Dexter season 8 finale review: Remember The Monsters?

Review Billy Grifter 23 Sep 2013 - 15:32

The Dexter finale leaves Billy feeling depressed, but not because the show's now finished for good...

This review contains spoilers.

8.12 Remember the Monsters?

Dexter is done, all that's necessary now is to dispose of all the plastic sheeting, and send the show's lifeless body to the deep six.

It's a sad truth, but as the clock ticked towards the final part of Dexter, I toyed with the idea of skipping it entirely. On offer instead, due to abysmal scheduling, was the Emmys. But as much as I wanted to see Neil Patrick Harris try his earnest best to forever erase Doogie Howser, M.D. from our collective memories, and truckloads of self-congratulation, I felt after ninety-five previous episodes I should do Dexter the courtesy of watching the ninety sixth. What a mistake.

Remember the Monsters? was a final figurative nail in the coffin of this once great creative endeavour. I did consider for one very long moment just turning in the review with just the words 'It's over', but I finally opted for a few extra comments.

Before I get into what actually happened in this final story, I'd just like to talk about an entirely fake synopsis that was going around Reddit which described an entirely false version of the Dexter conclusion. It wasn't very good, though in retrospect it turned out to be no worse than what the writers of Dexter actually delivered. Maybe it was based on an early draft, because it contained a good number of things that did make it in here, and most of them weren't wonderful.
So what did we get? A storm surge of sentimentality the likes of which looked like it had been saved up for eight whole seasons for a final relentless splurge.

The focus for this was the relationship between Dexter and Debra, and the part they played in each other's life. 

It had been telegraphed last episode that Debra wasn't going to survive, as the death of LaGuerta needed to be closed off eventually. However, they insisted on giving the impression she would live, even if I'd be surprised if anyone watching really thought that at any point. Yet they had medical people on hand to make really unguarded assertions about her prognosis, like those that enjoy being sued often provide. But I was already having problems even before those, when they loaded Debs into the ambulance and Joey went with her. Where was the paramedic? Gone to Starbucks hoping they don't get a call saying his patient destabilised on the journey to the hospital, and they're fired.

As a distraction to Debs' medical issues, they had Dexter, Hannah and Harrison trying to exit through the airport from Florida, in the middle of a hurricane. That would make them stupid, but then most characters weren't firing on all cylinders I noticed. Daniel was walking around bleeding profusely and pistol whipping people while hoping that it would go unnoticed. That last aspect was a recurring theme of the whole story, because apparently once a hurricane is on its way you can practically do anything in Miami without drawing attention to yourself.

These events served to construct the critical confrontations; one between Dexter and Daniel and the other between Hannah and Elway. Not sure which I liked most, but together they probably represented the best of what the episode had to offer.

But before we got there, we needed at first to conclude Debra's story arc, which happened just after Daniel was so very easily caught. That he was arrested was regrettable, because I so wanted to see Dexter kill him with a fork. After Dexter ditches his cutlery, he's informed that Debra won't be walking away from her first day back on the force, as she's almost brain-dead. As he's responsible ultimately, he doesn't take this news well.

They then presented a very cheesy flashback where Dexter and Debra are introduced to baby Harrison, an event that presumably happened between seasons three and four. They tried to make them appear younger, with the hair styles that they had in this period, and it all looked stupidly false. I also don't recall Debra being ever that happy, making the scene border on revisionism. It's all tugging at the heartstrings from a show that was happy instead to slice through them for most of its running time.

While I was reflecting on the schmaltz of that exchange, the story flipped to Hannah who was so absorbed by having a little boy to look after that she allowed Elway to sit next to her on the bus! It was a short and sweet exchange that elicited one of the few smiles I managed throughout, mostly because Elway was such an unpleasant dork.

Dexter's failure to keep Debs from harm comes with a heavy penalty, but there was unfinished business to conclude first.

The death of Daniel demonstrated, as I'd said several times this season, how poor a killer he was compared to Dexter. In a straight fight with only a pen as a weapon he comes off decidedly second. I took this weapon choice as some attempt at irony on the part of the writers, where they've killed off characters with their pens for all these years, and now Dexter does his final kill using one. I hope they laughed writing it, because if that was the intention, it wasn't that witty.

All season eight episodes can end without a true WTF moment, and here it followed the death of Daniel. Dexter, Joey and Angel review the video tape of Dexter killing him, and conclude it was 'self defence'. To show what dedicated law enforcement officers they are, they don't even take a proper statement. Thankfully that's not a real problem, because free to go after just murdering someone Dexter heads off to collect Debra for one last trip in the Slice of Life.

I learned so much in that last hospital scene. Like how when you turn the life support machine off and the patient dies, no alarms ring whatsoever. And, that you can freely wheel dead people around in public, as long as the weather is bad. Not sure when that knowledge might be useful, but it's good stuff to know. In one final poetic point, Debra is deposited with the majority of people Dexter killed, as another symbolic victim. Any concerns that she might unhelpfully float are soon dispelled as she sinks gracefully from view leaving Dexter to the ravages of the oncoming storm. I'd have been happier if they had left it at that, but they just couldn't do that, could they?

The scene where Hannah learns of Dexter's 'death' in Argentina was unintentionally hilarious. I found it funny because Hannah was in many respects a replacement for Lumen, played by Julia Stiles. And, for one moment in my mind I'd transposed the two, which logically meant that she'd see the story, then smile, and then the Bourne music would play. But it didn't unfortunately, even if the scenario offered the possibility of comedy gold.

The insults on our viewing intelligence weren't over either. The climactic scene where Dexter is trucking logs on Highway 1 before going home to be alone and miserable, capped it for this writer. The look on Dexter's face represented exactly how I felt about how the show ended; depressed.

It left the underlying lesson that it's best not to be a serial killer because it will impact those around you, and you'll end up alone in poor accommodation. Somehow, I was expecting something deeper, more revealing about the human condition.

What I took from Dexter as a series was when you've delivered such amazing TV as the end of season four represented, you shouldn't go on. The final part of the Dexter narrative revealed that the writers had drawn a blank in how to end the show dramatically. And, despite having a few interesting ideas like introducing Dr. Vogel, the creative cupboard was utterly bare for most of the final season.

For anyone wanting to blitz this show from the outset, I'd recommend that they stop after season four, and not experience Dexter: the declining years. While there wasn't much in the past season to enjoy, it doesn't ultimately detract from when Dexter was a real rollercoaster ride, and not something less panic-inducing. Perhaps the controversial premise, of a serial killer as hero, never really bore much ethical scrutiny. And once that was exposed, the directions available for the characters rapidly narrowed.

It might not have gone out on a high, but it's certainly a show that people will talk about for years to come, even if only as a stern warning to writers about when it's best to conclude a successful show.

Read Billy's review of the previous episode, Monkey In A Box, here.

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Not sure if you quite picked up on it, but Batista and Quinn knew exactly what happened in that cell.

Just FYI: at the end you said "of a serial hero as hero". Think that should be "of a serial killer as hero", yes?

As for this season and the end, I was pretty disappointed because this show was at it's best when it was more lighthearted and darkly comedic. Deb killing LaGuerta just took all the fun out of the show and this last season was just too serious. I get all the moralizing I need from Breaking Bad. In my opinion, the best episode of the year was the serial killer family road trip precisely because it was the most lighthearted and then all of a sudden the fun stops with the boys head open in Dexter's apt.

A great review, and fair, too. This show just makes me sad now; to know what it once was in the early seasons (ending, for my money, at the end of the fourth would have been ideal). All that foreshadowing about Dexter's eventual demise as his life as a murderer and as a professional intertwine... it means about as much as the characters that get written in and out for no apparent purpose. Was there any point in Zach Hamilton? In Evelyn Vogel? In Masuka's daughter? Even Harrison has been used poorly. Everything just seems so.... inconsequential.

And if the story lines have been poor, the dialogue has been inexcusable. Clunky exposition, narrative that explains what we've just seen or spoon feeds us the plot like we're incapable of understanding the slightest subtlety or nuance - it's fitting that the last words of this show were "let's go and get some ice cream" ... "ok".

Dexter should have been exposed and gone on the run - everyone should have known his dark secret and the final season should have been a thrill-ride of cat and mouse, and Dexter's internal struggle to rid himself of his demons. Instead we get this dog's dinner. The writers of Dexter should hang their heads in shame. This show deserved so much more.

While I agree with some of your opinions, i strongly disagree with some others. I dont think the ending was that bad. I think the hair was ridiculous, I dont think Daniel would go to the hospital and try to finish the job although he might be pretentious enough to think he might get away with it. Batista clearly knew what just happened there and was struggling between being a good cop and a good friend. When "bad weather" like that happen, most people tend to be selfish and completly disregard everything and everyone else, that was intentional and he didnt stop being a serial killer, he just stoped being one around people he cared. I think it would always have to end with him alone, he always thought he was pretending, till the point he thought he needed them afterall, and when he finally accepts that he does, he cant have them. Because that's what we do when we really care, we protect them even at our own expense. For the first time in the entire show he was not selfish and it was not about him. While the delievery method wasnt the best, it was not that bad.

When he was about to kill Oliver Saxon he thanked him to open his eyes. He can never have a normal life, he neither can chase American dream nor can have an ordinary life. Because he is a monster, he shouldnot have loved and engaged any kind of relationship. That's why he had to get rid of impediments. Throwing Deb into the sea, sending his son far away with someone the son loves and cleaning his registry from life but keeping his dark passenger... He turned back to his normal, sympathetic monsterous personality...

It really was a shame how far this show fell. My only disagreement would be that season 5 was not bad at all. As a matter of fact it was my third favorite. The real disappointing thing about this season was that the show actually had a creative comeback in season 7
I would rank the seasons:
2,1,5,4,7,3,8,6..

I couldn't agree with this review more. This was SUCH an underwhelming season for a series finale! It was totally disgraceful to the character. Nothing made sense whatsoever. So, Dexter kills Deb and then leaves his son in the hands of a fugitive killer in Argentina, so that he can become "Paul Bunyan" in parts unknown?

This was so ridiculously shameful that the writers should definitely take a page in their own story . . . and disappear into the mountains with their impotent Dexter character. What a joke.

I think this season and especially the last scene of this season is best reviewed in one word. FACEPALM.

This Finale makes me remember the House's Finale. But I prefer House's. There were so many nonsense scenes in Dexter! And here is my question: Will Batista look for Harrison??? After all, he doesn't know Harrison is in Argentina with Hannah... But the boy now doesn't have a mother, neither a father... What about Elway??? He saw the boy with Hannah...

That was the worst possible ending they could have come up with. They seem to have gone out of their way to make it as bad as possible.

They should either have killed Dexter or let him live happily ever after, putting him in that position made no sense after the revelations he had been through about not needing to kill people.

All the affection he had shown for Hannah and the love for his son I do not accept that he would have abandoned them. I think for my own sanity I will just pretend that he had to fake his death to cover up what was clearly murder and was working as a lumber jack purely to save up for the flight to Argentina.

You are all welcome to join in on this fantasy of mine...

It was hardly the worst ending they could come up with, could have been a Prison Break style electrocution, could have been a dream, could have teleported to his space ship at the end, plenty of mad endings they could have done. They were never going to please everyone, he had to end up facing punishment and the hope of that being prison died with la guetta

Oh you had to remind me about Prison Break. Thanks for that.

Hey, that's what I did! "Like is a movie, write (or right) your own ending." —Kermit

Hanna/Harrison don't get Dexter's pension either. Some loving father.

Excellently put!

i think there was a hope to end the show respectfully when dexter was training up his apprentice.he could have passed on the baton in the symbolic killing of vogal jr
got away with hannah and harrison, realised he was human and deb could have been killed somewhere along the way.
the end
better than the crap i just saw. Almost as bas as season 8 of House!!!
season 4 was the best series i have ever watched though!
tom

I kinda said four years ago. "Dexter is such a huge succes. I'm pretty sure it'll go on and on and on till it lost all it's originality and everyone's sick of it. Now I kinda wish I hadn't.

Have to agree with your review. Dexter was a great show in its day, but truthfully it only had 3 really good seasons (1,2 and 4). I remember watching the first season and wondering how they could sustain it for another season - they did, but they certainly couldn't for 8 seasons. This final run was so desultory I skipped several episodes and just watched the last two for old times sake, but the finale was as anti-climactic as expected. Michael Hall looked incredibly bored for most of this series and you can't help but feel he just wanted out asap.

What kind of dummy are you?

A very disappointing ending, Dexter was a good person despite being a serial killer, and Hannah and Harrison deserved better, I understand why Dexter did what he did to Deb, it was very sad, but I expected him to still either go and meet Hannah and Harrison or be actually found dead.......not all alone with his demons haunting him and Hannah and his son having to believe that he is dead.........one critic described the ending perfectly......it ruined everything that came before it........

This review has been more entertaining than the entire final season. I wanted to stop watching about 3/4 the way through this series but I figured I'd stick it out; feels like a waste of time though.

The lumberjack conclusion was laughable, yes I realise it was his 'punishment' but it was just pathetic. I did wonder if they'd ended with Dex alive to enable a possible spin-off. Anyone for a show where Dex is hunted down by Joey and Batista?

Great review and I pretty much agree (there is a but coming).

I have been very down on this season.

BUT I have to disagree with many comments, I actually really wasn't that bothered by now about the poor story line and hideously terrible plots. I just wanted it to end. And I was moved when Debs died and Dexter chucked her in the sea.

As to the end... it'e entirely open to interpretation. He could be off to Argentina any day or (as he suggested himself) letting Hannah and Harrison live without him. I have decided he was going to give it a few more weeks and go after them.

And I agree with at least one person above who said Joey and Angel knew what happened in there... in reality in almost any police station anywhere in the world someone who had killed one of their fellow cops would have had an accident.

My own feeling is it was never going to be an easy program to end and although this season has been wack, this episode was somewhere between alright and pretty good.

I am choosing to think that after the episode ends that Dex is saving money to go to Argentina as he has realized that he wants to honour his sisters dying wish. And somehow he finds Hannah and his son :D

we are all entitled to our own imaginations. i for one am choosing to go with your imagination though because it makes me happy ;)

I think 1,2,4,5 & 7 were all good, leaving 3,6 & 8 as the weaker ones.

Exactly it is totally open to interpretation... there is no correct or definitive interpretation.

I never put Dexter in the same company as The Sopranos, The Wire or Mad Men and when people were raving about it I thought that it was at the most entertaining rather than thought provoking. I've enjoyed this season maybe because I had different expectations than those who thought it was brilliant but now have been damning it for not being as good as it used to be. I thought it was an appropriate finale despite the obvious plot holes, although something tells me that these were deliberate. The series had long played with the all too obvious plot hole of Dexter doing things in public and somehow with all the CCTVs and potential witnesses around never got caught. Dexter stealing Deb's body was quite glaring and amid the coming storm quite surreal. But it actually works because in the end that's what this show has always been about. The reviews this year have been negative and the main problem I think is that maybe the reviewers just misunderstood the story, or have been projecting their own ideas as to what should have been happening or how it should end. The Dexter TV series is very different from the source material and might be better described as an alternative universe to the novels. In the end the pieces fell where they did and it wasn't that bad considering the premise was about a serial killer who never got caught. Vale Dexter and along with your dark passenger, thanks for the ride.

Terrible ending. Horrible season. Poor acting. Unbelievable plot issues. I feel cheated. I feel dirty. I feel used. Very poor ending to what once was a fantastic show. I'll echo the comments re: the show should have ended after Season 4.

5 and 7 being "good" might be a stretch. 5 hit the brakes after Rita died and nothing came of it. 7 started well and then spun its wheels until La Guerta's death...which really didn't come to much.

It was like the writers realised they needed a couple of great episodes at the beginning of the season, something to happen at episode 7 and then a big twist in episode 12.

Well stated. Im glad someone understood the real intent of this episode.

Well at least Dexter is only killing trees now

I think the ending made a lot of sense on paper I just did not like the execution. I admit I would have preferred an ending with Deb alive, I felt it was mishandled... It was certainly emotional, but it lacked something... More than anything I think this episode deserved to be at least 2 hours to flesh things out better. But this was literally the worse thing I can think of for Dexter. His last kill he did out of love and it devastated him that he had to do it in the first place. Deb's death was the end result of his life's choices, in the end, he needed her to be alive. That NEED has always been elaborated on. In the end he will always choose Deb's life, that's who he is, the good brother (I think he should have taken her to the mountains, but maybe that's why he works in the mountains now, he's basically always hiking, in mountains, logging, in the northwest).

But after she died he crumbled away, he no longer has the urge or need to kill (merely those who truly threaten those he cares about), his dark passenger is gone (hence the silence of the last scene imo). He is utterly alone with nothing but his guilt and sadness on the opposite end of the world from those he cares most about to keep them safe. Pure exile. I dunno living like that, all alone, so secluded, no friends, no DEB, no Cuban Sandwiches, no boat, no being a good blood splatter analyst, etc etc. You might as well be dead except you have to live. I think at the end he is merely a depressed man that will die silent and alone.

Good point - i think you've hit the nail on the head. Some people seem to have missed the point that Dexter could never have a happy ending because of who he is, or was. The ending is very fitting i think, although at first I was thinking 'What the hell was that?!?!?'
Dexter would never kill himself, as survival was built in to him and to have a happy ending with Hannah and Harrison would have been a sour conclusion rather than sweet. The final straw was Deb's death that made him realise he could never have a relationship with anybody ever again because of who he is.

You hit the nail right on the head! The conclusion for the character of Dexter, I felt was a fitting one, and was well thought up. The final scene was the only salvageable moment of what seemed to me as a season full of holes and very far-fetched situations. It appeared as if the show began to significantly decline in quality and get a bit sloppy with the final two or three seasons although they still had their moments.

The ending is fantastic with its moral irony and tradegy. He got what he deserved with that "Ted Kazinsky" look at the end. His worst nightmare came true; total isolation within. The "dark passanger" won!

Did anyone notice the fact that harrison spends a lot of time with jaime and still did not utter a single word about hannah?strange?or stupid?

Now,the biggest grievance is that there wasnt proper closure for any of the characters.

Not even Debra.1 moment she foul mouths and talks to dexter,the next shes in a convenient coma for the writers.

debras shot.wheres masuka?what happenned to his daughter?

dexter is in emotional doldrums.shouldnt it be a case for the resurrection of harrison sr.?now that hes contemplating the dark passenger?or atleast to say goodbye son,i love you?it would have been awesome to see harry ride along with dexter into the storm.

shouldnt he dump her body at night under the moon?more touching?and then ride into the thunderstorm?

the whole season was a facepalm.every person watching could come up with a better story line for every episode.

zack hamilton.hannahs husband.masukas daughter.maybe even elway...the marshall would have sufficed...just doing away with all these bullshit characters would have given the writers precious time to bid a proper farewell to each character.death or not.

In the end i felt it should have been a slow beautiful farewell rather than the writers having brain farts at such pace.

the content of the final episode should have been scattered over say two or three episodes

It was his worst fear to end up like walter kenny(tooth fairy).miserable and lifeless.and he did.

I'm very very happy to see some more positive comments written with a little time to think rather than the strong reactions that came out 10 seconds after the show ended - we always need a little time to reflect and digest before we can form solid opinions.

Whilst the execution wasn't always perfect I think this season did a lot of work to build up to its ending.

Firstly, most people had already made up their mind that Dexter was either going to get caught or killed or both. It seemed obvious, and if that had happened there would have just been a collective shrug and 'I told you so'. So instead a lot of time was spent building up and alternative, could Dexter have a happy life surrounded by people who know and understand him?

This potential came to a head in the episode 'Are we there yet?' (I will go on record and say that was one of the shows best episodes) with the Family dinner; Dexter as Dad, Hannah as Mum, Zach as the son, Vogel as Gran. Could he be content and quit? I came close to believing he could, but of course there were one or two flies in the ointment - like Saxon.

One common complain was that Oliver Saxon was a weak foe, but I think he was never meant to be strong, just an echo. He was Dexter without the code, without the training - of course that was weaker, but in many ways he was a walking incarnation of the Dark Passenger. He was Dexter's weaknesses and it was enough to destroy the fragile balance that Dexter was building... isn't that more tragic than having a standard Big Bad??

Saxon was a reminder of the monster, and If you remember the monster that is at the heart of Dexter, then you know he can't be allowed a happy ending - it'd just ring false. However, as the hero of the show it would also seem odd if his final destiny is out of his control. Captured, killed, revealed - it would have made no difference if nothing had changed in Dexter himself. To end his arc Dexter had to have a self revelation, he had to take responsibility and choose to punish himself. Which after Deb's death he did. I don't think anybody really thought Dexter would kill himself, he's too much of a survivor. It was just a question of whether he'd forgive himself and allow himself a second chance with Hannah or condemn himself as he did.

His self imposed exile and torment without the forgiveness of those he had grown to love was a fitting ending I think.

Although I disagree with you, I totally understand your thinking.
I'm similar with 'Breaking Bad' I haven't watched any of the most recent block of episodes, and kind of don't want to. I just want to leave the show where Walt quit and gave Jessie his share of the money. In my head Hank decides the book he found in the toilet is nothing and the story ends happily there.

I think you could argue that pattern to a lot of TV series. So many seem to have episodes that are no more than padding... Lost & Breaking Bad being (for the me) the worst two. I think the issue with things like Dexter as the program got bigger (and moved rapidly from the original Jeff Lindsay story) was is each episode going to be a stand alone story, or is it going to be part of one big story, or is it (as I think they tried) going to be a bit of both. So many of these programs succeed or don't, to us as individuals, depending on which we want, ongoing plot, or stand alone episodes. I think Dexter could readily be remade and this time follow the books all the way. (Book spoiler). Rita doesn't die until right at the end.

There are several good points in this thread, but they don't make up for the fact that, as Billy pointed out in his review, there were several events in this episode that were just completely implausible (Saxon's completely unnoticed pistol whipping, Dexter's killing Debra then taking her out of the hospital without anyone noticing, etc). Even Dexter's very survival, although I agree that the idea behind it is a good one, is ridiculous - how could he possibly have lived through that storm while destroying his boat without any help?!

"All season eight episodes can end without a true WTF moment, and here it followed the death of Daniel. Dexter, Joey and Angel review the video tape of Dexter killing him, and conclude it was 'self defence'. To show what dedicated law enforcement officers they are, they don't even take a proper statement."

Um, personally I thought it was made fairly obvious that Batista and Joey knew what they were doing in that scene - they chose to look the other way as they considered it to be "Fair's fair" basically, although the execution was (again) perhaps slightly off, perhaps this was intended as a commentary on police injustice/cop killers thanks to the police?

You're right with almost everything else you say though, Billy. This was a pretty good example of how NOT to do a series finale. One or two decent ideas, but the execution is almost unerringly terrible. I'm surprised how easily you let the showrunners off the hook for Dexter's completely impossible fake death/escape, mind, that's not like you!

I do not agree, however, that the series should have ended after season 4. A friend of mine says this all the time, and yes, the show did go downhill after that, but it wasn't a natural end point for the show in my opinion. As badly as this finale turned out, I do think the idea behind letting Dexter be punished the way he is was a good one, they just needed to execute it better.

It was crap. Should have ended two seasons ago

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Hard to believe this is the same show that gave us the Trinity killer. Even though the show was still mildly entertaining, it just became such a disjointed mess of bad writing. All the writers involved with this should be utterly ashamed of the mess they made of a once-great show and should be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

I don't get the hate for the ending.

There was one brilliant moment in this finale. Right after Dexter kills Saxon/Vogel, he just stands there, a totally blank expression on his face. Totally unaffected and emotionless despite the fact that he just avenged his sister's death. Then he hits the alarm, and begins to fake being shocked at what just happened.

You see, Dexter didn't change. This storyline has been done before - Lila had Dexter convinced in season 2 that he didn't have to kill. He spent more time in season 8 thinking that himself, even though Hannah frankly seemed like she didn't care one way or another whether he killed or not. In the end, though, Dexter was still Dexter.

A lot of people, myself included, were infuriated at the stupidity of Dexter continuing to chase Saxon/Vogel instead of simply hopping a plane to Argentina, but it's obvious in retrospect. Dexter didn't change. Dexter doesn't change. He still needs to feed the beast like he always did. Sometimes the beast goes away, but it always comes back. It originally felt like bad writing that he was seemingly throwing his life away and potentially hurting everyone he cared about (which, it turns out, is exactly what happened) to chase Saxon/Vogel for reasons that seemed unclear, but that's what addicts do. They sometimes pay lip service to not wanting to hurt their loved ones, but in the end everything else takes a backseat to the addiciton.

He had an epiphany this season that he is truly capable of caring for people, but it is quite obvious that he still doesn't get the whole empathy thing. His supremely selfish behavior continued unabated for all of Season 8, and poor Debs is such a wreck of a person that she became little more than an enabler. I think Deb deserved better, but this isn't exactly out of place for her character to go out enabling her brother, and making excuses and apologies for him up to the end. Enabling his relationship with the hated Hannah never felt right, but hey - there were a lot of questionable things this season, so whatever.

Him faking his death as the ultimate proof that he didn't change. The Code is about survival - Dexter would never, ever take himself out. He cares for Hannah and Harrison, sure, but he always, always put his needs above those of his son, so why should now be any different? People seem angry that he would remain alive and leave his son fatherless, but now he's free to feed the beast without any interference. He sure as hell wouldn't be the first addict to take that path, so I really don't get the outrage.

No offence, but in my opinion those are 2 of the worst examples I've ever read. Sorry, but Breaking Bad and Lost are/were both extremely well-written. In fact, some of the best-written TV ever!!! Lost was amazing....the finale may have let some people down, but the show never ever ever suffered from bad writing. Breaking Bad has never suffered at all. It's been consistantly brilliant from the get-go...not sure what show you're watching.....
Dexter isn't even close to the level of either of those shows. I hate to break it to you, but Dexter in the end was just badly written....it's not just a matter of "not liking" stuff, or "how much padding was there"......the Dexter writers were lost at sea with no clear direction in mind and it showed. Definitely one of the bigger shark-jumps I can think of! Thank god we still have the forst 4 seasons.

This is the end we would have gotten if Clyde Phillips would have stayed on as showrunner. He was responsible for the 1st 4 seasons of Dexter, including the Trinity Killer Season, which is arguably the best season ever.

Clyde said in an interview with E!:

"In the very last scene of the series," Philips explained, "Dexter wakes up. And everybody is going to think, 'Oh, it was a dream.' And then the camera pulls back and back and back and then we realize, 'No, it's not a dream.' Dexter's opening his eyes and he's on the execution table at the Florida Penitentiary. They're just starting to administer the drugs and he looks out through the window to the observation gallery."

"And in the gallery are all the people that Dexter killed—including the Trinity Killer and the Ice Truck Killer (his brother Rudy), LaGuerta who he was responsible killing, Doakes who he's arguably responsible for, Rita, who he's arguably responsible for, Lila. All the big deaths, and also whoever the weekly episodic kills were. They are all there."

"That's what I envisioned for the ending of Dexter. That everything we've seen over the past eight seasons has happened in the several seconds from the time they start Dexter's execution to the time they finish the execution and he dies. Literally, his life flashed before his eyes as he was about to die. I think it would have been a great, epic, very satisfying conclusion."

I think that would have been a WAY better ending than the one Scott Buck gave us. Not to menetion the events leading up to Dexter being captured. And I bet he would not have wasted our time with the Masuka-Daughter nonsense

From serial killing to child abandonment. What an ending. This was the worst ending of a series I've ever seen. Seriously, Hall should have put a stop to this mess and vetoed every decision made. The bright side is that I have a newfound appreciation for the endings of House, Lost and Desperate Housewives. By all means they were mediocre, but they were never this terrifyingly awful. From now on all endings will seem much better in comparison. It will take a lot of work for a show to end as badly as Dexter did.

To be honest, disregarding all notable flaws for a moment, the pure look of dispair on Dexters face at the end really got me. He had tried to fix his life deperately but ultimately found himself gone full circle to where he has nothing, a broken man with nothing to live for. They could have REALLY ruined it by making him smile at the camera or something like "i can start killing again" but he looked completely void of emotion, an end which was the most likely outcome came to pass. He was never going to die because daniel was'nt smart enough to kill him, he wasnt going to be caught because he genuinly had friends who loved him and he was never going to live happily ever after because having his family, having deb was his happy ever after, and with her death it was gone.

That would've been amazing!!! Much much much better!!!

Didn't hate the ending, thought it was marginally better than the rest of the season really, but if the final shot had started on a close up of his face and he'd just stared through the camera whilst it slowly pulled back revealing Harry standing behind him I'd have preferred it, Harry as Dexters Dark Passenger might have been an interesting juxtaposition to finish on. Mind you, I also thought the final scene of the feature length Prison Break could have done with an arm reaching into shot and dropping a paper folded crane into the shot.

I think the review is harsh, but fair. I think most critics and fans alike would agree that the story-telling has gone downhill since season 4. Yes, there has been the occasional significant events that have kept us hooked such as Deborah finding out Dexter's identity, LaGuerta's death but overall there has been a lot of filler and the writing has become sloppy.

Even in the aftermath of Deb's death, it is hard to picture Dexter just completely giving up on his son out of guilt and fear that he might mess up his life also. Harrison meant a lot to him and would he really believe his son would be better off with no father? Would his feelings allow him to walk away? I doubt it.

The hospital scene, as noted by others, was totally unbelievable and another example of sloppy writing. After switching the life support off he wouldn't have taken the body and dumped it in the sea with the serial killers. Regardless of any feelings of self-hatred.

The lumberjack scene was a real WTF moment. It was so bad I could barely believe it. It would have been better if they had let Saxon kill him or have him be exposed for what he was and be sent to prison for life.

In the context of the previous events of this season, I believe they should have let him join Hannah and Harrison in Argentina. It's what Deb would have wanted anyway. Forget about any moralising about a serial killer not having to face consequences for his actions. This is not a show about morality and idealism, besides he's been getting away with it for eight seasons now anyway.

No offence taken, we're all just expressing our opinions. I thought Lost was easily the most over rated badly written load of toss on TV. I only watched it all because I was bemused by just how bad it was. The whole thing could have been edited into a reasonable 90 minute film. Breaking Bad while good is not great and no where close to being as good as The Wire, Deadwood etc... maybe my biggest problem is it not being made for cable it has to tame things down. I understand it is very popular overall, but so are Harold Robbins novels. I have never liked mass appeal fiction, it's always too compromised.

The writing in Lost was excellent...Beyond excellent. It wasn't badly written at all. Sounds to me like you just didn't like it. Breaking Bad is one of the most consistently best-written series I've ever seen ever! Most people feel that way. All the shows you've listed are great, so you must have some taste, but you clearly don't know anything about good writing. If you did, you'd be able to acknowledge the supreme writing talent (character and plot) that went into both of these shows . As I said before, just because you don't like something or don't have the patience to sit through it, doesn't mean it's badly written. It means you don't like it. Dear oh dear.

You clearly are not interested in argument or debate. And in fact are trying hard to be personal and offensive. So not much point in entering into any further conversation. I have long ago given up arguing on the net. I loved the first season of Lost... but like most critics found the most Lost thing was the plot. Have a great evening. I have to help my son with his home work.

You just said one of my favourite shows is badly written garbage, thereby showing that you know nothing of good writing. Doesn't sound like you're too interested in having a discussion to me.

Whoa, Breaking bad padding NO FING WAY. LOST? ABSO FING LUTELY. That show was abysmal for wasting everyone's time from the second season onwards. It had neat moments but to put it anywhere near the BB bracket of skillful plotting and writing, is nothing short of delusional.

Are you calling me delusional? My friend if I could reach through the monitor and smack you in the face, I surely would. You have no idea what you're talking about. Moron.

Okay posting again as the use of the C word is awaiting moderation and i don't hold out much hope...GUESS WHO GOT THE C WORD ZAPHOD?? SPOILER:: IT'S YOU. So this is what I wrote:

As you will, sweetcheeks! It was aimed at Bated mainly, who has actually replied with honourable grace, explained his position and why he holds that opinion about BB (Fair play Bated - I respect your point of view !)

But as for you Zaphos: Try not to be such a f*****g loathsome C*** in your real life ey?

this REVIEW it TERRible, just because the things you wanted to see in the final episode were not in there you bash it.. you must not understand where the storyline was going.. ya some things could have been better.. but it had a good ending... stop with all the negative they stayed true to form, if if you did not notice Quinn did not look surprized at what dexter did.. they did that on purpose.. yeah there we some things i would have liked to see but did not... o well i still enjoyed ever episode and every season DExter had to offer.!! thanks for the great sunday nights!

thank you someone understands it!!!!

When I realised that Dex was going to be alive after faking his death at the very end, I had hoped that we would see a scene very close to the first ever kill scene. A murderer gets into his car and Dexter appears from behind him with a garotte. Or out of the shadows with a hypodermic needle. No such luck. And what was with Harrison's prophetic "I'll miss you Dad"?

I have to admit damn good review. I felt a little depressed too. Don't know if I'm being dumb here but how come he came to the conclusion after realising he didn't need to kill, he couldn't live the life of pie? Debs death was a cause of his obsession with the kill, through sax. But if he's sailing off leaving all that behind him why is that relevant to the life he wants? That shouldn't effect hannah or harrison.
What was the point?
Watched it like an hour ago still pissed
PS would also like to point out that in every hospital i've ever been to ever there's a security camera out front / parking lot and often in reception. Hannah would have been made, Deb cought lying bla bla bla.

I absolutely LLLLOVED that part. And Quinn could have been a much better character

Should Dexter die?

No. As a psychopath and a killer, he is able to rationalize the taking away of life. His main reason for killing is to satisfy the urges of his Dark Passenger. And
through Harry’s Code, his victims are only those who are proven to have taken
innocent lives. During the course of the series, Dexter has also taken away
innocent lives, directly and indirectly. Some have had profound effects on him,
but these did not stop him because he believes that he is a monster.

However,during the final seasons, Dexter realized that he is capable of love (thanks to Hannah and the effects of his secrets on Deb), contrary to what Dr. Vogel claims that, as a perfect psychopath, he is not capable feeling emotions.
Because of these, and also of finding out that what he is and what he believed
his true nature is is a creation of his father and Dr. Vogel, he is able to rid
himself of his Dark Passenger. He no longer has a need to kill. But then he was
too late, because what he was (by his urge to kill Saxon and thereby capturing
him) and what he became (by deciding not to kill Saxon) was the reason for Deb’s
demise, another innocent life.

He could have ended it all by killing himself. He even killed his own brother
saying, “You’re the only one I wanted to set free.” But he is already free of
his Dark Passenger. When he killed Saxon, it was because of grief and revenge
(one of the most powerful motivators causing people to kill), and not because
of his urges. Note the big contrast in terms of killing between the psychopath
Dexter (no forensic evidence) and the “free” Dexter (a lot of undisputable evidence inside a police station). This time, he needs to be free of his guilt. Guilt
because he destroys everyone he loves. And death is obviously too easy for him. The best punishment for him is indeed the exile, being truly alone. This is exactly
the opposite of what he was taught which was to fit in with society. He must
fit in with society to hide the loneliness inside him. That was why he made those
human connections as a cover for his true nature, but these connections fail.
We were showed that these connections could work (with Deb and Hannah and
Harrison), but they didn’t. So his exile was that he is no longer concealing
the loneliness inside of him by making false human connections, and in turn
destroying innocent lives.

Should Deb die?

Yes. I always thought that Deb, like Rita, must die. Rita’s death taught Dexter that
he cannot live a double life, a normal suburban one and a serial killing one.
Deb is Dexter’s emotional core (even in Season 1, he chose Deb and a life of
secrecy over his brother and an open life because he is very fond of his foster
sister), a theme that has been explored in the final season (the perfect
emotionless psychopath, Saxon killing people and removing the emotional cores
of their brain). In a way, Saxon succeeded in killing Dexter by removing his
emotional core, right when it has finally evolved into a “normal” one.

Should Dexter’s secrets be revealed and he get caught and electrocuted?

Yes and No. I have had a predicted an ending for the series but it wasn’t the case:
that Dexter successfully flies to Argentina with Hannah and Harrison, and Deb
knows where they were staying. Saxon abducts Deb and Vogel and then kills Vogel and displays her body like the other victims, shocking the city that the
surgeon is still alive. Saxon sends a video of Vogel’s death and an abducted
Deb to Dexter. Dexter checks the news as well. The police searches Vogel’s
place and finds Vogel’s files and videos on Dexter, but Quinn and Batista (not
sure because of La Guerta) decide to first keep it to themselves so that Dexter
will not doubt going back to Miami and help search for Saxon and Deb. Dexter
catches Saxon but Saxon succeeds in injuring Deb in the struggle. The rest
between Dexter, Deb, Saxon, and Miami Metro is just like in the series finale.

I think that his secrets should be revealed only to Quinn and Batista; though it’s
almost enough that Quinn and Batista had suspicions on Dexter after seeing the
video of Dexter killing Saxon. I also think that Dexter should not be caught
and electrocuted. Not imprisoned because it is a dead end, and not death as
already stated above. A self-imposed exile is the perfect end for Dexter.

Final words

There have been a lot of people who are disappointed with how the series ended. They want Dexter to die or get caught. But these endings do not provide Dexter with an opportunity for redemption. If those were the case, I would feel like I wasted
time following someone’s journey and not seeing them change at all. Sure, it
would make good and exciting TV, but it won’t be at all meaningful.

The final season of Dexter may have a lot of loopholes in the execution, but, for
me, looking deeper into the story justifies the messy surface. I just wish it
could have been done better. I actually didn’t care about the other supporting
characters. This series is about Dexter, and I am satisfied with his emotional
journey. Where he is at the end is a complete opposite of where he was at the
start. He was an emotionless monster thriving among people to a depressed loner
(and depressed people are full of emotions!). Even the location: from sunny and
breezy Atlantic southeast to cloudy and gloomy mountainous northwest.

Awww, bless you.

This one, HE UNDERSTANDS! I'm my world, Dexter is now with Hannah and Harrison :)!

Kubrick, thank you. Clearly you understand the massive gap between discussing views on fiction and being personally abusive. I, like I guess you, have been on the web communicating with others since the web pretty much began. Last year I gave up on most of it because it has been infested by people who don't understand the difference. My wife and I disagree on a lot of TV things, it would be a weird relationship if we were abusive to each other over each thing we didn't like. She doesn't even like The Wire, which I love almost as much as her and have books on the making of etc... I'm a Wire nerd. And I have throughly enjoyed Breaking Bad... (I just can't rave about its greatness). I don't get all the way through many things. For example, I have given up on The Walking Dead, mainly because it is so far from the original story and I don't understand why they didn't follow the original story because it is brilliant. You have restored my faith and I will stick around. I wasn't going to bother after yesterday. Last thing I come on places like this for is to get abused, I can get that at home from my own.

spot on review. The note on all the unbelievable occurrences and sloppy writing, seemed to be a theme that plagued the entire last season for me. It got more and more ridiculous to the end to the point that it began to overshadow the show.

yea Quinn knew exactly what happened, but that doesn't mean you can just walk out a police station to leave forever ( they were well aware he was leaving) just after you kill someone. There's due-process to be done, Too many scenes of this nature, overshadowed the entire last season.

I get what they're trying to say, but it still makes no sense. It was way too rushed for Dexter to have this epiphany (which, I'm sorry, he's had many times before, including when Rita died) - it was just this time they couldn't hit the reset button because it was the last episode and so decided to to follow through with it in some fashion.

But I don't understand why Dexter didn't actually just kill himself. There's no explanation for why he'd want to just live out the rest of his years as a lonely lumberjack. It's like the writers want to have their cake and eat it. They want him to feel guilty and punished, and yet also to 'get away with it'.

Ugh, I feel like I'm giving it too much credit for even analysing it this far. The whole thing was so shoddily written, contrived, ridiculous attempts at sentimentality which fell flat. God, even the effects where awful.

They missed a trick by not having Doakes appear beside him instead of his dead dad while DExter was on the run from his sister. After last season when she found out who he was. It would have been brilliant. Doakes giving him abuse that he was gonna get caught etc.

So would you rather the end of the show was Dexter filling in paperwork to make it more realistic. It's not meant to be a step by step documentary

I was much the same as Mr_Nin, right after watching the final episode of dexter I immediately thought the ending was terrible and my reaction was along the lines of "WTF just happened" however although the episode did seem rushed and rather poorly written with it's far fetched moments such as; Dexter getting away with turning Deb's life support off and then escaping the hospital only to dump her into the ocean. I realise now that if you really think about it ( this is just my idea) that the last scene where we see Dexter as a trucker and the lumber yard, This strongly suggests a more 'blue collar' job as opposed to his previous career as a blood splatter expert, and of course meaning that he is now punishing himself and lowering himself by living a bleak ordinary life where we can now see him giving into his emotions.. "maybe he is more 'human' now" who knows.

Glad to hear you'll stick around! Sometimes i come on strong ("delusional") but it's largely a provocation for more detail. To me just saying "I like this therefore you don't understand good writing" (like our dear Zaphod) isn't a good argument. By contrast you give context and reasoning which, even if I don';t agree, allows me to understand and maybe even alter my position a bit. Thanks for replying!

Good pt about Saxon, I posted earlier in the season when people were angry about him not being the best villain that the villain was only one of many things Dexter was trying to juggle at the same time and that's why he didn't need to be as intense a chracter as Trinity.

I didn't think the ending was especially good or bad, but if you think about it, it concludes the whole point of the show and in hindsight you can see that's where the show was going since the finale of season 1.

A lot of interesting stuff in this season but unfortunately there were a lot of moments that were so not-believable that I understand why people are trashing it.

Maybe I shouldn't give the new batch of readers the faith that this was intentional, but the meandering and the confusion during this season actually reflected what was going on in Dexter's life. Everything was blurred together and confusing. Maybe just bad writing (as it definitely was in many cases) but it actually fit what was going on in a weird way.

Overall very weird season with a lot of really interesting stuff often clouded by nonsensical stuff.

Exactly, I agree. I like to disagree and I too am open to changing my view, that's how you learn IMHO. You said: 'Whoa, Breaking bad padding NO FING WAY.' Which I read as simply a different though forceful view. A world away from the other replies on this thread which stepped over the line into personal attacks on me (and then you).

I lost interest halfway through season 3 and recent reviews make me glad I bailed when I did.

Dexter should have ended after Season 1. The story was damn near perfect (with a solid book to go off of) and it ended in a nice bow tie that said, "yup, that's it folks."

Unfortunately, with great TV comes great big green eyes and it was forced into a slow, but accelerating decline from then on. If they really wanted to keep it going after the first season, they should have kept the same ending as the first book. At least that would have sped up the character development (spoiler spoiler spoiler!!!: dexter kills LaGuerta, Deb learns what he is and Dexter lets Brian get away)

Totally with you on the Dexter didn't change thing.

So I can't post my own link, then. Hmm...

Dexter was one of the great shows, and one I think spawned the raft of great drama shows about morality. Sadly it was overtaken in the creativity department. It's latter years giving way to it's offspring. I loved the show and will miss it, remembering the good times, and forgiving the bad.

I think something I glimpsed in the final scene of Dexter really sums up season 8 for me: a giant log.

It was gr8, proper Dexter style x and they av loaded it up for its inevitable return x Deb can now be his voice of conscious, an They can link up weather Harrison carries his dark passenger x

I think your review sums up my own feelings; slowly bleeding to death like Rita in the bath tub, the last four seasons have sleep walked through one ridiculous situation to the next. Whereas initially clever plotting and Dexter's intelligence got him out of tight corners, the later series saw simply foolish acts getting him out of scrapes; no one checks his internet surfing on a police server, as said in the review a life support can be switched off and the body removed but he isn't once challenged, and the characters were sacrificed simply to get a momentary shock reaction.

Deb's demise was flagged from the beginning of the season but my biggest problem with the run is that it was 12 loosely connected episodes rather than feeling like one over arching season; whereas previous seasons built to some kind of climax (at least as far as season 6) this season was a filler that was full of red herrings that felt more like the writers saying "we don't know where we are going so we will introduce lots of bogus information that will pad out the season".

Looking back at series 1 to 4 I could not wait to watch the next installment - since season 5 that dissipated year on year - my wife gave up after 6 having guessed the nature of Edward James Olmos by episode 2, but I stuck with it hoping that they would pull it out of the bag. Instead they shoved it down the toilet, and like a turd in a shopping mall toilet - it refused to gracefully sink and disappear

Things that were not needed in Dexter Season 8
- Harrison (when has he ever been anything other than an inconvenience)
- Masuka's daughter
- Deb's new job
- Vogel

The whole series has just been a horrible, horrible afterthought.

The ending itself is actually a logical way to end it but by that point you just don't care, it affects no-one.

if Batman can survive a nuclear bomb then he can survive a storm!!

The death of Daniel demonstrated, as I'd said several times this season,
how poor a killer he was compared to Dexter. In a straight fight with
only a pen as a weapon he comes off decidedly second. I took this weapon
choice as some attempt at irony on the part of the writers, where
they've killed off characters with their pens for all these years, and
now Dexter does his final kill using one. I hope they laughed writing
it, because if that was the intention, it wasn't that witty.

Priceless. Well done.

I was a little disappointed with the end, I think perfect ending would be Dexter living happily with Harrison and Hannah or Dexter getting caught and killed and then maybe at end it shows Harrison as adult having same urges to kill as Dexter and Dexter as a ghost like Harry was, helping Harrison to channel his urges.

The only comment that made me laugh here

Yes! He is suffering the ultimate punishment, self inflicted. People are too close minded to see this. They miss the true impact and meaning. Some story lines were ridiculous, but the overall message and finale dug deep for those intelligent enough to grasp it.

He is punishing himself for what he has caused, such as Debs death. Killing himself is too easy.

Unfortunately it's becoming increasingly obvious that unless a show finale is black & white, all answers on the table and completely tied up, the majority are completely unable to get their head around it. These people are the same fools who complain endlessly about The Sopranos, Lost etc

I like Dexter but the show attained higher and higher levels of preposterousness (is that even a word?). Even Harrison's 6 odd stitch chin gash appears to have healed in a matter of 24 hours (so far I found no one else that mentioned that). I guess Harrison is some sort of Terminator Cyborg or undead vampire as opposed to being next in the line of serial killers.

Sooo Dexter took Deb's death so hard he decided to abandon his son and throw himself a pity party for the rest of his life. Lame. He was trained by Harry to find balance, Vogel marveled at his humanity (for a psychopath), and he's been doing just fine being a father for 4 years but oh well. Hannah's been around for like a blink of an eye so she'll do a better job I guess. The writers think it's nice to see a random Elway guy beat up Deb for a few episodes and then she dies and well... that just seemed like a good ending. Angel and Miami Metro Clown Academy never knows or suspects anything bc Dexter's just plain adorable. *shrugs* Okie dokey artichokey.

Rita would be so proud. Remember her? Harrison's mom? Yeaaaah... Dex is a douche.

I cannot get over the badness of this ending finale. How we are supposed to believe he snuck body of Debra out of hospital with all those nurses doctor watching????? I recently try at local hospital with similar dead lady and can confirm that it not possible.
Also, when he stab man with pen and man fall to die, then he just get away????? Can confirm that stab with pen hurt very bad but do not die. As well, how he get back from boat when in middle of hurricane? He swim? Will verify upon next hurricance. All in all am very disappointed by ending of this show, it's make no sense and beginning to think was all made up.

What an awful character...super annoying

It may be a punishment...but it didnt make any sence...suicide or Argentina...

I guess one of the great aspects could have been where Dexter lives up to Debs wishes and has a happy life with his leftover family. Nevertheless, as selfish as the ending was relating to the fact that the rest of Dexter's family could have been left without Dexter, how on earth did Dexter know he was going to survive the storm? He literally told Harrison he was going to see him again over the phone. Yet still I don't have much to complain about here; I still liked the ending. Matter of fact I enjoyed every last minute of the show. For those of you who want to complain that it wasn't good, first compare Dexter to many other shows that make absolutely no sense.

You're an idiot. Silly review. Stop being so pedantic and open your eyes to the bigger picture not just exactly what's happening on the screen. Silly!

I didn't read any of the comments but I think the look in the eyes of Dexter at the very end means the is still the killer with his urges and he chose this way of life over the way of life with girlfriend/child/two lives interfering.. Dexter lives on..!

6 months late to the party (I just saw the finale) and no ones ever going to read this, but hey I want to say my bit on the end of Dexter.

To all that say Dexter didn't change, that Dexter was still Dexter, that's true right up to the point that Deb dies, at that stage he finally does change and realise that what he's wanted for 8 seasons, to live a normal life is not actually possible. Some people see that he chooses a life of solitude over being with Hannah as a sign that he's not changed, but it's the exact opposite it's because he's changed that he knows that if he goes to Argentina sooner or later those he cares about will come to a bad end, so he chooses to be alone and away from his son and Hannah, finally he puts someone ahead of his own needs, that's the character arc right there.

The other aspect of course is that he's punishing himself for Debs death, perhaps for all that he's done. You get the sense that there's no Harry in this new life of his, but equally there's no dark passenger either, there's just an empty shell.

Yes it's a very bleak ending, and might come as a surprise because of the sometimes comedic elements that sprung up every now and again in Dexter, but ultimately it's the most fitting ending and one that's been sign posted right from the start.

I too had concocted my own version of ending. yes, hes dumped his phone into the sea. but dexter, being dexter can surely find hannah in argentina. yes, my version will end with a happy note. it's tragically stupid to show our hero ending up all alone when he has a new life, a loving partner and a SON to live for.

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