Dexter: New Blood (SPOILER-HEAVY) review.
Showtime’s Dexter returns after a decade-long hiatus with a new isolated, winterly location and features new characters plus, a few old familiar faces.
Asides from Harrison, now a teenager, the confides of age appears to have missed both Michael C. Hall and, Jennifer Carpenter respectively.
Florida’s sun-bleached beaches, neon-lit skylines and Cubano culture have been replaced by snow-littered forest floors, winter treelines and, a sheltered hunting community.
Dexter has forged an inconspicuous life for himself among the friendly, unsuspecting people of Iron Lake, Oregon.
Iron Lake may be a fictitious town but make no mistake, the struggles reflected of living in a small community which relies on the tourism of the hunting trade are real; rich, entitled assholes can appear anywhere.
Being an Edinburgh native who grew up on the outskirts in a small mining town, I know all too well the frustrations of having life’s routines disrupted by privileged tourists when our tiny city is pimped out to big London developers for tourist attractions while the rest of us struggle on the breadline.
The first episode of New Blood features no flashy serial killers, instead the enemy is the archetypal, aggressive Frat Boy with the rich daddy who believes that his dangerous behaviours are untouchable; trust me, you will LOVE to hate on this guy.
Steve M. Robertson’s turn as the aforementioned Frat Boy, Matt Caldwell must have had a riot screwing, punching and shooting his way throughout episode 1 as, the polar opposite of Michael C. Hall’s calm, everyday good guy Jim Lindsay (Lindsay being a nice nod to Jeff Lindsay who penned the original series of novels); the alias which Dex now uses as part of his new identity.
Until Dexter simply kills him off in the final act…
Personally, I felt that this conclusion felt extremely rushed and, shoe-horned in given that Dexter has just endured through a decade of (homicidal) sobriety.
Sure, they say that an addict will always be an addict even when they are not using but for Dexter to give into his baser desires so suddenly demands a closer inspection.
Leading up to this sudden relapse, we see Matt cajoling Jim with ‘playful’ threats of violence, offers of Class B drugs, exposing himself during an interrupted sex session and, even waving an assault rifle in his face.
Jim does not, cannot, react until we see him stalking a beautiful, rare white stag through the snowy forest surrounding his peaceful log cabin home.
The primal desire for connection to this elusive creature piques Jim’s inner child; his tenderness and, innocent love of the wild peaks through the shadow of his Dark Passenger.
Then Matt kills the deer, very nearly shooting Jim in the process.
I can intuitively sense what the writers were trying to do here; Dexter’s Dark Passenger has lay dormant and, Jim now fills his driver seat with a tender empathy for animals which he refuses to hunt or, kill.
Matt represents the force of chaos which man brings down upon nature’s beautiful creatures, dimming the light on Jim’s heart- Matt kills Jim’s HOPE and, that hopelessness forces the old Dexter out of hiding, similar to an addict facing the mistakes of their past and, turning to using again as escapism.
While poetic, this story arc felt rushed and, although I cheered when Matt’s unconscious body found its way onto Dexter’s shrink-wrapped table, I can’t help but wonder how fun this dynamic of light versus dark may have been to watch unfold just a little while longer.
Dexter’s sister, Deb returns, now in the form of the ghost of the life he left behind, taking on the role of Dexter’s ‘Conscience’ replacing his father as the voice of reason, influencing his thoughts and actions like some kind of hallucinatory Jiminy Cricket.
The return of his son, Harrison signals a new chapter in his life, appearing around the same time as Dexter’s Dark Passenger makes a tragic reappearance.
Welcome home, Dexter Morgan!
Although predictable, Dexter: New Blood holds that comforting familiarity one may take from a Starbucks; the flavour may be the same in every other town, but we still crave the warm embrace of bittersweet just as Dexter craves New blood. 4/5 🖤’s
Dexter: New Blood is now airing via Showtime in the US & via Sky Atlantic in the UK.
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