What does this…
…have to do with this?
Besides the fact they were both hotly anticipated final episodes to ground-breaking modern drama series’, almost nothing.
It’s taken me a long time to finally watch the last seasons of both ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Dexter’, and both were equally excellent. Right up until the final 15 minutes…
While Breaking Bad’s finale was a carefully orchestrated, tension-filled rollercoaster tinged with sombre pathos, Dexter’s end was a disappointing, ambiguous and (frankly) confusing mess.
Things were always going to end badly for Walter White. Truthfully, the series could only end one of several ways: jail, death, or some sort of fate-worse-than-death like situation. Considering who Walter White was, this might have been obscurity, separated from his family.
Luckily, the writers opted for death. And an appropriate end for a character who we had come to care for even as we knew he was pure, Machiavellian evil that had to, in the immortal words of Keanu Reeves from ‘Point Break’ (1991), “go down!”
Dexter, on the other hand, went out with what I can only describe as a whimper.
Everything was going so well – Dexter had overcome his last adversary, the Brain Surgeon, and finally exorcised many of the demons that had been plaguing him throughout the show’s eight-season run. Of course, he couldn’t get away completely scot-free: hence, the necessity of sacrifice – in this case, Debra. But why, oh why, oh why have Dexter steal her body from the hospital, why have him drop it into the ocean before piloting his boat into the eye of a hurricane? And why have him abandon his son and the love of his life, Hannah McKay, for self-imposed exile in God-knows-where logging country?
I mean, I get it. There’s a rational explanation for all those actions, as espoused by the producers in Entertainment Weekly (http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/09/23/dexter-interview-series-finale/). But even so, I just don’t believe Dexter would go out like that. And that’s the problem. Considering everything we’ve learnt about and experienced with this character over the course of eight years, if we don’t believe in his demise (such as it is), how can we ever really be satisfied. How can we have any closure?
Now, Breaking Bad’s ending – that I can believe. Even if Jesse Pinkman’s ultimate fate is left unknown, it’s still better than an unbelievable fate.
And that’s the difference.
Everybody has their own ideas I’m sure. And both Breaking Bad and Dexter remain two of the best TV programmes of the last decade in my opinion.
I just wish they’d cut out the last 15 minutes of one of them.