It’s truly the end of an era as the fate of Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) has been sealed in the final episode of Showtime’s Dexter: New Blood. And whether or not fans like the ending this time around, there’s no going back.
Nearly a decade after America’s favorite fictional serial killer disappeared into a Miami hurricane in the original series finale, in New Blood it is revealed that Dexter was alive and well living in Iron Lake, NY under the alias Jim Lindsay.
He had completely changed his life and left every part of his old life behind, until right around the time someone from his past found him. His wily son Harrison (Jack Alcott), who he left in the care of his ex-fellow serial-killer girlfriend Hannah McKay (Yvonne Strahovski) in the original finale, went searching for his last surviving parent after Hannah died of cancer.
After a rocky start, the pair grew closer towards the end of New Blood as Dexter let his son in on the one secret he could not share with anyone: he murders serial killers as a sort of good-guy vigilante. But Dexter comes to understand by the end of New Blood that he had become the evil he promised to rid the world of.
And the only person that could save him from himself is Harrison, who had also inherited layers of Dexter’s darkness. They were both born in blood.
The finale, titled “Sins of the Father,” opens with a worried Angela Bishop (Julia Jones), the police chief and Dexter’s girlfriend, arriving at Dexter’s house—at least what was his house before Kurt Caldwell (Clancy Brown) burned it down in Episode 8. She asks for an APB to be put out on missing podcaster Molly Park (Jamie Chung), having no idea Molly had already become Kurt’s final trophy after he murdered her.
As Dexter ponders all the good people he’s met in Iron Lake, his peeved girlfriend reveals there’s a high probability his house was burned down intentionally and the ashy remains are now part of an active crime scene.
Dexter is already making plans with Harrison to move to a new city where they can start a new life away from Iron Lake, and all the new friends the younger Morgan had made. So it was going to take some convincing.
Harrison also isn’t convinced about what their fresh start would look like. Would they continue on this quest of stopping bad guys?
While the pair make plans, Angela has discovered something in the ashes that kicks off a series of events leading to the demise of dear ol’ Dex. She patiently sends Harrison and Audrey (Johnny Sequoyah) to the store before cornering Dexter at her home with her gun pointed right at him and Logan (Alano Miller) not far behind providing backup. The jig was up.
“Dexter Morgan, You are under arrest for the murder of Matthew Caldwell [Steve M. Robertson],” Angela tells Dexter, who pretends not to know Matt is dead.
Radiohead’s “A Wolf at the Door” plays in the background as Dexter is transported to jail for questioning, with the lyrics revealing insight into the thoughts running through his mind.
Let me back. Let me back. I promise to be good/
Don’t look in the mirror at the face you don’t recognize/
Help me, call the doctor, put me inside/
Put me inside.
In true Dexter fashion, he has a logical explanation for everything. Although Angela isn’t sure what to believe, she is certain her boyfriend is guilty of many things, and whether or not he was behind Matt’s murder is irrelevant.
Angela is doubting herself, so she contacts Angel Batista (David Zayas), digging into Dexter’s past—specifically the Bay Harbor Butcher case— who confirms her instincts are right.
“Madre de Dios!” exclaims Batista as he sees photographic proof that Dexter is still alive and that LaGuerta’s (Luna Lauren Velez) suspicions about him were spot on. Angela’s Miami Metro connection is headed to Iron Lake with all his old files in hand to ensure justice is served for the victims.
When Dexter comes face to face with Angela again, she reveals all the evidence she has against him and that Batista is on his way. There’s no way out of this one—until Dexter goes for the Hail Mary. He gives Angela information on all of Kurt’s crimes and the location where the elder Caldwell has hidden the bodies of countless women he’s killed.
She rushes to the location and finds everything Dexter said she would and more. In the meantime, Dexter kills Logan—collateral damage—to gain access to the keys that would eventually free him from his cage.
He uses a different key to access his escape vehicle, Logan’s police car, in a mad dash to reach Harrison. Dexter convinces Harrison they should flee and never look back, that is, until, Harrison realizes his father killed his coach, Logan. None of this made sense to him — killing a good man isn’t part of this code Dexter lives by.
Right there, in the freezing cold surrounded by fresh snow, Dexter realizes he’s become the kind of man he’s put down like rabid dogs. His son, with all his shades of dark and light, is a better man.
“I’m sorry for everything I’ve done to you. You deserve better, a better life, a better father,” Dexter tells Harrison, who is now holding his gun locked and loaded and pointed at his father, which whom he’s craved a relationship for so long.
With tears in his eyes, he continues, “You have to take the safety off, just like I showed you. This is the only way out.”
Adds Harrison, “For both of us.”
Right before Dexter takes a bullet to the chest, a voice-over says, “I’ve never felt real love until now.” And just after the shot, he adds, “You did good.”
Dexter lays dead in the snow as Angela drives up to find a new crime scene. Harrison offers his wrists to her to be taken to jail peacefully but Angela lets him go, sending him on the road telling him never to come back. She then calls in to report an officer-involved shooting. The sheriff will take the rap for shooting Dexter in self-defense, with no witnesses left to say otherwise.
In the truck, Harrison finds a letter Dexter wrote to Hannah expressing his love for Harrison and why he kept him far away for all those years. Dexter not only adored his only child but he let him go to give him a better life.
“I want what every father wants: for his child to be happy, to live and love without fear, to share his gifts with the world,” the letter reads as The National’s “I Should Live in Salt” plays as the outro. “But we both know that with me around, a normal life for Harrison won’t be possible. This is not an easy decision. Sometimes I wish the hurricane had taken me, released me from the burden of my own urges. Instead, it showed me I have to bear them alone.”
What Harrison’s life will be like in the wake of all this tragedy is unknown. But Phillips teases he’s been thinking a lot about what comes next and that he wouldn’t say no should Showtime want to continue after New Blood.
To read our interview with Phillips, click here.