Dexter Season 6 Finale - 6.12 "This Is the Way the World Ends" - Review

Dexter Season 6 Finale review By Kevin Fitzpatrick, Dexter season 6 returns to reveal its twelfth, and final entry with this week’s shockingly revelatory season finale “This is the Way the World Ends,” as our favorite serial killer faces his final confrontation with Travis Marshall after last week's explosive "Talk to the Hand," and Deb stumbles upon a shocking truth about her brother. "This is the Way the World Ends" sure had a lot on its plate to address for one episode, but optimism for the next few seasons don't quite quell the issues that season 6 created.

I’ll be honest with you, I’m almost unsure of what to say about tonight’s Dexter finale. It can be hard enough coming up with intelligent, thought-provoking things to say on an episode-to-episode basis that you might not have covered the previous week, but the reaction to this season of Dexter has been so strongly varied across the board it feels like nothing can quite cover what we’ve just been through these last three months.

First Dexter was at his high school reunion, then snake-filled religious murders popped up, Mos Def mumbled on about light and darkness, Quinn got drunk, Edward James Olmos wasn’t real, and then Deb fell in love with her brother. It’s hard to think about the nine hundred directions Dexter season 6 has gone off in without needing to sit down. Read more after the jump...

Debra knows Dexter’s secret now, or at least as much as one can infer from witnessing Dexter plunge a sword into a saran-wrapped murderer’s chest, and it’ll be some time before we even see the fallout from that event we’ve waited six seasons to see. In a way, Deb learning about Dexter’s serial killing lifestyle overshadows just about everything before it, which doesn’t speak well of the fact that we spent the entire season hunting a two religious zealots that turned out to be one. Dexter and Travis played an interesting cat and mouse game in “This is the Way the World Ends” to be certain, but in the end what has it given us?

Harrison was never in any real danger, we know better than to think Dexter would kill off a child like that, and no one else really paid the price for Dexter’s errors in hunting the Doomsday Killer. It’s not like the world could unexpectedly end either, so the reality of the matter is that we spent twelve episodes on Dexter hunting a killer tangentially related to the religious questions on his mind, rescuing his blissfully unaware son, and ultimately knocking the killer out on a rooftop. No dead wife in the bathtub to come home to, no earned relief in helping another lost soul free themselves of their dark passenger, just a mission accomplished, somewhat unorthodox.

Of course Deb stumbling upon Dexter’s kill room will undoubtedly change the game for the next two seasons, but the problem with this reveal lies in how “This is the Way the World Ends” presents us with the twist. Finding out about Dexter wasn’t something that the current season had built toward, but rather the entire series as a whole. In that way, the reveal has nothing to do with the questions Dexter presented us with over the last eleven weeks and in a way feels even more random than Deb’s newly realized romantic love for her brother. It’d be one thing if putting the Dexter/Deb relationship under the microscope led to a more organic realization or awareness of Dexter’s true self, but instead the series drops the reveal as an accident, one which we don’t get to live in for even a moment before the season cuts to black.

It’s not an earned development, something the characters (and the audience) deserve after six years. With most every character surviving the season even with their jobs in tact, it’s as if the Dexter writers simply caved in giving us something they knew we’d been expecting, rather than a finale that really kept us guessing.

That very sentiment is what speaks to “This is the Way the World Ends,” as a whole, in that even the season-long discussions find hasty wrap-ups that never quite land on their intended targets. Dexter gained nothing from his exploration of religion, only the tacit knowledge that some people use ludicrous jusfications as a means to do horrible things, and others good. The Dexter writers fail to realize that hastily wrapping up that conversation with Travis strapped to a table and utilizing Brother Sam’s words doesn’t justify their exploration within the season, merely reference them. The same goes for Dexter’s rumination on the light he passes on to Harrison, and Dexter’s sixth season even failed to address its most recent dilemma, that of Deb’s icky feelings for her brother. Despite the backlash against the bizarre storyline, we’re never really given a chance to explore its ramifications before Dexter accidentally drops his own bombshell on Deb. As long as the show continues to give us these out-there storylines, at the very least it could do us the courtesy of following through.

Deb and Dexter’s storyline isn’t the only thing that feels missing, or unaddressed by the end of the current season either. We never got a chance to learn more about Louis and his Ice Truck Killer obsession (or Dexter’s reaction to it), we never found a larger purpose for Ryan (Brea Grant), and we still never got a proper send-off for either Gellar or Brother Sam, likely the two most interesting characters of the season. Presumably Quinn and Batista’s beef rests on the back-burner for now, and even LaGuerta seems to have eased up on Deb, despite her continued outbursts of freaking out at crime scenes. And as for Masuka? Well, he does a pretty bitchin’ Yoda impression.


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  1. in double dexter there is a computer programmer who wants to be like dexter maybe louis is going to be that computer programmer in season 7

  2. I think the writers intended to keep all of the Deb and Dexter (and Louis) story-lines unfinished so they can continue them next season. It (kind of) reminds me of the ending of season one, where the writers left the story with Paul's shoe to develop into the Lila/NA story. I'm glad that season six doesn't answer everything because these stories need more time to develop, but it's frustrating having to wait till next September to see them...

  3. oh, and I almost forgot to respond to the first commenter :P

    I haven't read "Double Dexter" yet (I'm getting it for Christmas), but now I'm really excited too! The show and the books seem to unintentionally have similar story-lines, so it's possible that Louis could resemble the character in the book.

  4. Actually, when I first saw Louis craving for Dexter's attention and approval, I instantly thought of Bernard Elan, that's the character's name.There are many similarities between Bernard and Louis.Well, we will see in season 7 for sure.But I can't wait.

  5. I belive Louis' involvment and fascination with Dexter is because Louis is the Ice Truck's Killer's son and Louis knows more about Dexter (his uncle) than he is letting on.....stay tune for season 7 when Louis' character will be address much, much more....

  6. from what i've seen i believe dexter season 7 will start around september or october time judging from the premieres

  7. Is it possible that everything from the time Dexter injected himself through the end was a dream he was having while out from the injection??? Perhaps Deb didn't see anything...perhaps something really did happen to Harrison and they won't show it...perhaps Travis is still on the loose. Your thoughts????

  8. "Finding out about Dexter wasn’t something that the current season had built toward, but rather the entire series as a whole."

    Actually, I thought this season built towards that ending more than any other! Deb's 'romantic' feelings towards Dexter this season pretty much guaranteed it. As soon as she said she was "in love" with him, and knowing where Dex's kill room was gonna be, I knew what the ending would be. Not surprising at all, which is kinda disappointing for a Dexter finale, but still fun to watch. But, I'm excited to see where all of that goes next year!

    Re: Louis being ITK's son... it's not possible. There is not enough of an age difference (Louis is in his 30's and ITK was in his late 30's when Dex killed him).

  9. A cliffhanger ending is something you really dont look forward to after watching scintillating 11 episodes and waiting 24*7 hrs for the season finale which holds the key to everything. This is unlike other dexter seasons where you find everything completely wrapped up in the end and a new beginning for the next season.

    As for the Deb coming to know about Dexter's reality, one thing is for sure that the series is close to an end with at the most 2-3 seasons left. But it would be really interesting to see how the directors dove tail this story with the broader goal of the series which is to show the humanization of Dexter. Well, one thing is for sure, all of this sets an incredible base for the next season and it is going to be hugely popular. But all we are left with is an agonizing wait till then.

  10. What did I miss? I like the ending but I don't understand how or why she ended up in that ending scene. How did she know to go there?

  11. It wasn't a sword that Dexter used to kill was a knife. Someone wasn't paying attention while writing the review....

  12. Does nobody talks about the Hand Travis left in Dexters appartment? Or did Travis took it with him? Where is Travis his car? Waddup with this Hand, Louis? Makes no sense.

  13. Anony 2:21pm
    I agree this Mr. Kevin needs to go back and watch the entire season again. I don't get how he doesn't understand how the elements for cliffhangers, twist, and foreshadowing work for tv shows. "hasty wrap-ups"? Really? Also, Dex realized that he will never get rid of his darkness. He says 'light can't exist without darkness' (paraphrasing, sorry). And Dex isnt just about "the light he passes on to Harrison", Dex says to Harrison(paraphrasing again, sorry): If all I pass on to you is my love, then thats what matters. Father Dexter LOVES Harrsion, something Harry did not give Dexter. This is huge for Dexter!

    Anony 247pm: Deb asked Dex to wrap up ("clean sweep" I think those were the words she used)the church to close that part of the evidence.

    Anony 225pm: Travis left the hand on top of Dex's fridge, so assuming he may stumble finding unless Jaime will.

  14. I can understand peoples complaints about the religion aspect of it or even the villains argument. But what the hell will please these extraordinarily picky people? I don't think they could write anything that will make people stop romanticizing Trinity, Season 1 and 2, or Ritas death scene.

    I guess that's the curse for this show. It just has these truly amazing moments in television history. The ones that are so good that it just spoils everyone to brat-like complaining.

    I think Dexter tried to appeal to the mass audience a little bit too much during the middle seasons. Rita should have been a much smaller story, its why her death while shocking and really well written, felt right for the story. I thinks this show started as a cult show, and will end a cult show. Its not everyone's favorite. But that doesn't mean its not amazing. It's just a little too unique for the drones.

    And this article just sounds pretentiously dense. They really didn't see the signals for Deb finding out this season? It's why her newly discovered feelings for Dexter is interesting on a story level. For the first time her selfish relationship with Dexter, shes actually paying attention to him now. And not in a sisterly way. Which makes her even more interested in where he is all the time. Their relationship this year was like an emotional ticking time-bomb. And they just complicated the hell out of it. These strange feelings she has for Dexter can make this huge moment turn into a really complicated and dark story. I am thrilled to see where its going. It finally feels like Dexter got its pulse back after season 4. Couldn't be more pleased with the finale.

  15. Rule #1 of Harry's Code: 'Don't get caught'. Why on earth prepare a kill room on a not yet closed crime scene, and to make things worse, a crime scene your sister (who is also a police lieutenant) knows you'll be at? Careless Dex, very careless.

    I have some mixed feelings about this season. I always liked the free, solistic, awkward, unhuman and always in control version of Dexter. He's becoming too human in my opinion (we've seen far too little kill rooms this season). But I guess that Dex's path to humanization is an inevitable storyline.

    What will happen in season 7? Will he come clean and will Deb be his redemption (no more killing)? Will he continue killing with Deb covering for him? Or will it be business as usual for Dex, with Deb aiding him as Harry did? Or... will Dex come up with a lame explanation as to why he is piercing Travis' heart and will Deb believe him, thus not discovering he is in fact a serial killer?

  16. Debra has been in the shadows for a long time. It's almost ridiculous to believe she has not connected the dots before, and for the writers the keep denying that--to keep developing the story as though Debra is completely ignorant of all that is going on around her-- can be somewhat of an insult to her character. But, I suppose the way she finds out about Dex's dark passenger really does not add to her detective skills.

    I don't think it is so much Debra finding out that is so unbelievable. It's all the things that have happened to Debra that makes the audience go (in Debra's words)"wtf!" Engaged to the ice truck killer, finding out her dad has affairs, finding out that Dex is Rudy's brother, losing Lundy, etc... It is believable that Dex could handle all of this, he is the serial killer, but Debra? I feel like this is one of the legitimate complaints people can have about the ending.

    The show on a whole does exactly what a show like this should do. Some of the seasons have ended with complete (or as complete as possible) closure. Season 5 did it best with Lumen's dark passenger being gone. Others end less predictable, with less of a sense of closure-- season 6 and 4, with Rita dying, for example. As the show develops, the writers have to find ways to make the show less and less predictable, and that may involving pushing some established boundaries while still holding on to some of the important themes of the story.

  17. Personally I felt Dexter Season 6 was really well done and has kept the bar high. I really think everyone complains because they have nothing better to do. Yeah the Deb in love with her brother is a bit odd, but overall I mean I do feel it was a shock to everyone and a tad bit abrupt, but overall I mean it kinda make sense when you really think about it. She has always kind of hung to Dexter anyway. Plus it adds an interesting element to the relationship that was already very strained.

    I like Dexter not being in control personally I felt this season and fourth season him making mistakes and being human made the seasons interesting versus season one were he never had issues really. It seemed like the show has done everything they can too keep things Dexter yet relate-able to an audience. None of us would be able to relate to Mr.Perfect version of Dexter an if it went on for 6 years I would say the show would be beyond stale.

    I would really like to say though that the worst thing about the season was how it dealt with Quinn. Felt like he should have pursued Dexter again after Deb ditched him instead of turning into this teenage like asshole whose drunk 99% of the time, because had Quinn caught Dexter at the season finale ending with the "Oh God" you'd have a bigger impact for next season starting there. I would agree the church was a bad move on Dexter's part for such a careful character, but I think part of what makes his kills so interesting is how he picks a place of meaning for each killer.

    I want to see how things pan out over the next 2 seasons before really judging the show. However so far my least favorite season was season 3. As Miguel and the Skinner weren't good antagonists and didn't really do anything.. However as I think about it Rita was really the focus of the season as they were getting deeper in a relationship and had a kid on the way (Harrison).

  18. At Dexters "father, son, serial killer" remark I almost shut down the TV. I liked the very ending but as a whole finale it was just average. Still I liked this season a whole lot more then season 5, so I guess that's progress :)

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