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Critics Review
Dexter: New Blood review: A final farewell to television’s beloved serial killer

The limited mini-series will divide opinion after yet another controversial ending, despite garnering universal acclaim through its 10-episode run

3.5
Ryan Gomez
Jan 11, 2022
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Story:

Dexter Morgan’s quiet life under his new identity as Jim Lindsay unravels when he kills Matt Caldwell. His life turns upside down when his estranged son, Harrison (Jack Alcott), comes back into his life. The resulting chain of events leads to him being in the crosshairs of the law as he attempts to establish a relationship with his son.

Review:

The perils of bringing a show like Dexter back from the dead is not something showrunner Clyde Philips would’ve been oblivious about, especially in an era where social media plays an important role in shaping popular perceptions. A few tweets from a popular handle has the potential to determine the success of a film, TV show, or even video game. So, when Dexter Morgan was announced to return in a new limited series, fans were thrilled despite obvious scepticism.

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The new limited series is the perfect concoction of nostalgia and contemporary themes. The series is brand new and familiar at the same time. Michael C Hall’s return as the vigilante serial killer has tremendously aided in the audience adjusting to the new setting. The challenge, however, was to not repeat the mistakes in the way the original series ended, and also not to make new ones.

The overarching theme of the series is the bond between father and son. The idea of ‘sins of a father’ resonates across the season. In fact, the finale is titled ‘Sins of the Father, alluding to the price Harrison must pay in order to lead a normal life. But, Dexter and Harrison have very different ideas about what constitutes ‘normal’. It is something that comes to the fore towards the end of the season.

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The ending is undoubtedly going to split opinion for years to come. The ‘fitting farewell’ a large section of the fan base expected did not play out as they would have hoped. There is in fact a moment of reckoning that almost justifies the ending when Harrison utters the words; “Open your eyes and look at what you’ve done!”. The same line Dexter tells to all of his victims before he kills them. It is exactly at this moment Dexter fully realises something he’s always known but refused to believe - that the difference between him and the heinous criminals he kills has blurred. However, the scene that followed was executed rather poorly and may have undermined the essence of the season to an extent.

That said, the series offered excellent narratives, characters, and a villain to match it. Clancy Brown’s turn as the two-faced local businessman/psychotic serial killer is unlike any other villain from the original series. Whereas Julia Jones’s turn as the relentless Chief of Police Angela Bishop, and love interest of Dexter, has given depth and intrigue to the storytelling. Jennifer Carpenter’s return as Debra Morgan, a figment of Dexter’s imagination as his conscience, is well-written and perfectly compliments Dexter’s ‘dark passenger’.

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Regardless of how the series as a whole will be received moving forward, there will be many who will feel betrayed that the return of Dexter did not end in a blaze of glory. In hindsight, elevating Dexter Morgan to a higher standard would’ve undoubtedly sent out the wrong message. The number of options on how to end a character’s arc one such as Dexter’s is fairly limited. Not every TV show can produce the perfect finale like Breaking Bad. It remains to be seen if there will be a spin-off to the series, but seems unlikely.

Verdict:

The limited series is a well-written revisit to one of television’s most iconic characters, albeit with yet another controversial ending. Dexter Morgan finally gets his farewell, but may not have been the one fans have been waiting for for more than eight years.


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