Spoilers for the "Dexter" season three finale coming up just as soon as I break my hand...
The worst part of this season was that there were a few really strong episodes late in the year that seemed to reverse all the slack pacing and dull storytelling from earlier on. Because of those episodes, I got my hopes up that the early duds were misdirection, or a slump that the production team pulled themselves out of, and that the end of the season would be much closer to season one (Dexter kills his brother) than season two (Lila goes insane and has to be put down). And so when we got to this underwhelming finale, it was a lot more disappointing than if I had just written off the season as a misfire a few weeks ago.
Having bumped off Miguel last week, the show spends most of "Do You Take Dexter Morgan" on quiet reflection, sort of following the pattern of shows like "The Sopranos" and "The Wire." The problem is that Miguel's death felt abrupt, and very little of the reflection felt earned. There were a couple of strong scenes -- Dexter taking the thorn out of Ramon's paw, Dexter forgiving Harry and committing himself to being a better father -- but overall it was a fairly aimless hour.
Among the missed opportunities from this episode, and from this season:
• How do you put Dexter in the clutches of another serial killer and allow him to escape so quickly? That should have been an entire episode right there, and now they can't even go there again because they did it here.
• Whatever happened to the idea of Dexter exploring what it means to kill outside the Code of Harry? Again, because they introduced the idea and then abandoned it so quickly in favor of having Dexter and Miguel get involved in their father-son/mentor-protege relationship, the writers really can't go down that path again.
• What exactly was the point of all the Quinn/IAD nonsense if it was never going to go anywhere? I suppose it was to show us that Deb earned her shield the right way, as opposed to taking Yuki up on her offer to rat, but that was an awful lot of time spent on an irritating character who wound up being a red herring.
• This isn't a missed opportunity, but it bugged me just the same: what was up with Miguel's wife's total lack of reaction to his death? I get that they were separated at the time and that she thought he'd been stepping out on her, but that is one cold fish if she's going about her business like the man she was married to for years wasn't just garrotted and skinned(*) to death.
(*) Speaking of which, given what a high-profile case this is, don't you think the coroner's going to notice that Miguel got skinned post-mortem, which doesn't match King's MO?
Really, if it hadn't been for that lovely shot of the blood dripping onto Rita's wedding dress -- a symbol of what this marriage really means for her, as well as something that felt like it should somehow be incorporated in the opening credits -- I think the episode would have been a total loss. As it is, I want to hope that his season was just a misstep for the "Dexter" creative team, but I've been worried for a while now that there's only so much life in the concept, and it feels like they've run out.
What did everybody else think?