A lot of Dexter fans will testify that Season Eight hasn’t exactly been the most satisfactory final season so far, and I’d definitely agree. I seemed throughout the first six or seven episodes the writers were putting and pulling storylines in and out like crazy. There was no real direction. The season doesn’t exactly have the whole grand swan song feeling most were hoping for from the final season. Why is that? That’s exactly what I’m trying to figure out.
1. Show(time) Me the Money!
Showtime is definitely at fault here. The writers made it very clear they weren’t sure whether or not this would be the final season due to Showtime’s hesitancy to end arguably one of their most successful shows. With the uncertainty of the show’s future, and the premiere date being moved up three months the writers didn’t really have the time or resources to craft a good final season.
Had they gone with the police zeroing in on Dexter and Deb after LaGuerta’s (initially thought to be game changing) death, and they got renewed then they’d have to have come up with a half ass way to tie it all up and go back to the drawing boards for a new endgame. Had they just decided to go the filler route and get the end date they wanted…well they end up with Season Eight!
2. Doctor Vogel
When Season Eight Episode One “A Beautiful Day” aired I was very much intrigued by Doctor Vogel. “Who is she?” “How does she know about Dexter?” “And how freaking awesome is she?” were just some of the many questions that crossed my mind. She’s was so intense and her interactions with Dexter had me wondering if she was to be Dexter’s ultimate downfall.
Episode Two came along and lots of those questions were answered. Some of the mystery was gone, but with that new mysteries arose. She was still rather interesting, and I still couldn’t wait to see how her story unraveled. Episodes passed and it now seemed as if she didn’t really have one.
She would pop in and out of episodes listening to Mama Cass, and calling people psychopaths and would just as soon disappear. The Brain Surgeon story apparently came to an end, and well she continued to just exist. “Are We There Yet?” tried to justify her presence as Dexter’s mother figure and it worked for me. The following episode through that idea and went the obvious She’s the villain(sorta) route.
The writers have failed to solidify a true role for Vogel to play. Three episodes left and finally have some sort of idea but even so how long till that changes. Another issue with the whole Vogel ordeal is the fact that her son was so clearly the Brain Surgeon, and she failed to inform Dexter of all of the similarities the Surgeon shared with her son.
3. When I’m With Hannah…
… I must inform the audience of how much I love her, and how nothing else matters, and the writers set up her tragic death at the end of the season. Like seriously we all know Argentina isn’t happening as much as I’d like it too. The whole “When I’m with Hannah” has become as tired as the “Someone who see’s me for who I really am and doesn’t look away” bit.
Don’t get me wrong I love Hannah. Or rather loved Hannah. It seems like the writers have just taken away all the elements that made her cool and just made her into an amalgam of Rita, Lila, and Lumen. I feel like she’s been watered down so the fans can further accept her relationship with Dexter.
I don’t know, I enjoyed her recent dinner table scene with Deb and the more Yvonne Strahovski the better, but I feel like “Surprise Motherf***er!” would have been a better send off for the character. I feel like a better way to have brought her back would have been just one appearance in the series finale as the police close in on Dexter or whatever have him imagine what would’ve happened had he gone to Argentina with Hannah back in Season Seven.
4. The Constant Personality Shifts
It seems like every other episode has the characters behaving differently. Zach for example, four episodes and four different personalities. There’s no consistency with the writing whatsoever Debs gone from druggie Dexter hating Deb to Season Seven Deb in a matter of episodes.
With Deb I think that the original plan was to have Season Eight end with either Deb killing Dexter or possibly even ending up on Dex’s table. However the storyline soon took a quick turn and Deb was back to her old self. It was ridiculous she tries to kill Dexter and herself, however after she fails she decides that she wants to be Dexter’s best bud again. Luckily Jennifer Carpenter’s been able to sell me on all incarnations of the character but in the hands of another actress this could have been way worse.
Masuka is always done best in small doses and this season definitely proved it. Masuka shared the spotlight for approximately three episodes till the writers came to the conclusion the storyline with his daughter was kind of irrelevant because well…NO ONE CARES! They’re down to their last run of episodes and their focusing on B-characters like Masuka and his newly introduced daughter.
Not only is the storyline completely irrelevant to the plot but it was also one of the least interesting subplots in the history of Dexter. I have a feeling the writers were going somewhere with the storyline had the show been renewed for another season but due to the show ending they had to wrap it up. Also what the heck was with her taking to her place of work? How weird was that?
6. Surprise Motherf***er
With a few tweaks to the plot and maybe an extra hour added onto it last season’s finale would have served as an amazing series finale. We got the long awaited return of Doakes, we got all the original main cast(save Julie Benz) together again, and it had all the makings of a series finale.
Depending on how good or bad the finale is I think for me Dexter will end at Season Seven. The season gave me everything I wanted and more with the return of Doakes, the addition of the then interesting Hannah, and of course Ray Stevenson’s wonderful performance as Isaak. Also, I know I’m in the minority on this but I liked LaGuerta and the show feels so different without her, despite her doing some questionable things to get power if she liked you she’d look out for you.
7. IT’S THE FINAL SEASON
Yet it doesn’t feel like it. All season they’ve been introducing plots, subplots, and all sorts of characters with no real end in sight. Had this not been the final season it would have been actually pretty good, but it is the final season and I and others were all expecting some sort of epic conclusion to this great series. So perhaps some of that’s on us as the audience expecting some grand ending, sometimes in life things don’t end how we want them too. They just end and we have no control over it, but the writer sure could have a done a better job with this season epic or not.