This article contains major spoilers for Dexter: New Blood Episode 2, “Storm of F*ck”
Dexter: New Blood Episode 2 picked up right where the previous episode left off but it didn’t feel that way. It felt like we knew this new setting more than that already. Perhaps it’s a testament to the work done in the premiere but I felt much more engrained in this world than I did last week. The snow felt less shocking. This older version of our title character felt more familiar. The new faces in this new town felt less new and more a part of something I already knew. Good writing perhaps? In traditional TV lingo, this would be called a “setup episode”, laying the groundwork for what’s to come, but it didn’t feel that way. It felt…right. We’re about to get into heavy spoiler territory so if you haven’t seen Dexter: New Blood Episode 2, it’s time to hop a flight to Miami and come back when you have seen it.
This week, the character of Deb, or at least the no longer living version of her, truly felt like she was the voice of Dexter’s fears and not so much someone from the dead communicating with him. Perhaps that’s what his deceased father was in the original series, Dexter’s intuition, although it sometimes felt more like a companion. Last week, I was already of the opinion that Deb was the voice of doubt inside Dexter’s head, the part of his mind that tells him that he’s not capable of doing anything right and everyone in his life will suffer ultimately because of him. This week those thoughts were reinforced by their interactions and Deb’s insistence that he send Harrison away. What does that say about Dexter’s thoughts of his deceased sister? What did she represent to him? Or is this all a manifestation of Dexter’s guilt over her death casting her in this role?
The biggest thread of this episode was Harrison and Dexter working their way through some very awkward conversation. I was worried that Harrison would either be too forgiving of his father or too damaged to be anything more than a plot device. A setup to a new killer, born in blood. That turned out to not be the case and I couldn’t be more happy about that.
Harrison, in fact, was exactly what you would expect a teenager with his life experiences to be like. We learned that Hannah had raised him in Argentina for seven years, until she died of pancreatic cancer. At that point, social workers flew him back to Miami, where he was in and out of foster homes. He knew his birth mother was dead but doesn’t seem to know how she died. Or perhaps he does and is keeping that close to him?
We also learned that Harrison believed his father was dead for years, until he found the letter Dexter had written Hannah. Harrison had spent the last few years wondering about the part of the letter where Dexter told Hannah that if Harrison showed any “dark tendencies” to find him. In his young mind, Harrison believed that he was the problem, in no way suspecting that his father was the one with the problematic personality.
I enjoyed how Dexter: New Blood Episode 2 quickly worked it’s way through the history we needed to be filled in on but didn’t dwell on it. It’s important to know, but there is a new story being told here, one that acknowledges the past of the series but isn’t tying itself to it. This series appears to be about whether redemption is possible, both for the characters and for a show that was once loved but betrayed that love with major dip in quality over the final several seasons.
“You’re Already Dead”
In a plot completely isolated from the rest of the story, we saw a woman alone in a hotel room. At first, she was celebrating with champagne and chocolates. Eventually she grew sick and finally, realized she was trapped inside this room. She saw a camera in the ceiling and near it, written in red, “You’re already dead”. This woman was also being monitored by someone whose face was never revealed but sure did look a lot like it could be Clancy Brown.
This was a strange subplot. It almost felt like something out of a Saw film, a form of psychological torture. The fact that we didn’t know this woman made it even more eerie, like we had been invited to watch a complete stranger’s demise without them knowing that we are watching.
So if this is Clancy Brown behind this, then perhaps this explains what has happened to the other missing women mentioned last week. It was also revealed at the end of this episode that Clancy Brown is playing a character by the name of Kurt, who happens to be a powerful man in the town of Iron Lake and is the father of Dexter’s recent victim Matt. Given the setups established in the original series, we would be looking at Kurt as Dexter’s chief antagonist this season. A serial killer of the presumably innocent, who at some point will learn Dexter’s secret. It’s kind of the secret recipe for the original series, but will the new series stray from the formula? Or just complicate it with characters such as Harrison and Dexter’s desire to not kill anymore?
We’re Not In Miami Anymore
A big part of Dexter: New Blood Episode 2 was laying the groundwork for the townsfolk and who they all are: the evil rich guy who the teenagers think is a capitalist pig (he did seem that way to me); the local police, who seem pretty Mayberry, with the exception of Angela, who is a damn good cop and likely will make Dexter’s life complicated down the road; the teens, who smoke pot and break into buildings to do so. Then there’s the Seneca tribe, who co-exist with everyone else in town but the tension is real.
The police were on a search to find Matt when the white buck was discovered killed on tribal land. This was a huge issue, as it was strictly forbidden to kill an animal on their land. This all interweaved with Dexter cleaning up his crime scene, which was a bit sloppy as he’s 10 years out of practice and also trying to stage the scene to appear that Matt killed the animal and fled town. Everyone fell for this scenario, except for Kurt, father of Matt, in the closing scenes, who insisted that his son was absolutely not on the run and the search needed to continue for him.
One thing this episode did really well was paint the picture of community in Iron Lake. It was a deliberate attempt to show how close this town was and that numerous people who live there will be focused on in our story, which is directly opposed to Miami in the original series, which focused on people in Dexter’s orbit. Dexter: New Blood is, on a few levels, trying to tell us that these series are not the same. The setting, snow vs beach, is an obvious way, but even things like painting the local law enforcement in a more comedic and lighthearted way, compared to the police in the original series who were portrayed as being much more “job serious” and almost obsessive about their positions.
A Final Thought
I can’t shake this feeling that Dexter has come to this town to meet his demise. Maybe it’s the symbolism with the snow? Maybe it’s a feeling connected to his quest for redemption? Is the journey of Dexter Morgan to remove himself from Miami, the home of his dozens of murders, work on himself, heal his wounds with his son and finally be free to let go?
During the original series, I always had this feeling that Dexter wanted to be released from his life and his “Dark Passenger”, to be free of this burden he carried around as a serial killer. But suicide was never an option for him. So he pushed on and this decade of rebuilding himself was good, although he’s now found that he can never truly shake these urges he has, as hard as he tries. But he’s a lot more thawed emotionally now. He feels more connected to people than ever before. You can see the way he fights with Deb, whether she’s his voice of fear as I believe or not, as proof that he wants to make things right with his son. He wants to be a father. But at what cost will that come? I can’t see Dexter ever riding off happily into the sunset with his son. It doesn’t make narrative sense. But it would make sense for him to make some things right, to grow to that point before his ultimate demise. Eight episodes to go and I’ll be back each week to share my thoughts, opinions and analysis.