Revisit Dexter's Season 8 Finale Before the New Blood Premiere

Need a refresher on season 8 of Dexter ahead of the New Blood premiere? We've got you covered here.

By Cydney Contreras Nov 07, 2021 8:00 PMTags
Watch: Michael C. Hall's Eight Years on "Dexter"

The season eight finale of Dexter was disappointing to say the least. 

When the final episode of the Showtime series aired in September 2013, it was widely panned by critics and viewers. Vulture literally put in their headline that it was a "terrible end" to the drama, while Variety called it a "sloppy send off" to Dexter (Michael C. Hall) and Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter).

Even Hall admitted in a 2014 Reddit AMA that he felt "sadness" when reading the script for the episode. 

The writers have since been given the opportunity to redeem themselves with Dexter: New Blood, but the ending remains the same. Viewers have to live with the fact that Deb is dead and Dexter decided to fake his death by driving his boat, A Slice of Life, straight into a hurricane before becoming a lumberjack.

That being said, we want to give the reboot a chance to entertain and thrill us, so we revisited the entire last season in the hopes of understanding what the writers wanted to achieve.

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It didn't entirely work.  

Rewatching Dexter hunt and track down Oliver Saxon, while balancing his personal relationships was annoying since we already know the end result. It felt like teasing a kid by dangling something within their reach and then snatching it away before they can enjoy it. 

Dan Littlejohn/Showtime/Kobal/Shutterstock

First, we were led to believe that Dexter was going to be taken down by his own sister, who killed Maria LaGuerta in season seven. Those initial episodes of season eight followed Deb as she quit her job, became a private investigator and developed a drug addiction thanks to an unauthorized undercover sting.

This all seemed to be leading to the moment when she'd turn herself in for murder and, in the process, spill the beans on Dexter's murderous tendencies. Little did she know Dexter was involved with psychologist Evelyn Vogel (Charlotte Rampling), who had helped Dexter's dad and dark passenger Harry (James Remar) come up with his code. 

From that point on, Deb was treated like Vogel's patient and coaxed into believing that Dexter was a good person at heart. She went back to life as usual, even rejoining the force and reconciling with ex-fiancé Quinn (Desmond Harrington). Additionally, she accepted his relationship with serial killer Hannah (Yvonne Strahovski). As a viewer, all I could think was that if it was that easy, they should've told Deb from the start. 

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In the meantime, Vogel and Dexter are hunted by a serial killer, who they initially believe is a former patient of hers. They started to train some random person they initially suspected was the killer, but he was murdered too. 

As the show neared its end, Dexter found out the killer is actually his murdered neighbor's boyfriend and Vogel's son, Oliver Saxon, who had faked his death in a fire. Vogel initially tried to protect Oliver because she naively thought she could change him, but realized that he's a lost cause and gave Dexter the go ahead to slice him to bits. 

Only it was too late, because Oliver slit Vogel's throat in front of Dexter, taking away the one parental figure he and Deb had left. 

As all of this was going on, Dexter was planning a life in Argentina with Hannah and Harrison. The only thing holding him back is his desire for vengeance. And he nearly satisfies that need when he strapped Oliver down to a table, only to miraculously realize he no longer feels bloodlust. 


It's just too bad that his personal growth came at the cost of Debra's life. She nearly arrested Oliver but he was let loose by another character from a subplot that's not even worth revisiting. She was shot and suffers a seizure in surgery, leaving her brain dead.

Out of grief and the realization that his feelings made a mess of things, Dexter let Hannah and Harrison go to South America without him and dumped Deb's body in the same ocean where he dumped the remains of every other rapist and murderer.

The last we see of Dexter, he's grown a big beard and become a lumberjack. 

This internal battle that played out over the course of season eight simply didn't make sense because, as viewers, we were consistently made to believe that Dexter couldn't control himself when it came to killing. Then, we're suddenly told that he can lead a normal life and control his bloodlust. 


Hall put it best in the Reddit AMA, explaining that Dexter wanted "to have his cake and eat it too in regards to indulging his compulsion to kill AND have a more authentic life."

It didn't work, of course. So, the writers decided a fake death made the most sense, even after all that back and forth. 

"I think Dexter came to believe that... anything he touched would eventually be destroyed and so he felt he needed to let it all go," Hall continued. "Of course, Dexter is also a pragmatist and a self-preservationalist so he didn't do himself in. But rather put himself on hold."

And now, it's safe to say that Dexter is ready to return to the life he once knew, even if it isn't in Miami. But will he be a new and improved version of himself?

See the season premiere of Dexter: New Blood on Showtime Sunday, Nov. 7.

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