Dexter is fixing many of his past mistakes in New Blood, with one major change for the better being how his Bay Harbor Butcher past is revealed.
Warning: SPOILERS for Dexter: New Blood episode 8.
Dexter made plenty of mistakes in the original series, but New Blood finally fixes his worst error in revealing his Bay Harbor Butcher identity. The Dexter: New Blood reboot is a second chance for the original series, as showrunner Clyde Phillips returns to amend the shortcoming’s of the original series’ later seasons. As Dexter becomes an “evolved monster” that must protect and hone his son’s own Dark Passenger, the serial killer is learning from his mistakes—specifically where he went wrong in hiding his identity and lying to his loved ones in the original series. Dexter is still hiding his Bay Harbor Butcher identity from those in Iron Lake, but New Blood is making an important change in how his serial killer persona comes to light.
Throughout Dexter’s original 8 seasons, blood spatter analyst Dexter Morgan was able to avoid several close calls without getting caught, frequently putting those who discovered his identity on his table before they could reveal the information. While New Blood confirms that Miami Metro never discovered Dexter was the Bay Harbor Butcher after season 8, two major characters found out about his serial killer identity in season 7: Maria LaGuerta and his sister Debra Morgan. After seven seasons of denying that Dexter could have been a suspect, LaGuerta discovered that he had indeed framed Doakes as the Butcher. The same season, Deb accidentally walked in on Dexter killing the Doomsday Killer before he later admitted to being the Bay Harbor Butcher.
The circumstances for both LaGuerta and Deb finding out about the Bay Harbor Butcher didn’t seem accurate for the way that Dexter’s original series had advanced, and each had dire consequences that made Dexter’s character progression worse. LaGuerta had spent seven seasons denying that Dexter could have been the Bay Harbor Butcher before finally acting on a hunch, which more or less seemed to be a convenient plot development for more Dexter drama. Debra learning the truth about Dexter on accident made sense as he had never intended to tell her, but this also irreversibly ruined their relationship for the remainder of the original series, as she would never be able to forgive him for lying to her throughout their entire lives. While Dexter’s identity as the Bay Harbor Butcher is still being revealed to both Angela and Harrison in New Blood, the circumstances are under Angela’s own detective work and a father-son confession to Harrison, both of which align with Dexter’s transformation in the sequel series.
In Dexter: New Blood, Angela hasn’t let her personal feelings for Dexter affect her judgment like LaGuerta did, as she’s still investigating him as a suspicious person regardless of their romantic history. Angela hasn’t completely confirmed that Dexter is the Bay Harbor Butcher, but has connected him injecting Ketamine into New Blood‘s Iron Lake criminals to Miami’s Bay Harbor Butcher drug. This is exactly the objective, proper police work that Dexter’s original series was missing, and contributes to the notion that Miami Metro’s Bay Harbor Butcher investigation was all subpar detective work. New Blood is setting up Angela to discover Dexter’s Bay Harbor Butcher identity in an organic, clever manner that will still have devastating consequences for the protagonist. Dexter’s Bay Harbor Butcher persona is finally up against a much more competent cop, which fixes the ease in which he could avoid capture.
The most important change in Dexter: New Blood is how Harrison discovers Dexter as the Bay Harbor Butcher. Dexter admitting his serial killer past to his teenage son Harrison mirrors the catastrophic nature of Deb’s discovery, as he wanted his family to know about his murderous urges less than anyone else. Deb finding out by mistake destroyed her relationship with Dexter, whereas Dexter confessing to Harrison before he could “accidentally” find out is actually making their bond even stronger. Instead of repeating the mistake of an accidental discovery that would drive Dexter and Harrison even further apart, New Blood is fixing this dynamic by letting Dexter openly admit his identity and make Harrison trust him even more.
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