Dearly Defensive Dexter: The Showrunners Discuss the Final Season
While I wasn’t thrilled with the final season of "Dexter" on the whole, I loved the finale. It ranks just behind "The Sopranos" and "The Shield" for me in terms of shows that brought their stories to an effective close.
The real oddity behind "Dexter" is that I’m not sure how they did it, considering the blasé episodes that preceded it.
But here’s the thing. A recent Entertainment Weekly interview with "Dexter" showrunner Scott Buck and producer Sara Colleton feels more than a little disingenuous when it comes to addressing fan criticisms of this final season. Here’s a snip of the EW story that came online yesterday. Click the link at the bottom of the page for the whole thing.
EW: In a way, Deb sort of gets what she’s wanted for most of the season.
BUCK: That’s true in a way. There’s one point where she wanted exactly that. But she makes a turn two thirds through the season. Things are looking up for her. She was seeing a possibility for happiness. The death she may have wanted at one point was the last thing she wants right now.
The problem with this isn’t where Deb ended up. That was a perfect fate for the character who meant so much to Dexter throughout the years. The problem is that the season started off so great with Deb’s hatred of Dexter growing astronomically, only to have it magically cured in Episode 5 (the worst episode in the series). The fact that she went from self-loathing drug addict back to old Deb in the span of a single episode wasn’t just unbelievable. It was insulting.
EW: Some fans were disappointed by this season. Were you happy with the episodes leading up to the finale?
BUCK: Even if i don’t write an episode, I’m still in charge. I take full responsibility. We all work cohesively as a team. If people think the final episode stood out, it’s probably because it’s been sitting in my mind for so long. It’s a difficult question to answer.
COLLETON: I think some episodes worked better than others. But as a whole the Deb and Vogel story lines worked, and we wanted to change it up and have the big bad hide in plain sight. Darri Ingolfsson, who plays Saxon, he’s fabulous once you realize [he's the brain surgeon]. The scene where he comes to Dexter’s apartment is a wonderful scene. I try not to read any of the blogs because then I become paralyzed. If they knew how much we agonized internally about everything... if we then tried to factor in an assortment of opinions, it would dilute the process.
I think these responses are the epitome of insincere. There are definitely moments in those first 11 episodes I enjoy, and I believe that’s a testament to the actors more than anything else. Because honestly, this season was a convoluted nightmare. From the Brain Surgeon twist to the inclusion of Dexter’s short-lived apprentice and even the political pressure hounding Miami Metro because of that kid. Nothing congealed in the way it should’ve. Deb’s aforementioned magical cure, Hannah moping around the house with absolutely nothing to do (a real shame, since she was a great addition to the series last season), and even the Vogel character, who represented an interesting idea whose ultimate inclusion amounted to very little.
EW: One point of contention was some of the supporting story lines. Like, why spend time with Masuka and his daughter and Quinn taking the sergeant's exam in the final season?
BUCK: We wanted to give some indication of where these characters were going. We wanted to give them all a bit of resolution toward the end. Masuka was a very small story; it took up a small amount of screen time. This is probably the most sexist character most of us have ever seen, and for him to have his first honest relationship with a woman and have that be his daughter felt interesting. As for as Quinn, we’re trying to spend time with characters that have been with us for a long time and we’re never going to see again.
And yet, none of this stuff had any bearing on the final episode. That makes it filler. The reason why the final episode works so well compared to the rest of the season is that it is focused. Suddenly, none of that other crap matters.
Which makes it a tragedy that they even had to bother in the first place.
When I published my "Dexter" discussion a few weeks ago, I received an anonymous email from someone that told me the behind-the-scenes strife on "Dexter" has been outrageous for several years. Creative freedom was stifled and the show was, quite obviously, kept running simply because it remained a lucrative cash cow. This jibes with other things I was told quite recently.
As a fan of the show, even through its murkiest moments, I find that sad to hear though it is the nature of the business. I remain surprised that "Remember the Monsters?" was an effective sendoff and feel like time will be kind to that finale, if not the season.
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