The eighth and final season of the hit series Dexter took a scientific look at serial killers. Dr. Evelyn Vogel, a neuropsychiatrist who wrote the definitive book on the brains of psychopaths, consulted with Miami Metro Homicide on a series of unusual cases. The killer would saw open the skull and scoop out the “empathetic” part of the brain (the anterior insula) with a melon baller. The most brutal of these murders occurred while the victim was alive and awake.
Dr. Vogel was ultimately killed by the “Brain Surgeon” who turned out to be her own psychopathic son (presumed dead for over 25 years; he faked his death by starting a fire in the asylum where he was housed).
But now the show has ended in a most unsatisfying way. The reasons for this are succinctly captured in the tweet below. Our favorite serial killer lives on, but in an unexpectedly isolated and self-punishing way after (you guessed it) faking his own death and moving far away from his son and girlfriend.
That was one of the worst episodes ever. We’re leaving, we’re not, we’re leaving, we’re not, I died, I didn’t, I’m a lumberjack #dexter
— Mariah Straughan (@Mariahstraughan) September 23, 2013
In an interview, Jennifer Carpenter, the actress who played Dexter’s sister Deb, had this to say about the end of the series (where her character dies due to a horrible mistake in her brother’s judgment):
“I’m picturing an older model television where you have to get up to turn the TV off and then it slips into that tiny little dot until it’s all gone — that’s what I feel like is happening to me.”
It’s a great interview from an actress who got better and better as the series progressed. I always thought of Deb as the most traumatized woman on television.
Finally, here’s an alternate ending from an executive producer who left the show after four seasons:
“In the very last scene of the series,” Philips explained, “Dexter wakes up. And everybody is going to think, ‘Oh, it was a dream.’ And then the camera pulls back and back and back and then we realize, ‘No, it’s not a dream.’ Dexter’s opening his eyes and he’s on the execution table at the Florida Penitentiary. They’re just starting to administer the drugs and he looks out through the window to the observation gallery.
“And in the gallery are all the people that Dexter killed—including the Trinity Killer and the Ice Truck Killer (his brother Rudy), LaGuerta who he was responsible killing, Doakes who he’s arguably responsible for, Rita, who he’s arguably responsible for, Lila. All the big deaths, and also whoever the weekly episodic kills were. They are all there.
“That’s what I envisioned for the ending of Dexter. That everything we’ve seen over the past eight seasons has happened in the several seconds from the time they start Dexter’s execution to the time they finish the execution and he dies. Literally, his life flashed before his eyes as he was about to die. I think it would have been a great, epic, very satisfying conclusion.”