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Author Topic: Dexter  (Read 5991 times)
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Lyra405

Bending Unit
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« Reply #160 on: 08-13-2013 23:43 »

So, how's everyone enjoying the season so far?

I'm enjoying it a lot.
Anna3000

Starship Captain
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« Reply #161 on: 08-14-2013 06:14 »

I've never seen Dexter before so I can't give an opinion, Lyra, but I've have heard so many good things about the show that I'd really like to start watching it.

So, I have a question for any fans here: is it necessary to start at season 1, or is this a series where it's possible to begin at any season and still enjoy it? I'm asking because I was just going to start watching the current season, but I wasn't sure if that's a bad idea.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #162 on: 08-14-2013 06:46 »

This is one of those shows that you should absolutely start from the beginning and watch all the way through. The newest season is actually the final season of the series, and enjoying it fully requires having knowledge of the events and character development of Dexter throughout the past seven seasons. Plus, the earliest seasons are by far the best, and if you end up liking the show you'll want to watch them anyway, so might as well start there instead of spoiling big things for yourself by watching later stuff first.
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #163 on: 08-14-2013 06:58 »

Yeah, seasons 1-4 are by the far the best (though the first half of season 7 was amazing). It becomes pretty convoluted/silly later in its run, albeit still quite entertaining.
Anna3000

Starship Captain
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« Reply #164 on: 08-14-2013 07:09 »

Okay, thank you both; I'm very glad I asked.  smile
~FazeShift~

Moderator
DOOP Ubersecretary
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« Reply #165 on: 08-20-2013 18:19 »

That last episode was very twisty turney.
Gorky

Space Pope
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« Reply #166 on: 01-11-2014 22:49 »

So did you ever get around to starting the show, Anna? If not, then, as a recent convert to its greatness, I would highly recommend it; I burned through all eight seasons in about a month and a half, and this has quite easily become one of my favorite series of all time. Like Beamer says, the last few seasons are a bit dodgy (season six is kind of the lowest point, in my opinion; 80 percent of season seven is fantastic, and the first half-ish of season eight is likewise great), but overall I think it is a surprisingly compelling, compulsively watchable show.

In case you haven't gotten around to watching it yet, I'm going to put the rest of this post in spoiler tags. I know the series has ended and spoilering is probably no longer necessary, but part of the reason the show had such an impact on me is because I was completely unspoiled for every last plot point, and thus the various twists hit me as hard as if I had been watching it in real-time over the past eight years. I wouldn't want to wreck that experience for you, or anyone else who's visiting the thread without having worked their way through the whole series.

So, yeah. Here are my thoughts on some things that were previously said in the general TV discussion thread:

As for the ending:




Season 5 would be one of the worst seasons for me. I mean, really, the whole thing was so pointless.


Especially seeing as, at the end of season 6,

MeatablePie

Professor
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« Reply #167 on: 01-11-2014 22:50 »

I found Dexter very appealing.

Sad that it's gone.
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #168 on: 01-13-2014 11:16 »

Gorky - I'd agree with you on the first half of season 7, which I thought was excellent. Right up until the whole Hannah thing, which was pretty much the final nail in the coffin for me... The Dexter/Deb stuff in the first half of season 7 was truly riveting though, and it's primarily the performances of the two actors in question that kept me coming back after that point.

'Cause it sure as fuck wasn't the writing. hmpf
Motor Oil

Starship Captain
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« Reply #169 on: 04-29-2014 23:51 »

I have just finished Dexter, and thought the ending was satisfactory but not incredible. Quinn's breakup and return to Deborah was pointless, I thought, especially considering what happened to her in the end.
I liked seeing Dexter transform as a character during the last season. Up until the last few episodes, I disliked Dexter thoroughly, but I believe he made a change for the better nearing the end. I do wish they had made him a bit less ignorantly hypocritical, though.
They seemed to be dragging out a lot of stuff, especially with Hannah getting caught: on the trail, off it, on, off, on, off—is she going to prison or not? In the end, they stretched it out so much that I pretty much lost all interest in Hannah's fate.
I do wish that Deb had been fine in the end. She was always my favorite character, and one of the few with whom I would've been satisfied with a neat and tidy ending, which they were so close to accomplishing.
Beamer

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« Reply #170 on: 04-30-2014 03:39 »
« Last Edit on: 04-30-2014 03:41 »

Up until the last few episodes, I disliked Dexter thoroughly, but I believe he made a change for the better nearing the end.

You can't get a much better redemption story other than "the serial killer receives no comeuppance for his crimes, kills his sister, shirks off all his responsibilities - including leaving his only son to be raised by another serial killer - and gets to start fresh with NO ONE from his former life being any the wiser." Yeah, it's a fucking fairytale.

Also, LUMBERJACK.

Ugh.

I want back the 10 hours of my life or so that I lost watching season 8. In fact, given how appalling the latter half of the show's run was (save from the first few episodes of season 7, which were brilliant, before Hannah showed up and the show devolved back into contrived melodrama again), I'd quite like to go back in time and somehow make it so that the show ended with the season 4 finale.

FUCKING LUMBERJACK.  mad
Motor Oil

Starship Captain
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« Reply #171 on: 04-30-2014 04:03 »

Oh believe me, I would have much rather preferred that Dexter had died or been caught, but personality-wise I began to like him more as the series drew to a close. I disliked him because he claimed that he had no choice in killing people. Fucking bullshit. You have a choice in anything you do. Is someone holding a gun to your head? No? Okay, then what you do is of your own free will—as a matter of fact, even if there was a gun to your head, you'd still choose the final outcome! I'm guessing his need to kill came from an OCD-like syndrome? He "has" to do it? He'll live if he doesn't. Dexter will suffer discomfort, sure, but after watching someone chop up his mother I wouldn't think that would seem like such a big deal. He's aware of his shortcomings and has the full, realized potential to prevent them. The fact that he isn't just proves how much of a fuckup he actually is.
And he especially can't be disgusted at people who kill because they "need to". So does he. If Harry hadn't taught Dexter the code, he still would be killing. It doesn't matter who ends up on the table as long as someone is there. Yet, near the end, Dexter's main grudge towards his victims is the fact that they kill for no reason other than they want to.
Beamer

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« Reply #172 on: 04-30-2014 04:37 »

LUMBERJACK.
Gorky

Space Pope
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« Reply #173 on: 04-30-2014 13:48 »

It's interesting to me that you preferred the Dexter of latter seasons to the one of the first few years, Motor Oil, I guess because I kind of feel the opposite. The Dexter of seasons one through four seemed far more human to me--despite the part where he, you know, butchered people in a regular and systematic way--and more in-touch with his emotional life (even if his most common emotional response to a situation was, like, rage). In season five I thought it was unrealistic how quickly he got over Rita, and I felt like his feelings for her--which had always seemed to me fairly genuine; his problem was never feeling his emotions, but rather recognizing them as emotions and expressing them outwardly--were kind of swept aside during his relationship with Lumen.

Don't get me wrong: I loved Lumen, and understood that Dexter was in part saving her because he had failed to save Rita--I just felt like his behavior towards Lumen suggested that he had never been in love before, even though the show had been working pretty damn hard for four years to convince us that he cared deeply about Rita. Every subsequent relationship Dexter had with a woman, to me, seemed to be a sort of emotional ret-con of what he had with Rita. This was particularly pronounced in the case of Hannah, who I fucking hated, and who Dexter seemed to love despite the fact that she was a heartless killer who murdered people to save her own ass (something Dexter did only a handful of times in the series, with people who knew too much like Miguel and (almost) La Guerta; the rest of the time, he did it out of an animalistic and compulsive need--which, while disturbing and morally reprehensible, seems a hell of a lot purer than what that psychopathic cunt-bag Hannah was up to).

Speaking of Hannah: The Dexter of the later seasons mostly bugs me because he is so incredibly selfish--particularly in regards to Hannah. In season four, he's neglecting his family and feeling stifled by them and stuff, but his pursuing Trinity is still based in his desire to learn from him how to reconcile being a killer with being a husband and father. In season eight, meanwhile, he completely abandons Deb--who could have turned his ass in for serial killin' a billion times over, instead of allowing herself to be destroyed by it all*--to be with Hannah (who tried to kill his sister, but whatever: apparently Deb forgives her!). Why would a Dexter who cares about his family--a character trait of his that remained fairly consistent throughout the series--abandon one part of it to be with another? And why would the series treat this like a good decision on Dexter's part, and encourage his happiness over the happiness of all other people? I get that he's the hero of the show and stuff, but his personal happiness should not come at the expense of the happiness of other characters who we care about just as much, like Deb.

Honestly, if the series had ended in the middle of season eight, with that shot of Dexter and Deb and Vogel on his boat and his line about wanting to be with family, I would have been pretty satisfied. Everything that follows that episode completely contradicts its message, which is that Dexter and Deb need each other, that Vogel cares for Dexter like a surrogate mother, and that Dexter is learning to resist the urge to kill unless someone is directly threatening someone he cares about. But, yeah, let's bring Hannah back and have Dexter abandon his career and his life for her--that's not indicative of a romantic immaturity completely unbefitting a man of Dexter's intellect. The only way I can appreciate the actual finale is by thinking of it as a deconstruction of Dexter's alleged emotional development: after what happens to Deb, and Dexter's guilt and sorrow over it, he realizes it was naive of him to think that what he had with Hannah was true human connection worth upending his life over and decides to isolate himself from the world as a kind of self-inflicted punishment. (Yes, I know this is not the version of the story the series itself tries to sell us--it's actually that Dexter loves Hannah and Harrison so much that he wouldn't want to inadvertently destroy them...which is why he lets his son be raised by, like, another serial killer even more ill-equipped for parenthood than Dexter was?--but let me keep my delusions, please.)

*On that note: I think Deb is the most compelling character in the final three-ish years of the series; the way she navigates the revelation that a.) she's kind of in love with Dexter and b.) she's kind of in love with a serial killer is, I think, really well-done (though I may be alone in my opinion on part (a.)). Her ultimate fate seems so completely unfair and just an excuse to teach Dexter one final lesson about how destructive his lifestyle is--even though he had apparently already learned that throughout the course of the series, and in season eight particularly. Oy...
Motor Oil

Starship Captain
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« Reply #174 on: 04-30-2014 14:49 »

I just felt like his behavior towards Lumen suggested that he had never been in love before, even though the show had been working pretty damn hard for four years to convince us that he cared deeply about Rita.

But it also gave us significant evidence* that his feelings were not, in fact, completely true: Aster recognizing that he did not care about Rita's death, his wondering how to make an "I love you" sound genuine, the fact that he only started going out with Rita for a cover life.

This was particularly pronounced in the case of Hannah, whom I fucking hated, and whom Dexter seemed to love despite the fact that she was a heartless killer who murdered people to save her own ass

Personally, Hannah was my favorite of all of Dexter's girlfriends. Lumen needed Dexter not as a lover but as a spiritual guardian who would help her bring balance back to her life by getting the revenge she needed. They became more than that, but Lumen always needed Dexter for what he did rather than who he was, which is why they couldn't stay together.
Hannah is someone that I can relate to easily, most notably because I have had figures similar to her father in my life, and what she felt concerning him was easy for me to understand. I also very much liked her treatment of Harrison, and Hannah and Deb's relationship was an interesting one to watch unfold. I am able to mostly disregard the fact that any of these characters are killers. To me, that is a minor aspect of their personalities: their inner thoughts, motivations, and outward impressions are what I pay attention to. Hannah's motivation was simply to survive, and she did that the best way she could.

the rest of the time, he did it out of an animalistic and compulsive need

His need to kill is what I hate the most about Dexter--or rather, his disdainful treatment of others killers despite killing for the same reason he does. Near the end, his usual face-off on the table involved him asking why they killed (for which they usually supplied a reasonable answer), then claiming that that was bullshit and saying they only killed because they wanted to.
So does Dexter. In an earlier season there was a moment where he said, "I don't need to kill you, I just want to, it's quite liberating", and that angered me more than anything. He treats his victims like they are something less than him, when really they are exactly the same--well, I view Dexter as worse than his victims because of how many more people he has killed and his hypocrisy on the matter.

In season eight, meanwhile, he completely abandons Deb--who could have turned his ass in for serial killin' a billion times over, instead of allowing herself to be destroyed by it all*--to be with Hannah (who tried to kill his sister, but whatever: apparently Deb forgives her!).

I agree with you: Dexter was horrible to Deb. He completely destroyed her and I hate what he made her into once she discovered his secret. His complete lack of consideration towards her is what I find the most disturbing; he simply doesn't care.

Why would a Dexter who cares about his family--a character trait of his that remained fairly consistent throughout the series--abandon one part of it to be with another?

If Dexter had abandoned his family because he knew that it would only hurt them if he stayed--if he had down it for their good, rather than his own--I would have been satisfied. I think that it would have been possible for Dexter and Hannah to stay in Miami, but I also think it would have been nice if he and Hannah had broken up as the police came down on her. I liked Hannah, but she threw the entire family out of whack. Poor Deb...

Everything that follows that episode completely contradicts its message, which is ... that Vogel cares for Dexter like a surrogate mother

I wouldn't have minded if Dexter had left Vogel and Daniel to sort out issues on their own. I also wouldn't have minded if Vogel had been arrested. I did not approve of her meddling around with serial killers. I would also liked to have Daniel live. He interested me far more than Dexter ever did.

Her ultimate fate seems so completely unfair and just an excuse to teach Dexter one final lesson about how destructive his lifestyle is--even though he had apparently already learned that throughout the course of the series, and in season eight particularly.

Agreed.

*Get it--evidence? Because they work with the police, and detectives use evidence to solve a case? No? Okay...
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #175 on: 04-30-2014 15:35 »
« Last Edit on: 04-30-2014 15:39 »

Lumen was a decent enough character (aside from her shoddily-written exit from the show) and Julia Stiles did a great job playing her, but season 5 is a completely pointless season. The storyline has NO impact on anything, and the fake-out ending completely stole the wind out of the exact same event happening at the end of season 6. Aside from the stuff early in the season about Dexter dealing with Rita's death, you could skip season 5 entirely and need little to no refreshing at all.

As for Hannah, she might've been an interesting addition to the show if it weren't for the fact that the "Dexter finds a broken person who isn't scared by who he is" storyline was a road we'd already traveled down MULTIPLE times in the show (Lila, Miguel, Lumen). Or if she were introduced at a point when the writing staff actually knew how to write consistent characterisation - let alone come up with original storylines (which isn't all that hard given that the show largely focused on season-long story arcs; there was plenty of other ground they could've explored over its eight year run as opposed to beating the same fucking dead horse over and over again).

The points of discussion raised in the posts above also serve to highlight how terrible the writing became. Even in the show's golden age, it seems as though there must've been some divide in the writers room as to whether Dexter himself is:
a) A psychopath who is incapable of emotion, yet functional enough to blend in with society, and is teaching himself how to put on a stronger facade over the course of the series
or
b) A totally normal guy who just happens to have pyschopathic traits due to a tragedy he experienced as a child, and is genuinely becoming more "human" over the course of the series.
Because he clearly waivers between the two for any given episode at a time. Hell, they couldn't even decide on BASIC things - they established really early on that Dexter was asexual, yet dropped it completely by its second season (I guess the writers found storytelling to be really hard without any soapy relationship-based melodrama... Not to mention, being on Showtime, you've gotta find a way to get tits in the show somehow, right?). Given that the original showrunner originally wanted Dexter to get the electric chair at the end of the show, I think it's fair to say that a change of "who's in charge" behind the scenes is responsible for the inconsistent writing, and significant decline in quality in the show's back half.

Season 4 is the show's last good season, in my opinion. Granted, it possesses a lot of the faults that would plague the seasons that followed (clunky, contrived plotting, where character's motivations are hazy at best and can change on a whim if it gets that character from point A to point B, story-wise; also, too much time spent on the bland supporting characters and their go-nowhere stories), but the stuff with Trinity is some of the best material in the show, period. John Lithgow's performance as Trinity alone is enough to merit watching the fourth season. And, if also has what would've been a perfectly fine ending to the show - Dexter's dangerous lifestyle cost him his wife, and now his baby is shown going through the same experience he had as a kid - the very experience that made him a serial killer in the first place - thus giving the series a completely cyclical feel and a sense of closure without being too condescending or compromising.

Given the awful tripe that followed (Crazy tableau religious serial killer and his invisible friends do tableau upon tableau upon tableau, while Miami Metro try to see how many times they can use the word "tableau" in a season! Quinn dates a stripper! Batista talks about starting a restaurant for an entire season - then does it and comes back one or two episodes later! LUMBERJAAAACK!!!), I'd be MUCH happier in a world where Dexter ended at season 4. It would've gone out on a high note, and may have actually held some legacy as being a pretty damn good show, as opposed to the laughingstock it became. I was literally laughing at how bad the writing was by the end of it. Oh, and don't get me started on how fucking incompetent Miami Metro must be.

Also, another example of how shitty the show's later-era writing staff were: An original idea for the show's final season was going to be that Harry was actually alive the whole time, and him and Dexter would face off.  no no
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #176 on: 04-30-2014 17:40 »
« Last Edit on: 04-30-2014 19:47 »

I don't think I ever mentioned this before on this forum, but near the beginning of season 8 I had a theory about where the Vogel storyline was going that I honestly think would have played out much better than what we got. My theory was that Vogel was in fact the serial killer who was forcing other people to kill at the beginning of the season, that she was a psychopath who took pleasure in turning other people into killers and using them to do her dirty work. This of course extended to Dexter, who despite obviously not being a psychopath himself, was along with Harry tricked into believing that he could not conquer his urge from a young age. When Dexter finally discovers this, the revelation that his code was actually devised by a psychopath with no actual regard for the innocence of others would help him to understand the he in fact is not like this, and therefore has never really needed to kill. This would lead to Vogel being his final victim, and he would then conquer his urge, redeem himself, blah blah blah happily ever after.

Actually, the fact that this isn't what happened kind of infuriates me, since in retrospect they set it up so damn well. Vogel is portrayed as being creepy as fuck with other agendas at the beginning of the season, and the fact that her son used other people to kill for him didn't end up having any good reason behind it that fit in with other plotlines. All the storylines at the beginning of the season ended up being resolved by introducing another brand new character we'd never seen before (Vogel's son) and who wasn't at all interesting, when they could have easily been used to set up what I said, which brings more things we'd already known about full circle and in my opinion would have resulted in a much more satisfying and meaningful conclusion to the series. I honestly can't understand how the writers could get so close to a good idea and then fuck it up so spectacularly.

In fact, I think I can come up with a much better blueprint for the final season of the show almost entirely made up of elements the writers themselves came up with. I talked about my ideas of how the show should have gone before in the Breaking Bad thread (as well as all the things I thought actually worked well in the later seasons), but I think this is a bit tighter. At the end of season 5, Deb actually discovers Dexter and Lumen for real. Season 6 then begins with three major storylines entering into play: Deb's dealing with knowing Dexter is a serial killer from the beginning of season 7, Vogel's appearance from the beginning of season 8, and Brother Sam's stuff from the beginning of season 6. Vogel and Brother Sam act as opposing forces on Dexter, with the former assuring him that his actions are just and he should continue killing and the latter showing him that addiction can be conquered and that people can change. Deb, meanwhile, is the wildcard...and maybe Lumen could also still be in the mix instead of leaving at the end of season 5 so that Dexter can try building a family again. Anyway, all the stuff with Vogel being the killer that I talked about in my first paragraph would happen, with Brother Sam's influence on Dexter playing into his ultimate redemption. Thoughts?

The storyline has NO impact on anything, and the fake-out ending completely stole the wind out of the exact same event happening at the end of season 6. Aside from the stuff early in the season about Dexter dealing with Rita's death, you could skip season 5 entirely and need little to no refreshing at all.

I agree with this, but honestly I think that these things make season 5 clearly the best of the last four seasons of the show. It's easily worse than the first four seasons, and I'm with you that it has no meaningful attachment to the show's running themes, but I will take a well written self-contained season over a horribly written self-contained season like season 6, or disgusting series-destroying stuff like the last two seasons (with the exception of the beginning of season 7), any day. In retrospect, season 5 was pretty tightly written and ultimately very enjoyable television, it just felt extremely disappointing at the time since it seemed to stall the show's thematic progress after the brilliant season 4. I also agree with you that the stuff at the beginning of the season is best (the premiere is one of the stronger episodes of the entire show), and that the stuff at the end, particularly the finale, was terribly executed. You're completely right about the scene with Deb finding Dexter and Lumen behind the curtain being preposterous and lightening the impact of the season 6 finale, and the sudden dropping of Quinn's investigation of Dexter was similarly unbelievable and frustrating. But everything in the middle of the season was actually good fun when taken on its own merits.

His need to kill is what I hate the most about Dexter--or rather, his disdainful treatment of others killers despite killing for the same reason he does. Near the end, his usual face-off on the table involved him asking why they killed (for which they usually supplied a reasonable answer), then claiming that that was bullshit and saying they only killed because they wanted to.
So does Dexter. In an earlier season there was a moment where he said, "I don't need to kill you, I just want to, it's quite liberating", and that angered me more than anything. He treats his victims like they are something less than him, when really they are exactly the same--well, I view Dexter as worse than his victims because of how many more people he has killed and his hypocrisy on the matter.

Sorry, but I think this is bullshit. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely see where you're coming from...I would agree with the idea that killing anybody is wrong, and that just because Dexter kills other killers doesn't justify the act. But to say that he's exactly the same as the people he kills or worse, and that there's no difference between them, is completely wrong. There's one major difference between Dexter and his victims, and that's their regard or disregard for innocent people.

See, Dexter doesn't just kill all killers, regardless of who those people kill. He only kills people who kill innocent people. Unlike almost all of his victims, Dexter has a moral objection to killing innocent people, despite his urge. Yes, you could argue that if Dexter was not taught the code he would also be killing innocent people and perhaps his victims were not given that chance, but I don't think that's true...even in the portrayals of Dexter as a young boy, you can tell that Dexter is a caring person with a moral center. If anything, the show seems to enforce that Dexter could have potentially conquered his urge at a young age, but due to Vogel and Harry, he was never given the chance, instead being allowed by them to indulge in his urge in a way that made him feel righteous, arguably making that urge even stronger.

In Dexter's victims, you see no such personality traits. Most of them don't give a flying fuck about the innocent people they kill. Even the ones who believe they are doing something righteous are clearly sociopathic monsters who are merely pretending to care about the people they kill to cover the fact that they couldn't actually care less. They kill anyone they want for whatever reason they want. Meanwhile, Dexter is not like this at all. His code for killing isn't morally black and white...like I said, he doesn't just kill people who kill, with no other qualifiers, he only kills people who kill innocent people. He lets a number of other people who kill survive, such as Lumen or Hannah, because he recognizes that they (arguably in Hannah's case) are not killing innocent people.

Dexter is still a bad person...but in my opinion at least, this distinction pretty decidedly puts him on higher ground than those he disposes of.
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #177 on: 05-01-2014 02:20 »

It should also be noted that, over the show's 8 season run, Dexter actually killed multiple people who didn't meet the code (I remember it being a big thing when it first happened, and by the third or fourth time it was just like "Oh, okay, we're going back to this well again") and didn't feel a lick of remorse for it. The code pretty much only ever existed as a way for Harry to raise a psychopath without feeling guilty about it, and the only reason Dexter follows it is because it somewhat reduces his chances of getting caught. He clearly has no problem with killing an innocent person if it means getting to live out in the open for another day.

I don't think I ever mentioned this before on this forum, but near the beginning of season 8 I had a theory about where the Vogel storyline was going that I honestly think would have played out much better than what we got. My theory was that Vogel was in fact the serial killer who was forcing other people to kill at the beginning of the season, that she was a psychopath who took pleasure in turning other people into killers and using them to do her dirty work. This of course extended to Dexter, who despite obviously not being a psychopath himself, was along with Harry tricked into believing that he could not conquer his urge from a young age. When Dexter finally discovers this, the revelation that his code was actually devised by a psychopath with no actual regard for the innocence of others would help him to understand the he in fact is not like this, and therefore has never really needed to kill. This would lead to Vogel being his final victim, and he would then conquer his urge, redeem himself, blah blah blah happily ever after.

Although I still would've preferred Dexter getting some semblance of comeuppance at the end, that's actually pretty damn good. MUCH better than the ending they went with, at least (not that that's particularly hard to achieve).
Gorky

Space Pope
****
« Reply #178 on: 05-01-2014 02:23 »

Hannah's motivation was simply to survive, and she did that the best way she could.

I don't entirely buy this. When Hannah tried to kill Deb, it had nothing to do with her own life-or-death survival (Deb had no solid evidence to link Hannah to that writer guy's death, so really she was in no danger of losing her life to prison), but rather her selfish desire to be with Dexter. And, I'm sorry, no matter how much the show tried to convince me that these two characters were made for each other, I do not think Hannah needed Dexter to survive.

Also--and correct me if I'm wrong, as I haven't seen the episodes in a while--the first time Hannah killed, when she was a teenage runaway, she did it because she wanted to, right? Like, her life was not in immediate danger, was it? And it was that murder that led to her going to juvie and having the kill the pervy guard (I'll give you that one), which set off the chain-reaction of all the people she had to subsequently kill. So even if her reasons for each subsequent murder were based in survival (which I find suspect) the fact remains that the initial, catalyzing murder did not need to be committed in the first place.

TL;DR: I hate Hannah and always will and there is nothing anyone can say that will change my mind. wink

I don't think I ever mentioned this before on this forum, but near the beginning of season 8 I had a theory about where the Vogel storyline was going that I honestly think would have played out much better than what we got...

I like that idea a lot (even though I was fond of Vogel for the first half of the season: she was creepy and selfish and kind of morally suspect, but I appreciated the insight she provided into Dexter's origins as a serial killer. Also, every other season-long female guest star on the show existed for Dexter to stick his dick in, and it was a nice change of pace to have Vogel serve as more of a mother-figure). My ideal final season would have involved Dexter teaching Zach Hamilton everything he knew about killin' killers--essentially passing the torch onto Zach upon his realization that he no longer needed to kill--and then being killed by Zach because Dexter technically fits the code. That way, Dexter gets his comeuppance and the show makes kind of a sly comment on the morality of what Dexter was doing throughout the whole series (this would address Motor Oil's complaint about Dexter's alleged hypocrisy).

I don't know, maybe that sounds stupid--but I still think it's better than the season eight we actually got. Not that that's saying much...

In fact, I think I can come up with a much better blueprint for the final season of the show almost entirely made up of elements the writers themselves came up with. I talked about my ideas of how the show should have gone...

I like that idea, too. Your point about Brother Sam is something I hadn't before considered: he was a really great character who had the potential to change Dexter's outlook on killing as an insurmountable addiction (which is how he had kind of seen it ever since season two and the AA stuff), and the show squandered an opportunity in killing him off so quickly. I certainly would have preferred for Dexter to learn his Big Lesson About How Killing is Unnecessary from a character I actually liked, like Brother Sam, instead of that shrew Hannah.

In retrospect, season 5 was pretty tightly written and ultimately very enjoyable television

Agreed. The season has a certain momentum to it once Dexter agrees to help Lumen. I think I mentioned before that I finished the whole thing in a single day, which speaks to how compulsively watchable it is.

Dexter is still a bad person...but in my opinion at least, this distinction pretty decidedly puts him on higher ground than those he disposes of.

I agree with everything you're saying about Dexter and how he differs from the people he kills--but, you know, I'd even go so far as to say that Dexter is a good, or at least not-entirely-morally-bankrupt, human being. Many times in the series, other characters express an abstract support for vigilante justice. This is seen most clearly with Deb: in season five, she not only admits to not feeling bad about shooting a murder suspect at the nightclub--she also understands (and somewhat romanticizes) what Dexter and Lumen are doing together; in season seven, she admits to feeling better knowing that that hulking torture-porn guy has been killed by Dexter. We are shown that Deb grapples with these feelings on a moral level--but, on a purely emotional level, she feels good knowing that killers have gotten their comeuppance.

I guess what I'm getting at here is that the show itself has a tendency of siding with vigilante justice--or, in the case of the cops bringing a bad guy to justice, capital punishment. Dexter, then, is merely the concrete embodiment of this abstract desire that most people on the show (and, it follows, in real life) have of seeing killers brought to justice in an eye-for-an-eye fashion. Dexter has The Code, which is essentially a guiding morality that advocates for vigilante judgment--what he doesn't have, though (or what he won't allow himself to feel, depending on your interpretation of his character) is the emotional capacity to recognize that even unapologetic killers are human beings whose lives have a degree of intrinsic value and cannot rightfully be taken by anyone but God/The Universe/Fate, That Harsh Mistress.

I think I'm doing a poor job of explaining this. What I'm trying to say here is that the "normal" response to what Dexter is doing--the response of a character like Deb, or the majority of viewers--is disgust: we may support vigilante justice in a knee-jerk emotional fashion (in our guts, we are sickened by the deeds of killers and want to see them suffer), but our higher moral sense prevents us from taking the law into our own hands (or downright obstructing justice) the way Dexter does. On the other hand, Dexter views his deeds impassively: he is all morality, no emotion, and the Code he was taught allows for murder as an ethical solution to crime. So basically the show puts us as viewers in this odd ethical spot of kind of agreeing with what Dexter does and kind of not wanting him to get caught (because of our emotional connection to him as the show's protagonist, and because of our moral notion of murder as a yucky thing that ought to be punished), while also recognizing that what Dexter does is not the lawful way of achieving justice.

I guess what I'm saying here is that what makes a "good" person is highly subjective: by our moral standards, we can judge Dexter as a bad person; however, our emotional response to him suggests that he is in some ways a good person, or at least not an entirely bad one. And by Dexter's moral standards--the ones he was taught by Harry--what he's doing is completely right. So in Dexter's own mind, he is a righteous person; in our minds, the issue is a bit more complex than that (because we, unlike Dexter, are beings driven by both morality and emotion), but I don't think it's fair for us to dismiss Dexter completely as a bad person.

I fear that none of what I just said made any sense, but I'm posting it anyway because it took a long-ass time to write. Oh, and it's also worth noting that I am a painfully liberal, capital-punishment-deriding person, so I'm not saying that I personally believe vigilante murder can ever be morally justified; however, I do admit to finding Dexter a fascinating moral experiment: it's crazy to me that at the end of season seven I was totally siding with Dexter and his need to kill LaGuerta to save his own hide--and don't get me started on the complexities behind Deb choosing to save Dexter instead of LaGuerta in that storage container. That's some emotionally- and morally-meaty stuff there, folks.
Motor Oil

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #179 on: 05-01-2014 21:22 »
« Last Edit on: 05-01-2014 21:23 »

a) A psychopath who is incapable of emotion, yet functional enough to blend in with society, and is teaching himself how to put on a stronger facade over the course of the series
or
b) A totally normal guy who just happens to have pyschopathic traits due to a tragedy he experienced as a child, and is genuinely becoming more "human" over the course of the series.

Well, we know that Dexter's brain has the same layout as that of a serial killer, but I also know that it is possible for someone with the brain of a psychopath to became a normally functioning person1, so he is definitely not "a totally normal guy", but I do think that he leans more towards the latter option. He is certainly capable of emotion, and is not completely a facade, since he actually says that his cover life has become more.

Not to mention, being on Showtime, you've gotta find a way to get tits in the show somehow, right?

They could've just made Mesuka a more prominent character. That's how easy it would have been.



All the storylines at the beginning of the season ended up being resolved by introducing another brand new character we'd never seen before (Vogel's son) and who wasn't at all interesting

The late introduction of Daniel was definitely a large flaw, but I found him to be one of the most interesting characters in the show's later run. It felt unplanned and was unoriginal (the killer always ends up being related to someone we know), but I liked the character of Daniel, even if I did not like his place in the series. What frustrated me the most was how Vogel acted (like a complete idiot) about her son. It also horrified me that Vogel wanted him to be hospitalized again, though I don't know if I can explain why: part of it was because Daniel was so clearly afraid of that place and that she just didn't know what she had put him through.

His need to kill is what I hate the most about Dexter--or rather, his disdainful treatment of others killers despite killing for the same reason he does. Near the end, his usual face-off on the table involved him asking why they killed (for which they usually supplied a reasonable answer), then claiming that that was bullshit and saying they only killed because they wanted to.
So does Dexter. In an earlier season there was a moment where he said, "I don't need to kill you, I just want to, it's quite liberating", and that angered me more than anything. He treats his victims like they are something less than him, when really they are exactly the same--well, I view Dexter as worse than his victims because of how many more people he has killed and his hypocrisy on the matter.

Sorry, but I think this is bullshit.

cry

There's one major difference between Dexter and his victims, and that's their regard or disregard for innocent people.

I, personally, do not really care about who Dexter kills, but more about the fact that he kills them. A person is a person, to me, regardless of their actions. Not that it is better to kill a normal civilian than a killer, but there are people far more guilty of hurting and destroying families than murderers. The fact that he enjoys taking the life of someone is what marks Dexter as equal to those that he kills in my eyes. Beamer makes a valid point as well, that Dexter has killed people who don't meet the code and didn't regret for it at all.
But let's agree to disagree here, because I know that my opinion on this is one that many don't agree with, and I have the feeling I won't be able to win you over, nor will you with me. They're both valid views as I see it.

Most of them don't give a flying fuck about the innocent people they kill.

I think that they do care...or, at least, they are aware that they are killing real people who have families. Recognizing that is a strong mark of a decent person, as opposed to people who do not view others as human beings with families and personalities and emotions, but rather as their own playthings. Some of Dexter's victims definitely did see the world that way, but I think that, for the most part, they didn't.

It's also worth mentioning that Dexter really didn't give a shit about whether or not LaGuerta was guilty2. He formed his plan for her easily and without remorse, and only began to question himself when Deb walked in on them. Her innocence meant nothing to him.

Even the ones who believe they are doing something righteous are clearly sociopathic monsters who are merely pretending to care about the people they kill to cover the fact that they couldn't actually care less.

You mean, like Dexter3?
At the root, Dexter is no better than any of his victims. Had he and Rudy (I can't recall his real name) switched childhoods they could have easily ended up with each other's personalities.
The only reason his victims are so awful is so that we, as viewers, can stomach watching Dexter kill. The truth is that they are just as human as he is, that they have motivations and morals just as Dexter does, and they they are no worse. We couldn't have a protagonist going around killing properly developed characters, now could we? True, we receive poorly defined motivations and backstories, but only enough to let us think they're evil enough to deserve to die, which I personally don't think anyone is4.



the initial, catalyzing murder did not need to be committed in the first place.

You're right.

TL;DR: I hate Hannah and always will and there is nothing anyone can say that will change my mind. wink

I am either (a) insulted that you think I couldn't read that much or (b) sad that you think your posts aren't worth reading5.
I accept your points and agree that your opinion is stupid I like Hannah and you don't.

My ideal final season would have involved Dexter teaching Zach Hamilton everything he knew about killin' killers--essentially passing the torch onto Zach upon his realization that he no longer needed to kill--and then being killed by Zach because Dexter technically fits the code. That way, Dexter gets his comeuppance and the show makes kind of a sly comment on the morality of what Dexter was doing throughout the whole series (this would address Motor Oil's complaint about Dexter's alleged hypocrisy).

YES7.

she [Deb] admits to feeling better knowing that that hulking torture-porn guy has been killed by Dexter.

But is that because Dexter killed him, or because he was a dangerous person whom8 Deb wanted off the streets?

emotional capacity to recognize that even unapologetic killers are human beings whose lives have a degree of intrinsic value and cannot rightfully be taken by anyone but God/The Universe/Fate, That Harsh Mistress.

I just wanted to quote this because it is my opinion in a nutshell.

So in Dexter's own mind, he is a righteous person

Is he? I never got that impression. I always thought Dexter thought of his need as something he had to do, as opposed to something good that he should do, but I could easily be wrong.

I was totally siding with Dexter and his need to kill LaGuerta to save his own hide

LaGuerta's a bitch, all right, but she was in the right here--Dexter can't take cases from the police, and his life was falling apart anyway, or it was barely hanging together at the seams. I feel terrible for Deb, wished she'd been ignorant the entire time, because I think she should have killed Dexter, but know she couldn't have lived with herself if she had. By her morality, what Dexter does is wrong, and she would have brought him in if not for the fact that he was her brother. That, for me, decides the matter: it is like saving your best friend or two innocent strangers from dying. Objectively, you would choose the strangers, but subjectively it would be a difficult choice indeed.
LaGuerta was innocent, and the only one who could benefit from her death was Dexter. I suppose that, by saying this, I am completely contradicting what I stated earlier in this very post, so I will explain myself the best I can: few people's lives were made better by the death of Dexter's victims, with one exception being the Trinity killer. Yes, more deaths were prevented, but the families had no sense of closure, something that they might have acquired had Dexter left the cases to the police. I know that, if someone I knew had been killed, I wouldn't be able to rest until I knew their killer was behind bars9.



1See "The Psychopath Inside", which was written by a man with the brain layout of a psychopath, but who acts as a normal person. His mother, who noticed his antisocial behavior at a young age, encouraged him to become a more social person among other things, and drove him away from a negative path. Perhaps if Harry had done this, Dexter would have turned out differently.

2It could be argued that, since the Harry we meet is really just Dexter's imaginary friend, he was torn up about killing her, but Dexter really did just shrug off Harry's protests, so I don't think that would be a fair point.

3I am not entirely serious when I say this, but I do think that Dexter shares a few traits with that of a sociopath.

4 In order to avoid any possible confusion on my opinion of the death penalty (which I am in favor of), I will clarify that I do not believe that, individually, anyone deserves to die but, for the good of society, certain people must be removed legally.

6It's (b).

7But could that technically be considered breaking the code on Zach's part? Do former serial killers still meet the code? Would Dexter have abandoned his victims if they had ceased killing completely, or would they still have died on his table? I like your idea tremendously, but it does make me wonder.

8Correct me if I should have used "who".

9I stated once that, if I were to become a killer with my current mentality, I would eventually either turn myself in or allow myself to be caught for the sake of the victims' families. I would also want to talk to them, see what impact I'd left on their lives, but that's a different matter.
Gorky

Space Pope
****
« Reply #180 on: 05-01-2014 22:06 »

I am either (a) insulted that you think I couldn't read that much or (b) sad that you think your posts aren't worth reading5.

You're right to pick choice (b), my friend. In fact, it would be nice if I could give the people I know in real life a TL;DR-type option when listening to me speak, as I tend to be just as rambly in oral discourse as I am in the written word and I feel bad for the victims of my long-windedness.

she [Deb] admits to feeling better knowing that that hulking torture-porn guy has been killed by Dexter.

But is that because Dexter killed him, or because he was a dangerous person whom8 Deb wanted off the streets?

I don't think those two things are mutually exclusive: Deb's gut reaction is relief at knowing that the guy is dead, even though intellectually/morally she recognizes that Dexter has bypassed the law in his handling of the situation. I suppose she's not completely condoning what Dexter did, but she certainly sees it as necessary in the moment because the guy is going to walk free otherwise. So, in that way, she is sort of making a moral endorsement of Dexter's behavior: she believed this bad person needed to be punished, and when the law failed her she didn't stop Dexter from setting things (in her mind) right.

Maybe a better example of what I'm talking about is Deb asking Dexter to kill Hannah (my, how I wish he'd taken her up on that). Even though she later back-tracks on that point, the fact is that she momentarily allowed her emotions to get the best of her and truly felt that Hannah deserved to die for what she had done. Even if she would never allow herself to act on her sense of moral outrage that a killer has gone free, Deb seems at times okay with allowing a less squeamish person to do it for her. Which is morally suspect in its own right, but no matter. Deb is vast, she contains multitudes, etc.

Oh, and if you really want to be corrected by someone who took exactly one college-level grammar course: I think "who" is technically the correct pronoun in this instance, as "a dangerous person" is the full subject of the sentence (the "was" equates it with the simple subject "Dexter"), and "whom" is only used to describe the object of a sentence. But I may be wrong. Probably I am. The English language is cray-cray.

So in Dexter's own mind, he is a righteous person

Is he? I never got that impression. I always thought Dexter thought of his need as something he had to do, as opposed to something good that he should do, but I could easily be wrong.

I think the Code allows Dexter to rationalize his deeds as moral (if he really cares to--which, in most cases, I don't think he does; he occasionally grapples with the problems inherent in killing someone who doesn't fit the code (like LaGuerta), but for the most part he seems more or less morally unburdened no matter who he slices and dices), and he certainly plays up the whole morally superior thing with some of his victims. Like in the first episode, where he admits to being a monster but takes pride in how he draws the line at injuring children, who do not fit his Code. Or in that awesome season four episode, "Dex Takes a Holiday," where he tells that family-killing cop that they are two different beasts because Dexter is capable of love that overrides his more selfish and/or psychopathic impulses. I guess I used the term "righteousness" when I really meant that the Code allows Dexter to feel self-righteous about the kind of killer he is, even if he's deluding himself somewhat.

I was totally siding with Dexter and his need to kill LaGuerta to save his own hide

I feel terrible for Deb, wished she'd been ignorant the entire time, because I think she should have killed Dexter, but know she couldn't have lived with herself if she had. By her morality, what Dexter does is wrong, and she would have brought him in if not for the fact that he was her brother. That, for me, decides the matter: it is like saving your best friend or two innocent strangers from dying. Objectively, you would choose the strangers, but subjectively it would be a difficult choice indeed.
LaGuerta was innocent, and the only one who could benefit from her death was Dexter.

Oh, see, I would argue that Deb killed LaGuerta not only to save Dexter, but to save herself. After all, there's no way she would have been treated kindly by Miami Metro when they discovered she had played accomplice to Dexter the night he killed Travis Marshall (and really, LaGuerta doesn't promise Deb any kind of immunity, or say she'll toss aside the DVD evidence of Deb buying the gas; I think it would be safe for Deb to assume that she'd still be taking some significant heat for the cover-up); her life, such as it was at that point, would have effectively been over. And that's what makes the dilemma so juicy to me, because it is multifaceted: Deb kills LaGuerta in large part to save her brother, whom she loves despite all the shit he's pulled--and this is the motivation that the show mostly focuses on in season eight--but I think a case can be made that Deb was trying to cover her own ass, too.

I also think Dexter is killing LaGuerta not only to save himself, but to save Deb; I'm pretty sure he tells Harry as much when he first decides to kill her. So I guess you could argue that her death would actually benefit two people.

1See "The Psychopath Inside", which was written by a man with the brain layout of a psychopath, but who acts as a normal person. His mother, who noticed his antisocial behavior at a young age, encouraged him to become a more social person among other things, and drove him away from a negative path.

That sounds fascinating; I may have to pick that up. And, if you're interested, I'll see your book recommendation (even though it was not intended for me, per se) and raise you one: Columbine, by Dave Cullen, devotes a lot of time to psychoanalyzing the two Columbine killers, one of whom has been retroactively diagnosed as psychopathic. Chilling-but-interesting stuff, I tells ya.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
****
« Reply #181 on: 05-02-2014 04:01 »

I am either (a) insulted that you think I couldn't read that much or (b) sad that you think your posts aren't worth reading5.

You're right to pick choice (b), my friend. In fact, it would be nice if I could give the people I know in real life a TL;DR-type option when listening to me speak, as I tend to be just as rambly in oral discourse as I am in the written word and I feel bad for the victims of my long-windedness.

Rejoice, for you do not suffer alone.
Motor Oil

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #182 on: 05-05-2014 22:36 »

I've not much to say this time around, since most of my disagreements are on my own moral beliefs and not those of the show's characters, but here is what I think.

she [Deb] admits to feeling better knowing that that hulking torture-porn guy has been killed by Dexter.

But is that because Dexter killed him, or because he was a dangerous person whom8 Deb wanted off the streets?

I don't think those two things are mutually exclusive: Deb's gut reaction is relief at knowing that the guy is dead, even though intellectually/morally she recognizes that Dexter has bypassed the law in his handling of the situation.

You're right: they aren't exclusive, but I do think that one side weighs more than the other, and that would be the side that was glad that a dangerous person was off the streets. I think Deb was less happy than she would have been if she had managed to close the case or capture the man herself: not just for the sense of accomplishment she would get, but for just knowing that things had been done the right way.

I suppose she's not completely condoning what Dexter did, but she certainly sees it as necessary in the moment because the guy is going to walk free otherwise.

I don't think she views it as necessary, and I do think she is condoning Dexter's actions. She had the full power to prevent him from killing and she probably has the ability to convince him to stop, if she puts her mind to it; we know how much he cares about her, and he did take her words into consideration, didn't he, when she first expressed her desire for him to stop?

Deb is vast, she contains multitudes

One of the many reasons why she's my favorite character!

Deb killed LaGuerta not only to save Dexter, but to save herself. After all, there's no way she would have been treated kindly by Miami Metro when they discovered she had played accomplice to Dexter the night he killed Travis Marshall (and really, LaGuerta doesn't promise Deb any kind of immunity, or say she'll toss aside the DVD evidence of Deb buying the gas; I think it would be safe for Deb to assume that she'd still be taking some significant heat for the cover-up); her life, such as it was at that point, would have effectively been over.

But the honest cop side of Deb was what made me expect her to shoot Dexter, instead: she feels guilty for assisting him and for keeping his secret in the first place. I'd also have thought she'd taken some satisfaction in getting rid of a killer to protect another officer, to legally take a(n arguably) bad person down.

I was surprised, when she found out that Dexter was a killer, that the show did not address the fact that Deb had now fallen for two serial killers without realizing they were until they revealed it to her. I'd think that, by shooting Dexter, Deb might have gotten some closure after Rudy/Brian. But there are certainly better ways to get closure.

1See "The Psychopath Inside", which was written by a man with the brain layout of a psychopath, but who acts as a normal person. His mother, who noticed his antisocial behavior at a young age, encouraged him to become a more social person among other things, and drove him away from a negative path.

That sounds fascinating; I may have to pick that up. And, if you're interested, I'll see your book recommendation (even though it was not intended for me, per se) and raise you one: Columbine, by Dave Cullen, devotes a lot of time to psychoanalyzing the two Columbine killers, one of whom has been retroactively diagnosed as psychopathic. Chilling-but-interesting stuff, I tells ya.

I'll have to read that. smile Thank you for the recommendation!
Inquisitor Hein
Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #183 on: 06-21-2014 11:17 »
« Last Edit on: 06-21-2014 12:33 »

So, I finally finished watching season 8.
Not sure wether the final is still spoiler worthy, but..."better safe than sorry"
Beamer

DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #184 on: 06-21-2014 11:33 »

Pretty much every decision any character ever made in this show was based on what the writers needed to happen to advance the plot, as opposed to any logical sort of character-based motivation.

This is also why pretty much every staff member of Miami Metro was severely incompetent at their job. roll eyes
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