Three episodes into Dexter: New Blood and the show is right back in classic Dexter territory, with the narrative melting away the facade of “Jim Lindsay” to reveal the sociopathic killer lurking beneath. There’s a new location and a nearly entirely new cast of characters, but the premise remains precisely the same, and as always, the question of whether Dexter will get away with his crimes is at the forefront of the action.
This isn’t Miami, however, and as Dexter keeps telling himself, he isn’t the Dexter of old. Killing the obnoxious and spoiled delinquent Matt Caldwell in the season premiere has left Dexter dangerously exposed, with the dismembered remains of the young man buried on his own property and Matt’s father Kurt determined to find him.
As always, Dexter is juggling far too many plates for comfort, trying to keep his crime under wraps in the face of a police force he’s underestimating while also attempting to forge a genuine father-son relationship with Harrison.
As with the drone, technology briefly threatens to expose Dexter, but he lucks out again when what he fears are video cameras turn out to be mere heat cameras. Later, a CSI man who initially seems like he may be incompetent turns out to be highly skilled, search dogs are brought into the picture, and Dexter’s plan is quickly tumbling down around his ears. As he says in the voiceover, these are “small-town cops,” so he was far more reckless with his crime than he would have been in Miami. This kind of sloppiness has brought down many serial killers.
Increasingly desperate to get rid of Matt Caldwell’s remains, Dexter takes a hike through the snow and has a confrontation with a bear, an entertaining aside. His journey is contrasted with Harrison’s very ordinary car trip where he bond with Audrey. While Dexter faces danger in the mine, Audrey comes face to face with petro-billionaire Edward Olsen. He may play a part in answering the question of who Audrey’s parents are, although no one says as much…yet.
Dexter, of course, isn’t the only serial killer in Iron Lake. We learn that the MO of the mysterious big bad is to. kidnap women only to release them, giving them a brief moment of hope that they might escape before hunting and shooting them down. This seemingly references the real-life Robert Hansen, who killed 17 women in and around Anchorage, Alaska. What exactly he’s doing with the bodies afterward isn’t detailed, but it will almost certainly be something horrific.
Meanwhile, Harrison makes a new friend at school even though it alienates him from the jocks he’d fallen in with. But all isn’t quite as it seems with Harrison, as viewers would be wise not to take the young man at face value. Dexter certainly doesn’t, questioning whether his son cheated at the school’s entrance exam and whether Harrison befriends Ethan for himself or to impress Audrey. Audrey is undoubtedly impressed, and Harrison gets precisely what he wanted.
Finally, the introduction of Molly Park is underwhelming, as she fits a predictable stereotype of an online influencer.
As we close the episode, everything seems to have worked out for Dexter, with the body finally disposed of and a surprising twist when Kurt Caldwell suddenly claims that he’s spoken with his son. Why he’s lying isn’t yet revealed, but it undoubtedly means and a whole new round of trouble for Dexter.
“Smoke Signals” is something of a filler episode that takes us from A to B. The relationship between Dexter and Harrison develops, and we finally get a glimpse of the mysterious killer stalking Iron Lake, meaning we’re closer to finding out who it is.
As Dexter solves one problem, another arises. And this time Dexter may have made a mistake that even he can’t correct.