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

"I screwed up your life," Dex says mournfully, while Deb insists, "I don't want you to feel guilty about anything." She tells him to scoot to Argentina. "The next word I want to hear you say is 'goodbye,'" she says.

This is Dex and Deb's last conversation ever. We don't know that at this time. They don't know it either.

We then get a flashback to Dex and Deb at the same hospital right after Harrison was born. The most striking thing about this scene is we see super happy peppy Deb, a reminder of how she was before Dex's darkness engulfed her life.

Because the thing is, Dex is right. He did screw up her life, utterly and completely. The past few seasons it's felt like the writers still think Dexter is a sympathetic hero whose needs are more important than any other character's despite the innocent people who have died along the way to support his addiction. So when Deb tries to make Dex feel better, I felt like the show agreed with what she's saying -- that Dex is fundamentally a great guy and shouldn't feel bad about what's happened to her life and deserves to run off to Argentina. But if he truly loved his sister he would have tossed aside his knife and said "I give up" in that shipping container when Deb caught him with LaGuerta last season. What comes next in this episode, however, suggests that maybe, finally, the Dexter team gets it.

In the hallway, Dex bumps into Elway, who is all crabby about not finding Hannah and accuses Dex of helping her. "Storm's coming buddy," he growls. "And it's gonna be real hard to find a way out. Don't go down with her, Dexter." Oh, go drink some homemade electrolytes.

Dex is worried about Deb's safety with the brain surgeon still loose. He tells Hannah to take Harrison and get on a bus and make their way toward Argentina. "He'll be safer with you," Dex says. On couches everywhere, viewers go, "Uh, I'm not so sure about that." Wouldn't Harrison would be safer with Jamie or Batista or pretty much anybody else except a wanted fugitive traveling by bus across Florida while there's a hurricane en route?

Dex reassures his son he'll join them soon: "It's just for a little while," sounding like one of those dads putting their kids onto a Titanic life boat. "We're all going to a really cool place and you're gong to get there first."

Meanwhile, brain surgeon Oliver Saxon threatens a veterinarian into stitching him up. The scene is pretty tense. "Do what I say and you won't get hurt," Saxon says, which is always a scary sentence. Saxon has him drive him to the hospital where Deb is being kept. The vet staggers into the hospital and gushes up blood -- Saxon has cut out his tongue. In a rare perfect use of voiceover on the show that actually makes a scene better, Dex sees the commotion and quickly thinks: "All eyes on the victim. The perfect distraction. Saxon."

Dex rushes to Deb's room. He sees Saxon outside it. There's a great beat where they stop and stare at each other. You think they're just going to charge each other like rams on a hillside. Then Batista smoothly puts his gun to Saxon's head -- he's caught!

Yay! We're relieved. Deb is safe. But... Dex finds his sister missing from her room. Where did she go? Our first thought is Batista had her moved to another room in case Saxon showed up, like Michael Corleone hiding Vito. But no. Instead we're in for what might be the most unexpected twist in Dexter history.

NEXT: SHOCK

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