Honestly, I think Dexter: New Blood offers a wildly better conclusion to the series than season 8 did. Is it a perfect show? No, not even close. At times, it exhibits many of the same flaws we all noticed in the later seasons of Dexter’s original run. Huge leaps in logic, frustrating miscommunications, inconsistent characterizations, etc. At its best, though, Dexter: New Blood delivers a gripping character drama centered around the connections between fathers and sons. But best of all, Dexter: New Blood gives Dexter (Michael C. Hall) the ending he’s always deserved – for better or worse.

NOTE: There will be full spoilers for the finale of Dexter: New Blood

The Death of Dexter

Dexter Morgan deserved to die. In fact, the only satisfying way to end a show like Dexter is for Dexter to die, finally feeling the full weight of his actions. Anything else just wouldn’t feel satisfying. Because, deep down, we all want Dexter to finally get caught. And that’s exactly what happens in the finale of Dexter: New Blood. Though, perhaps, not exactly like we might have expected. Years ago, Clyde Phillips (showrunner of New Blood and Dexter seasons 1-4) detailed how he’d have ended the series. Dexter, about to be executed for his crimes, sees one final hallucination of all those he’d killed. And Phillips clearly carried some of those ideas over to New Blood‘s ending.

But instead of Dexter being captured and executed by the state, Harrison (Jack Alcott) is the one who has to put a stop to Dex’s Dark Passenger. And while that seems to have proven controversial among some fans, it’s the perfect capper to the story New Blood‘s been telling over the last ten weeks. Because, at its heart, Dexter: New Blood is a story about the connections fathers and sons share. It’s about Dexter’s attempts to connect with Harrison, and the way those attempts blow up in his face. And it’s about Kurt (Clancy Brown) trying to avenge his son’s death while taking advantage of Harrison’s need for a father figure. So, naturally, the whole thing was bound to end in tragedy. And in some ways, that’s kind of a shame. Because the evolution of Harrison and Dexter’s relationship is the best part of the show.

(L-R): Michael C. Hall as Dexter and Jack Alcott as Harrison in DEXTER: NEW BLOOD, “The Family Business”. Photo Credit: Seacia Pavao/SHOWTIME.

Like Father, Like Son

At first, I thought Harrison’s subplots were the worst parts of New Blood. Some of his earlier scenes felt like something out of an entirely different show and didn’t jive well with New Blood‘s tone. But as the season went on, and it became clearer what Phillips and the other writers were trying to do with Harrison and Dexter’s relationship, something just clicked into place. What initially felt like annoying distractions from the main plot quickly morphed into the plot’s entire driving force. And I loved it. New Blood takes the normal formula of a Dexter season – with Dexter hunting down some kind of Big Bad that he’ll eventually kill by the finale – and flips it on its head a bit. Because this time around, the story isn’t actually about Dexter finding the Big Bad.

At its heart, New Blood is Harrison’s story, rather than Dexter’s. Harrison bears many similarities to his father. Like Dexter, Harrison’s mother was murdered in front of him, and he was left in a pool of her blood. And, like Dexter, Harrison’s developed a bit of a dark passenger because of that. But without a guiding force like Harry, how does Harrison cope with this inner darkness? That is the question at the heart of New Blood. And sure, it takes a few too many episodes for the show to finally reach this point, but once it does, everything clicks into place nicely. For his entire life, Dexter’s been trying to feel love. He tried to love Rita, he tried to love Hannah, he even tried to love Angela (Julia Jones). But now, he’s found solace and peace in his ability to pass Harry’s code onto Harrison.

Michael C. Hall as Dexter in DEXTER: NEW BLOOD, “Sins of the Father”. Photo Credit: Seacia Pavao/SHOWTIME.

The Ending

But that’s not what Harrison wants. Despite initially believing his father to be a Batman-esque vigilante, Harrison quickly realizes the code doesn’t really work, since Dexter’s no better than those he kills. And so because of all of that, the fact that Harrison is ultimately the one to kill Dexter does end up working. Sure, a part of me still wishes New Blood‘s ending had maybe hewed closer to Phillips’ original idea. Especially since Batista (David Zayas) was literally on his way to Iron Lake to apprehend Dexter. Depriving audiences of that confrontation isn’t necessarily my favorite choice. However, given how much time New Blood spent focusing on Harrison’s struggles with his own dark passenger, there’s a catharsis in Harrison finally ending this cycle of trauma.

Dexter was born in blood, and his adopted father raised him to be this vigilante serial killer. And Dexter was all set to pass that cycle onto Harrison, who was also born in the blood of his mother’s death. Until Harrison finally called Dexter out on all of the ways he’s broken Harry’s code. At heart, Dexter isn’t all that different from those he hunts. And deep down, Dexter knows it. So, while we might not have gotten that moment where Dexter’s fully held accountable by the police for all of his crimes, we still get to see him held accountable on an emotional level. And honestly, that might have been the best decision possible. Because Harrison finally breaks this cycle of trauma, and walks away from all of it. He might never be normal, but he has a chance to carve out his own path.

Final Thoughts

I understand why some might feel disappointed by New Blood‘s ending. After all, with Angela’s deepening investigation of Dexter’s past, and the introduction of older characters like Batista, it did seem like the series was building up to this big confrontation where Dexter’s past actions would finally catch up with him. And for that not to happen does feel a bit unsatisfying. But even so, we still get a beat where Dexter is forced to reckon with his actions. And we can guess that between Batista and Angela, the world’s gonna know exactly what kind of a person Dexter Morgan was very soon. And so on that front, Dexter’s demise remains satisfying.

But most of all, seeing Harrison finally break this cycle that’s haunted his life, and Dexter’s life, makes the whole experience worthwhile. It may not have been a perfect finale, but Dexter was never a perfect show. What New Blood did, though, was give Dexter the ending he’s always deserved.

What did you think about the finale of Dexter: New Blood?

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