Since its debut on Showtime back in 2006, Dexter has shaken up the television landscape with an anti-hero who kills other lunatics roaming around the world. From the rival between Dexter and Sgt Doakes, to Deb shooting LaGuerta to protect her murderous brother, there’s been no shortage of shocking moments and thrills throughout the eight-season run. However, let’s be honest here, the final season of Dexter was just bad. From the baffling decision to do a time jump following the LaGuerta shooting to the unnecessary and forced storyline of Dexter’s surrogate family (Dr. Evelyn Vogel and Zach Hamiton) to the time wasted on Masuka having a hot daughter, season eight limped to the finish line with a highly disappointing ending that had fans rolling their eyes.
To the surprise of many in 2020, it was confirmed that the show will get one ten-episode season titled, Dexter: New Blood, with Clyde Phillips, the original showrunner, and Michael C. Hall returning as the title character. Now, it’s already been confirmed that the writers won’t ignore season eight despite the overwhelming backlash, so don’t expect Deb (though Jennifer Carpenter will return via flashbacks), Batista, and Quinn to be solving cases together again as Dexter runs around chopping up the next madman. The ninth (and potentially final) season is set to return on Sunday, November 21, 2021, and based on a trailer that was just released during Comic-con, the tools are set for a strong return to form for Dexter. However, it’s important that the show learns from its disastrous final season and if Dexter can avoid these three mistakes then we’re guaranteed a strong season for our loveable anti-hero.
1. Unnecessary Time filler
One of the biggest crimes that the final season committed was that there was never a sense of urgency throughout the 12-episode run, with unnecessary time spent on Masuka and his hot daughter, and the whole Dr. Evelyn Vogel and Zach Hamiton saga. Following Deb’s decision to kill LaQueta instead of Dexter, the endgame felt near, with Dexter’s side hustle possibility being exposed and a manhunt set to find the murderous anti-hero. There was also the dynamic between Dexter and Deb, who still wasn’t on the best terms with her brother despite choosing him over LaQueta. Instead of exploring Deb’s fragile mental state and Dexter finally being exposed for his crimes, the show opts to skip over those juicy stories to give Dexter a surrogate family, two unlikeable characters who didn’t make enough impact to justify the build-up before their eventual murders from the Ryan Gosling wannabe. The “killer” of the season wasn’t nearly as compelling as Hannah or The Ice Truck Killer, and with no personal ties to Dexter himself, there was no point in having another villain of the season when all the focus should’ve been on Dexter’s life crumbling due to his secret being exposed. The upcoming season needs to avoid unnecessary stories that won’t have a major impact on Dexter’s future. Audiences need to feel that Dexter’s world could ultimately come to an end anytime soon, which was something severely lacking in the eighth season.
2. The Writers Shouldn’t Be Afraid To Punish Dexter
This is more at fault with showtime, not the writers of season eight. Back in 2013, it was revealed by producer John Goldwyn to Variety that the network was against the idea of killing off their leading star, with a potential spin-off series in mind down the road.
“They [wouldn’t] let us kill him. Showtime was very clear about that. When we told them the arc for the last season, they just said, ‘Just to be clear, he’s going to live.”
As you can imagine, this was a big hurdle that the writers had to deal with; however, this notably affected the entire season as the stakes never felt high throughout the twelve-episode arc. Oliver Saxson never felt like a threat despite killing off Vogel and many other victims because he wasn’t as terrifying as the ice truck killer, and with the threat of Debra and the police, basically nonexistent then the season lacked a focus that put Dexter in peril. Dexter’s world was barely crumbling and that feeling never changed throughout the 12-episode run. The writers for the upcoming season don’t necessarily need to kill off Dexter; however, it does need to feel that it could be the end of the anti-hero thanks to some big threat in his way that could either kill him or expose his secret.
3. The Antagonist Has To Be A Threat To Dexter
As previously stated, Oliver Saxson just wasn’t a believable threat to Dexter in season eight. The antagonist for the upcoming season doesn’t have to be another crazed lunatic (even though the trailers do indicate another crazed lunatic) but it’s important that this threat can truly turn Dexter’s world upside down. Just like Doakes and LaQuerta could’ve exposed the serial killer, there’s still the possibility of an agent going undercover and watching Dexter’s every move, which might be the reason he’s not chopping up murderers in his new backwoods home. Add in another dangerous psychopath that could A) force Dexter out of retirement thus putting him at risk of being caught or B) Actually kill off the title character, and the ingredients for a compelling season can be very strong.