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Cail
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Post by Cail »

Gotta love John Lithgow, and the writing that season was just tops.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." - PJ O'Rourke
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Post by Zarathustra »

S5 was pretty good. I was glad he got himself a love interest that was actually crucial to the plot. Their bonding over revenge-killing the rapists was creepy and yet somehow touching. Dexter needs someone he can trust, so he can be himself ... be accepted for who he is. That was a nice way to do it. The scene where Deb lets them go was right up there in classic Dexter scenes.

So S6 is the "god season." Eh, whatever. I guess it had to happen eventually.
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Post by Zarathustra »

Damn, given how mediocre season 6 was for 99% of the time, it sure ended with a bang! What Deb saw at the end of the finale would have been a hell of a cliffhanger, if we didn't have S7 ready to go on Netflix. I knew it had to happen eventually (
Spoiler
Deb finding out that Dex is a serial killer
) but I can't believe the show survived for two more seasons after that.
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Post by Zarathustra »

We're halfway through season 7, and it's turning out to be outstanding. It might be the second best season so far.

I looked up the stats to see what was up with the fluctuating quality. It seems that the ratings loosely follow my own particular preferences. I thought season 6 (the god season) was the worst, and it had the lowest ratings. It was also conspicuous for being the season where the "main" director was completely absent. The show has had maybe a dozen different directors and writers, changing it up every episode, but Steven Shill (I believe) has directed the most episodes and the finale for just about every season. His absence was the only thing really different from S6.

So far I'd rank them:

1. S1 [Ice Truck Killer]
2. S7 [Deb knows, Russian mofia, Hannah]
3. S2 [Lundy, Bay Harbor Butcher, and Crazy Brit chick from the drug meetings]
4. S4 [Trinity]
5. S5 [Lumin]
6. S3 [The Lt's friend who accepts Dex's secret, wants him to kill]
7. S6 [The god season]

I would have ranked the Trinity season higher if it hadn't started so slow. I really liked the Lumin love story. I absolutely hated the cheesy, ubiquitous god/religious references in Dex's inner monologues, and the wooden performance from the Battlestar Galactica guy in season 6. What a waste of a good actor. The "twist" of having him be nothing more than a figment in the other guy's head was the final straw, for me.
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Post by Cail »

Interesting ranking.

I think I'd go...

S1
S4
S2
S7
S3
S5
S8
S6

Season 7 was great for one reason....Ray Stevenson's portrayal of Isaak Sirko was just spectacular. Sirko was a truly interesting character and Stevenson nailed it.

Trinity started slowly, but that made it (to me) so much more menacing.

When you finish up, I'll go into more detail.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." - PJ O'Rourke
_____________
"Men and women range themselves into three classes or orders of intelligence; you can tell the lowest class by their habit of always talking about persons; the next by the fact that their habit is always to converse about things; the highest by their preference for the discussion of ideas." - Charles Stewart
_____________
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison
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Post by Zarathustra »

I don't know if this is necessary at this point, but .... CAUTION MAJOR SPOILERS.

Well, we've finished. I was a little annoyed by the retcon explanation for Dexter's origins, but then decided that it worked. This decision came about the time Dr Vogel was explaining how he's the "perfect psychopath" and how in terms of evolution, pyschopaths were necessary to the survival of humanity. Blatant pandering to the audience, no doubt, but an effective way to build character sympathy, nonetheless. How they mixed this in with her son was an interesting way to build on that sympathy, by showing how unique Dextor is, and just how bad he could have turned out without giving him a code and allowing him to be himself. If they'd simply locked him away in an institution, he might have turned out just as bad as the Brain Surgeon (although this point was already made in season 1 with Ice Truck Killer).

A nice addition was how Dr Vogel was also able to bring Debra back from the brink. There have been many narrative techniques to make Dex a sympathetic character, which is an absolute necessity in a show about a serial killer, but this was probably the most effective. The two-season arc for Debra's character was probably the best drama in the entire series. We always knew that she'd find out eventually, and the way she immediately started covering up for her brother--against her better judgment--was believable, painful, and yet perversely satisfying. How this escalated throughout season 7, ending with Deb's crime in the finale, was the inevitable conclusion to this path. Her turmoil, her conflicting duties and love, were some of the most emotional scenes in the entire series.

It was entirely appropriate that she started season 8 in such a bad place. She's a good person who did a bad thing. Her anger at Dex and herserlf was understandable. But when Dr Vogel got her to admit that she was actually in torment because she realized she'd do exactly the same thing if she had to do it over again, that's where all this started to come together. When Vogel showed Deb the videos of Harry, so that she would realize that her father was making exactly the same decisions regarding Dex, she was finally able to attain a measure of peace with her decision, and to reconnect with Dex. That's some brilliant writing. Not only was it the final, best way to cement Dex's status as a sympathetic character, but it also was the best way to make Debra a well-rounded character.

So all is well-and-good with Deb/Dex, halfway through the final season. But no good story can leave characters without tension for so long. Hence ... Hannah. When they reintroduce her, we have the dual tension of whether Dex can finally be happy, and Deb's intense dislike/jealousy for this fugative. The tension between Deb and Hannah is another example of how this show finally started to realize how to rely on and develop characters for more than just melodrama. In season 7, the subtle difference between how Debra helps Dex and refuses to turn him in (but still can't accept that he's a killer), contrasted with Hannah's pure acceptance of Dex without reservation, was a masterful way to illustrate two different kinds of love for this same person. Once Deb and Hannah resolve their differences in season 8, realizing that they are both motivated by the same thing, was a satisfying way to resolve that narrative tension in the latter part of S8.

The lead up to the end, in the final 4 episodes or so, was tense and exciting. I really like how they wrapped all the issues together, with the doctor, her son, the Federal Marshall, Debra, Hannah, and our hopes that Dextor can get away and finally be truly happy. We were given so many reasons to hope ... Debra and Dex had patched things up, Deb is on the road to recovery and might get back together with Quinn, Harrison loves Hannah and thinks of her as "mom." Hell, Dex even seems to have lost the need to kill, replaced by a need to love.

Of course, as a member of a perceptive audience, I know it can't all work out perfectly. I was worried that Deb might have to die in the end. But I didn't sufficiently predict how this would effect Dexter. I should have. By the time he's on the boat, saying goodbye to his son, I thought riding off into the hurricane would be the end. I didn't like it, because I was hoping for a happy ending in Argentina, but I thought it was a ballsy choice that finally acknowledged--in the most definitive way possible--that our sympathy for this killer was wrong. Despite all the justifications over 8 seasons, Dexter did not deserve a happy ending. He *did* end up destroying anyone who was close to him. It was selfish to put those whom he loved in harm's way. Suicide made sense, and it was damn brave for the writers to end it like this.

But then they didn't. The lumberjack end was a cop-out. Sure, Dex doesn't get his happy ending, but now he's just Walter White living in isolation. It's not brave, from either direction: trying to live a normal life, or taking yourself out. He chose to remain a killer in anonymity, rather than giving it up to be happy, or relieving humanity of his existence. Now he can endulge his compulsion like an addict. It's pathetic.

But then again ... maybe that *is* what he deserves. An unfulfilling life where he realizes exactly what he is, where he tortures himself for the price his loved ones have paid. Maybe that ending was brave after all. It sure wasn't crafted to please the audience. I want to give credit for that. It's still ballsy in that sense. But then what are we to make of Dex losing his need to kill? Was that just bullshit? Was his love not real, as the doctor thought at first? Did he choose to remain a killer in the end, being true to his animal nature, or did he actually make a selfless choice out of love?
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Post by Zarathustra »

Bumping for Cail ... I'm curious to hear you go into more detail now that I'm done.
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Post by Cail »

Been tied up with stuff......I'll hopefully get to it this weekend.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." - PJ O'Rourke
_____________
"Men and women range themselves into three classes or orders of intelligence; you can tell the lowest class by their habit of always talking about persons; the next by the fact that their habit is always to converse about things; the highest by their preference for the discussion of ideas." - Charles Stewart
_____________
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison
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Post by Cail »

OK, the whole series should have been no more than 4 seasons. Primarily because the idea of a serial killer working for the police for 8 years without detection strains credulity. As it stands, Miami Metro is the stupidest police department in fiction (stupider even than Frank Drebin's Police Squad!).

But the stories as written don't seem to work well as whole seasons.

Seasons 5, 6, 7, and 8 could have easily been condensed down into two seasons. Seasons 1 & 4 were damn near perfect, 2 & 3 could be merged into one.

The ending of season 8 was tense and exciting, but again....it just strained believably so damn much. And the lumberjack thing?

To me, that was a cop-out (just like Breaking Bad's ending was). Yes, Dexter's isolated from everyone he cared about so he wouldn't destroy them too, but it plays like the set-up for another series (which it is).
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." - PJ O'Rourke
_____________
"Men and women range themselves into three classes or orders of intelligence; you can tell the lowest class by their habit of always talking about persons; the next by the fact that their habit is always to converse about things; the highest by their preference for the discussion of ideas." - Charles Stewart
_____________
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison
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Post by Zarathustra »

I don't think your point about believability is bad, but they did try to address it early on by making the Bay Harbor Butcher story the season 2 plot. They even had the "surpise muthafucka!" guy to fill the role of police suspicion. Once Dex was cleared of that, it was plausible that most people would forget the issue, especially since Dex upgraded his techniques to make him even farther under the radar (e.g. dumping the bodies in the gulf stream so they wouldn't be found). But even then, there were still lingering doubts among the police, and even a campaign by the former Lt. to charge Dex with that crime. And he kept getting found out by various people, including Deb herself.

I'd have no problem cutting a few seasons from the overall timeline, but that's because of weak stories/characterization of seasons 3, 5, 6. While plausibility is not as big a deal for me, it would also solve your issue.

Looking forward to a new series! That takes the sting out of the ending.
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Post by Cail »

Yeah, I really hated 5 & 6. 3 wasn't terrible, but we didn't need a whole season of "waiting-to-kill-Jimmy-Smits". There were always enough positive elements to keep me watching, but I felt like everything after Trinity (and even that season a bit) was padded to extend the show's run since Showtime didn't want to lose their cash cow.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." - PJ O'Rourke
_____________
"Men and women range themselves into three classes or orders of intelligence; you can tell the lowest class by their habit of always talking about persons; the next by the fact that their habit is always to converse about things; the highest by their preference for the discussion of ideas." - Charles Stewart
_____________
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison
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Post by dlbpharmd »

My wife and I tried this series several years ago, but for some reason we didn't stick with it - and neither of us remembers why.

We've been home this week with Covid. Two and a half years into the pandemic, and it's amazing that we avoided this bitch of a virus so far, especially considering our professions. I give all credit to vaccines and masking, but BA5 is just a different virus. This week hasn't been fun at all, but with all sorts of time on our hands, with nothing to do except sneeze, cough, sneeze, then cough some more, we've watched a ton of TV. And Dexter has been what we've watched.

Seasons 1&2 were really good, especially Season 1. Lots of good twists with that.

I haven't read this thread, wishing to avoid spoilers, but I did notice that Cail said above that Season 3 was down a bit for him, and he mentioned waiting the whole season to kill Jimmy Smits, and I swear we've already had that conversation. Three episodes into Season 3, and we know where this is going, and overall the season has been boring so far.
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Post by wayfriend »

Dexter does go downhill, but it's a gentle hill, not a cliff. It's not entirely not worth watching if you've been enjoying it, IMO.

Feel better.
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Post by Skyweir »

Absolutely loved Dexter Mach I had anyone seen Mach II?

I liked it but sad about how season 1 ended.
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Post by wayfriend »

What is "Dexter Mach" ?
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Post by Skyweir »

Different shows ~ Dexter its original iteration and the spin off ~ with his son.
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Post by Fist and Faith »

His son has a spinoff??
All lies and jest
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest
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Post by Skyweir »

Well Dexter is still front & centre
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Post by Fist and Faith »

Ok. I thought you meant there was another one after that with just his son.
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Post by wayfriend »

"Dexter: New Blood", which is considered Dexter Season 9, came out in November 2021. It does involve a son. It hasn't been considered a spinoff, just a continuation after a long break.

But I have no idea what "Dexter Mach" refers to.
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