When a TV show has reached a certain level of popularity, producing a series finale that pleases everyone is almost impossible. With years of content and fan theories in viewers’ minds, many are displeased when their favored ending never comes to pass, with Game of Thrones and Lost being two particular examples. However, some finales fail even to find even a few supporters, with the original Dexter standing out as arguably the most despised ending in television history.
Recognizing the long-standing backlash against the show, Dexter: New Blood showrunner Clyde Phillips has gone on record to say how he would have ended the original series. Phillips speaks with some authority on the issue, having been the man behind the first four seasons of the original Dexter, the period most consider to have been the show at its best.
“My personal ending for the show was that he was going to be executed for his crimes,” Phillips told Entertainment Weekly. “He’s lying on the table, and outside the window are all the people he’s killed. That was just in my own head. I never pitched that to anybody.”
The original season 8 finale, “Remember the Monsters?” saw Dexter’s sister Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) shot and killed by serial killer Oliver Saxon. Realizing that everyone he cares about dies, Dexter leaves his son Harrison with his serial killer girlfriend Hannah before sailing his boat into a hurricane, faking his death.
“Remember the Monsters?” was watched by 2.8 million people, the most-watched episode in Showtime history. However, fans reacted negatively to its ambiguity, with the Associated Press calling it sappy, sloppy and a “cop-out.” Atlantic Monthly went as far as to say the finale was an “unbelievably unsatisfying end [which] ruins all that came before it.”
Dexter gets a chance at redemption
In 2020, Showtime ordered a limited revival of the series, now airing on the network as Dexter: New Blood. In the series, Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) lives out his life under an assumed name while trying not to succumb to the killer instincts he indulged in back in Miami. He, of course, fails. In some ways, Dexter’s attempts to redeem himself mirror the show trying desperately to erase itself from the “worst-ever finale” lists.
Phillips knows full well that the show has to deliver this time around, even claiming that the final episode will be “the best thing I’ve written.” It’s a bold claim from the man who managed fan-favorite seasons featuring the Trinity Killer, the Ice Truck Killer, and the whole Sergeant Doakes storyline. “It’s going to be surprising, inevitable, and it’s going to blow up the Internet,” Phillips told TV Line.
Phillips isn’t the only one confident that the new finale will erase the memory of “Remember the Monsters?” The showrunner says that director Marcos Siega also considers it his best work. Siega was also a regular on the first four seasons of the original series.
“[He] thinks it’s the best thing he’s ever directed,” Phillips said. “I haven’t seen it yet, by the way. I only saw it get shot. We’re editing Episodes 7 and 8 right now, so I haven’t seen 10 yet. I can’t wait to tell you the truth.”
New episodes of Dexter: New Blood air every Sunday on Showtime. The new series has 10 episodes. The first three have already aired and are available on Showtime Anytime.