Dexter series finale recap: Our Take on That Shocking, Strange Ending

The series closes with a surprisingly lovely, bold and moving hour. Here's what 'Remember the Monsters?' got right and wrong
Ep. 12 | Aired Sep 22, 2013

Dexter (Michael C. Hall) unexpectedly spends the entire series finale sitting in this chair staring into space.

Showtime

The rumored leaks were wrong about the ending. That's the good news.

The series finale was the best Dexter episode in years. That's the great news.

It was also one of the strangest episodes in the show's history.

Sunday's hour was grounded, sober, heart-felt, intense and focused. There were no irrelevant subplots. There was hardly any Dex voiceover. No silly Ghost Harry. The musical score was prominent and engaging. The production values were high. You can't help wondering: Why wasn't the rest of the season -- hell, the last several seasons of Dexter -- more like this episode? I'm not talking about the dramatic twists, but the style and the tone of the writing, directing and acting. "Remember the Monsters?" is a odd beast. It's like watching a different series, one that was more compelling than the show it served to close.

At the end of this recap, I'll give you my take on what the finale got right and wrong. But first, we gotta start at the airport:

Dexter wants to fly to Argentina with Harrison, but Elway is stalking them and Hannah is hiding in the bathroom. Dex leaves a backpack in the lounge and tells an airport staffer that Elway dropped this suspicious package. Airport security swarm Elway as Dex quips that he put him on "the no-fly list." But it also means the whole terminal gets evacuated, delaying their flight plans. (At this point, the episode was tracking so close to the faux finale spoiler description that "leaked" on Reddit a few weeks back that I was getting a sinking feeling -- that version ended with Quinn taking on Dexter's cause and becoming a serial killer.)

Meanwhile, gut-shot Deb is being loaded into an ambulance after her run-in with the brain surgeon. "I thought I was gonna die," she tells Quinn, a bit presumptively optimistic. "I thought I was getting what I deserve." Quinn assures "the good you do in the world sort of cancels out the bad." We like Quinn here. Before going into surgery it sounds like Deb says she loves him.

Dep. Chief Matthews phones Dex to let him know what happened. So change of plans: Dex and Hannah leave the airport and get to his SUV, which has a rather amazingly great parking space right outside the terminal. He tells Hannah to go to a hotel. "Don't worry, we'll make this work," Dex assures. We don't know what's coming, but we know that's not true.

We get a quick shot of ice being unloaded (ice truck killer reference?) as Hurricane Laura (as in Dex's mom, Laura Moser?) closes in on the city.

Deb wakes in her hospital bed to find Dexter. She asked how come they never went hiking when they were kids. "Why are you looking at me like that?" she says blearily. "Or is that just your face?" Jennifer Carpenter is always at her best when Deb is messed up -- drunk, on coke, outraged etc. Here we see one last new type of Deb inebriation -- post-surgical anesthetic Deb. Then Deb says...

NEXT: No Deb, your brother is right; Sax attack!

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