Wednesday, January 19, 2022

‘Dexter: New Blood’: A Closer Look at Episode 9 and What It Means for the Finale

In the penultimate episode of Dexter: New Blood, Dexter finally shares everything with Harrison, finding a… unique way to bond. While this was a massive weight off Dexter’s shoulders, he’s far from out of the woods, as the episode ended with Angela receiving some big information. With only one episode left, there’s still quite a bit to consider.

Warning: Spoilers beyond this point.

At first glance, watching Dexter come clean about the very thing that defines him seems like a not-totally-horrible thing. From the original run through now, he could probably name the people he’s been fully honest with on one hand (maybe one and a half). So, it’s no wonder he was in such a cheery mood after telling Harrison. And I’ll admit, it was kind of nice seeing Harrison accept the information in stride. These two finally have someone who truly understands them. Harrison can channel his own darkness. Dexter can once again unleash his Dark Passenger without external judgment. However, after staring at my screen in stunned silence and sitting with the episode, something felt a bit off about the whole thing. But first, a bit of recap.

A Father-Son Bonding Activity

dexter new blood episode 9
Dana Starbard/SHOWTIME
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After Harrison knows mostly everything, he’s ready to take down Kurt (though he doesn’t yet know that includes murder). Together, he and Dexter work through the Code. They surveil Kurt’s property and find the area where Kurt disappeared in episode 8. That night, they go seek proof, finding Kurt’s embalming area and an extensive trophy room where he keeps the women he’s killed — which now includes Molly Park. When Harrison asks, Dexter confirms he killed Wiggles, and Harrison says Kurt needs to die, too.

Cue Kurt winding up on the kill table. Dexter does what he does best, checking in with Harrison throughout. When the pre-kill banter ends, Dexter kills Kurt as Harrison watches. Harrison is unquestionably shocked watching his father actually kill someone (and maybe even a little afraid). Regardless, he sticks through it while Dexter begins the disposal process. Harrison becomes overwhelmed when a flow of blood triggers memories of Rita’s death. He heads outside to wait. Then, he and Dexter go to the incinerator to burn Kurt’s body. Harrison notes the Dark Passenger is quiet. He adds that it’s good no more women will get hurt, but his enthusiasm turns into something closer to apprehension.

Like Father, Not Quite Like Son

dexter new blood episode 9
Seacia Pavao/SHOWTIME

As previously mentioned, something about the episode felt odd to me in an “I’m terrified about what this might mean” kind of way. First and foremost, it’s clear Dexter currently doesn’t regret telling Harrison everything and walking him through the Code. I mean, why would he? This was a huge weight off Dexter’s shoulders. Harrison even compared him to Batman! In his quest to be a decent and present father though, Dexter forgot to actually consider Harrison. In all fairness, Dexter attempts to parent in the way he learned from Harry. However, his excitement at the bonding that really was happening swept him up and away. Maybe Harrison wasn’t ready to watch Dexter work.

Harrison has done some questionable things, sure. But if his reaction to watching Dexter kill signals anything, it’s that his darkness doesn’t match Dexter’s. I don’t think Harrison has a real desire to kill the way Dexter does. While he did seem to genuinely want Kurt gone after everything, killing seems to be more of a theoretical than a reality; it would’ve been enough to KNOW Kurt was dead without having to watch Dexter actually do it. Near the end of the episode, anything Harrison said or did comes across as more for Dexter’s benefit and a desire to maintain that bond. I’m interested to see how much (if any) of this Harrison will be able to process in the next episode. He also now carries the burden of knowing Dexter’s secret.

Angela Bishop and the Mystery Note

dexter new blood episode 9
Seacia Pavao/SHOWTIME
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Beyond whatever happens with Dexter and Harrison, episode 9 leaves some other questions behind. Namely, the mystery person who left Angela the note. We already know Kurt (and more than likely Elric) knew Dexter killed Matt Caldwell. Surely Operation Expose Jim Lindsay is more than a two-man job, so who else could be in on it? Personally, I think Edward Olsen is a viable option. Though we haven’t seen him since episode 3, his character seemed important enough that they can’t be done with him yet. He’s a wealthy and powerful man with access to resources. With Kurt dead, Olsen could be a formidable opponent for Dexter.

Furthermore, Angela now finds herself with a hefty load of information to process. First, she knows Molly is in trouble (and we know Molly is dead). Currently, all signs point to Dexter for her. So, he is likely her prime suspect in Molly’s disappearance. While she has yet to firmly decide that Dexter is the Bay Harbor Butcher, the new information about Matt’s death will also confirm that, BHB or not, Dexter is a killer. In the finale promo, there’s a moment at the end where it appears Dexter is getting booked. It’s likely Angela takes the news about Matt seriously and finds enough evidence to arrest Dexter. This may also lead to Dexter facing a line of questioning that gets Angela from point A (Matt) to point BHB. One way or another, I think Angela will learn about Dexter’s pastime of choice.

The Fate of Dexter Morgan

dexter new blood episode 9
Robert Clark/SHOWTIME

New Blood was created to give Dexter a proper ending after the original run finished. In my opinion, the show’s done just that thus far. But what will become of our beloved antihero in the end? Again, the episode 10 promo suggests arrest, but I don’t think prison is the final stop for Dexter. Should he find himself booked by ILPD, I think he’ll manage to worm his way out of it. He’s crafty that way. (I also choose to believe that hinting at arrest in a promo means he’ll walk out mostly scot-free. Or maybe I’m way off base. We’ll see.) So, where might Dexter be heading?

Note: The following paragraph contains major spoilers for the final book of Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter series.

Keeping in mind this show was originally set as a limited (and therefore mostly close-ended) series, the one ending I keep coming back to is that of Dexter Is Dead by Jeff Lindsay. It ends with Dexter planting a bomb on a yacht. In true Dexter style, he unravels all his thoughts. But as the book draws to a close, Dexter and readers are left mid-sentence as the yacht presumably explodes, killing Dexter. I can say with certainty New Blood won’t end like this (unless the writers pull something truly wild). However, I do think the show will ultimately end with Dexter dying (for real). At some point, Dexter will need to answer for his crimes; that much is inevitable. And frankly, it’s hard to imagine any other ending for him. (Admittedly, I’m not great at confidently forming theories, but this one feels right to me.)

It’s still anyone’s guess who may or may not stop Dexter once and for all. And while I won’t speculate much more on the matter (I’ve gone on long enough), if anyone’s going to send Dexter Morgan to his maker, there’d be excellent poetic justice with Harrison being the one to do so. After all, Dexter fits the Code.

The Dexter: New Blood finale airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on Showtime. Find our weekly recaps here and the rest of our coverage here.

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