I’m still trying to pick up the pieces after the “Dexter” storm hit Sunday night. I must continue to point out my admiration for the series, and how I have always been a sympathizer, so when I say I hated the better half of the eighth and final season, it gives serious weight to my venomous rage. It was garbage. And while I am open to debate, nobody can argue that the season was a jumbled mess with pointless story arcs from Masuka’s daughter to Batista purchasing a bar. In fact, if I wasn’t running Bloody Disgusting 24/7, I would have already put together a list of potential “Dexter” spin-offs (can you imagine a sitcom with Masuka and his daughter, or “BATISTA”, a new police drama on FOX?). Filibustering aside, I’ve been reading every post-finale interview hoping to understand what the hell happened over at Showtime – I mean, a handful of writers, a showrunner, producers and Showtime execs had to have signed off on this ridiculous finale, right? They can’t all sit there and defend it, can they? Well, at least Clyde Phillips, the series’ original showrunner, shared what he would have done differently.
The developing behind-the-scenes story continues today with EW‘s interview with producers Scott Buck and Sara Colleton, who not only explain the ending, but also defend it. I will say, I appreciate what they were going for, although I don’t think they captured it at all…rushed, tired and lacking inspiration seems to be the real culprit.
Buck first reveals that they had a kernel of an idea of what they wanted to do in the finale: “The kernel idea were the last few scenes,” he reveals. “They were what I pitched a few years ago. The main idea was Dexter is forced to kill Debra. And there are many ways that could happen. But those final scenes were pretty much unchanged.”
“From the very beginning the paradox was here’s a guy who doesn’t feel he’s a human being, who has to fake it,” Colleton adds. “But in faking it, he’s a better brother, boyfriend, colleague that most real people. People think of him as a monster, but he yearns to be human. We’ve seen him go forward on this journey every year. Now we found out what the final price was. What sums up the entire journey was the scene on balcony of his apartment before going on the boat to put Deb down — that’s horrible to say aloud. The voiceover: ‘For so long all I wanted was to feel like other people … now that I do just want it to stop.’ It’s the horrible awareness of what it was to be a human being and how overwhelming that is for him. His punishment is banishment. He sends himself into exile. Killing himself is too easy. When he turns and looks into the camera at the end he’s stripped everything away.”
Buck explains why he feels it was important to end this way: “It seemed like the ending that was most justified. In season 1, you saw this guy who was so compartmentalized,” he tells the site. “The last couple seasons have been about breaking down those walls by having his son and his relationship with Hannah and having Deb discover who he is. Still he was able to justify what he did. We felt it took the death of the one person he cared most about to really look at himself. [His fate] wasn’t something that happened to him but his decision. He had to bear the burden of deciding his own fate.”
I appreciate that EW sort of asks a leading question in why does Debra Morgan die off-screen (technically)? It lacked serious impact. Buck defends this decision: “I think we all feel the real moment is when Dexter hits that button. We also did it that way because in some ways it’s a little more shocking.” It’s not.
An interesting decision revealed is that they toyed with the idea of Miami Metro catching Dexter, but ultimately thought it was off-point: “We toyed with that idea, but it felt off-point,” says Buck. “The story was ultimately about Dexter’s personal journey. We have one moment in that interrogation room with Quinn and Batista. Watching the tape, Quinn has known all along that there was more there to Dexter. Batista is seeing a hint of the darker Dexter. There was a hint in that moment. But we didn’t want to blow it all up and revel he’s a serial killer.”
When asked about fans being disappointed, Buck takes full responsibility. “Even if i don’t write an episode, I’m still in charge. I take full responsibility,” he says. “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.”
“I think some episodes worked better than others,” Colleton adds. “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.”
When asked if they were rushed Buck says, “A little bit. It certainly affected us in some ways,” while Colleton feel that they “rose to the challenge.” What do you guys think?