After a cold ten-year absence, Dexter Morgan returned in all his butcher glory for Dexter: New Blood, a 10-episode miniseries to correct course on the not-so-well received Dexter finale. While original series showrunner Clyde Phillips returned with he and star Michael C. Hall promising to amend things with fans, New Blood again ends with a sour conclusion to an otherwise hopeful journey.
major spoilers ahead
It’s true that Dexter Morgan died, in some way, ten years ago during a Miami hurricane. Now residing in the icy small town of Iron Lake, New York, Jim Lindsay (Hall) has created a new life, including a girlfriend named Angela (Julia Jones), who happens to be the chief of police. Things have been fairly normal for him, his “dark passenger” seemingly dormant — but not for long.
When Harrison, the son he had abandoned, shows up, his new life is put at risk. But when he senses the darkness within, he hopes to help his son quell his urges and perhaps lead a pseudo-normal life with him. This is where things go wrong for New Blood.
For the most part, the series does a fantastic job bringing back Dexter Morgan. After a slow start, things pick up and the usual vengeful murder hijinks begin. As things become more troubling for Dexter, with his new adversary Kurt Caldwell (Clancy Brown) close to exposing the truth while hiding his own murderous ways, it was Harrison who was the true downfall to the Bay Harbor Butcher.
Frustrating was the writing in the finale of the series, and ultimately Dexter himself. “Sins of the Father” sadly feels like another rushed finale that derailed an otherwise promising reboot of a beloved character.
Mainly, Dexter does quite a few things that are out of character for someone so successful thus far. The entire arc of Dexter leaning into Harrison’s potential darkness so quickly was misguided early on. While it is his son, Dexter is smarter than to expose himself as he did so quickly with the child he no longer truly knows.
After getting arrested for the murder of Matt Caldwell, the son of Kurt, whom Dexter had sliced up one episode prior, Dexter does a mirage of things that felt so rushed and outside of his normal thinking, it was frustrating to see.
We see Dexter bantering with his sister Debora (Jennifer Carpenter)—taking over for his father’s ghostly presence in the original show—about how he could get out of this. Despite a potentially perfect fallback that Kurt had set him up, he could convince Angela the same way he had convinced Deb he was worth saving. Both concepts are so quickly forgotten about, Dex just winds up killing his cop friend Logan to escape.
And it would end up that Harrison is the one to take out his father, with a single gunshot after he discovers Logan was a casualty of the escape. Harrison blames Dexter for everything, as the writers attempt to backtrack from Harrison truly having a dark passenger — something we’re fairly all certain he does have.
So many paths were abandoned throughout this final episode, a plethora of development over the previous episodes. It’s not to say Dexter’s death wasn’t a welcomed possibility, but to bring back the character to right the wrong with the original finale, and then produce something even more lackluster is just infuriating.
An even more annoying point of the entire season was the sprinkle of old Miami Metro friend Angel Batista (David Zayas), who first reappears in episode five when Angela meets him at a police conference. He recounts an old colleague who had died having a son named Harrison — who he briefly forgets his name! There’s simply no way Batista would have forgotten this.
But that was only the first tease that perhaps a Dexter-Batista face-off was poised to happen. It seemed like this finale would be it, as Angela calls him to say she has Dexter in custody. But it’s just lofty fan service because he never makes it into town before Harrison kills Dexter. And that’s after Batista somewhat confirms he now believes María LaGuerta’s theory that Dexter really was the Bay Harbor Butcher — which just seems unlikely considering what we know from the original series run.
So much just seems off in the conclusion of Dexter: New Blood. Killing off the titular serial killer is one thing, but the execution was flawed. I was very iffy about the Harrison storyline for most of the time but felt it would build up to something, but in the end, the final chapter serves as a reminder that sometimes, despite the potential, the original is better than the reboot.