Dexter recap season 7 episode 12 finale surprise motherfucker: what commenters and critics said.

Dexter, Season 7

Where Do We Go From Here?

Dexter, Season 7

Where Do We Go From Here?
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Talking television.
Dec. 17 2012 2:17 PM

Dexter, Season 7


The beginning of the end. 

Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan and James Remar as Harry Morgan (Season 7, episode 12).
Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan and James Remar as Harry Morgan (Season 7, episode 12).

Photo by Randy Tepper/Showtime.

Hey Dexter, I have fallen out of love with you. Your leonine scruff hasn’t changed, or the twinkle in your eyes (even now, I can’t say for certain whether they’re brown or green). You still shed charm like water and you protect your sister—to the point of sending your girlfriend to jail—and, yes, you narrate your life in a suave, hypnotic voiceover that sounds like being wrapped in the softest, most expensive plastic on earth. I remember writing about how devastated I would be by your arrest

Katy Waldman Katy Waldman

Katy Waldman is a Slate staff writer.

But then you went after LaGuerta, your own police captain, a non-murderer, rather than run away. You humiliated her and then tried to kill her. You executed Estrada even after acknowledging that he ordered his hits for the exact same reasons that you performed yours. (“You think I’m a killer and not a liar?” you taunted him first.) Worst of all, because of you, Deb had to compromise herself beyond redemption. She’ll never get a happy ending now—and with her loyalty and basic good heartedness, she deserved better.

Anyway, I realize you didn’t intend for any of this to happen, but it’s under pressure that people reveal their true colors. The votes are in, Dex, and viewers seem convinced of two things: One, that you’re more villain than hero, and two, that Season 8 will see you fall. As Alex Moaba at the Huffington Post put it, “According to the show's own mythology, [Dexter and Debra] have crossed a line. As Harry warned Dexter, LaGuerta didn't even come close to fitting the code. Next season, they pretty much have to go down, and that will be fascinating to watch.”


Fascinating, because of the horrible inevitability of it, or boring, because the title character has hemorrhaged all his moral ambiguity? For the final installment of the Dexter TV Club, I turned to some distinguished TVC alumni for their takes on the season's irresistibly titled last episode, “Surprise Motherfucker.” Responses below.

Richard Rys, blogger for NYMag’s Vulture, TVC Week 9:

I thought it was a great finale. There were some off-key moments this season and a couple dead ends (no complications for Quinn’s evidence tampering and giving Batista his dirty cash?). But last night’s episode accomplished what a season-ender should—a mix of resolution and anticipation for what’s to come. Whodunit cliffhangers can be fun, but they’re also torturous and easy. Instead, we know LaGuerta is dead and both Dexter and Deb will have some serious consequences to deal with. Another award-worthy performance by Jennifer Carpenter, who I’ve been saying all season long has deserved an Emmy nod for her outstanding work. Kudos to the writers as well for making LaGuerta sympathetic. As much fun as it was to watch Matthews needle her, in the end, she (like Doakes) was right about Dexter. She was far from lovable, but she didn’t deserve to die. One thing seems more certain than ever now—Dexter is doomed. The bigger question for me now is whether Deb is, too. She’s gone from his support system to become the show’s most tragic, complicated character. As much as I’m anticipating what’s in store for Dexter, I’m just as invested in Deb’s future. Now that they’re so inextricably tied together, I think their fate is a shared one.

Torie Bosch, Slate Future Tense editor, TVC Week 1:

After Deb saw herself filling the gasoline canister, I thought she was going to break down and confess to LaGuerta. And I rather hoped she would: It would end the exhausting, increasingly difficult to believe story lines in which Dexter gets closer and closer to getting caught, but somehow slips away. Plus, it would have given Season 8--which may or may not be the final installment of the series--an entirely different structure. The legal and media circus that would accompany his arrest would make for great viewing, as would the reactions of Angel, Masuka, Astor. But now I fear the series finale will close with Dexter caught in a slam-dunk way (or perhaps killed).

Chris Kirk, Slate interactives editor, TVC Weeks 3 and 11:

Dexter has killed at least three innocent people before last night's episode: first, when he mistook somebody for a killer in Season 4; second, when he killed a foulmouthed jerk in a bathroom after Rita died; and, third, when he kills Hannah's father. The series seems to have expected us to forgive and dismiss each incident, and we have, probably unreasonably. Unlike any of these deviations though, LaGuerta's murder was both deliberate and, whatever your feelings about LaGuerta, entirely undeserved. Her death isn't an illustration of Dexter's flaws and weaknesses but his newfound amorality — and, now, Deb's amorality. They're both willing to kill innocent people instead of hitting the road like Hannah. Last night was the beginning of the end, and it's going to be an unpleasant end no matter how the final season plays out.