Dexter is over.
I wasn’t a huge watcher of the show (I was a svelte, slender watcher of the show). I caught sporadic episodes throughout all the seasons, mostly because my roommates were watching it religiously. And yet I couldn’t stop myself from watching most of the final season, and especially the finale (tonight).
I have to say, it left me feeling a little bit empty.
And you know what? I completely don’t blame the show. I don’t know who I blame, if I blame anyone. I find less and less shows leave me feeling completely satisfied and “whole.”
You’re going to call me crazy for this, but the last show that completely satisfied me with its ending was Battlestar Galactica.
Yes, I know that there are millions of people out there who thought that Battlestar was the worst TV series ending ever. Millions feel the same way about The Sopranos, about LOST, about whatever TV show you can name. No TV show can satisfy everyone, and more and more of them seem to be “pissing off” diehard, rabid fans in this golden age of television.
And I think that’s the point. No matter what these show creators do, they’ll never satisfy us.
What the hell?
Listen, people, just because something is a series, doesn’t mean it’s meant to go on forever. At some point, stories end. That’s the case whether they’re a film or a book or a TV series. At some point, they’re over. (The only exception seems to be comics, because Spider-Man et al should be geriatric by now).
And there’s one particular beef I have with people who complain about stories. And it’s especially true for the endings of most TV shows I’ve seen.
It’s that THE STORY IS THE STORY. And the story is told by the STORYTELLER.
Like I said, this applies to endings. But it also applies to the middle of stories. People will complain about story threads that spin off into the wild blue yonder that seem to have no purpose in the main plot. They act like this is the worst thing that any thinking, rational human being can do to their viewers.
Well, THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED.
Dexter received its share of these complains. So did every show. It’s one of the major complaints of an excellent book I just finished reading, The Name of the Wind. Actually, it’s a more common complaint in the sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear.
In Wise Man’s Fear, there’s a hundred-or-more-page section of the book where the main character goes off and does something that doesn’t seem to have any relationship to the main plot of his storyline. People complain that it goes on and on and on. They seem to be complaining that this section of the book ruined all of the rest of it.
But guess what? THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MAIN CHARACTER.
Now, I know this seems like a ridiculous argument. This is all a fictional story, after all, and that didn’t have to happen to the main character. The author CHOSE for it to happen to the main character.
The author. The storyteller.
It’s his story, goddamnit! He gets to say what happened! And what happened is what happened. Because he said so.
What, does everything in a story HAVE to relate to the main plot? Is there no room for flights of fancy? An alternate subplot? A random sojourn by the hero that has nothing to do with anything that took place before or since?
Is YOUR life like that? Does everything happen in connection with all that took place before and after it? Is everything interconnected in brilliant twists of plot and logic that, in the end, result in a great cosmic “AHA!” as the universe beholds the spectacle that was your life?
I don’t think so.
It’s much more realistic to have things that just happen because they happen. Because a character decided to do something, and that something turned into something else, and it all kind of went off from there.
What was I talking about?
The ending of Dexter will doubtless leave a lot of people disappointed. Because the ending seems a bit random. It doesn’t seem to be intricately related to what happened to Dexter before. You might not feel like it’s what SHOULD have happened to Dexter in the end.
And yet it is. Because they said so.