Dexter: Season 8 review (Blu-ray)

For so long all I wanted was to be like other people. To feel what they felt.
But now that I do, I just want it to stop.
— Dexter Morgan

WARNING: Here there be spoilers ... if you haven't seen Dexter Season 7 or Season 8, then read no further until you have.

And so it ends. After eight seasons, Dexter comes to a fitting, and satisfactory, conclusion (which most of the viewing public loathed – more on that later).

Set six months after the finale of Season 7, a guilt-ridden Debra (Carpenter) has left Miami Metro homicide and has joined a private investigation company, but she cannot escape Dexter’s murderous influence or the guilt over killing LaGuerta. Meanwhile, psychiatrist Dr Evelyn Vogel (Rampling) reveals to Dexter her involvement in helping to create Harry’s Code. To further complicate matters, Hannah McKay (Strahovski) returns to Miami and ask for Dexter’s help to end her troubled marriage to her second husband, billionaire Miles Castner (Julian Sands). And a new serial killer, dubbed the Brain Surgeon, is on the loose …

It's a busy and complicated season, but for me it's a great finale to what has been a superb series of television (you've got to love this new golden age). So many people were upset at how the show ends – shades of The Sopranos – but for me, it was perfect. Dexter (Hall) has spent eifght seasons grappling with his Dark Passenger, trying keep his real self hidden from those around him, and control his urge to kill. Ultimately, he learns that is impossible, and so he decides that those people he loves the most – Hannah and son Harrison – are safer, and better off, without him. He has spent eight seasons learning how to be human, and now that he has become human, he doesn't like how it feels. Faking his own death and then leaving Miami for good is a worse punishment for Dexter than being caught, or even dying. He is now truly alone, for the rest of his life, cut off from those he loves the most – he may as well be dead. It's a fitting, and exquisite, conclusion. And it does, of course, leave the door open for more Dexter in the future – maybe a movie?

EXTRAS ★★ Disappointing for the final season of this terrific show – no audio commentaries, no deleted scenes, no blooper reel and no discussion of the series as a whole. All we get are: the featurette Episode 802: Directed by Michael C Hall (2:18); the featurette The Code (7:27), about how Harry's code for Dexter came about; the featurette From Cop to Killer (3:17), all about Deb and her character arc; and the featurette The Evolution of Dexter Morgan (6:29).

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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