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Dexter season 3 finale 13 July 2009

Posted by jordanfarley in TV Review.
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The third year in the deliciously dark exploits of everyone’s favourite serial killer drew to a bloody close this week in the UK with the finale of Dexter season 3 on FX, and after 36 episodes of carotid artery-severing fun the astonishingly high quality shows no signs of flagging.

Dexter’s one season, novel-esque, story arcs have proven to be the perfect format for the series, delivering a fully developed and satisfying tale in 12 episodes with very little baggage carried over from one series to the next. Following this formula season three’s finale neatly wraps up the Freebo/Prado story lines with no obvious loose ends, and the tantilising potential for Dexter’s talented writers to go any direction they choose. 

After silencing murderous District Attorney Miguel Prado for good at the end of episode 11 and framing George King (aka the skinner) Dexter is still under threat from Miguel’s brother Ramone, or so he thinks. Meanwhile Debs gets promoted to detective, but has to give up the skinner case in return, and does her own snooping into her father’s adulterous relationships which threaten to expose Dexter for who he is.

It isn’t often that a TV series manages to be as consistently brilliant as Dexter over two years, let alone three. Heroes has limped along since its first magnificent chapter, 24 has yet to reach the dizzying heights of its thrilling debut year and seasons two to five of Lost have felt like little more than meandering filler in between the meat of the story (like a reverse sandwich, now there’s an idea). Much like Dexter himself then the makers of the show have yet to put a foot wrong, and while the Miguel Prado story arc might not have seemed to have had as much potential as previous arcs, the ice truck killer or the bay harbour butcher, the faustian tale of friendship and murder proved to be every bit as enthralling as previous outings, giving us our deepest insight into Dexter yet and leaving us with the hope that one day he might be able to settle down to a normal life and silence his dark passenger.

Michael C. Hall puts in another rock solid performance as the blood splatter analyst with a secret, exposing Dexter’s vulnerable side much more this year, but the star of the show for me has always been foul mouthed Debs (Jennifer Carpenter). It’s refreshing to see such a fallible character in a show like this as not only does it make her periodic victories more satisfying, but it gives us an obvious entry point in relating to such a larger than life figure. It’s just a shame the internal affairs investigation sub-plot, which seemed like it was going to be crucial at the start of this season, just petered out half way through.

Aside from Dexter, Miguel proved to be the most deliciously complex character in the show yet, conflicted between justice and the law in much the same way as Dexter, but without Harry’s rules to guide him he turned out to be a monster. George King on the other hand was worryingly one note, close to serial killer of the week territory with little motivation beyond respect and nothing to the character beyond a memorable M.O. Must do better next time. Rita and the kids have also continued to be an extremely important part of just why Dexter is so successful, they offer an insight into Dexter’s human, caring side where without there would be little more than a charismatic villain, and it’s good to see that the writers chose to develop this aspect of the show even more in the third season.

While season three might not have gripped at first, give it time and you’ll be every bit as hooked as previous years. Dexter plainly has a lot of life left in him yet.

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