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Published on August 12th, 2013 | by Bags Hooper


Dexter Morgan: Finding Love in a Frankenstein Family

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Dexter Season 8 Episode 7: Dress Code

For the past few episodes of Dexter‘s eighth and final season, I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around that enigma that is Dexter Morgan.

Yes. We know he’s a serial killer. And, yes, he follows a semi-strict code, which warrants only the death of the guilty. I only call the code “semi-strict” since Dexter often strays from it when it suits his needs or when it protects his cover.

But, is he truly a psychopath – devoid of human emotion – as Dr. Vogel would have us believe? Or was he merely forced into this life like Michael Corleone because his father, Harry, couldn’t understand him and Dr. Vogel misdiagnosed him?

Perhaps we can look at his relationship with Rita (Julie Benz) and subsequent marriage as only a small part of his overall, serial-killer cover. As Vogel would say, Dexter is incapable of love.

Yet, it cannot be denied that Dexter thirsts for family. He saw his mother killed as young child, then murdered his only surviving brother, the Ice Truck Killer. Then, he found out that Harry committed suicide. Not a happy family life to say the least.

However, in season 4, Dexter found a new father figure in Trinity (John Lithgow). For a time, he found solace in learning from a man who had done the impossible – establish a seemingly stable home life while killing from state to state. But Trinity ended up on Dexter’s kill table just like the Ice Truck Killer.

The fifth, sixth and seventh seasons of Dexter may have gone off track. But one thing remained constant. Dexter was always searching for a family to love and open up to.

Remember Lumen? Sure, you may have hated her, I know I did, but she was the first woman that Dexter could try to be himself with.

Then, he tried to establish a suitable home life for Harrison. He’s great as a daddy, never raising a hand to his son as he teaches Harrison right from wrong.

However, our lone wolf has always craved more: a parent to confide in, a sibling to talk to, a woman to love, and a son to pass on his legacy.

Now, it seems as though he has those things. Dr. Vogel, his mother from afar, resurfaced. We still don’t know if she can be trusted. Deb’s finally on-board with Dexter’s Dark Passenger, but she can’t deal with Dexter’s love, Hannah. Can Dexter truly love a woman that can potentially kill him or his sister at any time? As screwed up as Dexter is in the head, the answer is probably yes. Dexter loves Hannah unconditionally. He chose his sister over Hannah before, can he do it again now that he knows Hannah is the love of his life?

Finally, we have Zach Hamilton (Sam Underwood), Dexter’s potential protege and surrogate son.

These four people all know the truth about Dexter and have chosen to live with it. The problem is, there is no room left for Harrison. Zach has already taken a life right next door to where Harrison sleeps. What happens when big brother gets jealous of little bro taking up too much of daddy’s time?

DexterGoing into Dexter’s final season, I imagined that the story would focus on the proverbial “end game.” Dexter on the run and his secret out. How does he survive. I know longer believe that this is the case. Whether Dexter dies or not, this final season is more about Dexter’s legacy. If Dexter dies, will the code continue on through Zach? Will Harrison’s white lies turn into something more? Can Dexter take his entire Frankenstein family and move them out of Miami and start fresh?

Perhaps Dexter lives at the end of the series. But if he does, two lives will be lost in the balance: Deb and Harrison. They are the innocents who love Dexter unconditionally. If Dexter dies, will the cycle of serial killing continue through Vogel and Harry’s code? The art for this season – depicting Dexter lying in plastic on a kill table- would suggest that he dies at the hands of his protege. It’s the circle of life.

At the end of the day, whoever dies, I’m still left with one question. Is Dexter truly a psychopath? I’d argue yes. You can’t kill that many people and get a sexual release from it without being a little cuckoo.

However, Dexter’s undying thirst and need for family is a contradiction to Vogel’s theories. Our serial killer is capable of love. So for now we’ll just have to wait and see how love ends up being the end of his piece meal family or the beginning of a long-lasting, serial-killer dynasty.

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