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'Dexter' Series Finale: A Heartrendingly Real Goodbye

Dexter is over. While the Showtime series may not have been my favorite show, its finale is one of the best I’ve ever seen. After a season that had more than its share of less-than-stellar episodes, the finale beautifully illustrated Dexter's humanity. I’ll admit it: I didn’t just cry multiple times during this episode. I sobbed. Life isn’t pretty, and neither was this series. But it was real. I still have the dried tears on my face from my own personal reaction as I write this. I’m sad. I’m reeling. I’m angry. The fact that this series made me care this much makes it a triumph.

If Dexter was ever going to have another name, it would have been Dexter and Debra or The Morgan Kids. Let’s give a proper eulogy to Debra Morgan. She may have had awful taste in men (Joey Quinn, the Ice Truck Killer, Frank Lundy, etc.), but the more that woman cussed and put herself out there for the people she cared about, the more I loved her. I understood her love-hate relationship with Dex, and was even proud of her — heck, in love with her — for her choice to love Dexter instead of hate him. If you’ve read my other piece about Dexter, you know about the awful state I was in after my mother’s health issues. As much as Dexter helped me overcome them, there was this amazing girl who also helped remind me that I could still have feelings for someone — or anyone. I never even ended even up kissing her, but we’re still friends. She resembles Debra in tons of ways, so maybe you can understand that, and what this series means to me, and what Debra's goddamn death meant to me.

Despite her “sins,” it was unfair for Deb to die and pay the biggest price. It would have hurt less if Hannah, or even Harrison, had died. It was gut-wrenching to watch Dex put Deb out of her misery. The fact that he didn't let her suffer is a testament to how much he cared about her. As was the fact that he sacrificed his own personal happiness by separating himself from Hannah and Harrison, the only people he loved as much as Deb who hadn’t paid the ultimate price for being linked to him.

Deb clearly died thinking she would be OK because of Quinn's love for her, and knowing that Dex, whom she loved more than anyone in the world, would be also be OK. That is a silver lining if ever there was one. Deb died knowing who Dexter really is, and still loved him, and knew he still loved her. For all their father’s faults, he had left them in a state where they could still live and love.

Dexter is clearly miserable at the end, but can we blame him? In an ideal world, a man like Dexter would have been able to transcend his past and create a future that freed him of all of this. But this world isn't ideal. Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader — one of the most iconic heroes and villains in American film history — was unable to atone for his past sins without costing those he loved, especially Padmé Amidala. Should we have expected that Dexter would escape with any less suffering for those he loved?

It broke my heart than Deb — foul-mouthed, lovable Deb — had to be killed by Dex. Was her death fitting? I don’t know. I just know what a great, heartrending ending this was to a great, heartrending series. A series that reminded anyone who understood it about what it means to be loved, what it means to love, and what it means to be alive. And what it means to come back from the brink, multiple times, and feel and love again. Thanks, Dex and thanks, Deb. Your sacrifice is not in vain.

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