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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dexter Season 5 Finale Discussion

I just finished watching the Dexter season 5 finale and I am surprisingly still alive. I really had expected to die during the show tonight from some sort of heart attack, but one of the things I have learned about this show is that the build up is sometimes more frightening than the the outcome (with exception of the season 4 finale). Not all season finales can be as intense as last season, but I still thought this season, as a whole was awesome. I absolutely loved season 5. FAVORITE so far! But it may have a lot to do with the fact that this was the first season I was actually able to watch in real time. However, I think it mostly had to do with Julia Stiles. Spoilers below!

Because of Julia Stiles' character, Lumen, we were able to see a part of Dexter we had never seen, a tender, loving, and completely unfiltered lover version of Dexter. Because Lumen was broken and had the same "Dark Passenger" as Dexter, he was able to fully be himself with her, and for the first time, feel like he could connect to someone genuinely and be human. Now, my love for the character of Dexter is like that of an overprotective older sister, I think. I find myself, while watching, wanting to hold him or wanting to give him a hug, console him or comfort him. So watching Lumen finally fulfill that part of Dexter's life, allowing him to feel like he's not the only person on Earth, was so wonderful for me. That moment, when it dawns on Dexter, that she looks at him and doesn't see a monster, that she appreciates him, ALL of him, was perfect! It was so special. And the first time Dexter realizes he may love Lumen was one of the sweetest things, in my opinion.

Perhaps my favorite moment of this entire season was, well obviously, the moment that all the walls come down and Lumen reaches out to Dexter. The embrace these two share in that episode was not just one of the first touch of two lovers, but the rebirth of these two broken people. Dexter, in this moment, is finally able to be with someone who knows his entire self and still cares about him, and his reaction in this moment could not be more touching. As for Lumen, this man has been her savior and guide and now he is her refuge. It was just such a beautiful scene. They have shared a deep intimacy and trust that few couples will ever share, and that moment allowed those emotions to come to fruition.

Which brings us to the finale and how things end. With the death of Jordan Chase, Lumen's need to kill no longer exists, so she decides that she will have to leave because she knows Dexter will not be able to stop his "Dark Passenger." And therefore, once again, Dexter's need to kill will keep him from having the companionship he desires and needs. What is really heartbreaking about this scene is that Dex begs Lumen not to go. We see flashes of anger and weakness (maybe desperation) we've never seen before. Is he mad at Lumen? I was. But I believe Dexter was more angry at himself for allowing himself to believe that he could have that sweet little life, with a lady who would accept his Dark Passenger, and she could meet all his friends, and his children, and share and understand his double life. The one thing he was missing with Rita was allowing her to know him completely, and I think with Lumen, he believed he might achieve it, only to have that hope (the highest hope he'd ever allowed himself to have) crashed by the reality that Lumen is not as damaged as he is. She is healed, and she must move on.

"Don't be sorry your darkness is gone. I'll carry it for you. I'll keep it with mine."(Be still, my heart!)

With that being said, I don't believe that the feelings they have for each other are gone, and since Lumen did NOT die, there is no reason for me to believe that one day she won't show up in the show again. I really hope to see her sometime in the 6th season, even though I doubt it. They were such a beautiful pair for this short while, and now it was tied up so nicely, I doubt they could re-open it. But I really just want Dexter be happy. What was truly sad about this finale is Dexter beginning to believe the last 5 years of trying to be human and nearly succeeding, was all a lie. He almost got there with Rita, only to find her murdered because of his extra-curricular activities. Then, he felt lost, but he was reborn in meeting Lumen, only to have the same issues drive her away. Could this be the last straw that makes him believe there is no point in trying?

Hopefully, Dexter will take into consideration that for a time, a person knew his secret. For a time, a person loved him despite, and respected him for it. For a time, someone loved all of him with no reservations, and could relate with him on every level. Hopefully, that will be enough for him, until he finds a better way to fulfill that void. I think the children coming to stay with him for the summer will help. Astor being sweet at the end was certainly a nice refreshing surprise.

One of the neatest thing that this season tackled was what right and wrong means, and how it's not always black and white. In many ways, in many situations within the story lines of this show, what is right is relative. This entire show is based on that principle with how Dexter views the world, but this season, many other characters learn their own perspective of right and wrong. We finally see Deb begin to construct her thoughts on this theme, and learn that not everything can be put into one side or the other. Her choice to let the "vigilante lovers" go shows that she's beginning to become a seasoned cop, like Laguerta or Angel, who make decisions based on what their experiences in the force have shown them. Also, that decision helped to keep me from dying in my seat of panic (haha).

Dexter is SERIOUSLY one of the best shows on TV, and now I am really not sure what to do with myself until season 6 returns. However, Justin just got me all 4 seasons on DVD so I think a re-watch is in order. What were your thoughts on the season finale? Please comment and share!


  1. It's taking a while for it to compute with me. One thing I felt I didn't 100% understand was the Liddy murder investigation. I didn't understand if Quinn's silence was because he was protecting Dexter or just being careful with what he said, but then he thanked Dexter at the end, which gave me hope for a minute that the two of them could mend their broken friendship they had in Season 3, that was completely shattered in season 4 and 5. I need some bro-hugging to happen on this show, pronto. Ultimately, the finale was not at all what I was expecting, and I feel like there's still a total lack of real explanation for Jordan's motivations other than being a fat kid at camp who changed his life in a sick twisted way by "taking it" under control. So I wanna let it sink in a bit before I decide how I really feel. Until then, thumbs up, and another great season of one of the best shows on tv

  2. Yes I DID want to know more about Jordan's motivations. I liked your impotent theory.

  3. I did too, but that's the only aspect I felt was left hanging/anti-climatic. The actor could have had a really great scene with an awesome monologue and they just kind of glazed over it, and rushed his death a bit. I loved how Dexter took his ass down though. UHMAZING.

  4. I agree with you, Kevin. I do think that Jordan was impotent. I still don't get his relationship with Emily...that confused the heck out of me and was never explained.

    I have already voiced that I wasn't a fan. The show took huge leaps last season when they killed Rita. It was a huge sacrifice that was made so that the show could live up to its potential. The bar was raised this season, and the last few episodes were some of the best I've seen, so I had big expectations for this finale. I don't see how all of those loose ends were tied up in about 20 minutes and now everyone is happy. I hate it. I think it's stupid. There should be some kind of cliffhanger that will leave me excited for Season 6. What is there to wonder about now? Will Harrison start cutting more teeth? Will Astor lose her virginity? Ugh. Sorry. Soapbox complete for now.

  5. This was my response on your page, too:

    "Haha, wow. I am kind of feeling like you are calling this last episode the Breaking Dawn of Dexter.

    I can tell there is nothing I can say to you that will make you see how I feel about the last episode because you feel so strongly. What I am most sad about in this is that this was my first season to watch live on TV and we can't share it because we disagree so strongly! Haha. What a bummer.

    Again, all I can say is that not every season can end with a huge cliff-hanger, like with season 3. It wound up really nicely with a pretty bow, too. I thought the Skinner was going to be really hard to overcome, but Dex did it pretty easily and no one found out about anything and then he made it to his wedding. That's how I felt about the ending of this season, only I was heartbroken for Dexter because of how badly he longed for that connection. I think it may have felt rushed because they had to get Lumen out of there because Julia isn't set to be in the 6th season. But if they had extended it one more episode then the last one may have played out like a soap opera ending instead, so they just did it quickly at the end.

    There are things I wonder about for season 6. Quinn still has those pictures of Dex and Lumen dropping off bodies in his apartment. Quinn also knows for sure now that Dex has something to hide and that he's killed at least one person. If he comes across those pictures later and sees him and Lumen, I think something more could happen there. But again, there have been a few season endings of Dex that leave you without a cliff hanger. In fact, I feel like season 4 was the ONLY one that left me feeling like OH DEAR GOD WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT. This ending felt like the rest, to me. And I was ok with it. "

  6. LOVED IT! I just watched it. I'm so glad they didn't kill of Lumen's character. But I had a feeling they would figure out a way to write her off the show. The scene with them in the apartment was touching, I felt terrible for Dexter. But I'm with you, I see no reason why she won't come back at some point. We'll see. They're really going to have to out-do themselves next season lol

    That scene with Deb was so intense. I don't think I was breathing. I love Deb. :)

  7. Me too Matt! I was holding my breath!!!!

  8. Caty, all due respect, but I think you are severely missing the point. Each season save for season 4 has ended with all the loose ends of that season being tied up, and ended rather softly. "The Getaway" was a cliffhanger by design. It was there to completely turn the show on it's head and take it in a new direction. Not every season finale is going to be like that, nor should it be. I've been spoiled by the epic, cliff-hanger filled, game-changing finales of LOST, my all time favorite show to the point where just about any show seems to end on a soft lob, but at the same time, not every show needs to end with a cliff-hanger that leaves you screaming at the tv. It's about storytelling. Inserting an uncertain ending for the sake of it would be a disservice to the show because, really, what season besides season 4 has ended with uncertainty? Season 1 ended with Brian dead and the Ice Truck Killer case solved. Season 2 ended with Doakes and Lila were dead, and Doakes had been successfully framed as the Bay Harbor Butcher, leaving Dexter safe from police investigation. Season 3 ended with Miguel and the Skinner dead, and Dexter and Rita married with a baby on the way. Season 5 ends with Jordan Chase and me merry band of rapists all dead, Lumen healed, Liddy dead, Quinn backing off Dexter, and having healed his relationship with Deb. Again, season 4 is the only season that ended with uncertainty. The only other thing I can think of is that Season 1 ended with Doakes following Dexter around constantly, but that was much more of an annoyance than anything, not a true cliffhanger.

    Wrapped up endings are not uncommon with this show. In fact, cliffhangers in season finales seem to be the anomaly. Again, storytelling matters. Inserting a bathtub scene in every finale would get repetitive and lose it's sting. Are any of us ever going to be able to get that image of Rita's lifeless body laying in that tub out of our heads? No, because it was something unique for this show. Repeating it with Lumen would have been ridiculous. And there's only so much Dexter can take as a character and as a human being. There's no logic to have him lose two soul-mates in the period of two seasons. It loses it's impact and comes off as contrived and pointless. What would be the point of Lumen dying? Nothing. It adds nothing to the show we haven't already seen this season, so why repeat that story again in Season 6? Dexter is a show that never once becomes stale because it finds a unique story and voice in each season.

  9. Season 1 was introductory to these characters, this world, and Dexter as a damaged human being. Season 2 featured no killer for Dexter to catch, but rather he was the villain of the season, becoming a downright unlikeable character at points. It was really hard to root for him at times because, let's be honest, he was doing some very unlikeable things. Season 3 had him trying to make a real human connection of friendship outside Rita, and that failed miserably. Season 4 was an examination of the duality of Dexter and Trinity. Two men equally psychotic, but while one of them was able to control his urges, and be a human in his "real life", if you will, the other was a monster in both lives. I will never forget the Thanksgiving episode as long as I live because it's quite possibly the most terrifying episode of television I've ever seen. Season 5, of course, was about Dexter healing the emptiness and lack of purpose in his life left there after Rita's death, and of course, how Lumen helped him be whole again, and vice versa. And he was healed, to an extent. If you're looking for uncertainty, it's there. The question remains, will Dexter ever be healed as he desperately wants to be. The scene between him and Lumen at the end was heartbreaking because Dexter finally let out his anger and frustration that he can't be a normal person.

    Ultimately, I have a few reservations about this finale. For starters, the lack of explanation over a villain that I, quite frankly, found much less compelling than Trinity, Brian, or Miguel is problematic. Sure, what Jordan Chase and his followers did was fucked up, but really, what was there to really distinguish them from any of the other fucked up things that happened in Seasons 1-4? Nothing without a real explanation from the man himself as to why he did this. Brian, Lila, Miquel, the Skinner, and Trinity all had motivations. So why did the writers just kind of glaze over Chase and the Fuentes brothers? Are they not important enough to give a motivation to? I'm not sure I buy the excuse that the emotional component was more important than killers' motivations, since, let's face it, the villains have always been given an emotional context that makes them all the more frightening. But there was no real reason for Chase and the Fuentes brothers to do what they did other than it just being sick. This is a nit-pick, but I felt like more insight into this season's antagonists would have made it a richer season.

    In any case, like I said, storytelling matters, and pointless cliffhangers for the sake of cliffhangers would ruin that which matters most; compelling, groundbreaking storytelling that this show is successful because of.

  10. Had to split my essay there into two posts because it was initially too large. But my stance remains.

  11. Wow, Kevin what a response! That was essay worthy.

  12. Yeah seriously, WTF happened with the Fuentes Brothers??? Correct me if I'm wrong but...Deb only killed one of them?

    Actually, I thought Jonny Lee Miller portrayed the villain in the finale really really well. Up to that point, he had been sort of generically appalling, but when he got all up in Lumen's face and kept licking his lips and acted like he was gonna bite her was really pretty frightening. But you're right...the motivation wasn't really there. I don't buy into the whole "I changed your life!" as his motivation...there had to be something else. And they never really said how Emily got away and why all the victims looked like her...or did they, and I just missed it in all the "I hope Lumen doesn't die!!!!" frenzy?

    We should move this somewhere else, otherwise this post is going to end up with 8 million comments :)

  13. I don't think Audree would mind the site traffic lol.

  14. I don't! Please keep 'em coming, hahah!

  15. I don't even really know what to say. This was definitely one of the best seasons. After every episode I felt like I couldn't WAIT for the next one, like WHAT is going to happen?! Even if it wasn't a crazy cliff-hanger ending to the episode. It was just so good I couldn't wait for the rest of the story.

    I absolutely LOVED Lumen's character and the relationship between her and Dexter. I was so happy for him. And then when she leaves, I feel devastated for him. But in a way I figured she would leave. I was really hoping she wouldn't, and I desperately hope she comes back at some point. I think she could.

    I know I may be in the minority on this point, but I really love Quinn. And I'm so happy with where his story is going. His part in all this was one of the reasons why every episode seemed so urgent and unpredictable to me. I believe he started his search with good intentions, just trying to be a good cop. And along the way he fell in love with Deb and wasn't sure what he was doing anymore. He got so confused and too caught up in it and wasn't sure what to do.

    I figured either he or Liddy would end up dead, but wasn't sure what would bring it about. I was thinking something might happen between the two of them and he would inadvertently kill Liddy or he would get so angry he would commit a crime of passion. But I'm glad it didn't come to that. I wouldn't want to taint him with that when it would be something that would drive Deb away if she were to find out. And it would break her heart if she ended up having to arrest him or be involved in his undoing in any way.

    So I'm glad that Dex had to be the one to kill him, but I'm still wary of what this is going to mean for the three of them. I think he can trust Quinn not to say anything, but Deb might ask questions. Or who knows, she may just be so happy that she lets it all go. Either way, this is obviously not the end of their awkward relationship.

    Dexter is a good judge of character and doesn't like Quinn. So I'm hoping that there isn't some dark secret we're going to find out about him that ruins yet another one of Deb's relationships. I hope that Quinn becomes the kind of guy that deserves Deb and that he and Dexter can build a relationship. I think this can happen and it's my greatest hope for season 6 at this point.

    Overall, I think this was one of the best seasons, if not the best so far. I am definitely up for watching everything again from the beginning! And if only Grant hadn't deleted all of this season on the DVR...

  16. What would Deb ask questions about? As far as she knows, the blood work cleared Quinn, so there are no questions. I doubt Deb will go around sniffing for something. She has no reason to.

    I'm pretty sure there is no secret about Quinn as to why Dex doesn't like him. I'm pretty sure Dex doesn't like him because Quinn was trying to take him down.

    But I agree with you that this is definitely one of the best seasons. It's my personal favorite. CANNOT wait for it to come to DVD!!!!

  17. OH MY GOD!!! I forgot! No one has found Emily's body yet! They will certainly have to deal with that next season, too, and maybe we will find out more about that connection!

  18. Apart from being underwhelmed by the finale, did anyone else notice the difference in titles?

    My DVR recorded the finale as "Through a Glass, Darkly", but the finale aired as "The Big One". I wonder if this has anything to do with them not being picked up officially until a week before the finale aired. Granted, they probably all knew they would get renewed, but I wonder if there was another ending shot since they had not been picked up, and then edited to keep the show going once they did.

  19. I don't understand why Quinn is silent either. That doesn't make sense. He PAYS for the dude to go after Dexter; When he KNOWS Dexter had something to do with the murder, he just says nothing at all. (?) I also thought it wrapped it to cleanly and quickly with the new girlfriend...LIke "Hey, we gotta get her off cuz we have to start anew next season"! UGH! I Looooooove Dexter, but was disappointed with this season finale & so was my hubby

  20. Cathy I think Quinn dropped it so it didn't threaten his relationship with Deb even more.
    One question in my mind and maybe something that could come up in the next season is dos Deb know. At Harrisons party deb said something like 'I bet you're glad this is all over' to Dexter, then held a stare for a couple of seconds. He had the least amount to do with the investigation than anyone else, Diorsnt make sense, unless she knows!! Maybe Quinn told her.

  21. No, I think Deb was talking about Quinn investigating him. I doubt she meant that she knew it was him and Lumen. I'll have to watch it again and see if I detect something that I didn't see the first time, now.