Tuesday, September 24, 2013

'DEXTER' Finale was "terrible"? Not! (SPOILER ALERT!)

Hannah-McKay.jpg
Dex and Hannah before trying to make their way to Argentina on series' finale.

Well, the terrific SHOWTIME series 'Dexter' has finally ended after eight years with the episode 'Remember the Monsters'. To see some of the reactions on the blogosphere, you'd think it was some kind of major betrayal of fans. 'BWWWAAHAHA! How could they end it like that?  This is worse than the ending of LOST!'

One writer at the Atlantic Wire, actually asserted that he "wanted to throw something at the TV". Not to be outdone, a critic on the Huffington Post bawled about Dexter "not manning up", and assuming his proper responsibilities - including dealing with other killers, and taking care of his kid, Harrison. How he could he just run off to "somewhere in the Pacific Northwest" and leave everyone behind? How could they just leave fans hanging?

Puh-leeze! People who write such scruff either never grasped Dexter's personality, nor have they ever read or investigated Carl Jung's theories of psychic transformation, in attainment and evolution of the Self. Which is sad. Because it once again reminds us that the preponderance of reviews will  then be superficial and fail to objectively take account of the full arc of the 'Dexter' narrative.

The whiners and complainers assumed, probably based on their superficial interpretations of earlier episodes or lines, that Dexter had finally reached a stage of transformative completeness. In fact, he did not. Even though Dex appears cheery and ready to take the flight to Buenos Aires with girlfriend Hannah, and son Harrison, he has not completely transformed - the 'dark passenger' remains alive and well within. This is evident after Dexter goes to perform a GSR test on Oliver Saxon (the brutal serial killer  - who effectively is responsible for Deb going into a coma and being brain dead after abdominal surgery) and ends up stabbing him in the neck with a pen - killing him almost instantly. Even as we see the stone serial killer Saxon on the floor, blood spurting from his neck, and elate that this vermin is finally exterminated, we (should) know Dexter's issues remain unresolved.

Dex pleads "self defense" and it works because he'd incited Saxon to recklessly grab the pen and stab him with it first. It's all captured on the viddies. Both Det. Batista and Quinn agree - on re-examining the footage- it's self-defense. But the serious fan isn't fooled, and knows Dexter's dark passenger is back again. The seeming transformation to 'good guy' Dexter was only a feint, a mirage.

In his magnificent book, Answer to Job, Jung is adamant about the essential dynamic for inner transformation in a man. Basically, intense pain and a type of "violence" in experience are needed to bring one to wholeness, and the discontinuation of inner strife, alienation. The experiences, from the inside and outside, come upon the person and one must submit to their action. As Jung puts it:

"He must be affected by it, otherwise its full effect will not reach him. But he should know, or learn to know, what has affected him, for in this way he transforms the blindness of the violence on the one hand and of the affect on the other into knowledge."

There follows from this "a complete change of system, an acceptance of things that were unacceptable before"

Given this context of the incomplete path of Dexter toward wholeness and genuine self-knowledge, the ending was masterful. It acknowledged that Dexter's resolution of his dark passenger issue was not complete and he had yet serious work to do on himself (and without 'Pop' - James Remar's character-  offering his 0.02), in order to avoid hurting others close to him in the future. Will he do the inner transformative work necessary in an isolated lumber outpost of the northwest? That is the ambiguity with which we are left, and it's always the adult that can accept ambiguity. (Impatient children or child-like adults inevitably want all loose ends tied.) But to me, it ends the Dexter narrative perfectly. (Even the cast agrees, as the pre-finale interviews disclose)

According to producer Sara Colleton, interviewed by Entertainment Weekly:

 'From the very beginning the paradox was here’s a guy who doesn’t feel he’s a human being, who has to fake it. But in faking it, he’s a better brother, boyfriend, colleague that most real people. People think of him as a monster, but he yearns to be human. We’ve seen him go forward on this journey every year. Now we found out what the final price was. What sums up the entire journey was the scene on balcony of his apartment before going on the boat to put Deb down — that’s horrible to say aloud. The voiceover: “For so long all I wanted was to feel like other people … now that I do just want it to stop.” It’s the horrible awareness of what it was to be a human being and how overwhelming that is for him. His punishment is banishment. He sends himself into exile. Killing himself is too easy. When he turns and looks into the camera at the end he’s stripped everything away."

This exile means pain, of course, but according to Jung's thesis also means the potential for a full transformation.

The adults in the room can leave it at that!

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