Dexter season 6 returns to reveal its twelfth, and final entry with this week’s shockingly revelatory season finale ‘This is the Way the World Ends,’as our favorite serial killer faces his final confrontation with Travis Marshall after last week’s explosive “Talk to the Hand,” and Deb stumbles upon a shocking truth about her brother. “This is the Way the World Ends” sure had a lot on its plate to address for one episode, but optimism for the next few seasons don’t quite quell the issues that season 6 created.
I’ll be honest with you, I’m almost unsure of what to say about tonight’s Dexter finale. It can be hard enough coming up with intelligent, thought-provoking things to say on an episode-to-episode basis that you might not have covered the previous week, but the reaction to this season of Dexter has been so strongly varied across the board it feels like nothing can quite cover what we’ve just been through these last three months.
First Dexter was at his high school reunion, then snake-filled religious murders popped up, Mos Def mumbled on about light and darkness, Quinn got drunk, Edward James Olmos wasn’t real, and then Deb fell in love with her brother. It’s hard to think about the nine hundred directions Dexter season 6 has gone off in without needing to sit down.
Debra knows Dexter’s secret now, or at least as much as one can infer from witnessing Dexter plunge a sword into a saran-wrapped murderer’s chest, and it’ll be some time before we even see the fallout from that event we’ve waited six seasons to see. In a way, Deb learning about Dexter’s serial killing lifestyle overshadows just about everything before it, which doesn’t speak well of the fact that we spent the entire season hunting a two religious zealots that turned out to be one. Dexter and Travis played an interesting cat and mouse game in ‘This is the Way the World Ends’to be certain, but in the end what has it given us?
Harrison was never in any real danger, we know better than to think Dexter would kill off a child like that, and no one else really paid the price for Dexter’s errors in hunting the Doomsday Killer. It’s not like the world could unexpectedly end either, so the reality of the matter is that we spent twelve episodes on Dexter hunting a killer tangentially related to the religious questions on his mind, rescuing his blissfully unaware son, and ultimately knocking the killer out on a rooftop. No dead wife in the bathtub to come home to, no earned relief in helping another lost soul free themselves of their dark passenger, just a mission accomplished, somewhat unorthodox.
Of course Deb stumbling upon Dexter’s kill room will undoubtedly change the game for the next two seasons, but the problem with this reveal lies in how ‘This is the Way the World Ends’presents us with the twist. Finding out about Dexter wasn’t something that the current season had built toward, but rather the entire series as a whole. In that way, the reveal has nothing to do with the questions Dexter presented us with over the last eleven weeks and in a way feels even more random than Deb’s newly realized romantic love for her brother. It’d be one thing if putting the Dexter/Deb relationship under the microscope led to a more organic realization or awareness of Dexter’s true self, but instead the series drops the reveal as an accident, one which we don’t get to live in for even a moment before the season cuts to black.
It’s not an earned development, something the characters (and the audience) deserve after six years. With most every character surviving the season even with their jobs in tact, it’s as if the Dexter writers simply caved in giving us something they knew we’d been expecting, rather than a finale that really kept us guessing.
That very sentiment is what speaks to ‘This is the Way the World Ends,’as a whole, in that even the season-long discussions find hasty wrap-ups that never quite land on their intended targets. Dexter gained nothing from his exploration of religion, only the tacit knowledge that some people use ludicrous jusfications as a means to do horrible things, and others good. The Dexter writers fail to realize that hastily wrapping up that conversation with Travis strapped to a table and utilizing Brother Sam’s words doesn’t justify their exploration within the season, merely reference them. The same goes for Dexter’s rumination on the light he passes on to Harrison, and Dexter‘s sixth season even failed to address its most recent dilemma, that of Deb’s icky feelings for her brother. Despite the backlash against the bizarre storyline, we’re never really given a chance to explore its ramifications before Dexter accidentally drops his own bombshell on Deb. As long as the show continues to give us these out-there storylines, at the very least it could do us the courtesy of following through.
Deb and Dexter’s storyline isn’t the only thing that feels missing, or unaddressed by the end of the current season either. We never got a chance to learn more about Louis and his Ice Truck Killer obsession (or Dexter’s reaction to it), we never found a larger purpose for Ryan (Brea Grant), and we still never got a proper send-off for either Gellar or Brother Sam, likely the two most interesting characters of the season. Presumably Quinn and Batista’s beef rests on the back-burner for now, and even LaGuerta seems to have eased up on Deb, despite her continued outbursts of freaking out at crime scenes. And as for Masuka? Well, he does a pretty ‘Yoda impression.
I didn’t start watching Dexter until prior to its fifth season, thus I’ve never felt any special attachment to the series, nodding along when most fans universally praise seasons 1 and 4, condemning 2, 3, and especially 5. I saw potential in the second season, until it was literally and figuratively blown away by the show’s obvious unwillingness to deal with the ramifications of the narrative problems it constructs. I even mostly enjoyed the fifth season (I’m a softie for Julia Stiles) and had a measure of excitement for the sixth, defending it as more weary Dexter fans grew further frustrations.
You can bet that I’ll be sticking with Dexter for the next two seasons to see how the show deals with such a game-changing revelation, but that’s ultimately all we’ll take away from season 6. In spite of Gellar’s claims, we knew the world couldn’t end. Given that transparent premise, we probably should have realized the season’s main conflict wouldn’t set the world on fire either.
And Another Thing…
- There seems to be a running ticker on every time Dexter does something blatantly stupid, and to that I’d like to add killing a man in cold blood in front of a group of immigrants (even if they’d never tell). Bonus stupidity? DON’T SET YOUR KILL ROOM IN A PLACE YOUR SISTER KNOWS YOU’LL BE FOR THE NEXT FEW HOURS.
- Once the predictable Ghost Gellar twist fell by the wayside, Travis exhibited a distinct change in his menacing behavior, the two personas now integrated. Travis seemed even more creepily unhinged this episode, I just wish there had been more time to explore why.
- Really? NO ONE went into the crime scene to see the giant f$%king mural of Dexter’s face before he got there?
- It’ll be interesting to see if Quinn does return next year (given what a waste he was this time), as Desmond Harrington has been shopping around other roles.
- All that time spent on Jamie Batista and her lovelife, and the show doesn’t even have the nerve to kill her off? For shame.
- Okay, I LOL-ed at Dexter’s final words of the season being ‘Oh god.’
- On a special note, it’s been a joy to review this entire season of Dexter, and I’ve especially loved your enthusiasm in the comments sections. Thanks, and keep it up!
What did YOU think?
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Reading your reviews is a real treat, sadly I haven’t followed any of the other shows you write about. I’ll probably have a long winded comment once the final episode sinks in as I have only just finished watching it. I too lol’d at the last two words of the episode, followed by a mildly humorous “wtf?”.
Thank you for reading. And that line reminded me of the last moments of 500 Days of Summer, definitely intentionally cheesy, but still worth a chuckle.
This season was horrible. I think it is even worse than #3.
The whole Dexter/Deb love line is rediculus. But I find it interesting and I have to ask if the writers maybe wrote that in because Michael C Hall & Jennifer Carpenter were married in real life (now they’re not, so maybe next season Deb will fall out of love with Dex. I don’t think Dexter would ever love Deb that way, he was barely interested in Rita, and I thought he was a little more invested with Lumen.
And what happened to that hand that Travis has when he broke into Dex’s apartment?
And why didn’t the police enter the house first? Everyone knows cops go in to clear the area before any lab tech would go in? And did no one hear him hammering away at his face?
The Gellar/Travis story line was okay. I had a hard time with Colin Hanks mopey hush-puppy face. And a few times he reminded me so much of his dad that I had to do a double take. Didn’t mind Gellar but I knew he was dead about 2 -3 episodes in.
One thing I am thankful for was there was no mention of Kody or Aster at all!!! That suits me just fine. Can’t stand either of them. On the flip side though, Harrison is awesome!!!! Cutest kid ever!!!
Hope next season is better. Seems to go in waves…… 1 & 2 were good, 3 was blah, 4 was awesome, 5 was different but in a good way & 6 just sucked!
I think the season had potential, but lacked in its execution. And I read in an interview that the writers got the OK from Michael and Jennifer before going ahead with the Dexter and Deb story, and they were real professionals about it. At the very least, next season will definitely be different!
My sentiments exactly. I agree with you on every point. The only other noteworthy point of the season was when Travis and Geller got "combined" together.There were so many paths that could have been taken from that point, but, alas. Finally, this Deb/Dex situation is being soap opera-fied. If the writers cant create a compelling story-line anymore, its time for them to put the pen down, its not a sit-com, damn it.
Right? Once we met the "real" Travis he was so much more compelling. But I'm excited to see how Dexter and Deb progress from here!
I was disappointed with this season as a whole. Dexter got very sloppy. Starting with when he took down two paramedics at one time. That was WAY too risky. Then he stole a cell phone from a high school classmate who just b*** him to lure the next guy he would kill. I seem to remember him using cell phones quite frequently this season, whatever happened to using a pay phone? I knew after the first episode that Gheller was not real. I really had hoped the show wouldn't have gone there with Deb having feelings for Dex. I feared it would after last week's episode, UGH! That is ruins it for me right there. I don't care that they are not of blood relation, that is your freaking brother Deb!!!!! I never wanted Deb to learn the truth about Dex. Oh well. I agree with what you said, and was yet another mistake Dexter made. Why oh why oh why did he use the church as a kill room? Of all the moves he could have made, that was the dumbest of them all.
Sloppiness is somewhat inherent to us suspending our disbelief after 6 seasons, but I see your point. And I'm hoping that Deb realizes her being in love with Dexter is crazy, and that she just got caught up in some confusing emotions.
Jumped the shark is all I have to say.
If only there was a shark Dexter could have floated by out in the water!
I find this episode rather pleasant, I mean the episode on it's own. First scenes with Dexter in the water and returning home were fine, I was shocked how good his thoughts about dying were, not as cheasy as they used to be in this season. But I agree about the ending, such a coincidence could have happened many, many times in the past, it's too random to be appreciated. I loved endings with some peaceful conclusions, like season 3, season 1, or evn season 4, before entering the bathroom. This ending would fit better to episode 11 or so, where we still get o see what happened next. I think season 5's star, wher they picked up where they left, was not a good choice and I'm affraid writers are going to repeat that in season 7. If Debra would have find out about Dex in previous episode and in the finale we would see the fallout, it would be possible to jump to few months later or so. But now there are no good solutions, I actually disagree with all the people who can imagine Deb finding out before the end of the show. To me it's impossible, but since it already happened, I won't believe in anyting writers will do in next seasons. Season as a whole wasn't that bad, I think I liked it more than I liked season 5, but still I feel like it's a continum to something that has already expired.
Now I will point some stupidity out, to be myself: Dex set up a kill room for Travis but he didn't wrap the whole room in plastic. Just the table. It's stupid, he always covers the whole room, it's even more stupid since it's a crime scene. Even if he doesn't spill any blood kiling, he will have to cut the body and do all the other stuff. Second thing: how did he leave the building with Travis unconcious and Harrison on his hands? o.O
Quote of the episode: – Where is Harrison? – He just left.
I instantly imagined harrison saying "OK, gotto go" and leaving the school. xDDDD
PS loved the third paragraph, where you described the season ;)
I had a lot of the same logistical questions as well, but I think the writers hope we'll just let those go. But yes, it'd be nice to at least see SOME fallout from something we've waited so long to see, instead of just randomly being thrown into the episode's end.
sorry for spamming and mistakes, I hope you'll understand, I was bitten by a dog and I don't feel well :]
Though there were examples, for me, there were two things in this season that clearly demonstrated the weakness (or more specifically, the "cheapness") of the writing. You touched on both of them in your reviews. The first was the brief introduction of Dexter's brother as the manifestation of his dark passenger, the second was the reveal to Deb at the season's end. Both of these were Big Events that were used more as "a cheap thrill", rather than carefully woven into a continuous storyline that maximised the dramatic and thematic possibities.
The idea of Dex going off the rails as happened in "Nebraska" was potentially interesting — instead the writers used a "cheap" sidestep episode that didn't further the overall storyline of the season (at the end of that episode we were basically back at where we started). Changing the manifestation of Dex's dark passenger from his father to his brother was a big event, representing a significant deviation from the way the character has been portrayed for 5+ seasons. Such a big event could have been dealt with more respect, both to the characters and the viewers.
Also, many of the more rewarding periods in earlier Dexter episodes have incorporated the tension between two things: his life as a serial killer vs. his role within the police force, his family and his relation with Deb. A well written reveal to Deb could have played on this tension to great effect for a few episodes (at least — maybe even a full season), creating some great dramatic experiences for the viewer. It must be emphasized that this reveal is *the biggest card* that the writers had up their sleeve — and they have thrown it out cheaply to enable a dramatic 5 second season ending. Again, this shows a lack of respect for the characters and the viewers (let us not even mention the incest stuff, which is similarly insulting).
I think the writers were so focused on creating the Gellar shock they didn't pay attention to other better writing opportunities. This might have been ok if the Gellar "shock" wasn't so lame and predictable……
One last thing: I've enjoyed your reviews all season —- so thanks. I find that they have the right balance of recap vs. discussion/analysis of events (with relation to both the current season and the larger Dexter storyline).
"I think the writers were so focused on creating the Gellar shock they didn't pay attention to other better writing opportunities. This might have been ok if the Gellar "shock" wasn't so lame and predictable…… "
I feel same way, it's like this season was written by amateurs. Shocking moment aren't that shocking at all, which makes them riddiculous. Every single element of this season seems not… "stated" hard enough. It's like they're looking for something but they just can't find it. Maybe there was a main question in this season that Dex was asking himself, or maybe there wasn't one. Writers seem to lost the ability to write, all that is good in Dexter now is what was created earlier – we still love to see these characters even though it's not as good as it used to be. Actually I think there was ONE great new thing in this season, it was Brother Sam. Great performance of Mos should be more appreciated by showrunners, because it was one of the best guest stars in the series. He started something that was nice to watch, but with his death writers just abandoned it.
Also you reminded me of something: Kevin, I find your Dexter reviews the best I've ever seen. I tried following other authors but it's you I always love to read and your opinion is quite similiar to mine, lmost everytime. Sorry for writing so much and in so many posts, I'm geting to emotional about TV shows ;)
Aww, you guys are making my day!
So prepair yourself for more cause I watch A LOT of th shows and always have something to say. :P
Sometimes, writers find themselves weighted down by being caught in a story they've created. So perhaps they didn't realize until it was too late that the Gellar/Travis story had very few directions to go in. But I agree, none of the storylines organic to Dexter himself were properly woven into the narrative. With Brian, they peppered ITK references in early episodes, and hoped it would feel right that Dexter suddenly saw his brother clapping on the beach after Nick's murder. It did not.
And thanks for reading!
The whole ITK thing, including Brian's comeback and future story about Louis, doesn't feel right to me. Also I feel strange when Deb and Dex mention things like "Seeing Red" in season one. I don't know, maybe I feel like it's trying to earn some points by bringing up what was old and good, or maybe it's bugging me cause first seasons are like gods to me, and it's like some kind of blasphemy in the mouth of this season. I think I've got to lay down xD
Oh one more thing just came to my mind: writers have abandoned Anderson too. He was all over the place in few episodes and then he gets to say few words in final episodes. I guess they wanted to do too much.
Hunier: how did he leave the building with Travis unconscious and Harrison on his hands? ..Dead On! I wondered the same thing. And, what, if anything, is to become of that IcePick Killer hand that Louis mailed to Dexter..why was it mailed to Dexter, and why did Louis paint the finger nails and decorate the palm? What is HIS deal, and does it matter now that the big issues is how Deb will deal with Dexter's truth? F**&k, now Deb will realize she's fallen in love with another serial killer! She should just go to a nunnery and swear off men.
Well, these two stories will give us something to watch for another two episodes, it may be interesting to see Dexter trying to set things right with Debra while anyonymous guy sends gim messages like "I know what you did" ;)
And you said something that is briliant – that Debra, who was falling for bad ppl because of Dexter now came out of the closet and in her logic it's like "ok, no more wrong choices, dex is the perfect man in my eyes", now faces the fact, that this PERFECT man is actualy a killer who has been lying to her his whole life. It could destroy her and this is one thing in this whole love story I find interesting, but I didn't think of that this way, thanks for pointing it out!
another two seasons*
I'm right there with you both on the "how did Dexter get Travis out unnoticed" question, but it's one of those situations where a writer would fire back, "would it REALLY be worth it to spend an extra two minutes showing the steps from A to B?" We have to assume it was physically POSSIBLE, just that it wouldn't have helped the story to show it.
Oh, and Louis only added the palm lines to the Ice Truck Killer hands, the nails were already painted those colors, it was part of the story in the first season.
I hadn't thought about that! She DID fall for another serial killer! Well, I guess she has a type, and if she's "always" loved Dexter, I guess now we know why.
Yeah, it almost makes sense now ;)
About complaining: that's what fans are for! Right, it's just a show, it's not reality, but it gives us something to talk about!
oh, and about geting Travis out unnoticed – I think it's not that we need explainations to everything, seeing Dexter do things logicaly and being really, really smart as just a nice thing to see. Everything he does in this seasons isn't just unbelieveable, it's also not fun. I remember ep 1×1 where he worked with building plans just to catch the child molester. Now it's random. What I say is that I don't mind show being unrealistic, it's just that this ilusion of realism was a part of it, an important part.
I'll be shocked if Deb survives next season. Now that she knows Dexter's secret she has to die, right?
No way will Deb get knocked off next season or the season after for that matter. Aside from Dexter, a large portion of the plot is devoted to her, and no way will Dexter, who kills only evil, go after purely good let alone his own sister. I'm very interested to see how the writers will develop the storyline now that the lieutenant of Miami Metro knows that her brother and one of their own is a killer…Very interesting. Overall, I thought it was a decent season. It gave me a nice break from doing homework and I looked forward to it every Sunday night.
1. Don't get caught :]
Dex doesn't have to be the one to kill her for her to end up dead… Lets face it, the writers have never let anyone know Dex's secret and stay alive or on the show for much longer.
@Eric Jumped the shark indeed. I'm surprised they didn't show Dex wrestling a shark in the water!
There were so many implausible moments in Season 6 that I am fully prepared to see Season 7 begin by Dexter awaking from a nap and we find out Deb catching him just a dream…. or a Tim Tebow appearance.. anything is possible now.
I was giving the show too much credit by thinking Travis was going to use the ice truck hand, fibers from Dexter's shirt he wore, and Dexter's driver's license to frame Dexter somehow. Now it's too late.. Maybe Season 6 didn't really happen. One can wish.
And one last thing: I hope he does kill Deb now. If nothing else, put that upside-down-faced girl out of her misery!! She cries at everything and it's really getting annoying! Or kill La Guerta – for God sake, she wears her badge like Grand Master Flash wears a clock. Or kill Batista and his speech impediment "I willy wike working for miami metwo". Or Quinn and his SPF -20 and chiseled mug.. kill them all.
Why do u watch the show in the first place if u hate all the main characters?
I am a massive Dexter fan and was really enjoying this season UNTIL I started reading these blogs. I had no idea Gellar was imaginary but as soon as I read the online posts it became so obvious. So many other things got ruined too. No matter how brilliant the writers are they simply cannot outhink and outsmart millions of fans analysing every detail of the show. The only way they can do that is by throwing in total curveballs like Deb finding out. Everyone knew she would eventually but it wasnt like last season. This was just bang out of nowhere and is the only way to surprise fans. I wont be reading forums anymore as it really ruins the experiwnce.
Having said that I think the season was not great but still very good. Best finale except for season 4. It’s also the first time there’s something to carry to the next season.
I have no idea which way they’ll take the storyline but I cant imagine Deb won’t find out the whole truth. The police knew that the Bayharbor Butcher used plastic wrap to tie his victims so it won’t take too long for her to put two and two together. Dexter is great at getting rid of evidence but if Deb actually suspected him it wouldn’t take long for it all to be obvious (matching dates etc). Can’t wait to see how she will get there, whether Dex will tell her or if he will try and lie.
"It's also the first time there's something to carry to the next season."
I disagree. Season 3 – wedding and Rita's pregnancy, Season 4 – Rita's death. Both endings gave us something to wait for.
i agree entirely with Boz, on these blogs, people just think about it too damn much
i had alot of the same questions while watching the episodes (how did he get Travis and his kid off the building, for instance) but i didnt dwell on them, i figured he just did it in a Dexter like style. However i do agree the whole imaginary Gellar unveiling was weak and bland.
The introducing of Anderson was good, lets face it hes just filling a position in this season and i liked the flamingo bit.
As for the whole Louis – ITK thing, thats just a platform for next season and not at all related to DDK, the theme of this season. Thats a maneuver not seen in Dexter until now, i think. I found it refreshing, a sort of a sneak preview to the next serial killer
About the whole incest thing – now thats just taking it too far. That really isnt a good thing even if they arent blood related. What kind of message is it saying? Plus if Deb doesnt figure his secret out, even if he doesnt tell her, what kind of detective would that make her?
I didn't dwell on it, I just discuss it among other things. It doesn't affect my opinion about this seasons or this episode, honestly ;) I think blogs like this one are exactly for this – interpreting the series and discussing everything there is to discuss. Sharing your thoughts on possible plots etc. It's simple, if someone thinks it ruins him watching the show, then he shouldn't read it ;) It's for people who like to speculate, really :)
yeah, i guess youre right
but i dont go on these blogs after ive seen the entire season, because once i was going through one of these (before ive seen season4 finale, it already aired) and there was a MAJOR spoiler in it and that kinda ruined the surprise for me. Bummer.
Well, now you know that you shouldn't read anything before watching, but in this case I really don't know what the problem is, it's a review, so it's obvious that it contains all the spoilers in the world ;)
You didn't realize Gellar was imaginary even after they blatantly TOLD us in one of the episodes??? I wouldn't blame that on the writers, I'd blame that on….you weren't paying any damned attention.
Oh, I just watched the finale for the second time and have to say, it was a really good episode. I think this season had a great start and pretty nice ending. It was flawed and not as good as it could be, but all said and done it did entertain me.
While I was watching Travis vs Dexter on the rooftop something came to me – it's really poetic, cause Travis is "a messager of god" and Dex represents "the beast", yet in this light/darkness battle it's Dexter who is the good one.
The beast, the serial killer rids the world of god's soldier, it's like Dex said in Deb's dream: eveything isn't always black and white. I was sure that there is no room for such thoughts and meanings in this season, well, I was wrong! ;)
You're right, for a show that has spent 6 seasons preparing us to see Deb discover Dexter's secrets, the scene itself felt random, lost in a sea of unresolved ideas. I would argue that the fact that Dexter learned nothing from his religious exploration was probably their point. One thing that will be hilarious is the fact that Harrison will look so much older next season, (unless they find a new baby) and when you consider the way this episode left off, it would be difficult to begin with anything but a continuation of the final scene.
I think 3year old Harrison will look more like 2year old Harrison than any other 2year old baby would, but it really is funny ;) I'd miss these two boys who play Harrison, they'r great, especially in lion costume ;P
Deb needs to make up with Quinn. He's clearly a wreck without her, and I liked them together. Deb+Dex?? Um…No thanks. I don't care if they're not blood-related, its still freaking GROSS! But I'm very interested to see how Deb knowing her brother is a murderer will pan out. Obviously she's not going to tell on him…… But I almost wonder if it means they're about to kill her off. After all, hasn't EVERY other character that found out about Dexter either died or been otherwise permanently ousted from the show?
Yeah, but showrunners admitt that romantic plot between them was something they've been planning since season 2 and that they are not abandoning it because of the season 6's ending. So goodbye Quinn, hello Debster.