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'Dexter': Hello, Arthur Mitchell. Goodbye...?


If you're a "Dexter" fan and you were hoping for a huge twist in the megafinale, then you got what you wanted. And that twist was, of course, that the entire series was dreamed up by a child with autism.  Just kidding.  Let's take it below the break:

Dexter_402_1614 Seriously now: Rita (Julie Benz) is dead, just like Dexter's (Michael C. Hall's) mother, father, brother and archnemesis Arthur Mitchell (John Lithgow).  It certainly was unexpected: I saw a lot of different alternate endings for Dexter's marriage--him leaving Rita per Harry's (James Remar) advice, her leaving him per his being a not particularly attentive partner, or, maybe one day her seeing him being hauled away in a cop car.  Of course the entire episode was set up expressly to avoid Rita's murder, as Dexter packed her and the kids up to escape any bad intentions of the Trinity Killer. But sometimes travel plans change, and then you get murdered in your bathtub.

It was an intense and tricky finale in addition to the shocking end, with lots of moments that seemed like they would be Dexter's final undoing: Quinn (Desmon Harrington) correctly noting that Dexter wasn't doing his job, Dex getting thrown in the lockup after fleeing a traffic accident and getting into an altercation, Dexter happening to be in Arthur's house when the cops busted in, Deb finally figuring out that Dexter was the Ice Truck Killer's brother (although I never figured that Deb would think, "Wait, since Dexter's brother was a killer, he must be one too!").

Of course, since the episode was titled "The Getaway," for a moment I thought that Arthur, cruising along in his Mustang, was indeed successfully blowing town, but a check of the clock revealed that that probably wasn't the case, although the show didn't operate on its usual schedule: the episode seemed to have ended a few minutes earlier than most.  I was somewhat grateful for the Lithgow/Hall interview that followed, since thanks to the episode's meanderings, my peabrain wasn't completely made up that Trinity was Rita's killer (again, since it had seemed so cut-and-dried that she was safe).  Perhaps I should have seen it coming when Dexter stumbled over the toy train set in his living room, but Lithgow confirmed that Trinity, despite finally being dispatched by Dexter, got in the final parting shot in their little pas de deux.

The real question, of course, is what will happen next? It's barely fun to speculate right now since the folks at Showtime tell me we'll have to wait until at least fall 2010 for the new season. Will Dexter take all three kids and be a single dad? I for one hope not -- I couldn't imagine daycare looking kindly upon the frequent "Be there in a minute! Just gotta wrap up a few loose ends!" excuses he gave Rita. Would he stay in Miami? I do like the "re-set" that's been engaged, and hope for a new rhythm from Dexter after this and maybe even see an angry, vengeful Dexter.

Meanwhile, I would just like to start keeping track of the things that has happened to Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) throughout the series:

--Fiance is a serial killer who tries to murder her
--New boyfriend is captured by a murderer
--Gets shot
--Other boyfriend is murdered in front of her shortly after she is shot
--Person who killed her boyfriend commits suicide in front of her
--Finds out adopted brother is also brother of the guy who tried to kill her
--Sister-in-law is murdered.

I don't want to take anything away from Rita but some people have really bad luck, huh?

--Claire Zulkey

Photo: (Top) Michael C. Hall and Julie Benz as Dexter and Rita/Credit: Showtime

Photo: (Bottom) John Lithgow as Arthur Mitchell/Credit: Showtime


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Comments () | Archives (59)

I know one thing...they lost me as a fan...The writers were too clever by half...
And I can tell they felt really insecure enough about killing off Rita that they had to have Micheal C Hall and John Lithgow sell it to us in a Post Show Interview...What a huge disappointment...and I'll bet I am not the only one who feels this way...Good Luck with the show...but without Rita all you've got is a one dimensional Dexter....

Well i really hope that Rita stays on the show as another personality dexter develops just like he did with his dad. That will be pretty crazy internally

I think we are missing looking at what beyond Rita’s sad fate is an actual cliffhanger. For surely Dexter will be a suspect in Rita’s murder. Let’s look at what has unfolded -

1) Dexter is acting very oddly lately and many have noticed this – 1) He was arrested earlier for his erratic behaviour 2) Quinn believes Dexter is chasing skirt, 3) When Vince told Dextter he saw Rita kissing Elliot Dexter was all too calm in acknowleging it, though he had punched out the neighbor later 3) Why would Trinity kill Rita? What proof is there that he was in fact the one who did it? Arthur/Trinity is gone forever and in the time Rita was killed Dexter cannot explain his whereabouts. 4) And Deb has just told Dexter that he was found next to his slain mother – she believes he is hearing this for the first time. It may be that everyone believes that Dexter has snapped.

I mean - if they did not want us to remember the kiss between Elliot (neighbor) and Rita that Vice witnessed, why include it in the "previously on Dexter" segment at the front of the show? If it was insignificant it would not have been included. Hmmn?

Season 5 cannot come quickly enough.

One quirky thing that seemed out of place – when Deb told the police chief about what she had discovered regarding Laura Moser’s death, with Dexter and Brian (Ice Truck Killer) being brothers the Chief did not seem surprised at hearing that Dexter’s brother was the ice truck killer, but surely this was the first time anyone had offered this as a theorey.

Oh well – excellent episode still!

I'm guessing that the death of the character, Rita, is a red herring because of the phone call Dexter got after he was in the house for a few moments (unless he turned it off).It may be that he is just having a dream and will wake up in the first episode of next season. But who knows?

Gordon, you're overthinking. I did the same when I tried to justify my belief that Tony was killed at the end of the Sopranos. Forget it. It's TV.

What will happen next year, probably the last, is that Dexter's anger will make him careless and he will get caught. Or , maybe not. Whatever, next year will no longer be about a trinity killer or ice truck killer. It will be about Dexter, the killer, now a killer of innocents.

(Frank, Dexter did not receive a phone call. He made it.)

I wanted to like this episode, but I found it to be very sloppy. Dexter chooses to confront the driver he side-swiped instead of driving away in the van with Trinity unconscious? Dexter isn't seen by anyone ducking out of Arthur's house when the cops show up? No one is suspicious that Dexter is in the garage of the house when the cops open the garage? The Mitchell family doesn't say anything about "what happened to Kyle Butler?" Dexter's phone doesn't beep that he has a message until AFTER he's in the house? (When the message so obviously would have had to have been left hours earlier?) Arthur doesn't say anything to Dexter while he's on the table about Rita? And doesn't this all mean that come next season, people are going to start wondering why the hell Trinity would have gone after Dexter's wife? It just felt rushed and sloppy.

I thought it was great! Best season of Dexter yet. John Lithgow was fabulous. And honestly I figured Rita was done for last season when Dexter found out she had lied to him about being married 2 times. Besides Rita was a whiny shrew. This leaves so many more possibilities for the future. Seriously, who ever thought Dexter was gonna settle down and be a family man?? Not even a remote possibility!

Not sure if you all have seen this yet, but only a portion of this aired after the finale on Showtime. Check out the rest of Michael C. Hall and John Lithgow's discussion about finale here: http://www.precioustimeny.com/blog/?p=7163.

i will miss rita, but she hasn't really had a storyline since they killed off her ex, paul, so it's for the best they killed her off too. i thought dexter was making stupid decisions too, especially getting out of the van with trinity already caught, to confront the cops. but that's the way it was written...

though i have to admit the show has its questionable moments but it is still great. after reading some of the post, i had to go back and watch a third time. killing the boy is the begining of the cycle, wwhich should have moved to a new town....then the bludgening of kyle butler, then the inadvertant suicide of a woman, trininties daughter, then the bloody bathtub(rita)...but i was told this on a post...also pay attention to the fact that the first thing when dex walks into his house is he trips over a toy train....cool stuff...some people have said that dex needed to have rita and family to fit in..rule no. 3, but he did just fine for us in the first two seasons, next year might just be the last, remember the reason larry david and the writers for MASH said,they just couldnt figure out any thing else to writee about for the show...(but i still watch the reruns... btw is it just me or was dex on the first season on reg tv?

Dexter, the series, redeemed itself. It was getting very domestic and not edgy enough. Now it is back on its grizzly dark path.
And let's face it, Rita was getting pretty annoying this season.
As for Deb...she is the toughest woman on TV.

Dex is dreaming and Rita will come back and play the wife, she does let on to Dexter that she knows more about him then he knows, the writers of the show will have a field day with this turn of events. Yes, I believe his sister figures him out as a killer in the next show. The latin married couple will live together in marital strife as the marriage was based on a thought to save their jobs, not on a planned marriage. Quinn and Dexters sister share a kiss. If Dexter wife was murdered Dexters baby become the heir apparent to Dexter.

i have been a fan of dexter since his first show i just cant belive the killed off rita very surprising lets just see what next season behold's for the killer

I am still in shock. I never expected that. I'm not sure what to think now. Its amazing how into shows you get, and you begin to love the characters, and then something like this happens. I'm saddened, and shocked, disappointed.

This was a great season of Dexter. The writers did a wonderful job setting up each story line exquisitely. Kudos to the entire staff.

One thought I keep having is this: since Dexter was in the trunk of the Trinity Killer's car for seemingly hours as he drove out of town, then killing and slicing him up, and then out in the ocean disposing of the body parts, what is Dexter going to come up with for an alibi for where he was during this entire time and still keep suspicion off of him. What did Dexter do with the car? I think the new season should have the police turning a spotlight on Dexter, and engaging in a cat-and-mouse between Dexter and Debra. Considering Hall and Carpenter are married in real life, this would provide intrigue on lots of levels before and behind the cameras as they try to find interesting nuances to each of their characters because of their personal relationship.

This episode broke my heart, and my faith in the series. Very disappointed in the ending.. I dont even want to get caught up in the drama that is taking place on the Showtime Forum. Arguing over if the Trinity Killer really killed her or not, and why Dexter didnt have his phone on him when he always does.. WTH?! Did you all just watch the show I did? Rita is dead! Harrison was crying in a pool of blood! And all they wat to do it argue/debate. Ugh. Even the Dexter fans have officially disappointed me.

I guess I will leave the entire episode with this.. Dexter finally killed the man who could have brought his world crashing down upon him.. With any luck he's having a bad dream and next season will open with him jumping up from his hotel bed in a cold sweat and Rita right beside hime to tell him everything is okay. :) Rita wasnt my favorite character, but she was the balance in Dexter's life. Both he AND the show needed her.

I want to add.. If there was ONE character they NEED to kill off.. It's HARRY! Ugh.. I cant stand Harry (no offense James Remar)

No one seemed to mention the fact that Dexter is going to be dealing with the fact that he is the reason his step-children lost both of their parents. I think this is going to play a large role in how the next season plays out. I thought the episode and season were great. I hate to have to wait nearly a year to see what happens next but I'm sure I will not be dissapointed.

I still have hope but I have to say Rita's death really disappointed me, partly just because they are REALLY going to have to stray from the books now.. and I kind of like Dexter having some feelings/emotions regarding Rita and the kids.. not sure how he's going to keep up killing and take care of 3 kids too. Also the whole baby in blood thing isn't quite the same, as the baby is too young to remember what happened to him, like Dexter does.

I still have a lump in my throat from the last scene. I know how some people are upset by Rita's death and think it ruins Dexter in some ways, but I think it's perfect. Not her dying, that was horrible. But this is what makes this show what it is. You have to see the realism behind this plot. This show doesn't follow the unwritten rule, "You don't kill off main characters." in reality people die they don't get out of it at the last minute or have some amazing hero swoop in ALL the time. Dexter keeps you on the edge, you never know whats going to happen, and thats something you rarely get with a show. Things can break in a snap with this show and that's scary, which makes it so great. When something gives you that sicken feeling in the pit of your stomach and leaves you repeating the same questions for hours after it ends you know that's some damn good writing.

I think the worse thing is Dexter gave Arthur mercy or respect at the end, and that just eats at you. He can't get revenge, it's like his serial killing, he can't fix what he is, and he can't fix that never ending feeling he will have now. He won't ever get relief or revenge. It's heartbreaking.

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