Which is a very different show from Dexter, which concluded another great season tonight.
Re: the first ten minutes:
I...really didn't think they'd kill Doakes! I...didn't think they'd BLOW UP DOAKES for fuck's sake. And, honestly, things like that just end up throwing me off because I can't deal, and I am mad at the show for teasing us with a brave new Dexter/Doakes (Dexter/JAMES) dynamic and then BLOWING IT UP. It just puts me out of whack, and I can't appreciate anything else afterward properly.
I can't deal!
No more Doakes!
Of course, I now see a way out of the Bay Harbor Butcher storyline: they believe the Bay Harbor Butcher is Doakes, and Doakes is dead and can't accuse Dexter. I guess there was really no way out of the story that ended with Doakes alive, which is just unfortunate.
And then...I was really irritated at Dexter for his smug old "I'll honor his sacrifice by embracing my freedom" bullshit. I know he feels like his problems are all solved (AND BLOWN UP), but would it hurt the bastard to feel sorry about it for a second? I mean, seriously, he wouldn't be dead if it weren't for him anyway. He wouldn't have been in that cage. Lila lit the match, but Dexter covered Doakes in gasoline.
So then because I was kind of annoyed with Dexter, I was EXTREMELY irritated during the aquarium scene because it looked like he was completely backsliding (and it felt like a retread of discovering that Rudy/Brian was someone he could connect with), but thank God, he was just manipulating her so he could kill her. Plus, that scene went on about thirty seconds too long. Even though I hated it initially, in retrospect, it's kind of awesome that Dexter was basically Lila-ing his way into her.
I was expecting a nice, neat kill...and then they showed a female figure entering in the dark, and I knew it was going to be Deb, and aaaaaahhhhh. What a royal fuckstorm that was. FUCKING LILA.
Oh, the credits homage was cute. Heh.
Then, to ratchet up the tension...let's have Lila KIDNAP THE KIDS! And then TRAP THEM ALL IN A BURNING BUILDING WOOO. Christ, woman. That was frightening. And Deb came for him! Go Deb!
I have no earthly idea how Dexter tracked Lila down in Paris, but...hey. Crazy bitch is dead, right? That's all that matters. For a moment there, I thought she might have started some sort of killing spree "inspired" by Dexter.
I was someone who liked Lila initially, specifically because of what Dexter tells her in the aquarium: at the time, it did seem like they were kindred spirits, and she seemed like what Dexter needed. Of course, then she proved herself to be completely obsessed and nutzo, and I feel like she became more of a plot device than a character, even though, as much as I hated her and wanted her to die, I sort of found her fascinating as a destructive force of chaos.
Scattered thoughts before the conclusion: Poor LaGuerta, man. I wish she'd been able to shed more doubt on Doakes; I mean, Lundy seemed to be coming around with the blood analysis angle. And speaking of angles, aw, Angel! Hugging Deb! I'm not too broken up about Lundy and Deb; I think Deb will bounce back, perhaps with someone both age-appropriate and not a serial killer. And, finally, all Dexter has to do is say, "Sorry, James," and I forgive him.
That being said...I'm not entirely sure I understand what's changed for him. Like, "Well, I tried self-analysis, and that didn't really end well, so...fuck that shit"? How has he really grown? If he has appropriated Harry's Code as his own, how is it any different? And IF YOU ARE FUCKING EVOLVING, WHY ARE YOU HIDING YOUR BLOOD SLIDES IN THE SAME STUPID PLACE???
Overall, the finale didn't reach the heights of "Born Free," but it's a tough standard to live up to, much like the entire first season. If the first season was an A+ (well, it was, okay?), I'd say this season was more of an A-. Maybe an A/A-. Not bad, but who knows what's in store for next season? At all? I hope, having given Dexter sort of a new slate, they can drum up an A+ story.
(And maybe Doakes's ghost can "That's right, motherfucker!" from beyond the grave??)