And so it goes. Another season of Dexter comes to a close. Was it the best season? No. Was it the worst? Arguably (argue away below), but with a show like Dexter the worst season is still miles better than most of what's on TV. In a season when I've dropped Heroes and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and only stuck with Fringe because I'm intrigued by the fact that halfway though the season I still can't tell if it's good or not, Dexter has been my only appointment show. Granted, part of that is due to the fact that I've been writing recaps of it every Sunday night, but even if I weren't doing this I still think I'd be tuning in every week. I'm beginning to think that this might not be the ideal way to experience Dexter, though. I had a lot of issues with this season and I wonder if it wouldn't play better watched on DVD over the course of a couple of weekends. Incidentally, if any of you reading this are people from the future who've just watched this season on DVD feel free to revive this thread and give us a shout in the comments. I'm interested to see if the flaws are less glaring when you don't have to wait a week between episodes.
As for this episode, it was a step up from last week, but as a season finale it was pretty unspectacular. We start off with Ramone Prado unhinged by his brother's death and focusing his superhuman rage directly on Dexter, even ransacking his house in hopes of finding some dirt (hint- it's in the air conditioner). The confrontation comes to a head when Dexter, er, gives him a stern talking-to. Ooookay. I can dig it, Dexter can't solve all of his problems through killin', but after dispatching Miguel in such an anticlimactical manner last week this kind of ended the whole “Prado brothers” saga with a fizzle. That's alright, though, because we've still got the Skinner out there. He abducts Dexter (for real this time), ties him to a table and... oh. Dexter flips the table, escapes his bonds, gets in a fistfight with the Skinner and snaps his neck. It's the most “actiony” thing I think we've ever seen Dexter do but, much like my complaints about last week's episode, it was over awfully quick. It really seems like the writers were goofing off and wasting time in the first half of the season and when everything came to a head they didn't have enough time to dedicate to any one plot thread and had to wrap them all up quickly. I wouldn't mind so much if throughout the season there weren't so many pointless subplots that went nowhere. What was the point of the Internal Affairs investigation of Quinn? Angel's hooker romance? At least Maria's subplot managed to contribute to the overarching story.
Despite all my complaints about the pacing and the weak ending I do think this was a good season. All of the characters are in a different place now than they were at the start and there's a lot of future storytelling potential to be mined. Dexter is now married and a father-to-be, Debra has a badge and a boyfriend and is on the verge of discovering the truth about Dexter's mom. Even Maria is more interesting now that she has to live on knowing that the man Miami is honoring as a hero murdered her best friend. The show has been picked up for two more seasons which sounds just about right. Dexter is a show that needs an ending and I'm hoping these two seasons, won't just be retreads of the first three seasons (really, how many more serial killers can terrorize Miami?), but will take the story of Dexter Morgan to a logical and satisfying conclusion, whatever that might be. Anyway, kids, it's been a fun ride and I want to thank you all for keeping me on my toes with the comments and pointing out things I might have missed. See you back here in 2009