The Unexpected Comeback of Dexter

Last night as I was catching up on some of the last few episodes of Burn Notice I was musing in my head about the difference between it and Dexter. (Warning this post includes information on what has happened in both of these shows up to and including the current season so if you don’t want to know stop reading.) Both are long running shows (Dexter is in season 8 and Burn Notice is in season 7) now in their final seasons, but my feelings about them are entirely different. I am forcing myself to watch the final episodes of Burn Notice because I’ve been watching it forever and it seems silly to quit watching right before it ends without seeing how they choose to wrap everything up. I’m not really enjoying the show anymore though, and this season seems especially contrived with the break up of Michael and Fiona just so that they can get them back together in the end for some kind of happy ending. Plus with Michael separated from the rest of the group and the team not really working together this season aside from the ridiculous reasons contrived to let Michael pull in one or two of them into his weekly missions it’s ridiculous and not the show it used to be. I don’t really care what happens to any of them at this point. This show is definitely on my list, along with House, of shows I should have quit watching long before their end, but didn’t.

Dexter on the other hand is the rare show that after kind of falling apart is seasons 5 and 6 has made a great comeback in its final two seasons. Most shows that run for a long time eventually fall apart and are no longer as good as they once were. Once they reach that point it is extremely rare for them to come back in any real meaningful way. There may be an episode here or there within a season that is great, but for entire seasons at the end of a series run to be great is truly rare. The only show that’s coming to mind right now is The West Wing. I know a lot of people might argue that with me, but I thought the last two seasons of that show were great.

Dexter definitely hit a high point in season four with the Trinity Killer arc featuring John Lithgow, and I can’t remember when a show had me as surprised as I was when they killed Rita at the end of that season. After that it seemed like they didn’t really know where to go with the show though, and I started to lose interest in it. Again it became one of those shows that I kept watching out of habit rather than something I was truly enjoying at that point. The show was definitely spinning its wheels because with no official end in sight they couldn’t have Dexter actually get caught. When they finally set an end date, the series started to get good again. Last season was better than the previous two with Deb finding out about Dexter, and I think this season is even better than season 7. I don’t think it tops season 4, but for the show to once again have me interested in watching it again rather than just sticking around to see how it ends is quite a feat I think. The highlight of this season is definitely watching Deb deal with killing La Guerta and her continued feelings about who Dexter is. Jennifer Carpenter definitely deserves at least an Emmy nomination next year if not the win for her work this season. There are lots of clips of Dexter on YouTube, but I couldn’t find one of the scene from episode 3 of this season where Deb confesses murdering La Guerta to Quinn. Carpenter is phenomenal in that scene.

I believe there are still 5 more episodes in this season, and I’m curious as to how they’re going to wrap everything up. I wanted to write this post before the show was over because I don’t want my feelings about the finale to influence the way I’ve been feeling about this season so far. No matter how well or not the writers manage to end the series as a whole they deserve great kudos for once again making Dexter a show worth watching because it’s good as opposed to something to watch just to see how it ends.

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