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