The Dexter Finale Could Have Been Far Stranger

Showtime’s Dexter: New Blood is set to end Dexter Morgan’s story for real. Could it look to a supernatural event from Jeff Lindsay’s book series for inspiration?

Deb Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) and Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) in Dexter
Photo: Showtime

The series finale of Showtime serial killer drama Dexter is, let’s say, not particularly well-liked. 

After eight seasons of the monstrous Dexter Morgan murdering other monsters, the show’s season 8 finale let him off the hook in unsatisfying fashion. The former Miami-Dade P.D. blood splatter analyst left everything behind for a fresh start in Oregon as a lumberjack, making a case for “lumberjacking” to overtake “jumping the shark” as the preferred term for televised disappointment.

With the plot set to pick up again in limited series Dexter: New Blood, star Michael C. Hall is once again making public amends for how things ended the first time around. In a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, Hall (who is also an executive producer on the show) acknowledged fan’s finale frustrations.

“I totally get people’s dissatisfaction with the way the show ended ’cause it didn’t really end,” Hall told ET. “It just left us in this pretty unresolved funny certain place and while I thought that it made sense for the character to find himself in that position and to put himself in this self-imposed exile after all the chaos after the show, I would get why it was pretty unsatisfying… [and] infuriating for fans, they spent all this time and were longing for something that answered some questions or tied some things up or did something that the finale didn’t manage to do.”

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Thankfully, Hall and original showrunner Clyde Phillips (who left Dexter after five seasons) have a second chance at an ending with New Blood, premiering at 9 p.m. on Nov. 7. It remains to be seen how the show intends to really end its story this time around. One thing for sure, however, is that it has some compelling options from the Jeff Lindsay’s original Dexter book series to consider.

Rolling Stone Chief TV critic Alan Sepinwall posted an interesting thought experiment to Twitter recently, writing “If Dexter had tried to do this in the final season, would it have been better or worse than Lumberjack Dexter?”

The attached screenshot is a Wiki entry that details the events of the third of eight books in the Dexter series, Dexter in the Dark. It reads: “The Dark Passenger was revealed to be an independent entity inhabiting Dexter, possibly the offspring of the ancient god, Moloch. The idea was largely disliked by critics and fans alike and was dropped from future books. In 2013, the writer, Jeff Lindsay, stated that Dexter in the Dark was an experiment. As such, the storyline had been tested, and the idea was abandoned.”

Well, that’s fascinating. 

In the show, The Dark Passenger is the name that Dexter gives to his uncontrollable urge to kill. It’s clearly a personification device that Dexter is using to justify his violent sociopathy. That is the case in the books as well…up until that controversial third entry. In Dexter in the Dark, Dexter Morgan suddenly finds himself abandoned by his Dark Passenger at a very inopportune time – he is kidnapped by a murderous cult, you see. It’s not until Dexter is despondent by the loss of his Dark Passenger buddy at book’s end that it returns to him, delighted to feast on his sadness once more.

Dexter in the Dark was the first book to be released after the Showtime series had already premiered. In fact, excerpts from the title are accessible in the menu of the Dexter season 1 DVD. While the first two books and seasons of Dexter correspond fairly closely, the third installments of each go off in wildly different directions. Though Lindsay did indeed abandon that Moloch plotline after book three, it serves as a fascinating “what if…?” for the Dexter franchise at large. 

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Though the TV series never flirted with the supernatural element of its story for eight seasons, it’s still there in the Dexter canon should it ever want to try it out. It likely won’t in Dexter: New Blood, but hey, you never know! Sometimes you need a Deus Ex Moloch. 

Dexter: New Blood could also end like Lindsay’s book series does in the eighth entry Dexter is Dead. You can check out the details of that over here. We won’t post them in this space because it does actually seem like a pretty plausible (and satisfying) way for Dexter to end his television journey.