I'm sure plenty of people were disappointed by Dexter's third season finale. After all, there were no major deaths (unless you count the Skinner), no crazy cliffhangers, and Dexter actually ends the season saying, "Life is good." But those people disappointed need to go back to watching 24, because they missed out on a wholly satisfying conclusion to an immensely enjoyable season. Did it live up to the first two seasons? I can't really see how anything could. It doesn't have to be Dexter's best season to still be the best show currently airing on TV.
Big Bad Miguel Prado may have died last week, but there was still leftover conflict in the form of Ramon Prado and George King. Ramon proved a dangerous foe by ransacking Dexter's apartment, following him while the kids were in the car (a big no no for people wishing to stay alive), and pointing a gun at Dexter during his rehearsal dinner. Threatening murder in a room full of cops? Not a smart idea, Ramon. So I was very surprised Dexter was able to remedy the situation without violence, and with plenty of time left in the episode. His talk with Ramon about ending the Prado cycle of violence showed Ramon had a lot more in him than drunken anger and was an emotional moment for Dexter as well. Having Dexter remove the thorn for once was a welcome change.
As for George King, those who felt last week's bachelor party reveal was a cheat were here rewarded. We finally got to see what Dexter looks like strapped to a table, in another killer's grasp. I was disappointed we never found out exactly what King wanted from Freebo. He had told Anton it wasn't about money, suggesting something more interesting. But it seems Dexter was right; he just wanted an excuse to kill. As far as his purpose on the show, he seemed to just be there as a serial killer for Deb to hunt and Miguel to send after Dexter. That would be bad if he was the A-plot this season, but as a B-plot I can live with it. The capture did allow for Dexter's very badass getaway, as he broke his hand to free himself from the table and managed to snap King's neck while injured. Throwing King under a cop car and jumping out a window was the opposite of Dexter's careful planning, making it all the more fun.
Beyond those two bits of business, the rest was all straight-up feel-goodness. Deb got the detective shield she spent all season trying to earn, AND she got another shot with Anton. Angel got to slide on his secret and kiss his cop at Dexter's wedding. And Dexter discovered he really wanted a family with Rita before saying a vow he felt he could honor. All season long, Dexter's been inching closer to being a family man, letting little things slip away to be there for Rita, so the season had to end with an actual wedding. Even if not super dramatic, the finale appropriately tied up everything set in motion this season. But with the drop of blood on Rita's dress and Laura Mosner's file on Deb's desk, there's plenty of drama left for season 4. It will be a long wait.