Dexter: New Blood has been a far bigger success than many imagined. When the likes of The X-Files and Prison Break returned for one last hurrah, they were far from the triumphs the networks envisioned. Dexter is different. Despite ending the original run with what most consider an absolute disaster, the show has pulled out some of the best episodes of the entire series, and as we join Dexter Morgan on one last rush to his finale, the show gives us another stellar episode with “The Family Business.”
While last week’s episode was essentially entertaining padding, Episode 9 of Dexter: New Blood is all revelation, action and threat. Dexter believes himself comfortable in his new environment, and with Harrison. With the barrier between father and son shattered and Harrison becoming fully aware of who his father is throughout the episode, Dexter must feel he has everything he ever wanted, just as he and Debra, his dark passenger, have said. Yet while he ably dispatches Kurt Caldwell and covers his tracks at the summer camp, he’s forgetting Angela.
Dexter’s arrogance has often led him into trouble with the law, and believing that he can get away with such blatant crimes as the murder of Matt and Kurt is a prime example. Angela is no incompetent small-town cop. She pieces together the puzzle of the Bay Harbour Butcher, a puzzle that the entire Miami Police Department couldn’t solve, as Molly points out on her Merry Fucking Kill podcast. While everything here rests on the huge coincidence of Angela meeting Batista, it’s still entertaining stuff.
How will Dexter: New Blood end (this time)?
However, while she may know the truth, proving it will be another thing entirely. A few needle marks or even the screw won’t be enough, and with Dexter and Harrison having successfully cleaned up the mess, it remains to be seen just how Angela could ever prove a thing unless Harrison decides to talk.
There is no doubt that Angela now knows that Dexter is the Butcher, making her the final obstacle to overcome in the finale. The only flaw here is that she has seemingly forgotten about Iris and Caldwell; the murder is not referenced, nor is there any particular tension between the two when Kurt comes calling for Christmas. Whether police discovering Kurt’s lair in the finale will make her look at Dexter differently remains to be seen, but she hasn’t given any indication that she will compromise her integrity. It’s all going to be a big problem for Dexter in the finale.
For his part, Caldwell has been an entertaining and charismatic “big bad.” Yet at times, including in “The Family Business,” he has acted in a way that’s convenient for the plot, rather than for his character. Would a man so careful as to collect over 20 preserved bodies in his secret lair decide to burn down Dexters home and then gun him down on his porch, for example?
It’s a shame that the interplay between Caldwell, Dexter, and Harrison didn’t go on longer, as the moments where Caldwell seemed to be luring Harrison toward him — and the game of psychological cat and mouse with him and Dexter — were among the best scenes in the series. In the end, he’s dispatched to the flames like his son, and Harrison views his death as a public service.
While viewers should probably have guessed Molly was among the dead when she didn’t appear last week, her unseen death was still something of a surprise after she’d been a solid supporting character during the season. While it was always likely she’d be amongst the casualties, she perhaps deserved a more prominent death. Likewise, whatever happened to Edward Olsen?
Whatever happens with Molly and Edward next week, the ways that the series can now end seem to have narrowed. Dexter impressed upon his son that “don’t get caught” is the first rule of the code, but will the show end without Harrison getting his first kill? It seems unlikely, but showrunner Clyde Phillips has said that Dexter should have been caught at the end of the original series. So long as there isn’t a surprise hurricane, we should be in for the memorable finale that Dexter always deserved.