guess maybe that would have pushed the envelope a little too much. Awesome twist last night–surely didn’t see that one coming.

  • jamie

    Spoilers much?

  • linda

    My husband and I have been watching Dexter on Showtime since it debuted. The writing of the series is intelligent, witty and will keep you on the edge of your seat, leaving you wanting more, more, MORE! The character of Dexter is brilliant, as well as Michael C. Hall, who plays the character to a tee. You will not be disappointed with this purchase.

  • LaurenBegley

    I was satisfied with the Dex finale, although the end was ruined for my thanks to my friend’s Facebook status update ( Ugh. Looking forward to season five!

  • Keney

    Frankly, I’m shocked so many people were shocked. Ray Charles coulda seen that one coming.

    As soon as his wife started telling Dexter he could overcome his demons and he actually started believing her, I knew she was a goner.

    It was well executed (no pun intended) and I loved that Trinity didn’t allude to it, but I would have been shocked had she lived.

  • Darryl

    I think next series that Dexter will exploit Trinity’s family to help take care of his baby when he is doing his thing and he will teach Trinity’s oldest son the code. He will have to keep his alliance with them secretive as his sister will catch on if he doesn’t. In the future, if the series runs that long, it will become a family code with Dexter, Trinity’s son and his baby.