“Dexter” – a heartbreaking season finale

Will Dexter's son follow the code?
Will Dexter's son follow the code?

By Elaine Bergstrom

Spoiler Warning

We all have friends about whom we say, “Why did he (or she) ever marry that person?” I’ve felt that way about Dexter marrying Rita for the entire season, but as last night made clear, my feelings are irrelevant. Dexter married Rita because he loved her. He actually put off killing Trinity because he hoped to learn how to be a good family man. When he saw how Trinity terrorized his family, he saw how different his own life with Rita and the kids had been. And, when Trinity’s family was led away by police, he saw the potential future for his wife and children. Has there every been a better reason for a man to abandon his homicidal ways?

Meanwhile, Debs discovered that her father was no hero, and that Dexter is the child of one of his liaisons (in more ways than one) and the brother of the Ice Truck Killer. When she tells Dexter this, she doesn’t form the same conclusion Harry did — that her brother is also a monster. Her inability to see him in that light only adds to Dexter’s feeling that he can change.

By the time Dexter had Trinity on a killing table, he seemed to have lost the urge to kill. Of course, Trinity was more than ready to accept his fate. “I prayed to be changed, to be different,” he told Dexter, adding that he and Dexter cannot alter what they are. “This isn’t your doing. This is God’s plan.” And when Dexter killed him it was less an execution than a mercy killing – for Trinity, who raised his chin to make the blow strike true, and for Harry, the monster, who Dexter (finally!) rejected with a cry of “I don’t want it!”

And so, Dexter rushed home to grab his clothes and head down to the Keys to spend a romantic weekend with Rita and get started on building a new life sans knives and trash bags. But he was too late, and finds Harrison crying in the bathroom in a pool of his mother’s blood, and Rita dead in the bathtub — Trinity’s final victim.

This wasn’t a cliffhanger, not in the traditional sense. Trinity is dead, case closed. But there are a lot of questions left for next season. Here are my thoughts on how they will be answered.

How will Dexter explain that Rita was a Trinity victim? Not hard, once the officers at Miami Metro look at their own security cameras and see that Trinity paid them a visit and read Dexter’s name tag.

How will Dexter view Harry? Unclear. First off, Harry kept warning him to finish off Trinity immediately. So Dexter may see his abandonment of Harry’s teachings as the failing that led directly to Rita’s death. On the other hand, there were many times he could have led the police straight to Trinity and instead misled them. So Dexter and Harry-his-real-Dark-Passenger are responsible for Rita’s death. Dexter is at a crossroads, but I think his love for the kids will continue him on the path to change.

How will Debs view Dexter? I think with sympathy. Unlike Harry who (happily, I believe) wanted to think he had a budding serial killer on his hands, Debs will understand that the horror her brother experienced early in life may be responsible for his secretive behavior but nothing more. I expect the pair will become closer as a result of this, and of Rita’s death.

What about the money for Trinity’s family? “Kyle” all but promised to return it to them and he will keep that promise. As a result, the manhunt for Trinity will continue, but some (Quinn included) will believe Trinity must be dead. Quinn will also become more and more suspicious of Dexter’s involvement with Trinity.

In an interview following the finale, Michael C. Hall said, “Change is inevitable.” Next season, we will see plenty of it. After all, Dexter has a responsibility to those kids — the older two as well as Harrison. He will fight his urges as best he can as he tries to reform and reject the life sentence Harry imposed upon him.

This would be the logical way he should act, and Dexter is usually logical, but this is television, after all, so a lot will depend on how the series’ creators see the series’ viewers. Would we tune in to watch a serial killer trying to reform, or are we watching Dexter to satisfy that very human need to see vengeance done? Do you feel cheated when there isn’t at least one kill per episode? If so, what does Dexter say about us all?

Photo: Randy Tepper/Showtime