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'Dexter': Closing out the third season -- the Morgans are gonna be all right!

December 14, 2008 | 10:06 pm

Dexter I was trying to figure out what specifically it was about this season of "Dexter" that failed, by and large, to elicit that sensation of horrified delight that I felt with the first season, and I think it's that the audience saw so little of Dexter the Serial Killer. We rarely saw Dexter (Michael C. Hall) kill someone simply because it was on his list of things to do -- each murder was a part of a much larger storyline.  And while I can see the appeal of ideas such as "What would happen of Dexter got married?" "What would happen of Dexter had a friend?" I think back to my days as an "X-Files" fan and remember that I always liked the stand-alone episodes of the show more than the ones that were tied into the bigger plots.

With tonight's finale, other than groaning over Maria Laguerta's (Lauren Velez) assertion that Deb Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) was one of the smartest cops she knew, I was left trying to remember what happened earlier in the season that made each end-tying moment so significant.  Why would the Skinner care that Dexter killed Freebo? Also, whatever happened to that Internal Affairs lady who was hanging around earlier in the season and, really, all Dexter needed to do to deal with Ramon Prado (Jason Manuel Olazabal) was listen to his daddy issues? And aw, happy endings for two cops dating people they possibly shouldn't. Everything worked out perfectly. Everything!   

The very last image of the episode, however, reminded me of why I do like this show. It was rather ridiculous how Dexter set it up so that Deb thought she caught/killed the Skinner when he did it himself, but it led to the hand injury that left that beautiful trickle of blood on Rita's (Julie Benz) wedding gown. It was a gorgeous image and a wonderfully dark way to close out the happy-family wedding scene. Maybe that's what was missing from the season -- while there were plenty of killers, there was no blood, and the show has always used blood as its favorite substance, splashed it around in an extravagant, fabulous way. After all, that was what made Season 1's Ice Truck Killer so noteworthy -- the lack of blood left in his victims. 

We didn't learn much about the upcoming fourth season of "Dexter" other than, predictably, it will cover Dex's life as a new husband and father. While I understand the need to draw the other "Dexter" characters more into the show, I hope next season we take leave, a bit, of Dexter's other friends and acquaintances and just focus on the trials and tribulations of being a serial killer who only gets three hours of sleep a night thanks to a new baby -- now that'd make you want to kill someone.

-- Claire Zulkey

(Photo courtesy Showtime)