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Farewell to heroes: Dexter season-seven finale

- December 16th, 2012

Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C

Dexter has become a Bonnie and Clyde story.

This isn’t so much a lonely tale any more. It’s a bizarre partnership of self-preservation that watchers of this series in its earliest years never could have seen coming.

SPOILER ALERT: This is a review of the Dexter episode titled “Surprise, Motherf—–!” – the 12th and final episode of the seventh season – which aired Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012 on Showtime in the United States and on The Movie Network and Movie Central in Canada. If you’d rather not know what occurred, now’s the time to avert your eyes.

As Dexter asked at the end of the episode, “Who is Deb now? Who am I? Is this a new beginning, or the beginning of the end?”

It feels weird even typing this, but here goes: Deb killed La Guerta. Shot and killed her. As La Guerta was begging Deb to shoot Dexter instead.

How the heck did they – and we – get to this point?

Well, the series took more than one important turn on Sunday night. The first one was that Dexter (Michael C. Hall) had wrapped his brain around the notion that he was willing to kill La Guerta (Lauren Velez), even though she didn’t meet his code. Dexter decided he could and would do it, if it meant saving not only himself but, more importantly, his foster sister Deb (Jennifer Carpenter).

I guess that part shouldn’t have been completely surprising. After all, in the previous episode, Dexter had turned in to police the only woman he ever really has loved – Hannah McKay, played by Yvonne Strahovski – because he believed (rightly, as it turned out!) that Hannah was a threat to Deb.

And I’ll say this about La Guerta. She was damn tenacious in her efforts to prove that Sgt. James Doakes (Erik King) was not the Bay Harbor Butcher, but that Dexter was the rightful owner of that dubious title.

Even after Dexter had planted false evidence to make it seem as if La Guerta was trying to frame him, and La Guerta’s career was in shambles, she didn’t drop it, wouldn’t drop it, couldn’t drop it.

Why? Because she knew she was right.

And now she’s dead right.

It was La Guerta’s ability to link Deb to the torching of the church in which Dexter had killed Travis Marshall (Colin Hanks) at the end of the sixth season that put the wheels in motion for the final, important sequence of the seventh season.

Now, I’m not going to try to claim that I knew in any way PRIOR to the crucial scene that Deb was going to wind up killing La Guerta.

BUT, once Deb showed up, with La Guerta there, and Dexter there, and when Deb first pointed the gun, I think at that point they kind of telegraphed where it was going to go. The scene went on for almost two minutes, and it was great, don’t get me wrong. But you just knew Deb was going to shoot La Guerta, not Dexter. At least that’s how I saw it, anyway.

So what does this mean for season eight, which supposedly, allegedly, will be the last for Dexter? The mind whirls and swirls. This is almost too much to take in so quickly.

But we have to understand one super-important thing that has changed, and it’s something from which this series can’t back off:

There is absolutely nothing heroic about Dexter and Deb now.

They’re in it for themselves, and for each other. And for Dexter’s toddler son Harrison, I suppose.

They’re Bonnie and Clyde.

So it can be both a new beginning and the beginning of the end. In this twisted case, they’re kind of the same thing.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

The Voice: My embarrassing personal awakening

- December 16th, 2012

Christina Aguilera 4

Judge not lest you be judged? Hardly.

Perhaps the best way to gauge what reality-competition television shows do for the careers of their hosts is to analyze it on a really personal level.

The hottest reality-competition series right now is The Voice (NBC, CTV), and I’ll be 100%, embarrassingly honest about it.

The background: I’m a big music person historically, but because my job focus these days is TV rather than music, my musical world is limited to the music I prefer – like any average fan – rather than keeping up on the entire industry. So …

1) I had never heard of Blake Shelton before he was a judge on The Voice. Recently during the Grammy Nominations Concert Live broadcast (CBS, Global), Shelton got nominated for something, and I was like, “Hey, the guy from The Voice.”

2) While I had heard of the band Maroon 5, I did not know Adam Levine’s name, and I could not have picked him out of a police lineup before he was a judge on The Voice. Now, when I see him performing, as I did on the Grammy noms show, or in a recurring role on American Horror Story: Asylum (FX Canada), I think, “Hey, it’s that Moves Like Jagger guy from The Voice.”

3) I vaguely was aware of Ce Lo Green before The Voice, but I initially thought his performing name was Gnarls Barkley. Turns out that was a musical duo, of which Green was one-half (the shorter half, I presume). But I knew the 2006 song Crazy, which was everywhere.

4) Of course, I was well aware of Christina Aguilera (pictured above) long before The Voice. But admittedly, that had more to do with her, um, “assets” than her music. To this day, I don’t think I could name one of her songs. Nothing against her, it’s just not my genre.

The wider point being, with the music business essentially in the toilet, there is definite value for Shelton, Levine, Green and Aguilera – and their cohorts on other reality shows – to appear on these projects, at least for a year or two.

It keeps their names “out there.”

There isn’t a direct impact on CDs any more, with sales of actual physical CDs dwindling every day. But when you’re talking about touring, or appearances on other TV shows or in movies, either as themselves or as actors, any added “face time” with the public provides a leg up on the competition for a piece of an ever-shrinking pie.

Being on a high-profile reality show sends the message that you’re “relevant” – not necessarily to people who keenly follow modern music, but more to the vast majority of the population that follows music only casually or peripherally.

You know, people like me.

I know who Blake Shelton and Adam Levine and Ce Lo Green are now. And Christina Aguilera, you just keep doin’ whatever it is you do.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv