Warning: This article contains spoilers for Dexter seasons 1-8 and Dexter: New Blood.
Showtime’s iconic serial killer returned in Dexter: New Blood, but the spinoff’s finale threw away everything the original show set up. It was a pleasant surprise when New Blood fit the formula of Dexter’s original seasons, especially given the drastic change in climate and setting. Now, with New Blood reaching its conclusion, the first eight seasons of the original seem to have been undone in less than an hour.
Picking up ten years after the original Dexter finale, New Blood shows its titular protagonist living under a new identity, Jim Lindsay, in a small, rural community. For many, New Blood felt like a return to form, fixing major Dexter problems, and jumping straight back into a twisty, blood-soaked narrative — just like before. However, for many of the viewers who had witnessed the emotional development of Dexter from serial killer-sociopath on the brink of humanity, to a man who loved and cared about his wife and family, the New Blood finale falls on its face in front of the original show.
Perhaps the most convincing and intriguing part about the original Dexter was the unraveling of Dexter’s character itself. Dexter was introduced to the audience as a sociopath, who is unable to feel or care for anything other than murder. While some may argue that Dexter declined as the seasons progressed, it’s undeniable that Dexter himself constantly challenged this sociopathic view of himself. For example, the start of Rita and Dexter’s relationship couldn’t have been more awkward, with Dexter doing it purely to fit in. With that all that being said, not only did Dexter end up developing a relationship with and marrying Rita but forming a bond with her kids Cody and Aster, having a child with her and being clearly distraught when she died, showing swathes of emotional development and disproving his pre-conception as a sociopath.
Ultimately, Dexter was about showing that a serial killer’s life is destructive to a normal life. Dexter’s social progression and growing relationships forced the viewer to ponder whether or not Dexter was actually doomed to be a killer like Harry had thought. With all that progress, Dexter killing Logan in New Blood’s twist ending came as a shock to viewers who had intently monitored the progress Dexter made in previous seasons. The duality of Dexter is the fact that he hides his dark passenger from the world, while his humanity is seemingly hidden from himself, thereby existing a tug of war where the world threatens to find out he’s a killer, while he slowly discovers he’s not a monster. This war inside of Dexter is constantly developed in the original series, setting up a race against time whereby Dexter is either doomed to lose everyone he loves or finally discover that he is truly human. While New Blood briefly leans into this concept by admitting Harry teaching Dexter the code was wrong, it abandons it in the finale by passing the torch to Harrison.
While rusty after not killing, Dexter straight up ignores the code throughout, and returns to a near-emotionless sociopathic state, killing Logan without hesitation like a cornered animal. Not only does this strip back the emotional development of Dexter from the original show, but makes Harrison’s final confrontation with his father feel forced, and the passing of the killer torch to Harrison betrays the original show since Dexter neither loses anything nor discovers his humanity.
While the first nine episodes of New Blood were going strong, the finale failed to deliver on the rest of the show hints at throughout, true character development, and proves to be a more divisive ending than Dexter season 8. While the concept was far from awful, the execution was, and Dexter devolving into a straight-up sociopathic killer felt slightly unfounded, tearing down the efforts of the original show without much narrative motivation to push him there. Ultimately, New Blood’s finale ruins what the rest of Dexter was trying to do, add some humanity to Dexter, and even dooms Harrison to walk the same path.
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