One thing I’ve found about Dexter is that every great season seems to be followed by a dud season. Unfortunately, with the exception of the last few episodes, that makes this latest season a dud in my book. (I know some people didn’t like season six but I’ve never understood why. Every DDK victim was killed in a gruesome way, it had a great twist and the ending lead to the moment of Deb discovering the truth about her brother). Another thing I’ve learned about these dud seasons is that they all seem to feature dating Dexter, this includes his relationship with Hannah this season, his relationship with Lumen in season five, and his bromance with Miguel Prado in season 3. (And don’t even get me started on Rita, I’ve never been happier to see a character killed off on a show). Needless to say, with the negative impact being in a relationship has on the quality of a season of Dexter, I’m not looking forward to any expansion of the ‘Deb is in love with Dexter’ story line that they could try to flesh out in the final season.
Overall, this season had a lot of holes that seem like they may never be filled in. The whole Kaska Brotherhood story line seems to have just disappeared following Isaac’s death and Nadia’s escape from their clutches. I’m not totally clear on how mafia organizations work, but I feel pretty confident they usually go for some kind of retaliation when their higher-ups are killed. On a side note, Nadia is in the running for worst girlfriend ever, ‘gee thanks for killing some mob guy and risking your job and life for me, but this is stressing me out so I’m taking off for Vegas, see you later.’ This season featured a number of seemingly random story lines that ultimately went nowhere, the Quinn/Nadia situation, Batista randomly deciding to open a restaurant, and the introduction of Ray Speltzer (even though I suppose he did help to further Deb’s understanding/acceptance of what Dexter is). The final sequence seems to have left the biggest question of the entire season, namely, HOW THE FUCK ARE THEY GOING TO GET AWAY WITH THIS!?!? With smaller questions such as , how does no one notice Dexter grabbing Hector Estrada, and how did they manage to clean up and get to Batista’s party.
Based on all these questions there will be a lot of cover in the final season (going with the generally accepted assumption that next season will be the last). Executive producer Scott Buck gave an interview about season eight recently, and stated there wouldn’t be a traditional ‘big bad’ character. He also talked about a possible ending for the series saying, “When you examine any serial killer, there are only so many endings you can have — and serial killers don’t generally end on a happy note.” Based on Buck’s comments, which can be found here, and the cliff hanger we were left with at the end of this season it will be very interesting to see how things ultimately turn out for the gang from Miami Metro. Michael C. Hall, for one, hopes Dexter dies in a funny, which would certainly be an unlikely but interesting way to end one of the most interesting shows of the past decade.
And now to completely change gears, last night played host to the double feature of The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons final challenge, and the season’s reunion show. I felt some satisfaction at the very accurately stating Brooklyn should have ‘trimmed the fat’ if they wanted to win any final race. I like Devyn, I think she’s very entertaining, but she is clearly not a big runner. Brooklyn gambled that there would be a part of the challenge where having four people would be a significant advantage, and unfortunately for them, that didn’t hold true. They were also hoping that Sam and Devyn were equally poor athletically speaking, and that being much better at puzzles would allow them to pass the other teams. This plan worked for a while, but once they finished last coming into the end of the first day and suffered a 10 minute (11 after Devyn stepped out of the box) penalty, it was essentially over for them.
While Trishelle and Dustin ended up doing better than most could have predicted, they were sort of doomed to fail from the start. This fact became increasingly clear when Trishelle stated during the reunion, that she was excited to jump out of the plane just to get away from Dustin for a few minutes. (The race hadn’t even really started yet when they jumped out of the plane, so the fact she felt this way probably wasn’t a good sign). Even though there wasn’t ever much chance of them winning team Las Vegas did add an element of humor to a final that mostly consisted of Frank and Zach berating Sam for her poor performance while Ashley jogged away in front of them. This season also taught those of us who didn’t watch his season of The Real World, how strange Dustin is. He seemed fairly normal in his brief appearance on Battle of the Ex’s (he left early due to injuring his knee, he was also cheating as he and Heather weren’t really ex’s and are still together now). But during this season he showed a strangeness that can only be exhibited by a straight(?) guy with a gay porn past. His fights with other cast members, particularly with Trishelle following the elimination of Nany and Alton, were epic both in terms of hilarity and strangeness.
While watching this final I found myself feeling disgusted by the actions of Frank and Zach towards Sam. Telling a teammate you are going to “bite their face off if they stop again” (my personal favorite) is generally not the method of motivation used in athletic competition. While I’m aware that at least in part, what we saw from Frank and Zach was probably choice editing from the producers of The Challenge, it still was disappointing to see so much negative energy thrown at a teammate. I was surprised when very few cast members supported Sam during the reunion show. While she certainly wasn’t my favorite character this season, I thought there would be more judgment of Frank and Zach. This lack of criticism helped fuel my theory that editing may have played a role in making things look worse than they were, especially after Sam admitted Zach carried her up many of the large hills.
Overall, I feel this was the weakest season of The Challenge in several years. Even though I sometimes get sick of the Johnny/Kenny group controlling challenges, it would have been nice to see them put Frank in his place. Frank ended up being extremely lucky, as he didn’t have to face any major players (with the possible exception of Wes, who everyone hates so much at this point I think his status in these challenges has to take a hit). After watching the reunion I can’t decide if people really like Frank and his “honesty” like they all claim to, or if they just don’t want to deal with his crazy bullshit. The reunion show was also a disappointment overall. It featured the lamest/shortest storming off set in Real World history. Both the audience and follow cast members seemed to completely unaffected by Sam leaving and if Jonny Moseley hadn’t mentioned I’m not sure they would have known or cared that she came back. On a final note, who decided to get Jonny Moseley involved in these shows again? His interviewing style feels extremely clunky and awkward, and he seems to have no ability to adjust his line of questioning on the fly based on people’s reactions. His hosting style makes me long for the good old days of Maria Menounos, I’d start a petition to bring her back, but I’m too lazy, anyone who wants to do this for me, feel free. The new season of The Real World was filmed in Portland Oregon this summer and is slated to air in early 2013. The cast looks fairly interesting based on the season’s wikipedia page, and I may make an effort to watch a new season for the first time in several years. While you’re waiting for that season you can watch any episodes of The Challenge you may have missed on MTV’s website here (along with several other past seasons).
Baring anything extremely exciting happening in the next few days this is most likely my last post before the holidays. Hope everyone enjoys themselves, and as always please feel free to comment on what I’ve done so far or something you’d like to see talked about in the future.