why dexter’s season seven finale was one of its best

(This post will undoubtedly discuss much of season seven, so don’t read if you haven’t watched…unless you’re into spoilers.)

dexteranddeb

I was very ‘meh’ about Dexter‘s seventh season. I’m still not sure why, but perhaps that after the obvious plots and pacing of season six, the many subplots and franticness that made up this season were just too much for me to enjoy week after week. It got to the point that I stopped my Sunday viewings and let my DVR fill up with unwatched episodes. I finally dedicated a Friday afternoon to catching up, just in time for the finale. While the season itself failed to grab my attention, the finale (specifically the final minutes) literally made me jump off the couch in totally shock.

Bravo Dexter writers! The last time a Dexter finale got to me like that was in season four. For all of my joy over the way this season finally played out and what’s to come, it’s bittersweet knowing that this is the end. We knew going into the seventh season that the producers (more than likely) intended for it to be part one of the final end, and that’s for the best; no one likes watching a show they love stay on long after it’s reached a natural expiration date. What I like most about the way this season ended is that it left very little room for anything but the culmination of Dexter’s journey. Even if the show’s ratings are drool-worthy for TV execs, the story will end, and the masterminds behind Dexter have made sure of that.

dexterandhannah

Hannah Disappearing Act
Hannah escapes jail, thanks to the help of her former roommate Arlene. When Hannah leaves the black orchid on Dexter’s doorstep, it could be her final goodbye before she heads to Argentina or a dark reminder of how they first met. Regardless, I loved that Hannah’s future and how it connects to Dexter is very open-ended. With Rita and Lila the finality was there, and while Lumen’s departure didn’t end with death, it was pretty clear she had no plans to return to Dexter’s life either. The writers could have killed Hannah off in the finale, either at the hands of Deb or Dexter. By not doing so, they leave a loose strand that could end with Dexter finding some resemblance of happiness when this is all over. I would love to see the whole next season end in a Shakespearean bloodbath with Dexter left with only Harrison and Hannah. She could return to help him escape and since the two clearly deserve each other, they could end up (relatively) happy ever after.

LaGuerta’s Redemption
In my opinion, LaGuerta has been one of the show’s most annoying characters for many seasons now. She’s horrible and functions like some power-hungry, cold-hearted robot bitch. Even so, her romantic relationships always had a way of humanizing her, which explains why she pushed away Angel, Doakes and probably a slew of others. Her love for Doakes (and desire to clear his name) pushed her to relentlessly pursue Dexter as the BHB, even after she was given multiple reasons not to. But it’s Angel’s love for her that could ultimately result in Dexter getting caught. LaGuerta died knowing that she was right about Dexter and Deb, and her death might mean that Angel (and perhaps Quinn) start to believe her story as well. As we learned this season, all it takes is something tiny (i.e., the slide Dexter left behind at Travis Marshall’s crime scene) to put someone on his trail, and LaGuerta left a lot of “tiny” things behind. There are the warrants for Deb and Dexter, as well as the gas station surveillance video of Deb. I think the writers will find a way to have Deb and Dexter legally escape this mess, but it’s unlikely everyone goes back to thinking LaGuerta is nuts and Dexter is innocent.

Deb’s “Birth”
All season long, we watched her grapple with her knowledge of what Dexter does and who he truly is. She finally told him that she’s in love with him, but nothing really changed, until the finale. She felt it was necessary to choose between Dexter and LaGuerta, and she chose her brother. She could have made this choice by simply leaving the scene and letting Dexter handle things, but instead she was the one to kill LaGuerta. By doing this, the writers pushed Deb to Dexter’s level; she’s no longer the innocent who got wrapped up in Dexter’s nature. She may have been pushed to the brink by everything that led up to it, but she ultimately made the decision to shoot LaGuerta, and that changes things in a much more significant way than her simply knowing (and accepting) that Dexter is a killer. Dexter always says that he was ‘born in blood’ in that shipping container. Years later, he worried that Harrison would suffer the same fate since he too watched his mother die at an early age, which makes sense since it seems killing does run in the Moser bloodline. However, it ended up being him and Deb that were forever changed in their respective shipping containers. Something in Deb died, and although I doubt she starts running around thinking about ‘dark passengers’, there is no way she doesn’t end up with a darkness that isn’t all that dissimilar to Dexter’s.

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For all of the key things I loved about the finale, I still have gripes with the way things ended, including a few missteps in the overall season:

  • The Phantom Arsonist was an unnecessary subplot. Period.
  • Louis the Intern could have been Louis the Nephew (of Dexter) or even Louis the Sidekick, but instead he was Louis the Annoying Guy That Dislikes Dexter Because He Slammed His Stupid Video Game. I don’t know if I should applaud the writers for employing such a huge red herring or curse them for making me waste precious time theorizing for no good reason.
  • The prospect of a Jamie and Quinn pairing is a bad idea. Period.
  • This is hypocritical, because I loved that the season ended with Deb making such a definitive statement by killing LaGuerta, but I hated that Deb killed LaGuerta. Seconds after the shot was fired, she ran over to her, told Dexter she hated him and began crying. Moments after that, she seemingly cleaned herself off, and went to Angel’s NYE party so that she and Dexter could party like it was 1999. I can’t take a full eighth season of Deb whining and being extra emotional about what she did. You made a choice, own it. But this is Deb, so of course she’s going to opine about her guilt. Of course.

 

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