Recap & Analysis | Dexter: New Blood Season 1 Episode 6 “Too Many Tuna Sandwiches”

DexterDaily's recap & breakdown for episode 6, by Nick Henderson!


SPOILER WARNING! The following contains MASSIVE SPOILERS for the sixth episode of ‘Dexter: New Blood’ titled ‘Too Many Tuna Sandwiches’ - Proceed with caution.

Too Many Tuna Sandwiches,” is a tightly wound episode that solidifies the connection between the original series and the revival. It delivers a lot of drama and tension that fans have been eager to see play out since New Blood was announced and it does so without reservation. Dexter’s true identity has been revealed to Angela and the fallout of that revelation creates a ripple effect that forces Dexter out of the shadows and drives a wedge further between himself and Harrison. As the division deepens, Dexter’s grip on his fake life loosens. Luckily, what may be bad news for Dexter is most certainly great news for the audience as this episode may be the strongest (New Blood) episode to date.

“Why is Kurt Caldwell suddenly so interested in my son?”

Almost immediately, the impact that Kurt had on Harrison at the diner in the previous episode becomes manifest. He makes coffee and jumps straight into completing the daily chores around the cabin before Dexter even wakes up. Much like his father in episode one, he chops the wood, feeds the animals, and scrapes the ice off the truck windshield. When he wakes, an unmistakable glint of pride can be seen in Dexter’s eye as he watches his son through the window. In this fleeting moment of normalcy, he almost seems like a normal, loving father.


As he reflects on the drama from the previous week, Deb reminisces about her childhood and the lengths she would often go to get back in her father’s good graces. When he notices the job application for Kurt’s diner sticking out of his backpack, the moment is over. Understandably, Dexter doesn’t want his son working for the father of one of his victims. Without being able to say that openly, the conversation that ensues once again blows up in Dexter’s face. Instead of giving Harrison his blessing, he forbids him (or tries to) from taking the job and the two once again find themselves at odds with each other. Of course, this leads to the million dollar question: Why IS Kurt Caldwell suddenly so interested in Harrison?

“Running from death.”

On his way into town, blissfully ignorant of the danger he is in, “Jim” is pulled over by Angela for what he assumes is another fun sexual escapade. In a hilarious display of emotional whiplash, Dexter goes from playfully submissive to genuinely horrified when Angela throws his own obituary in his face and asks to see Dexter Morgan’s license and registration. It’s a perfect flip of the script that made my heart sink. It’s not often that we get to see Dexter caught off guard in such a serious way and while the fun now comes from watching him navigate unknown waters, there is a certain satisfaction that comes from watching him squirm.

What unfolds when Dexter makes it back to the police station with Angela is nothing short of extreme catharsis for devoted fans of the show. The energy and enthusiasm felt by the writers is palpable in this scene. It’s such an important moment and you can tell they wanted to do it justice. From the moment they enter the station, everyone can tell that “Jim” fucked up. But the magnitude of his lie just makes the hilarious commentary and advice from Ester and Logan a fantastic example of the dark humor the show is known for.


When the two take a seat across from each other, we finally get to see Dexter answer for his actions and his lies in a big way. In some ways, it almost feels like he is talking directly to the audiences who felt betrayed by his questionable choices at the end of the original series. What is even more surprising is that despite not telling the full truth, very little of what he says to Angela in this scene is a lie. While he stops just shy of owning up to his own responsibility for the tragedies that befell him, he does provide some much needed context that the original series finale lacked.


What’s brilliant about this scene is that Angela lays into him with genuine disdain while also giving him an opportunity to explain himself. He talks about Rita’s murder, Deb’s death, and how living and working in a place soaked in blood was just too much. He admits that he is weak and that he never actually intended to survive Hurricane Laura. She empathizes with him on a human level but doesn’t let him off the hook for abandoning his son and lying to everyone around him. When Dexter cluelessly asks if she’ll keep his secret, her disgust is palpable. This might be the moment I was completely sold on Angela as both a person of character and a potential hero for the final conflict of the entire show.

In this instance, Clyde Phillips has provided a nugget of information that not only answers lingering questions but gives us a whole new perspective that may change the way some people (myself included) feel about the original ending. So much of what felt wrong about the original finale is rooted in how little it felt it owed to the audience. The voiceover was minimal and the decisions Dexter made seemed perplexing at best. To make matters worse, it provided zero explanation as to how he was able to survive the storm in the first place.

In this episode, Clyde Phillips has essentially retconned the ending slightly by providing some much needed insight into Dexter’s state of mind. He explains that he actually did intend to kill himself in the storm and by some miracle, he survived. Faking his death and starting a new life wasn’t his original intention but rather an opportunity that fell into his lap. Given how truthful he is with Angela about other aspects of his story, we are led to assume that these revelations might also be rooted in truth. It’s not concrete, but it’s enough that I can’t help but feel a bit better about the way everything shook out.

“I do feel a little Butchery.”

Unaware of Angela’s run in with Batista, Dexter sets out to figure out who may have exposed him. Given the timing of her arrival in Iron Lake and her interest in the Matt Caldwell case, Dexter’s first thought is the intrepid True-Crime podcaster, Molly Park. In the hopes of finding out how much she knows, he takes a trip down memory lane by listening to her podcast covering the ‘Bay Harbor Butcher’ case in Miami.


Despite Molly’s embellished and somewhat grating talk-show personality, this scene is a real treat for fans. She serves up a quick reminder of how Doakes met his fate and we find out that Molly has her own suspicions about the Bay Harbor Butcher still being at large. Thanks to an unnamed lead, Molly stumbled upon the same information LaGuerta eventually uncovered that pointed to Doakes being out of the country when some of the BHB murders took place. Whether this information will come into play in Iron Lake is yet to be seen but I have my suspicions that Molly is going to become a real problem in the coming episodes.

In an effort to learn a bit more about Molly and her intentions in Iron Lake, Dexter later calls up Logan and meets him at the tavern to ask for some much needed relationship advice. While Logan’s advice doesn’t show much promise of helping Dexter make things right with Angela, he is able to confirm that Angela and Molly have been conspiring together in secret.

“We may be through with the past, but the past isn’t through with us.”

Following his confrontation with Angela, Dexter takes her advice to heart and joins Harrison in therapy in hopes of getting help closing the rift between them. As one might imagine, the session is an unmitigated disaster thanks to Dexter’s inability to be honest about his past and his willingness to bend the truth to its absolute breaking point.


As the Doctor digs into the root of their issues, Deb tells Dexter to brace himself for some harsh truths. Harrison expresses his anger and frustration that stems from his abandonment but when Dexter is given a chance to respond and open-up, he avoids divulging any truths that might help forge a connection. He claims to not remember anything prior to being adopted and then summarizes his life after that point in the most trivial way possible.


In what is perhaps the most heartbreaking moment of the entire show thus far, Dexter widens the gulf between them by trivializing and out-right lying about Harrison’s mother. Instead of opening up about Rita’s tragic death at the hands of the Trinity Killer, Dexter claims that “the marriage fell apart.” It’s an instant knife to the heart for Harrison that very clearly suggests that he knows more about his mother’s fate than Dexter ever bothered to ask. Harrison’s response is equally devastating; Expressing the fresh feeling of abandonment he now feels sitting on the couch with his father (oof).

When the Doctor asks Dexter how he feels about Rita’s murder, his initial reaction is eye-opening. For the briefest moment, he loses control of his facial features, his hand touches his heart, and he struggles to find the words. Given Dexter’s unique relationship with emotion and general humanity, this moment (thanks to the wonderful performance of Michael C. Hall) was powerful. It demonstrated the depths of his character and gave us the tiniest glimpse at the humanity still lurking under the surface.

“I think about hurting… everyone.”

Harrison and Audrey’s relationship continues to develop following the disastrous family therapy session with Dexter. Harrison sneaks out of the house and into Audrey’s bedroom window where they proceed to open up to each other about their cursed family lives. He talks about the anger that drives him and his constant desire to hurt everyone around him. Rather than recoiling from this confession, Audrey opens up and talks about her struggle to feel accepted in Iron Lake and the Seneca Nation; a reaction that once again demonstrates the kind of response he had hoped to get from his father in therapy. As their connection deepens, one thing leads to another and the two are finally intimate.


In what is most certainly the biggest amateur mistake of their lives, the two leave the bedroom door unlocked and are awoken the next morning by Angela (oof). She escorts Harrison back home and angrily demands that Dexter handle the situation… a task that he remains woefully ill-equipped to complete. Luckily, this leads to a warm, light-hearted exchange between Dexter and Deb about how challenging it is to be a parent. They joke about not having to have the “sex talk” and how Dexter is DEFINITELY not ready to be a grandfather.

As we inch closer and closer to knowing the full extent of Harrison’s emotional baggage, I am starting to notice more similarities to the young Dexter we were shown in the early seasons. In his conversation with Audrey, he talks about wanting to hurt everyone around him all the time. While that admission is troublesome, it’s the detached manner in which he says it that is giving me serious deja vu.

He’s clearly a troubled kid but so far, they have done a great job of walking the line between obvious psychopath and troubled teenager. Harrison appears to be teetering dangerously on the edge with two murderous father figures pulling him opposing directions. This episode reinforced my theory from last week that this will be the ultimate conflict that plays out in the final chunk of the season.

“Where in the world is Matt Caldwell?”

As the division between Dexter and his son grows deeper, Dexter once again turns to the one thing that he can control. He tracks down Molly at the tavern but is surprised to find her meeting with Kurt (against the direct request of Angela). He plugs his phone in at the bar and starts a secret audio recording to capture their conversation. When the two leave together, Dexter follows in his truck while listening to the recording.


With Molly’s relentless questioning, it looks like Kurt has once again leaned on a lie about Matt’s whereabouts to lure Molly into a trap. He “confesses” that Matt has been living off the grid in one of his family's hunting cabins and has offered to let her meet with him if she agrees to keep the interview a secret until he has a chance to tell Matt’s side of the story; A deal she happily accepts for the sake of her podcast audience.


Dexter watches from a distance as Kurt leads Molly to her doom at the cabin and quietly laughs to himself at how slow he has become in his retirement (“Too many fucking tuna sandwiches”). He finally recognizes Kurt for what he is and for a moment, he entertains the idea of letting Kurt take care of his little problem for him. Of course, Dexter is not one to let an innocent walk blindly to her death so he barges into the basement and interrupts what has obviously become a very uncomfortable moment.

Molly stands poised with pepper spray at the ready and Kurt stands at the end of the hall as he keeps up the charade. When Dexter makes his sudden entrance, armed with a bullshit excuse for the intrusion, we are treated to one of those beautifully awkward moments when everyone in a situation knows that something is wrong but continues to act “normal.”


Kurt tries his best to shut down the situation and get everyone to leave his property, while Dexter insists on talking to Matt himself. He ignores Kurt and pushes into the empty room and immediately starts piecing together Kurt’s MO. Aside from being obviously empty, the door to the room locks from the outside and there are cameras in place that allow him to watch his victims. The cat is finally out of the bag and Dexter now has himself an official target. Kurt tries awkwardly to play it off and Dexter offers to give Molly a ride home; another offer that she happily accepts to Kurt’s dismay.

This moment was so well constructed and perhaps more than any other sequence thus far, it felt like an homage to classic Dexter. He inserts himself into a tense and INCREDIBLY awkward situation without hesitation. As a capable and high-functioning psychopath, Dexter is impervious to that feeling of extreme discomfort brought on by awkward situations like this. It reminded me a lot of Thanksgiving at the Mitchells in season 4 but there are countless other situations from the original series that would fit the bill as well.

I especially loved his fake innocence and the way he taunted Kurt while he was incapable of defending himself. We got to watch as Kurt’s anger grew and Dexter kept right on pushing. On the way out, he even asks if Kurt wanted him to close the door to the bedroom, knowing that doing so would lock Kurt in and essentially leave him stranded.

“Perfect place to hide a body.”

Angela fills Logan in on her suspicions of Kurt (that Kurt killed Matt in a rage and hid the body) and prepares to continue her search for Matt into the caves. Despite being hesitant of her suspicions, Logan is unable to officially commit to helping her with the search so she enlists Teddy. The next day, as Dexter is following Molly and Kurt to the cabin, Angela and Teddy begin their search. What they eventually discover is what appears to be a man made crawl space that has been obscured by rocks.


Angela follows her gut and pushes through to the other side where she discovers human remains buried under a pile of rocks. When they finally uncover the body, Angela’s worst fear is realized. The body before her is not Matt but is in fact, Iris - her childhood friend who disappeared and inspired her entire career obsession with finding missing girls.

“Use that anger.”

Throughout this episode, we have watched as Kurt unravels following his botched kill last week. In the opening moments, he tries to repair Chloe’s damaged face with a plaster mold but then violently bashes her face to pieces when he realizes that his efforts are fruitless. Later, he tries and fails to abduct another transient girl from his diner and then Dexter thwarts his attempt at turning Molly Park into his next victim. All of this considered, when Kurt walks into the school gym during Harrison’s big wrestling match, it’s a recipe for disaster.


Dexter sits helpless in the stands as Kurt inserts himself into the event as an unofficial assistant coach. Kurt gives Harrison some words of encouragement and once again appears to be in a position to provide the kind of support that he originally hoped to get from his father. When his opponent plays dirty, all of the threads from this episode start to coalesce: Kurt’s anger towards Dexter, Harrison’s desire to hurt someone, and Dexter’s desperation to connect with his son.


Kurt tells Harrison to not shy away from his anger but to use it - to see it as a strength. When the match resumes, Harrison overpowers and pins his opponent and despite his surrender, intentionally applies enough pressure to break his arm. Chaos erupts in the gym and Dexter springs into action as Kurt jumps again at the chance to shower Harrison with praise. The two almost come to blows on the gym floor but Logan breaks it up.

This was another fun and dynamic scene that I think came together beautifully. Kurt’s motivations to connect with Harrison are still unclear but he is definitely intent on earning his trust and loyalty before Dexter does. My first thought was that this stems from some sort of deeply rooted trauma but I can’t help but think of Matt Caldwell’s ominous warning about Kurt on the kill table.

While Kurt seems outright genial at times, Matt implied that he would go to great lengths to ruin Dexter’s life. If he has been on to Dexter for longer than expected, this play for Harrison’s loyalty could be nothing more than a cold-hearted attack aimed at bringing Dexter to his knees. If so, Kurt might turn out to be a much more formidable opponent than Dexter currently suspects.

“I don’t need Jim. I need Dexter Morgan.”

Dexter and Harrison make their exit from the chaotic wrestling match. He asks his son to divulge what Kurt told him before breaking his opponent's arm and implies that he now fully recognizes the nature of Kurt’s intentions. He asks if Kurt told him to hurt the kid and for a moment, Harrison seems to recognize how odd it is that Dexter picked up on that. Before they have a chance to dig a little deeper, Dexter’s phone rings. It’s Angela.


Recognizing that he is already on thin ice, Dexter cuts the conversation with Harrison short (again) and answers the call. To his surprise (and ours), Angela tearfully tells him that she doesn’t need to speak to Jim, she NEEDS to speak to Dexter Morgan. Of course, this implies that she recognizes that Dexter, a forensics expert, might be her best chance at solving the mystery of Iris’s disappearance. It’s a chilling moment that shook me to my core before the episode finally cut to black.


Where do we go from here?

What an episode. The entire landscape of the show has shifted dramatically with four episodes still left. Angela is torn between wanting Jim Lindsay and needing Dexter Morgan, Molly is onto Kurt and in Dexter’s debt, and Harrison has let Kurt pull him a little bit further into the darkness. Over the next four episodes, I suspect Dexter will be officially out of retirement as he moves to eliminate Kurt before he can do any more damage. However, If Molly comes clean to Angela about her brush with death, I am afraid that Angela might eventually spill the beans about Jim’s true identity. With her already extensive knowledge of the Trinity Killer and BHB cases, I think we might be close to those dots being connected. One thing is for sure, the stage has been set for an intense and exciting chess match to play out as we head into the endgame and I have never been more excited.

My Score:  9.5 out of 10

Next Week:  Skin of her Teeth

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