I've been a huge fan of Dexter throughout all eight seasons. I was excited for the end, but ultimately, I was really disappointed with what they gave us. This final season seemed to be headed in a great direction, and then everything they did didn't even really seem to matter in the end.
Showrunner Scott Buck stands by his ending, saying, “This is absolutely the ending I wanted.” Unfortunately for him, most of the fans don't seem to agree. In a recent interview with THR he explains his ending. Then there's the former showrunner, Clyde Phillips, who gave his alternate vision of the ending, which I actually liked a lot better. But here's what Buck had to say about his ending,
"We wanted to leave it all in the viewers’ head. I don’t know what he’s thinking in that moment; I know he’s in this self-imposed prison and the reason he locked eyes is essentially so we can feel as uncomfortable as he does in his world. He’s someone who was just moments from taking that final step toward humanity who then has to face himself as the monster he believes he is and decide his own fate. He gives himself what he deserves. I don’t think in that moment he’s fighting the urge to kill; he’s dealing with the reality of the misery of his life in that moment."
As for the final season as a whole, he said,
"I’ve also heard that some viewers are not happy with this season, and they all have different reason for it. So much of the stuff you read is that people want the show to be like it was the first few years where Dexter would go out and kill people. If we had continued to follow that line, the show would have gotten old very fast. This is a show that’s run for eight years, and in order to sustain interest you have to continue to grow and evolve. So yes, I am happy with where we ended the show. This is absolutely the ending I wanted."
As for Phillips' thoughts on the matter, he told the Reddit fans that “They broke the code with the audience.” When asked about the eighth season, he went on to explain that, “It’s so important to keep the rules in place when doing a show like that.” Then in an interview with E!, he shared his vision for the ending of Dexter, which I actually really like.
"In the very last scene of the series, Dexter wakes up. And everybody is going to think, ‘Oh, it was a dream.’ And then the camera pulls back and back and back and then we realize, ‘No, it’s not a dream.’ Dexter’s opening his eyes and he’s on the execution table at the Florida Penitentiary. They’re just starting to administer the drugs and he looks out through the window to the observation gallery.
And in the gallery are all the people that Dexter killed—including the Trinity Killer and the Ice Truck Killer (his brother Rudy), LaGuerta who he was responsible killing, Doakes who he’s arguably responsible for, Rita, who he’s arguably responsible for, Lila. All the big deaths, and also whoever the weekly episodic kills were. They are all there.
That’s what I envisioned for the ending of Dexter. That everything we’ve seen over the past eight seasons has happened in the several seconds from the time they start Dexter’s execution to the time they finish the execution and he dies. Literally, his life flashed before his eyes as he was about to die. I think it would have been a great, epic, very satisfying conclusion."
I like that this ending gives us an official close to Dexter. I understand what they were doing with the ending we got, but it wasn't a satisfying conclusion. It's almost like they just left it open for another season.
What do you think about the ending we got compared to the ending we could have had?