Last week, the first still from Season 7 of Dexter was released (see above), and it seems that the season premiere will find us watching Deb as she confronts Dexter about his murderous tendencies. I should be excited about this. This is penultimate moment of the series. I’m not excited.
One, this moment would have been more interesting had it happened in the season 4 finale. Remember, Deb and Dexter were in the midst of an intense standoff with only transparent plastic sheets hiding Dexter’s identity. That was a good moment, perhaps the only good moment of that season. It was charged, and it would have been much believable for Deb to let go/forgive Dexter as a vigilante for women who have been beaten and raped. However, the bigger reason I’m not excited is because a moment that has been building for the entirety of the series was ruined by one gigantic plot mistake: incest.
Deb is, apparently, in love with her brother. That’s why none of her relationships work. She’s looking for someone to who can measure up to Dexter, but none of them work out because they are not actually Dexter. Silly me, I thought it was because she dated men who turn out to be serial killers, killed by serial killers, or skinned by serial killers. Everyone single one of those people has a connection to Dexter. Either being chased by him or chasing him, and Dexter is a serial killer. Does she just love serial killers? Is that the connection? No, it’s just lazy writing that they’re hoping the audience buys. Turns out, at least from the reaction I’ve read, no one buys it. This isn’t just because incest is a taboo (and I realize that Dexter and Deb are adopted siblings); it’s because the argument that Deb loves Dexter isn’t a good one. Debs therapist won’t convince me of it despite the “evidence” she recites to Deb (who, unfortunately, does buy it). What does this provide to the overall story that is different from if Deb only loved her brother like a brother and wasn’t “in love” with him? Does it make it confrontation worse? It seems like it only provided a way to get Deb to the church.
Lets for a moment go back to the scene itself: Deb runs to the church because she needs to confess to Dexter that she is in love with him. She opens the abandoned church door to find Dexter with his hands wrapped around his knife that’s just hit the chest of his victim. Dexter, seeing that Deb has walked in, dreadfully says, “Oh, God.” Indeed, Dexter. Indeed. This brings me back to the still from the upcoming premiere, and the supposed “confrontation.” This series has been picked up for two more seasons. What does this mean? Deb finding out will be brushed off. Dexter will somehow justify to Deb that he didn’t know what he was doing, and Deb will (uncharacteristically) let it go while struggling with this choice for the next two seasons. I’m tired of it already and it hasn’t even aired yet. I wonder if it would of been better had this happened during the penultimate episode of the series?
I re-watched a couple episodes of the first season, and I realized I miss this show. I miss the show that this show was before it became what it is now. I want the Dexter that was seasons one through four. I mean, the concept is truly fantastic: a serial killer by night, Dexter, masquerades as a blood splatter analyst for the Miami PD during the day. Somehow the writers were able to take a serial killer and make him, perhaps with some help of the society we live in (he only kills bad people so it’s okay!), not only likeable but rather loveable. He may believe there’s no good in him, but the audience is onto him knowing he’s lying to us and to himself. That’s the journey we took with Dexter during the first four seasons. His realization that not only could he feel, but he could love as well. We want to see our heroes, in this case anti-heroes, evolve and grow. We want to take that journey with them, and what we learned from Rita’s death and what Dexter learned was that he could love. He could love utterly and completely, and he loved Rita.
It seems, though, as evidenced by the last two season, that that realization (and Rita’s death) ultimately didn’t mean anything. These past two seasons, what was Dexter’s journey? What did we learn about him that we didn’t know before? Dexter has become stagnant, and, perhaps, has receded in his growth—now doubting, once again, that he can be good and experience love. We’ve seen that he can and he knows he can. Why are retelling the same journey? Maybe I’m just being to hard on him.
There could have been some great moments this past season. Rudy’s ghost coming back? Would have been great had Dexter not acted completely out of character. Shooting a gun outside his window while he’s driving? What? Dexter would never do that. There was no lead up to it that could convince me that he would do that. Bringing back Trinity’s son, Jonah? Could have been great. It wasn’t.
I’m losing my sympathy for Dexter, and I’m afraid I’m going to lose it for Deb too. Writers, please do not let me lose sympathy for Deb. She is truly one of the most fascinating and tragic characters on television. She was engaged to Rudy, the brother of Dexter and a serial killer. He asked her to marry him and then tried to kill her. Deb was never loved enough by her father, Lundy, her one great love, was killed in front of her, she saw his murderer commit suicide during their confrontation, her sister-in-law was murdered by another serial killer, and her brother is a serial killer. Her life is tragic, and if this series ends how it should end (Dexter getting caught and/or killed), it’ll be even more tragic. And despite how much I love Deb, this is her life. Her finding out the truth about Dexter has been inevitable. I just hope the writers do her justice to her tragedy.