I love it when art and life intermingle. Plays within plays and films within films are, if well-done, ubiquitous mirrors reflecting the farcical lives of the artists involved. But when the drama of real life is juxtaposed with entertainment, like Richard Pryor making light of setting himself on fire, a more uncomfortably palpable tension is created. This was the case for the season six finale of Dexter.
Star-Producer Michael C. Hall (Dexter Morgan) and co-star Jennifer Carpenter (Debra Morgan) are brother and sister on the show and husband and wife in real life. However, lately, their art and their lives have taken sudden turns. On the show, Debra, who is not blood related to Dexter (making it only about 40% less creepy) develops feelings for him that go above sisterly love. In real life though, they are getting divorced.
This plot is secondary to the doomsday killers, played by Colin Hanks (Travis Marshall) and Edward James Olmos (Professor Gellar). They are attempting to bring about the apocalypse by performing various tableaus representative of the evil they are killing through the violently symbolic acts perpetrated therein.
As it turns out, Colin Hanks is Tyler Durden crazy. He murdered the good Professor three years ago and has been doing this all on his own, hallucinating Gellar to justify his morbid actions. The show’s creators and Olmos were the only ones who knew this throughout. Makes sense when you remember how single-purpose Olmos’s character was, being just a projection of Hanks’ character’s warped theology.
Travis Marshall manages to kidnap Dexter and nearly kills him, but the antihero escapes. Thinking that Dexter, aka ‘The Beast’ is dead, Travis kidnaps Dexter’s son, meaning to sacrifice him in the final act needed to bring about the end. But I guess the writers figured Dex had been through enough family tragedy and Harrison is spared, and Travis ends up on Dexter’s table.
This is when the art and life of Dexter and Debra mesh. With the intent of confronting her brother about her feelings she walks into the church where Dexter is performing his own ritual on Travis and enters just in time to see the knife plunged through his chest. Awkward. Now we have to wait nearly a year to see about these new irreconcilable differences.
Thankfully Showtime has renewed Dexter for two more seasons, so hopefully the great momentum built from this season’s fantastic second half (really got going with the Just Let Go episode) will not translate into the usual good season-bad season pattern they have followed ever since season three.