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Dexter: New Blood could fix everything about that finale – but is it too late?

Dexter is back, but is he too late? (Picture: Seacia Pavao/SHOWTIME)

It’s pretty difficult to wrap up a beloved TV show in a way that makes the entire fanbase happy, we understand that. But when they get it wrong, they get it really wrong.

Up there on the list with Game of Thrones, Lost and How I Met Your Mother is Dexter, a show that soared for four seasons but after the departure of showrunner Clyde Phillips, began to lose its critical acclaim and ended with a season eight finale that baffled and frustrated fans in equal measure.

After eight seasons of murdering the bad guys and disposing of their bodies off the side of his boat, blood spatter analyst Dexter Morgan (Michael C Hall) smuggled his beloved sister Debra’s body out of the hospital in the most anti-climactic main character death we’ve ever seen, buried her at sea, sailed off into the eye of the storm and died in a boat wreck after sending his son off to live in Argentina. Except, he didn’t actually die, because he faked his own death and is now living in the middle of nowhere as a lumberjack.

Cast and crew have admitted that the finale wasn’t very well-received, so that’s why the show, Michael C Hall and former showrunner Phillips are returning for the limited series Dexter: New Blood, to right some wrongs. And while it’s much-needed, episode one often feels like that’s the only reason the show is back.

Ten years on from faking his own death, Dexter is now a reformed serial killer living in the small snowy town of Iron Lake under the name Jim Lindsay. Jim is a shopkeeper that sells guns, knives and fishing gear, he is in a relationship with the chief of police Angela (terrible idea) and has drilled himself into a routine to stop himself, well, getting all murdery again. This includes picking up strawberry cream cheese buns for his boss at the bakery, line-dancing at the local tavern and chasing a white buck through the forest with a gun but refusing to shoot it. Standard behaviour.

This is all to quell his ‘dark passenger’, but while in the original series Dexter had his adoptive father Harry (James Remar) as his inner voice, he now has the apparition of his foul-mouthed adoptive sister Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) warning him not to get stabby.

Debra appears as an apparition (Picture: Seacia Pavao/SHOWTIME)

Unfortunately, Deb’s harsh words aren’t enough to stop her brother getting riled up when a cocky privileged party boy who was involved in a fatal boat accident rolls into town, demanding the biggest gun possible and exemptions from the FBI checks commoners must go through.

And things get even trickier when Dexter – we mean, Jim – comes home one night to find his now teenage son Harrison (Jack Alcott) in his living room, asking if he is in fact Dexter Morgan.

No spoilers, but it goes without saying that 10 years just might be the maximum amount of time Dexter’s dark passenger can be suppressed, especially when shady characters in Iron Lake come to light. But with a decade out of commission, a new life to keep intact and a son to protect, can Dexter and Jim really live in harmony?

Harrison has come in search of his father (Picture: Seacia Pavao/SHOWTIME)

We may now all be thirsting over murderer Joe Goldberg in You, but Hall’s return as Dexter has reminded us that he is the original sympathetic serial killer. Considering this is a man that had sliced and diced hundreds of admittedly wrong’uns and abandoned his son and left him in the care of another murderer, you can’t help but root for Dex in a twisted way, and that’s all down to Hall’s performance. He’s as good as he ever was in the original series, showing the inner turmoil of Dexter as he tries to reconcile his past deeds with his new squeaky clean persona, and whether abandoning his son again would save him from the darkness.

It’s also fun to see Dexter and Debra together again, even if Deb is just an apparition. Having a sisterly ghost would seem extremely shoehorned in in any other show, but considering we already had a fatherly ghost, it fits as a growth in Dex’s psyche.

But New Blood’s issues are the same things that viewers would probably criticise it for had they gone another way. Harrison needs to be absorbed into the Iron Lake community quickly, so his acceptance of his dad, again, faking his own death and leaving him in the care of a psychopath is remarkably quick. Similarly, Dexter’s dormant dark passenger re-emerges so quickly that it seems rushed, although you have to remind yourself that a) 10 years have passed and b) they only have 10 episodes to fix everything that has come before. We never wanted Dexter to be a lumberjack, we wanted to see him get his comeuppance in some shape or form – and this just feels like a delayed apology for that.

Not that this is an unnecessary reboot. Dexter was a brilliant show with a great premise and fantastic acting, and it deserved better than it got with that finale. New Blood could certainly fix that.  We’ve got a solid new cast, plenty of gore and dubious morals, and enough old blood that it feels like the same show. It’s just a shame we didn’t get this 10 years earlier.

Dexter: New Blood premieres on Sky Atlantic at 10pm on Monday, November 8. 

 


Credit: Original article published here.

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