We hate to see them go, we love to watch them leave. Yes, two Showtime shows, Dexter and Homeland, had crackerjack season finales last night, the former improving vastly on a somewhat lackluster season, the latter suggesting that a great initial concept could very well indeed have legs past a first season.
Dexter had such a lumpy run this year, didn’t it? Seasons of the show always start off slow only to, rather reliably, build and build into something interesting, but the trick this season was that it wasn’t the Trinity killer or an insane brother that eventually came to provide most of the excitement, it was everything other than the season’s Big Bad. Sure Colin Hanks and Edward James Olmos had their moments as ho-hum doomsday killers out to, who knows, teach the Miami Metro homicide squad about the Book of Revelations (seriously, none of them had ever heard of it?), but the silly late-season twist of having Olmos dead the whole time works only if you don’t think about it for longer than a minute. So that wasn't great, but, kinda surprisingly considering how emotionally turgid this series can get, the personal stuff really resonated this season, particularly Deb’s big awakening.
Well, actually, part of Deb's big awakening is sort of really gross and we sincerely hope it won’t continue much next year. Meaning, of course, Deb thinks she’s like in love in love with her (adopted only!), which is really unpleasant. Especially if you think about how Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter were married in real life at one point and now they aren’t but now they, or at least one of them, has to play attraction and it all just gets very meta and very upsetting. So that aspect of Deb’s otherwise interesting development this season we could do without, but the exciting thing is that it was all leading up to Deb finally discovering what a better detective probably would have years ago: Oops, my brother’s a serial killer. Yes, finally!
She saw him kill one guy, at least. (It was Colin Hanks, so long, whatever.) But that could be enough! There are two seasons of this show left, so we probably have some time until Dex and Deb ride off into the sunset as finnicky, blood-collecting Bonnie and Clydes, but in theory she at least won’t throw him in the clink, right? She let Lumen go last year, so she’s kinda already halfway there on the moral relativism front. Plus it’s her brother! Slash wannabe lover. Whatever happens, the reveal scene was terrifically done and was a bang-up way to help repair the damage of an otherwise unnecessary seeming collection of episodes. Oh, and, just what is going on with that arm-mailing intern? That looks to have been set-up for next year, so it will be interesting to see where that goes.
And it will certainly be interesting to see how they tackle season two of Homeland, which ended last night with a frustrating (in a good way) uncertainty. The whole gist of the episode, basically whether or not Brody would follow through on his promise and blow everyone up, was fun to watch even if we knew at least basically where it was going -- it seemed highly unlikely that the show would kill off one of its two leads after only one season. But Brody isn’t all sunshine and light just because he let his daughter talk him off the explode-o-ledge last night. He still shot Tom in cold blood and still plans to work with Abu Nazir to take down the VP (soon to be president), just in perhaps a less violent way. We’re not sure discussions of policy will be quite as exciting as discussions of blowing everything the hell up, but we should probably trust the writers to figure it out.
Figure it out is just what Carrie did at the very end of the episode, remembering that Brody had called out Abu Nazir’s son’s name in his sleep, thus proving to her once more that he’s in cahoots. But it was a little too late to say anything about it, as she had just been sedated before undergoing electroshock therapy. She begged herself to remember this (the therapy can cause temporary short-term memory loss) and then was given the zaps. Will she remember it? It seems unlikely. Or, at least, unlikely that she will remember it right away. But even if she did, what could she do about it? She doesn’t have a job anymore. To us that seems like the biggest problem the writers have to resolve early next season, because watching Carrie run around all ineffectual as a civilian for too long will start to sap the show of its power. Again, they took us this far on sturdy legs, so we’ll try to have faith in the writers.
Yes, it was an exciting evening on Showtime last night and now, well, now it’s all over for a while. What the hell are we going to watching on Sunday nights now? Mad Men isn’t back until March, Game of Thrones until April. Guess we’ll just have to try and like Luck. Sigh. It’s gonna be a long winter.