Recap & Analysis | Dexter: New Blood Season 1 Episode 7 “Skin of Her Teeth”

DexterDaily's recap & breakdown for episode 7, by Nick Henderson!


SPOILER WARNING! The following contains MASSIVE SPOILERS for the seventh episode of ‘Dexter: New Blood’ titled ‘Skin of her Teeth’ - Proceed with caution.

With a refreshing focus on familial legacy and sobriety amidst temptation, Dexter: New Blood has, up until this point, subverted expectation at almost every turn. Despite the complete re-contextualization of the show, the cornerstone performances by Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter have kept it from straying too far from its roots. After six weeks of intense world building and playful experimentation with a classic formula, “Skin of Her Teeth” embraces the legacy of the show and delivers one of the most “traditional” episodes thus far. Like “H is for Hero,” it packs a powerful punch despite its shorter runtime (approx 45 minutes) and makes great strides towards setting up the endgame that will play out in the final three episodes.

“Dexter Morgan, forensic expert for Miami Metro. He owes me.”

Skin of Her Teeth” picks up moments after Dexter arrives at the caves to help Angela with Iris’s body. As expected, we finally get to see Dexter slip back into his role as a forensic expert like the good ol’ days. Thanks to the tense dynamic between them, this scene serves as both an intense nostalgia trip for audiences and an important fork in the road for Dexter who now finds himself trying to hold on to his new life. As the clock ticks down to Teddy’s return with the cavalry, Dexter gets to work and quickly identifies the cause of death; a through-and-through gunshot wound to the torso from some sort of rifle.


To Angela’s horror, Dexter’s examination also determines that Iris was still alive when she was buried underneath the rocks. In a moment of what appears to be genuine sincerity, Dexter offers to stop as Angela processes this new information. She collects herself and insists that he continue. His next discovery gives us the cryptic meaning behind the episode title when he discovers what appears to be a piece of human skin stuck to one of her teeth. He does his best to temper her expectations but tells her there is a chance they might be able to use trace DNA to identify her killer.


When Angela tips her hand and implies that she may have a suspect in Iris’s case, Dexter leans on his history of screening Deb’s theories to get her to open up. Not only is this gesture a gentle call back to the original series that I think fans will adore, it serves the current narrative in a meaningful way. As the conversation unfolds, it becomes clear that Dexter’s urge to kill has taken a back seat to keeping his new life together. It demonstrates that despite falling off the wagon, Dexter’s priorities are, in their own twisted way, in the right place.

After last week’s incredible finale, everybody was excited at the prospect of Dexter delving back into crime scene investigation. Luckily, the scene did not disappoint and it shined for some truly unexpected reasons. This scene had the difficult job of navigating some seriously complex character drama while also harkening back to the Dexter of old.

Dexter’s approach to this investigation is especially complex from an emotional standpoint. He is walking on eggshells with Angela and reluctant to give into his own excitement and fascination for fear of it snowballing into another kill. Michael C. Hall did another excellent balancing act here; Giving us brief glimpses of that creepy enthusiasm he displayed in the early seasons while also being careful not to disrespect Angela or Iris in the process. I especially loved that he glanced at Angela and asked permission before touching the body. It was a nice moment and one that reminded me of just how much he has evolved as a character.

“Where does Kurt’s journey end?”


The next morning, as Angela notifies Iris’s family, Dexter returns to his cabin and ponders the fate of his new adversary. Should Kurt’s fate lie in the hands of the police or does he deserve Dexter’s signature brand of justice? As he appears to be leaning towards turning him over to the police to avoid deepening the divide with Harrison, Deb plays the devil’s advocate; Reminding him of what it cost him the last time he decided to hand a killer over to the police.

Aside from the obvious visual Motif that Deb represents in this scene, I truly appreciate that New Blood refuses to shy away from or ignore elements of the original ending. Deb’s comment to Dexter here is a direct reference to his decision to walk away from the Oliver Saxon kill in season 8. At the time, it was a fitting development but one that understandably rubbed viewers the wrong way. New Blood is once again tasked with recontextualizing controversial narrative choices from season 8 and making them matter more in the bigger picture.

After breakfast, Dexter continues to not only support Angela on her mission, but actively volunteers information she needs to put Kurt behind bars; In this instance, leading Angela to Kurt’s cabin in the woods where he saved Molly. It’s a startling side of Dexter that we haven’t really seen before and one that once again reinforces just how far he has come as a human being in the past 10 years.


The two throw caution to the wind and descend into the cellar only to discover that the faux motel room has now been completely stripped. The walls, cameras, fixtures, and furniture were hastily and violently ripped out in an obvious effort to destroy evidence. The Dexter of old would have happily taken this as a favor but here, he appears genuinely disappointed to find another bump in the road for Angela.

“You kill innocent girls and I kill guys like you.”

After striking out with Audrey at school thanks to the incident at the wrestling match, Harrison heads to the truck stop for his first shift working for Kurt. In a clever but not-so-subtle nod to Dexter’s kill room outfit, Harrison suits up for his work power washing the trucks that pass through the diner. Knowing that Harrison has insisted upon working for an apparent serial killer, Dexter pays a visit to the diner to keep an eye on things - a surprise visit that doesn’t go unnoticed by both Harrison and Kurt.


When Kurt takes a seat at the table with Dexter, the conversation starts cordial enough but quickly devolves into a passive aggressive battle of wit when he uses Harrison’s name to antagonize Dexter. Without missing a beat, Dexter fires back and reminds Kurt of his own troubled relationship with his son. While it’s clear that both of them know that the other poses a threat, they both see themselves as the alpha predator in this scenario. They exchange veiled threats until Angela, clearly perplexed by Dexter’s presence, arrives and officially arrests Kurt for Iris’s murder. From this point forward, the two are officially locked in an unspoken rivalry that will most certainly end in death at the end of the season.

In a sense, this scene in the diner is the turning point for the conflict this season. It’s the first interaction Dexter and Kurt have alone since the awkward interruption at the cabin with Molly and they both seem to recognize that the cat is out of the bag. It’s great to see Dexter engaging with a proper villain again after all these years but I can’t shake the feeling that his conflicted approach to Kurt is going to once again cause problems. This is the first of two face-to-face confrontations this week and while Dexter is not blind to the danger Kurt represents, he doesn’t yet seem willing to let his Dark Passenger out to play.

“Something always gets left behind.”

At work, Harrison has an encounter with a (suitably creepy) truck driver who gives him a small envelope to deliver to his dad. When Dexter opens it back at the cabin, he finds a large screw and recognizes that Kurt is now actively taunting him for some unknown reason. As expected, Dexter sets off to get answers. He creates a (hilarious) distraction that lures Teddy away from the station, cuts the power, and pays Kurt a visit in his jail cell in the dead of night.


The confrontation that ensues is classic Dexter. The gloves come off and both men engage in their own unique brand of scare tactics in an effort to gain the upper hand. When Dexter threatens to expose him for what he really is, Kurt finally plays his hand. He reminds Dexter of the night outside the tavern when he gave him a ride home and talks about his jacket being covered in ash, not snow. Then he drops the bombshell: Titanium doesn’t melt - a statement that Dexter doesn’t immediately recognize the significance of but one that feels appropriately menacing given the source.


When he returns to the truck, he googles “titanium screws” and immediately remembers the surgical scar on Matt’s leg. Suddenly, the pieces fall into place and Dexter realizes that Kurt knows that he is involved in Matt’s death. Somehow, he found the screw from Matt’s leg amidst the ash and debris in the incinerator and is now using it to even the playing field.

How Kurt was able to connect the dots and ultimately find this screw is a question that we may never get an answer for but that hardly seems important at this point. Kurt has demonstrated that his own dark passenger is more than capable of going toe-to-toe with Dexter’s.

Not only was this scene a ton of fun to watch unfold, it gave us another healthy dose of classic Dexter in an appropriately metaphoric setting. Both characters, separated by prison bars, are shrouded in darkness with nothing but moonlight and the red exit sign to illuminate the scene. It’s yet another example of how visually stunning this season is to look at.

“Handcuff emoji. Kurt.”

While Kurt is processed into jail, Molly rushes to the police station to talk to Angela about the major developments in the case. To her surprise, Angela puts her foot down and calls her out for almost blowing the investigation. What follows is a long awaited confrontation and another (decidedly more dangerous) game of cat and mouse starting between Kurt and Angela.


In the initial interrogation, she confronts him with the evidence and continues to prove herself as a smart and capable police officer. She skillfully lures him into lying about his call with Matt and then throws the DNA evidence in his face which prompts him to request his lawyer. Against the advice of his counsel, Kurt agrees to a taped interview that finally sheds some light on his troubled history.

To Angela’s annoyance, Kurt starts off the interview talking about his childhood living with his abusive father. He mentions his mother who fled the relationship and abandoned him (perhaps a subtle nod to the resentment Harrison feels for being left with Hannah who may not have been the best mother) and talks about being dragged along on his dad’s trucking routes where he was forced to witness his disturbing sexual exploits with prostitutes. Notably, in the flashback that accompanies this story, a very young Kurt can be seen playing the song “Runaway” in the cab of a semi while his dad engages in loud, violent sex in the back room.


When Angela finally interrupts the sob story to get things on track, Kurt fast-forwards to years later when he witnessed Iris getting into his father’s truck. At this point, the context of the flashback changes and we are now shown where Kurt’s story diverges from the truth. In the flashback, we see Kurt as a young man driving his own truck route who stops to pick up Iris as she hitchhikes along a lonely stretch of road at night.

In conversation, Iris alludes to feeling abandoned (I’m detecting another theme of this season) by Angela who apparently backed out of their plan to run away from the reservation. As Kurt spins a tale about Iris falling victim to her father, we watch as a very different story unfolds. Iris recognizes that she might be in danger and then bites Kurt’s hand before jumping out of the truck as it slides to a stop. She takes off running and Kurt pulls the rifle from behind his seat and guns her down in the middle of the road. It’s a story that noticeably supports Dexter’s theory from earlier in the episode but one that still feels somewhat incomplete.


In the end, Kurt’s story is plausible enough to convince the DA that they wouldn’t be able to convict. Considering the degradation of the DNA found on Iris’s body, they only have a 67% chance that it belongs to Kurt specifically so they are forced to let him walk. It’s here that my theory about Logan from last week fell apart. As Kurt collects his belongings and prepares to leave the station, Logan appears to be upset by the notion that Kurt intentionally denied the family closure by not coming forward with his story years ago.

“If he weren’t your boyfriend, I would totally do a deep dive.”

Molly later finds Angela, clearly disappointed by having to cut Kurt loose, eating (and drinking) alone at the tavern. She sits down and offers her support as a friend and the two begin to talk. Angela expresses her lingering guilt for backing out of her plan with Iris and Molly reassures her that if things were different, they both might be dead.


As the conversation slowly shifts to Kurt, Molly realizes just how odd it was that “Jim” showed up at just the right time to save her. Things go from bad to worse as Molly calls out a big hole in Dexter’s story and Angela realizes once again that he has not been entirely truthful. When Molly questions Jim’s ability to keep a secret from Angela, there is the briefest moment when the gears start to turn again in Angela’s head.

In the final moment of this scene, it appears as though Molly has kick-started the investigation that will plague Dexter for the rest of the season. She already knows that Dexter has told her an enormous lie and Molly has expressed that her own instincts are telling her to dig a little deeper on “Jim.”

The scene immediately cuts to the two leaving the tavern as Kurt watches from his truck so I find myself wondering if Angela told Molly what she knows about Dexter Morgan. It’s clear that Kurt has his eyes set on one or both of these women as his next target but if the two already compared notes, this may signal the beginning of Dexter’s downfall.

“There there. Daddy will be home soon”

While finishing up his shift at the truck stop, Harrison is confronted by members of the Moose Creek wrestling team who are clearly looking to retaliate after Harrison broke their Captain’s arm. Harrison jumps at the opportunity to brandish his razor and then lunges at the jocks to ward off the aggressors. Dexter, who just finished his own investigation of Kurt’s office, interjects and stops Harrison before he has a chance to hurt them. The jocks, clearly realizing that they had cornered a predator, jump at the opportunity to flee.


The moment has finally come. Harrison lashes out in frustration and admits that he’s a deeply troubled kid (“fucked up” were his exact words). As Dexter looks on helplessly as Harrison confirms his worst fears are realized: he remembers Rita’s murder. Not directly but his abstract dreams have come into focus ever since listening to Molly describe the murder on her podcast.

As he tells his father his truth, we are shown the aftermath of the most unforgettable moment in the show’s history. From baby Harrison’s dreamlike perspective, we see Rita’s lifeless arm dangling over the edge of the tub as bloody water pours over the side. The shot goes in and out of focus as the blood pools across the floor and we see a blurred human figure stand and exit the tub. The Trinity Killer comes into focus as he delivers another gut punch to the viewers with the same terrifying delivery that made him one of the best TV villains ever. “There there. Daddy will be home soon.”


Harrison accuses Dexter of abandoning him as a direct result of the damage caused by Rita’s traumatic death. Before Dexter can collect himself and respond, Harrison runs and catches a ride from Scott and leaves Dexter alone in the parking lot. At this moment, Dexter decides that the only way he will ever salvage his relationship with his son is to tell him the truth. Unfortunately, before he can put this new plan into motion, Dexter is ambushed from behind by the strange trucker that gave Harrison the envelope and the scene cuts to black.

Where do we go from here?

With three episodes left, the stakes are ramping up significantly. Dexter has been abducted by one seriously creepy dude, Harrison has cut and run (literally), and the dynamic duo (Angela and Molly) appear to be suspicious of Dexter. Next week will almost certainly move all three of these storylines forward in a significant way but how they all start to coalesce into a final ending is anyone’s guess at this point. All I can say is that from here on out, I have a feeling that the body count is going to start rising.

My Score:  8 out of 10

Next Week:  Unfair Game

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