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Friday, January 7, 2022

Some Final Thoughts and Predictions Before the 'Dexter: New Blood' Finale

The season finale of Dexter: New Blood "Sins of the Father", is only hours away.


It seems like yesterday that we covered the ‘Dexter New Blood’ premiere in New York City. It was an incredible opportunity and memory that will make this season special to me forever. After eight years away, the revival kicked off with an absolute banger episode and I was there to watch it in a room full of the Dexter cast and crew. Just ten weeks later, it is hard to believe that we are mere days away from the dramatic conclusion that Clyde Phillips claims will “break the internet.”

Fans have been following and anticipating this series for over a year now and everyone has their own theories and opinions about how the show (or season?) should end. Will it deliver closure for Dexter’s character, hit us with another open-ended head-scratcher, or perhaps set the stage for a spin-off that we can follow for years to come? After the disappointing lead into the Season 8 finale, it feels good to be surrounded by buzz and excitement going into this week’s episode. With that in mind, these are my last-minute thoughts and predictions as I prepare for the emotional fallout of episode 10.

Here is What we Know

When ‘Dexter: New Blood’ was announced back in October of 2020, it was presented as a close-ended “Limited Series” for Showtime consisting of 10 episodes. When we finally started to hear from Clyde Phillips about what to expect, it seemed pretty clear that this was meant to give the series and the character the closure that was missing from the season 8 finale. This was the main talking point for much of the show’s development but once we got our first look at footage and the marketing train started moving, the narrative started to shift a little.

As we approached the premiere on November 1st, the creatives at Showtime started to be a bit less consistent with the messaging. Clyde Phillips has been quoted as saying “Anything could happen” and executives at Showtime have refused to comment on whether this would be the end of Dexter or not; Stating that they won’t have anything to say about it until after the finale has aired.

This is not entirely surprising. Muddying the waters is a smart way of throwing audiences off the scent and creating an air of unpredictability and buzz around the project. Fans have speculated about a potential Harrison spin-off or season 2 renewal amidst the soaring ratings and general enthusiasm amongst the fanbase. With that said, the fact of the matter is that the show was written and filmed before they knew what the reception would be. With that in mind, it is likely that if they have something planned, it has been that way since the beginning. Of course, it is also possible that multiple endings were filmed to allow them to pivot based on ratings.

While I am fairly certain that the show will continue (more on that later), the biggest question mark of all lies with Michael C. Hall. The actor is undeniably the face and soul of the show but he has expressed interest in moving on from the role in the past. Even his interviews leading into New Blood seemed to suggest that he saw this as a chance at giving the character a satisfactory ending and a sense of closure. All this considered, I am not entirely convinced we should be expecting him to commit to a whole other season of the show if it continues. With that said, the ball has always been in his court so in the words of Clyde Phillips: “Anything could happen.”


Let’s talk about that Title

For now, let us assume that this is the end of the series. As we stand on the precipice of what is sure to be an exciting but divisive episode of Dexter, we can glean a lot from the episode’s foreboding title: “Sins of the Father.” Since Harrison’s involvement in the story of ‘Dexter: New Blood’ was revealed, Clyde Phillips has talked about the theme of “fathers and sons” being the foundation of the season. In fact, I would argue that this is a theme that has fueled the entire show considering how instrumental Harry was in getting us to this point.

One idea that this revival has driven home repeatedly is that Harry’s choice to channel Dexter’s dark tendencies as a boy was tantamount to child abuse. This singular idea was rarely touched upon in the original series but here, it feels like an inevitable component of the ending they are setting up. The show, despite it’s gruesome and despicable subject matter, has always worked because Dexter’s choices have always had consequences. If Dexter got away with what he was doing and never paid a price, not only would it be dramatically unfulfilling, it would be boring.

With that in mind, the title “Sins of the Father” suggests that someone is going to pay a big price for the choices made by their dad. If you ask me, this likely suggests that Dexter will finally reach the end of the road in one way or another. The big question is whether he will be taken down by someone else (Harrison or Angela) or if he will seek redemption by sacrificing his own life or freedom for the sake of his son. I think the answer to this question will largely depend on whether Showtime has any intention of continuing the story with another season or a spin-off. Will Harrison use the code to avenge the death of his mother or perhaps see an opportunity to break the cycle completely and turn his dad into the police? Both options seem like satisfying endings for Dexter as a character while leaving Showtime open to continue the story in other ways.

Will he find Redemption?

There are other themes to consider that may give us clues as to what to expect from the finale. The overarching story of the show has always been a tragic one. Dexter is cursed by an inescapable trauma that befell him in his childhood and the actions of his father shaped him into someone that is fundamentally at odds with the rest of humanity. Over time, the story became about his gradual reclamation of his own humanity. He realized that the life he had created as a cover mattered more to him than he realized. He had a wife, kids, friends, and a sister that turned his simple world upside down and made him feel something that he never thought possible.

The central conflict of the show has always been the black hole created by his darker urges. He can’t comfortably ignore them but giving into them creates a violent ripple effect that threatens the safety and sanity of the people he cares about. The original series culminated in Dexter sacrificing his comfortable existence for the sake of those around him; Namely, Harrison and Hannah. This revival has given us some added context to that original ending as well. Dexter’s confession to Angela suggests that he may have intended to end his life in the original finale but was spared by an “act of god.”

If this is indeed the end of the road for Dexter Morgan, I think it is imperative that he answer for his crimes while also demonstrating his humanity in a big way. As fans, we love and care about this character but at the end of the day, we must remember that Dexter is deeply troubled and terribly misguided. He has yearned to tap into his own humanity for so long because it was essentially robbed from him at an early age. I think it would be very satisfying if his final act is to finally abandon his selfish pursuits and become the caring father that we all want him to be.


The Big Bad Elephant in the Room

Another big question we have going into the finale is how things will play out without a “Big Bad” biting at his heels. There hasn’t been a season of the show in which Dexter wasn’t going head-to-head with a season-long villain or at least actively pursuing a victim for his table. With Kurt already out of the way and Angela closing in on his secret, I can’t help but wonder how this episode will unfold. The circumstances of this finale feel quite unlike anything that came before it.

Some have speculated (myself included) that Edward Olsen (the billionaire from episode 1 - 3) will return and reveal himself to be Kurt’s surprise accomplice. While this is a development I would personally welcome, I recognize that there doesn’t seem to be enough time to spring a twist like that while also giving Angela’s hunt the space it needs to smoothly reach its conclusion. As a fan of Dexter, I will be somewhat disappointed if we are denied one last kill room scene but thankfully, Kurt’s final bow last week felt appropriately epic. So with that in mind, I expect Edward Olsen will either not show up at all or he will be used to set up the seemingly inevitable follow up to this season.

Loose Ends and Cameos

Regardless of whether or not this is the end of the series as a whole, it could very well be the end of the line for Dexter Morgan. With that in mind, there are several loose ends that this episode would be wise to tie up. First and foremost, I think most of us would like to see some acknowledgement of Miami Metro finally learning the truth about the Bay Harbor Butcher. Considering we already had one Batista cameo, I think it’s fair to expect he might show up one more time. Perhaps after Angela has arrested Dexter and locked him up.

If this is Clyde Phillips' last hurrah as well, I also expect that he may work in some elements of the ending he envisioned for the original series. If that happens, we may see a few familiar faces pop up throughout the episode. Considering the title of the finale, I would be surprised if James Remar (Harry) doesn’t make a surprise cameo and with the Bay Harbor Butcher stuff rising to the surface again, I think we could see Doakes show up somewhere to taunt Dexter (credit to John at Dexter Daily for planting this cool idea in my head).

A Last Minute Twist

A few hours ago, Executive Producer Scott Reynolds tweeted out that we should expect an exciting Dexter announcement on Monday morning after the finale has aired. Considering the positive reception this season has received, it’s no surprise that fans are ravenously anticipating the announcement of a second season.

If you ask me, this is most likely the announcement of the Harrison spin-off many have been speculating about for weeks. If this is the case, Michael C. Hall’s involvement is most likely minimal at best. With that said, considering how much ground is left to cover in the final episode, I am also starting to think they might be preparing to announce a movie that will serve as the final ending. This has happened with several other big TV shows such as Deadwood, Peaky Blinders (a movie is planned after the conclusion of the final season), and even Showtime’s own Ray Donovan. Considering many fans have been clamoring to see a Bay Harbor Butcher manhunt, this feels like it might be a way to see that play out without feeling rushed.

Of course, there is a slim chance that ratings and careful planning from the creatives have allowed them to renew the show for a second season with Michael C. Hall fully on board. I think the chances of this happening are slim but color me excited if it turns out to be true. My only hesitation is that Dexter deserves a conclusive ending and this would just delay that further and risk ending the show on a low note once again.


Where do we go from here… if anywhere?

The fervor among Dexter fans going into this finale is more intense than it has been in a long time and it’s a great feeling. Unlike the season 8 finale, the internet is abuzz with exciting debate, enthusiasm, and anticipation. Whether this ends up being a one-off with a concrete ending or a true return to glory for this esteemed series, I recommend bracing yourselves for an emotional but bittersweet ending.

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