It’s been nearly 10 years since the Dexter series finale universally disappointed fans. And while that ending remains absolutely abysmal (for frustrating reasons), Dexter: New Blood seeks to right some of those wrongs as it picks up with our favorite serial killer in upstate New York.
Spoilers Ahead – You’ve Been Warned
The Return of Dexter Morgan
From the very first shot, it’s quite clear that we’re not in Miami anymore. Situated in the snowy wilderness of upstate New York, Dexter carved out a new life as Jim Lindsay. Everything from his job as a hunting shop to his relationship with the local police chief to his continuing habit of bringing donuts for his coworkers all show that he’s very much in “blending in” mode, and doing a decent job of it.
But he can’t completely escape his past as Deb now “haunts” him the same way that Harry did for the duration of the original season. While she doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time, Deb is there to remind Dexter to stay true to his routine (which includes dating a police officer who reminds us all a bit of Deb).
Try as he might, Dexter can’t suppress himself any longer. Not only does an obnoxious investment banker who definitely fits the code arrive in town, but there’s also a series of women who are going missing (most likely the work of a serial killer that Dexter will eventually hunt).
In addition, Dexter’s estranged (and abandoned) son Harrison tracks him down and forces him to confront his past. Despite living as Jim Lindsay for nearly 10 years, Dexter realizes that he must be Dexter Morgan once again…
New Title, New Show
Showtime was very insistent that this was not merely a 9th season, but rather a spinoff miniseries and that shows in more ways than one. The snowy small town stands in complete juxtaposition to the humid, bustling Miami that we’re so used to seeing Dexter in.
Not only is the physical location different, but so is the way that Dexter hides in plain sight. Back in Miami, he was always able to stalk his potential prey by losing himself in a crowd. Which is something that’s downright impossible to do in a small town where everyone knows everyone.
We’ve seen Dexter acting cheery to appear “normal” but he’s never had to fool this many people all at once, and the fact that he does it so successfully is a testament to his growth since we first met him in 2006.
There’s also a strange new visual style with the opening/closing titles that make the show look more like Heroes than Dexter, and I’m honestly torn as to whether or not it’s too distracting. But in the grand scheme of things it’s not really a big deal.
What really stands out is Michael C. Hall’s ability to step back into this character that was beloved for so many years. There’s a certain uneasiness which is both the result of being away from the series for so long, but also really fits the character himself. It’s so incredibly easy for the audience to root for him once again, and cheer when he finally disposes of someone who very much fits his code.
Admittedly, this was a slow but strong character-driven premiere that helped set up what will hopefully give this character a proper send off. But as previously mentioned, the whole reason for its existence is downright frustrating.
Initially, discussions had taken place about Dexter being executed at the end of his iconic series. And as the curtain pulled back, he would then see all of his victims as they grimly welcome him to what we can assume is hell itself.
While there’s no guarantee that the final product would have been quite so dramatic, the idea of either killing Dexter or having him escape and live happily would have given closure, something that Showtime insisted did not happen.
The network reportedly didn’t want the character to die so that the possibility of doing a spinoff was left open. So yes, it’s exciting that there is this new chance to give Dexter a proper ending, but it’s impossible to overlook the fact that had Showtime not meddled so much, we woudln’t even need this extra spinoff to right any wrongs.
Overall, Dexter: New Blood shows us why Dexter will always be true to himself while also setting up plotlines that will hopefully be resolved in satisfying ways before this is all over. This is Showtime’s last chance to do Dexter justice!
What did you think of the premiere episode? What do you hope to see next week? Let us know in the comments!