Recap & Analysis | Dexter: New Blood Episode 10 “Sins of the Father”

DexterDaily's recap & breakdown for episode 10, by Nick Henderson!


SPOILER WARNING! The following contains MASSIVE SPOILERS for the final episode of ‘Dexter: New Blood’ titled ‘Sins of the Father’ - Proceed with caution.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few days, you know that the final episode of ‘Dexter: New Blood’ has emerged as one of the most controversial episodes of the entire series. While Clyde Phillips tried to prepare us for this before the season even started, I don’t think any of us expected it to be quite this explosive. After the shocking penultimate episode, it felt odd going into the finale with so much ground left to cover. Dexter and Harrison’s new found bond seemed rocky at best and Angela was handed even more evidence that Dexter is the monster that she suspects. In just under one hour, this episode delivers some long awaited developments, harsh reminders, and a poetic but nuanced ending that is as divisive as it is satisfying.

“Dark secrets lurk beneath Iron Lake.”

Considering the dramatic powerhouse that was last week’s penultimate episode, the finale opens in a subdued but eerie manner. We get sweeping camera shots of beautiful Iron Lake, NY (Shelburne Falls, MA) set to the opening of Molly Park’s final podcast episode before her untimely death at the hands of Kurt Caldwell. We eventually catch up with Angela who is en route back to Dexter’s smoldering cabin where the pillars of the Iron Lake community have gathered to show their support.


Dexter, now content and optimistic about the prospect of teaching Harrison the code, admires the people and the community that have accepted him. Regardless, Dexter sees the fire as a sign that they must leave Iron Lake in order to continue on their path. When Angela arrives, she informs him that an accelerant was used to burn down his cabin. When Angela probes a little further, Dexter feigns surprise and reflects back on the people he has killed in Iron Lake. Harrison interjects and suggests that Moose Creek kids who tried to jump him at the truck stop may be responsible.


Harrison is pleasantly surprised when Logan, Scott, and Zack give him a brand new Iron Lake varsity jacket. Dexter observes his son being happy and projects onto him once again; Assuming that Harrison is faking the interactions and appearing to be “almost normal.” The two discuss the prospect of leaving Iron Lake and while Dexter appears all too willing to drop everything and go, Harrison takes a little bit more convincing. Nonetheless, Harrison pushes past his reluctance and agrees. As the two drive off, Angela finds something suspicious hidden amidst the cabin wreckage.

In a lot of ways, this finale is all about reminding the audience of who Dexter actually is while drawing attention to all the ways that Harrison is different. After 9 seasons of rooting for a serial killer, who could blame us for losing touch a little bit? After watching Dexter gleefully cutting up Kurt’s body in front of his teenage son last week, it is clear that Dexter has gotten a little bit carried away. He assumes that Harrison and him are exactly alike and blindly clings to that idea because it is what part of him has always wanted. He assumes that Harrison will have no issue relocating because Dexter doesn’t form normal human bonds; he doesn’t put down roots in the traditional sense and he assumes that Harrison must be the same.

“I am a Phoenix. I rise from the ashes.”

A little bit later, a dreaded but long awaited moment finally arrives. Angela watches from her car as Dexter, Harrison, and Audrey laugh and talk in her kitchen. She seems anxious but eventually musters the courage to go inside. Angela sends Harrison and Audrey on an errand, leaving her alone with Dexter. Once again missing all of the normal human body language and verbal cues, Dexter is blissfully ignorant of Angela's intentions. He goes in for a hug and is shoved away violently. Angela pulls her gun and tells him to turn around, get on his knees, and put his hands on his head.


Dexter calls her bluff but is quickly shut down. Realizing that Angela is serious, he complies with her request but immediately goes into auto-pilot. As Angela starts to approach for the arrest, Dexter starts to reach for one of the kitchen knives on the counter. Fortunately for Angela, he is interrupted when Logan enters through the back door to provide backup. She tells him he is under arrest for the murder of Matthew Caldwell while Logan puts him in cuffs and escorts him to the car.

Dexter has finally succumbed to his years of inactivity. Blinded by his blissful new relationship with his long lost son, he failed to see the noose tightening around his neck. He has been in binds like this before (most notably when LaGuerta arrested him in Season 7) but this is the first time we see him genuinely taken by surprise like this. It’s a scene many fans have been dying to see for ages but in the context of this finale, it is also important for another reason.

This scene serves as yet another reminder to the audience that Dexter is a violent sociopath. Like a trapped animal, he immediately sheds any semblance of humanity in the interest of his own survival. He turns to the first rule of the code: Don’t get caught. When he reaches for that knife, it suggests that he is ready to cut down Angela and flee to save his own skin. While he doesn’t get his chance to see it through (this time), his intentions should be perfectly clear.

“The world needs us.”

After an awkward car ride, Dexter is booked into holding back at the Iron Lake PD and set up in Angela’s office for the first of two intense interrogations. Dexter puts his game face on and approaches the encounter with the smug confidence that has defined his character since day one. Angela turns on the camera and comes clean with the evidence she has on Matt Caldwell’s murder. She dredges up the unidentified person caught on the wildlife cameras, the note left on her door, and the titanium screws that confirm almost conclusively that Matt is dead. It’s a tense exchange but one that is impossible to look away from. Dexter deflects the evidence with relative ease suggesting that what she has is circumstantial at best.


In an effort to pivot and control the narrative, Dexter baits Angela into delivering her prevailing theory about how or why he killed Matt. He quickly delivers an opposing theory about Kurt setting him up as retribution for Angela humiliating him at the truck stop. Like her story, it’s just plausible enough to plant the seed of doubt in Logan’s mind as he watches the monitor from the other room.


When Dexter brings up Iris, things get heated and Logan interjects to insist on Angela taking a break. Harrison and Audrey arrive and are understandably confused as round one of the interrogation comes to an end. Angela let’s Harrison in to see his dad and then takes Audrey for a walk outside to give her some insight into what’s happening. Dexter reassures Harrison that everything will be fine and suggests that Angela won’t be able to make anything stick. As they embrace, Dexter whispers “The world needs us” into Harrison’s ear and once again feeds on Harrison’s romanticized interpretation of their vigilante exploits.

This line to Harrison was another moment in which we can see just how far Dexter has fallen. Any notion of trying to get back on the wagon has been utterly abandoned and it felt to me like he has devolved to the point of using Harrison as yet another justification for continuing to kill. It’s actually kind of gross considering he doesn’t buy into the rationalization that Harrison does at all. I have a feeling this line will be misinterpreted by many as being genuine when it is meant to remind us that the opposite is true.

“Sons need their fathers.”


Dexter’s night in jail begins. Logan brings him a sandwich from the tavern and Dexter seizes the opportunity to start whittling Logan’s guard down. He talks about being fearful of leaving Harrison without a father and reminds Logan that he knows all too well what that feels like. It’s a sleazy move that reminds us of how opportunistic Dexter truly is. I found myself wondering on subsequent viewings if he had already formulated his plan to escape at this point. Was he already putting his plan into motion or just moving the chess pieces around to ensure he could rely on them if the situation called for it? Either way, Logan is clearly moved by Dexter’s plea and states that “sons need their fathers” before leaving to visit Harrison.


At the tavern, Logan and Harrison share a meal. The seed that Dexter planted has clearly taken root as Logan acts as though he wants Angela to be wrong. He remembers that Harrison arrived around the same time as Matt’s disappearance and asks Harrison if he knew anything that might exonerate his father. Harrison remembers watching his dad stalk the deer in the woods but doesn’t have anything helpful to offer Logan.

“Dexter Morgan is alive?”


Angela ponders her next move and then realizes she has one avenue of investigation left that might give her the evidence she needs. She picks up the phone and calls Captain Batista in Miami. The two talk briefly about the Bay Harbor Butcher case until Batista brings up the fact that LaGuerta theorized that Dexter Morgan might be the Butcher. Just like that, everything changes. Not only is Batista shocked to see a photo of Dexter taken only a month prior, Angela learns that LaGuerta was murdered. Clearly moved by this dramatic revelation, Batista opens his desk drawer and pulls out the folder of LaGuerta’s Dexter / Bay Harbor Butcher investigation and tells her that he is on the way to Iron Lake.

Batista’s final appearance in Dexter: New Blood is bittersweet. The events of the finale play out before he arrives but the very threat of Batista descending on Iron Lake with LaGuerta’s old case files is enough to shock Dexter into action. As a fan, I was disappointed that we never got to see these two come face-to-face but I am glad that the door has opened for Batista to find closure.

While we obviously don’t get to see what happens when he arrives, the events that follow paint a pretty clear picture. The fact that Dexter faked his death certainly lends validity to LaGuerta’s theory and the fact that he kept her old case file so close suggests that maybe he still harbors some guilt and regret for what happened to her. Way back in Season 7, LaGuerta was close enough to exposing Dexter that he was prepared to kill her to stop that from happening. With Batista en route to Iron Lake, Dexter knows that the whole charade could unravel if Batista has a chance to lay out old evidence.

Am I disappointed that we don’t get to see any of that play out? Absolutely. Am I angry about it? No. I feel lucky that we were given any cameos at all and that this beloved character is destined to blow the case wide open when he arrives. Dexter might be out of the picture by the time he gets there but I can’t help but feel that he would be instrumental in the investigation that could vindicate Doakes and LaGuerta after so many years.

“It’s how I know you, Dexter Morgan, are the Bay Harbor Butcher.”

With her newfound trump card in her back pocket, Angela puts Dexter back in her office for a second round of questioning. This time she comes at him from a different angle that he doesn’t see coming. Rather than focusing on Matt, she presents him with the evidence she has on the other strange occurrences around Iron Lake that all seem to tie back to Dexter. She connects the dots between Dexter’s purchase of Ketamine to the drug dealer, Miles, who claims that Dexter poked him with a needle just before he started beating him at the bar. She moves right along to Jasper Hodge who died of a fentanyl overdose but had a matching puncture mark (called a “Wheelmark”) and Ketamine on his tox screen.


Dexter seems unphased by her line of questioning until she suddenly drops Bay Harbor Butcher autopsy photos in front of him. As she points out the similarities between these two cases, the weight of the situation suddenly seems much more substantial to Dexter. She says that despite whether or not she can make the Matt case stick, she plans to reunite him with Batista, expose him as the Butcher, and then extradite him back to Florida to stand trial and possible execution. With all the cards on the table and the power dynamic so suddenly shifted in Angela’s favor, Dexter plays his hand.


He tells Angela to turn off the camera and then gives her the one thing she has devoted her entire professional life to. Dexter assures her that she was right about Kurt Caldwell and the missing girls. He nods at her wall of pictures and tells her she will find all the proof she needs in the hatch hidden out by Kurt’s secret cabin. Knowing she won't be able to resist the lead, he sets his plan in motion. Angela leaves Dexter in Logan’s charge and storms off to verify his story.

I wasn’t really going to mention the scene at Audrey’s because it was so brief but I did want to point out a nice little detail. When Harrison returns to Audrey’s to pick up his bag, she plants a rather fortuitous idea in his head. As the two grow closer, she says “I guess we don’t always have to do what our parents want” -- I didn’t think much about it at the time but this line hits harder on subsequent rewatches.

This episode may be largely about repainting Dexter as the villain but it is also just as much about illustrating how different Harrison is from his father. They may share “dark tendencies” but Harrison forms connections, empathizes with the people around him, and appears to be capable of finding happiness without the need to indulge those urges. When Audrey says this, it reminds Harrison that despite the bond he has made with his dad, he is still free to make his own choice. It’s a cue to Harrison and to the audience that it’s not too late for Harrison to avoid the fate of his father.

“Angela was right about you.”


Sitting alone in his cell, illuminated by moonlight, Dexter is joined by Deb who quietly emerges as a shadowy figure against the pale brick. When the perspective changes, Deb stands in front of Dexter, partially blocking the moonlight filtering in through the barred window. She taunts him with the misguided notions and mistakes that landed him in this situation and insists that Angela will never let it go. A realization that jolts him into action.


Dexter calls out to Logan to request some water. When he enters, Logan lets his guard down for a split second and pays for it dearly. Dexter pulls his arm through the bars of his cell and bashes his face violently against the metal cage before spinning him around and putting him in choke hold. Logan struggles but is unable to break free of his grasp. Dexter assures him that he doesn’t want to hurt him and that all he wants are the keys to the cell. Logan fiddles with the keys on his belt and then decides to unstrap his pistol instead. He fires the gun through the bars and Dexter snaps his neck with one swift movement.

Logan’s death is a game changing moment that shocked me to my core. It’s the biggest and most dramatic reminder in the episode that Dexter is the villain of this story. He is a sociopath who has forged a trail of collateral damage for nine seasons and Logan is just his latest victim. Audiences have latched onto Dexter for years because his journey and his psychological complexities make him a fun and fascinating character to watch. But the writing has been on the wall for almost the entire series: When backed into a corner, there is almost nothing that Dexter wouldn’t do to ensure his own freedom and survival.

With Harrison seemingly on board with the code and a new life of vigilante justice, Dexter has officially shed any commitment or loyalty to anything else. He has (falsely) accepted that Harrison is exactly like him and the only thing that matters now is staying together and finding a way to start their new life. In the pursuit of that dream, Dexter has willfully gone off the rails and lost sight of what little humanity he scraped together in his years of abstinence.

After letting himself out of the cell, Dexter takes a moment to snatch Logan’s car keys and phone. Before leaving the station, he calls Harrison and tells him to take his truck and meet him at the spot where they found the body of the white deer. He leaves the phone on Esther’s desk, wipes Logan’s blood spatter off his face, and takes off in his police cruiser.


“What true evil looks like.”

While Dexter is making his escape, Angela arrives at Kurt’s cabin and descends into the bunker via the secret hatch. She proceeds through the embalming room, turns the corner, and walks into the hall of horrors that served as Dexter’s final kill room. She proceeds down the alley and is overwhelmed by the cabinets filled with familiar faces. Her dedication to the missing girls case is made evident as she rattles off their names as she recognizes the faces behind the glass. When she finds Molly at the end of the hall, she retreats to the surface to call Logan for backup.


When Logan doesn’t pick up, Angela calls Teddy who is camped out at Kurt’s main residence. When he picks up, she tells him about the bodies and asks him to call as many state and federal law enforcement agencies as possible. Before they hang up, she asks if he heard from Logan and realizes that something must be wrong back at the station and returns to her car in a panic. When she arrives, she finds Logan’s body on the floor in the cell block and collapses at his side in tears.

“It’s not even a passenger. It’s fucking driving!”

Mirroring the opening moments of episode one, we next see Dexter running through the snowy woods. When he arrives at the meeting spot, he finds Harrison and quickly tells him to leave the truck and come with him. He’s about to comply but he quickly connects the dots between the blood on Dexter’s face and the fact that Dexter called him from Logan’s phone. Dexter quickly loses control of the situation as Harrison sees through the hypocrisy and the lies. He realizes that Logan is dead and that his blood is on the hands of this man who claimed to only kill for righteous reasons.


Dexter tries his best to pick up the pieces as his dream existence starts to crumble in front of him. He projects his own darkness onto Harrison and tries to convince him that they are the same. Unfortunately for him, Harrison refuses to see it that way now that he has seen just how far his father is willing to go to save himself. The floodgates open and Harrison unleashes all of his resentment and anger as Dexter stands quietly and listens.


Dexter pleads with his son and even makes a desperate (and somewhat pathetic) attempt to convince him that if they leave together, he can change. Harrison reminds him again that Dexter is missing the point - That he is his son and not someone there to help him suppress an addiction. Harrison instead tells him he needs to turn himself in and gives Dexter an opening to do the right thing; An opening that he seems to be giving serious consideration to for the sake of his son. Unfortunately, his lizard brain wins the day and Dexter does what he does best. He chooses survival.


“Open your eyes and look at what you've done!”

The fork in the road for Dexter has finally arrived. When faced with a choice between doing the right thing for the sake of his son and walking away from it all in the interest of self-preservation, Dexter chooses the latter. Dexter tells Harrison that he doesn’t have to come with him but he has no choice but to leave. As he turns to walk away, Harrison realizes that his father is abandoning him all over again and he snaps. He runs back to the truck and picks up his (Checkhov’s) rifle, loads a round into the chamber, and takes aim.


Dexter turns to face his son who angrily demands to know if Dexter is the reason that his mom and aunt are dead. He asks if he would be as messed up as he is if it weren’t for Dexter's actions when he was a boy. In a brilliant callback to the very first episode of the entire series, Harrison shouts Dexter’s own words into the face of a deserving victim: “Open your eyes and look at what you’ve done!”

In this moment of intense desperation, Dexter acknowledges the damage he has done. He remembers the faces of the innocents that have paid the price for his depravity and you can almost see the moment that it clicks for him in his eyes. He realizes that if he continues on this path, his son will be the one who ultimately pays the price.

“I’ve never really felt love. Real love. Until now.”

Dexter admits that Harrison is right and delivers a heartfelt apology that would only be possible thanks to the love he feels for his son. He takes a brief pause to collect himself and then he tells Harrison to take the safety off on his rifle. Harrison realizes what he is asking and the two share a moment of mutual understanding. They agree that the only way out for either of them is for Dexter to die.


The weight of the moment hits them both but the decision has been made. As Dexter points to his heart, Harrison removes the safety and takes aim. In his final moments, his last monolog suggests that he never felt or understood real love until this moment. Harrison squeezes the trigger and the bullet finds its target. Dexter collapses to the ground as death takes him. 


With his final breath, he tells Harrison that he did good. Deb holds his hand in his final moments but pulls her hand away as he passes.

Obviously, a lot of people are going to take issue with how they chose to end Dexter Morgan’s story. While I firmly believe the season could have used an extra episode or two to really build to this moment, I don’t take issue with the actual events themselves. In fact, I find them to be rather poetic and thematically satisfying.

With this one selfless act, Dexter has not only given his son the freedom and closure he desperately needed, but also corrected his mistake from the season 8 finale by repeating his sacrifice without risking failure. He has done everything in his power to break the cycle that Harry started and given his son a chance to live his own life free of his monstrous influence.

For a character who brutally murdered well over 100 people, death or imprisonment were the only logical and responsible outcomes for Dexter. Through his genuine love for Harrison, Dexter managed to carve out a small semblance of redemption; Something I never would have thought possible. In a way, this is perhaps the happiest ending we could have possibly hoped for.

Angela arrives on the scene and finds Harrison standing over Dexter’s body with the rifle in hand. He immediately drops the gun, falls to his knees, and confesses that he killed Dexter because he murdered Logan. When she tells him to get to his feet, he eagerly holds his wrists out to her expecting her to put him in handcuffs. Angela considers the circumstances and makes a split second decision to spare Harrison the burden of paying for his father’s crimes. She embraces him, hands him some cash, and then tells him to leave Iron Lake and never come back.


“Let me die so my son can live.”

Harrison gets in the truck and pulls Dexter’s letter to Hannah from his bag. As he makes his way out of town, Dexter’s final voiceover reads us the letter in full. It’s a surprisingly beautiful letter that gives us a window into Dexter’s frame of mind after surviving Hurricane Laura and explains a lot about why Harrison would have felt compelled to seek him out. The letter paints a picture of a loving father who felt compelled to walk away for the sake of his son. We hear the “dark tendencies” comment in full context and we hear a desperate plea from Dexter to let his death be final so that his son can live a normal life. As Harrison passes an FBI motorcade heading into town, a smile creeps across his face as if to suggest he has been unburdened by finding the answers he was looking for.


My Final Thoughts

This episode covered an insane amount of ground and as a result felt a tad rushed and in some ways incomplete. We were denied a confrontation between Batista and Dexter and the incredibly important final scene between Dexter and Harrison played out with only 15 minutes left on the clock. With that said, I ultimately enjoyed the episode for taking risks and skewing so heavily from the traditional formula.

This was an episode that relied heavily on dialog and performance to pack an emotional punch and despite the pre-mentioned shortcomings, it delivered. Michael C. Hall in particular delivered one of the most powerful performances of the series and perhaps his entire career. It’s astounding to me how much was accomplished in this final hour and while people are already eagerly (and perhaps disingenuously) tearing this episode apart, I can’t help but revel in what it does well. Most notably in how it remains true to the character and honest to the audience.

It may not be a perfect ending but I think that has more to do with time management than it does the quality of the writing. For me, this episode delivered on its promise of making up for the perplexing ending to season 8. It may be divisive right now but I suspect time will be much kinder to the ending this time around. For this Dexter fan, that is more than I ever could have hoped for.

My Score:  7.5 out of 10

For more of my thoughts on the Dexter: New Blood finale, I encourage you to check out this week’s episode of the ‘Dissecting Dexter’ podcast as I was one of several guest panelists. We took a deep dive (seriously, over 2-hours) into this important and divisive episode! Listen Here

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