There are lots of articles out now about the alternate endings showrunners planned for various shows, and people argue over which would have been better. But in the case of a few shows, I don’t agree with any of them. Since nobody out there has written the right endings for these shows, I’ve decided to do it for them here and now. One thing first, in order to explain why the real endings didn’t work and why mine do, this article will be solid **SPOILERS** from beginning to end. You have been warned.
Okay, in order to fix this show I actually need to go a couple seasons back from the end to tweak a couple tiny things that push the narrative flow a certain way (that was totally wrong in the first place).
The first incident I consider a giant character-hole is in season 3, when Dexter allows himself to literally get caught red-handed by Ramon. No! Bad writers! Dexter not only does something objectively stupid there but also breaks the number 1 rule of his code: don’t get caught. So, in my version, Dexter knocks Ramon unconscious from behind, dumps unconscious Ramon somewhere else and disposes of the guy he just skewered without the usual ceremony. This said, I wouldn’t change the parallel NA plotline because that was fairly cunning, if imperfect. Also, the whole thing of him swiping baddies from the authorities by falsifying evidence and such that they started the previous season went against his code and was not a great writing choice, as proven by almost getting him caught twice. I’d cut that too.
Next, I don’t think Dexter should be dumb enough to play with his food, as it were. He shouldn’t save Trinity’s life once he learns enough to prove guilt and warrant his death. The whole “I can learn from him” thing was just a lazy way to extend the season. Trinity should still kill Rita, since that moves the story forward and Rita was an extremely annoying character, but it shouldn’t be because Dexter became an idiot and their son should NOT witness it since that’s a little too cheap a story reflection unless they’re seriously considering a son-of-Dexter spinoff series (groans with revulsion).
Having made these changes, a different ending is inevitable. And, yes, it’s a warm and fuzzy ending instead of an over the top Gothic tragedy ending. Deb either gets a therapist who isn’t a complete sicko or else reports her therapist to the authorities to have her license pulled and then gets a real therapist. Therefore Deb does not go insane and continue to grow progressively more needy. Instead, she gradually becomes more independent of Dexter as a competent cop. Dexter, not having done several mindblowingly stupid things, has no reason to go off half cocked and sloppily kill innocent people or to dispose of his code. Additionally, since he resolved all his issues by nailing his mother’s killers and met a mildly disturbed but otherwise nice girl, the show ends with him, his son, and his new gal becoming Argentinian farmers (or something less ridiculous) and giving up their past lives of violence since they’ve killed everyone who’s wronged them at this point. That, or they become a family of traveling vigilantes ridding the world of (other) serial killers. That would be entertaining.
And, yes, I do think the alternate endings others have suggested of him getting a death sentence or committing suicide are just as eye-roll-worthy as the real ending.
2. Northern Exposure
In the last watchable season, Joel “goes native” and becomes a full on country doctor in an Inuit village. He grows a beard, helps with the community, and becomes at peace for the first time in his life… until Maggie shows up and mentally badgers him into becoming neurotic again and moving back to New York. Nothing on the show was good after that, so I say the show should have alternatively ended with Joel standing up to Maggie and asserting himself in his new life. Maggie shoves off and realizes she’s just a bully – now starting a path towards healing. Joel starts traveling and becomes sort of a community doctor of the world, possibly in organized programs like Doctors Without Borders, but it would be better if he just decided to live in a different place a few years at a time. Ed finally pulls his head out of his butt and starts making scripted indie films, which he then shows in the theater he was working in. Chris gets his show picked up by some bunch of online hipsters and gets to spout his nonsense to like-minded people.
3. How I Met Your Mother
I’m fairly open on this one. Either Ted marries just Robin (and the Barney thing never happened, because yuck), or else he marries Tracy and she doesn’t die. The real ending was just a mess.
Rachel marries Ross (not because of the baby), Chandler and Monica get to have their own kids instead of being barren, Phoebe marries David (Hank Azaria), and Joey becomes a drama teacher at the school where Chandler and Monica’s kids will attend. There, now, see how simple that was?
5. Game of Thrones
Now, let me first state that I really only care about a few characters, and that this is just based on the events of the first few episodes, because I never made it any farther, but a good ending seems pretty easy to extrapolate from there if we ignore most of what came afterwards. Jon Snow rightfully inherits the kingdom and rules as a benign and even-handed king, making Arya his head knight of the realm and ruler of his armies. Bran becomes gamekeeper of the vaguely magical wolves, and all the other main characters get eaten by a particularly fat dragon never to be seen or heard from again.
Well, that wraps it up. I might do more of these if I’m feeling especially silly. And, hey, maybe I’ll talk about this concept on my podcast if I can convince someone I know to lend me an hour of their time.