Dexter: New Blood Series Premiere Review, Killing Time
I wouldn’t say that I was the world’s biggest fan of the original Dexter TV series. However, I do have a distinct memory of watching episodes on my iPod while I Christmas-shopped one year. But when the show finally ended, with one of the most infamous series finales of all time, I felt cheated. I couldn’t believe that I’d spent this much time on a show that ended in lumberjacks. (Uh, spoiler alert, I guess.) Even when I saw the official trailer for Dexter: New Blood, I was very … whelmed. However, I have my Hot Dummy status to maintain, so I still sat down for the series premiere of Dexter: New Blood.
Dexter: Where Is He Now?
(Note: This discussion will contain big spoilers for the original series. Spoilers for the new version will be tender and mild.)
image via Showtime
When we last saw ol’ Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall), he’d escaped Miami. After a(nother) serial killer seriously wounded Dexter’s sister Deb (Jennifer Carpenter), Dexter literally pulls the plug on her. He buries her at sea, fakes his own death, and then skips town. And like I said, the last we see of him, he’s working in an Oregon lumberyard.
The new show picks up about a decade later. Dexter is now living in Iron Lake, New York, under the assumed identity Jim Lindsay. As far as the locals, including his police chief girlfriend Angela Bishop (Julia Jones), know, Jim’s just a mild-mannered salesman in an outdoors store. In fact, his life is kind of boring now.
Dexter: New Blood Series Premiere Discussion
Actually, that’s what some viewers may think of the first episode–that it’s boring. It’s a slow burn, as we follow Jim through his very routine life. He sells sporting goods, he goes line-dancing, he and Angela fool around. Sure, he’s been tracking a white buck through the woods, but he brings the rifle more for the scope than the barrel.
When we first knew him, his adoptive father Harry (James Remar) would appear to him as a kind of ghostly conscience. Recognizing what Dexter was, he was the one, after all, who taught Dexter to kill by a code. Now that Dexter’s living as Jim, Henry is gone (as far as we know), but Dexter is still haunted.
It’s Deb who visits him now. She went to her grave knowing what her brother had done, and in death, she’s not going to let him forget. Of course, this isn’t really Deb. This is Dexter’s own guilt, manifesting as the sister he killed.
image via Showtime
But Deb wasn’t the only one whom Dexter failed. He also lost his son Harrison. The boy, now a teenager (played by Jack Alcott), finds his father in the series premiere. At first, Dexter plays it off, pretends he’s just Jim. By the end of the episode, though, he will have retrieved his son. He will also have flirted with a return to his “Dark Passenger,” what he calls his urge to kill. (The show teases this early in the episode by soundtracking one of his forest romps to Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger.”) Living in such a small community, it’s been easy for Dexter to be good. But even small towns have big jerks.
Good Signs for the Future, Uh, If You Don’t Live in Iron Lake
Despite the slow-burn start, there’s enough here to keep viewers interested beyond just the nostalgia. Killing in a small town presents challenges that Dexter didn’t have in Miami, for example. He’s also apparently going to integrate Harrison into his new life, which opens up all kinds of possibilities.
There are the obvious ones, like how he’s going to explain this whole son he’s been hiding. There’s also the questions Dexter probably has about his son, like what kind of person he is. Yes, Harrison has the goodness of Rita (Julia Benz) in him, but he also has Dexter. And the last time we all saw Harrison, he was in the company of yet another serial killer, Hannah (Yvonne Strahovski). So he could be a wild card.
In the time since Dexter went off the air, we’ve gotten to know other TV killers. The closest analogue for Dexter would probably be You‘s Joe Goldberg. Both of them are (usually) able to channel their violent urges toward specific goals. And Joe has the cage, while Dexter has his plastic-wrapped rooms. But while Joe is a killer for these modern times, Dexter has returned from a pre-Trump America to remind us. What exactly he’s reminding us of has yet to be seen, but it ain’t gon’ be anything good. Despite the trappings, he’s still a killer, after all. The world may have changed in a lot of ways since we saw him last, but that still hasn’t.
The series premiere of Dexter: New Blood has already aired, but the rest of the limited series will air on Showtime on Sunday nights.
Are you excited about Dexter’s return? Let us know in these comments or on our social media.
featured image via Showtime
Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf. Email her at [email protected]