Dexter: From the Best to the Worst
Dexter ran from 2006 to 2013. Based on the fantastic book series by Jeff Lindsay, the series was a psychological masterpiece that focused on the philosophy behind what makes a person good or bad. Dexter Morgan was a serial killer that only killed killers. Does that still make him a bad person, or a hero? That's just one of the many questions the series raised and even today I can look back on the series and find more philosophical questions needing answered. In the following article, I rank all 8 seasons from best to worst.
BEST (#1): Season 4
Season 4 saw Dexter face off with The Trinity Killer, so named because he kills his victims in threes: a woman in a bathtub, a woman falling from a high place, and a man being bludgeoned. Dexter discovers Trinity, named Arthur Mitchell, putting on a good show for the public by engaging in church activities and home construction. Dexter, now a husband and a father, goes undercover as a wayward divorced man in order to get close to Arthur. The season is one big game of cat and mouse as Dexter tries to outsmart Arthur. The stakes are raised to the maximum when Arthur discovers Dexter's true identity and attempts to turn the tables on him. As if the season wasn't tense enough, it gave us the most heartbreaking season finale of the entire series. I give season four a perfect 4 out of 4.
#2: Season 2
Season 2 finds Dexter in a bit of a precarious position. Rita nearly discovered Dexter's secret. In order to protect himself, he made up the story that he was a drug addict. Rita made him choose between the drugs or her. Dexter chose to go to addiction meetings. To make matters worse, Doakes senses something "off" about Dexter and starts following him. With Rita expecting Dexter to go to meetings, Doakes following him 24/7, and keeping up with his job, Dexter finds that he has no time for himself or his Dark Passenger. On top of everything, Dexter's sponsor, Lila, is a certified obsessive crazy lady who is dead-set on having Dexter all to herself, no matter who she has to hurt or kill to do it. The season is incredibly tense throughout, never letting up until the fantastic conclusion. I give this season a 4 out of 4.
#3: Season 1
Season 1 introduces us to blood spatter analyst Dexter Morgan, a forensics expert by day and a serial killer by night. He's no ordinary killer, though. He only kills other killers. He doesn't hurt innocent people or victims. In fact, he has a sister, Debora, and a girlfriend, Rita. Rita has two kids from a previous marriage, Astor and Cody. Dexter cares for all of them and is intent on keeping them safe. A new serial killer has surfaced in Miami, one that seems to not only know who Dexter is but also likes playing mind games with him. Dubbed The Ice Truck Killer, this guy has no code of conduct and no morality. He kills because he likes it and Dexter knows he has to stop him. I give the season a 4 out of 4.
#4: Season 5
Dexter is struggling with life. Trinity got to Rita before Dexter could and now Astor and Cody blame Dexter. The two kids decided to move to Orlando to stay with their grandparents, leaving Dexter to care for newborn Harrison. Dexter attempts to find himself again by finding a new target. In doing so, he comes across a young woman named Lumen who was the victim of rape. Dexter decided to help her, hoping that through her he'd be able to find himself along the way. I give the season a 4 out of 4.
#5: Season 6
Season six got a bit weird. It focused on Travis Marshal, a young man who was convinced by Professor Gellar that they were the two witnesses that were sent by God to start Armageddon. Now, anyone that actually knows the Bible knows that they are sent to do one thing: witness. Gellar was obviously crazed and dead-set on fulfilling a prophecy that's not even a prophecy. Dexter sets out to stop them, only to discover something remarkable yet terrifying about Travis. The season was a bit lesser than the previous seasons, not because of the crazy fanaticism displayed (that kind of thing really does happen) but because of Deb's newfound love for Dexter...and by love I don't mean sisterly love. It was one strange twist that felt more forced than necessary to the story. I give the season a 3.5 out of 4.
#6: Season 8
In the final season, Dexter finds out just how troubled his father Harry was. Dr. Vogel, a friend of Harry's, comes to Miami to assist in the capture of Miami's newest killer The Brain Surgeon. Vogel believes that the killer is one of her former patients. She approaches Dexter, revealing herself to be a friend of Harry's and the creator of the code that Dexter has lived by for 30 years. Season 8 gets a lot of flack, most of it unfair. Season 8 had a great story and a ton of twists. The issue with the season was how it ended. Considering this was the final season, you'd hope for an ending that wraps everything up or at least gives us a bittersweet goodbye to our favorite serial killer. Instead, what we got was all bitter. It's amazing how two minutes could ruin so much. I give the season 3.5 out of 4.
#7: Season 3
Season three finds Dexter at a crossroads. He was interrupted while tracking a new target. The man he accidentally killed turned out to be the brother of Miguel, the new DA. Miguel discovers Dexter's secret but instead of turning him in, Miguel wants Dexter to teach him and mentor him. This season was the usual 12 episodes but still felt stretched. The story could have honestly been wrapped up in 6 episodes (or less) and a new story introduced. It lacked the tension that the other seasons had, certainly not up to par with the show's standards. I give the season a 2.5 out of 4.
Worst: Season 7
Season 7 begins with the aftermath of Deb witnessing Dexter kill Travis Marshal, the Doomsday Killer. Dexter has to balance Deb's disgust, Laguerta's growing suspicion, and the threat of Isaak and The Koshka Brotherhood. The season tried to handle too much in too little time and wasn't able to really focus on any particular story. It was a mess from start to finish. If anything, Showtime should have approved an extended season so that the writers could focus and expand on things they couldn't before. It's not horrible, but it could have definitely used some improving. I give the season a 2 out of 4.
Who was your favorite character?
Which series villain was your favorite?
Dexter had its faults but it certainly kept you coming back every week, anxiously awaiting what's to come. The series made you think, made you look at a man society would deem evil and consider that maybe just maybe there are people out there that think they're doing the right thing. Is good and bad a matter of perspective? Or is everything truly set in stone?
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© 2018 Alec Zander