Dexter: New Blood Finale Review – “Sins of the Father” – IGN
Dexter: New Blood nailed its ending with a taut, emotional chapter that crackled with accountability. “Sins of the Father” may have only taken place in a sparse amount of locations, mostly the Iron Lake police station in fact, but it built itself up wonderfully to a morbid, necessary conclusion, one that gives the series as a whole an exponentially better ending to hang its hat on.
Okay, first things first: is Dexter dead? For now, right in this moment, he’s definitely Schrödinger’s Dexter. For the purposes of this extra final season, New Blood, he’s gone. And it feels right. If, however, the powers that be at Showtime want more, there’s wiggle room, perhaps to do a Dexter behind bars “Silence of the Lambs”-type story where they approach him, on death row, for help with a new killer. That’s not wholly objectionable, but it certainly would undercut the final moments of this episode while also probably leaving a bad taste in fans’ mouths given that this finale was great and anything more would risk sullying the series again.
Full episode specifics aside, “Sins of the Father” gave us the biggest thing that was lacking in the original finale. It gave us Dexter being exposed to the world as the Bay Harbor Butcher. Of course, most of this will happen off screen, in the future of the world of the show, once Angela fully tells her story, but whether Dexter lived or died, got caught or escaped clean, it was crucial that someone knew he was the Butcher… and lived. What’s more, Batista now knows and it’ll possibly give him some Laguerta closure (though Deb actually killed her).
Sure, it would have been awesome for Batista to actually come face-to-face with Dexter, but given the timeline of the episode, it just didn’t work out. It was enough that the threat of Batista, who was catching a red-eye flight, sent the calm and collected Dexter into a panic, one where he had to pull out all his trump cards. And it was a fight-or-flight mode that sadly ended in the death of Deputy Logan.
“Sins of the Father” sent the world crashing down around Dexter’s ears, but it took its time. Sure, his world imploded back in the original finale, where he was also on his way out of town, but that was because Deb had (dumbly) died. It had nothing to do with being actually found out as the Butcher (which is why the Season 2 FBI storyline always felt weird as a sophomore season story, and not the finale angle). Here, Dexter was a few days out from leaving town when Angela freakin’ burned him bad.
First, she brought him in for Matt (Kurt’s final “f*** you!”), but, slyly, Dexter had a possible way out of that, enough to make him a little overconfident. He had no idea Angela had the Butcher in her back pocket and Michael C. Hall’s performance in the moment when she brings it up is awesome. He shuts up instantly, and you could see the mechanisms working hard and moving fast in Dexter’s mind. That’s when he played his own ace and revealed Kurt’s trophy basement. This was a slow boil episode with some terrific tension, where every chess move made sense. It even made you wonder if Angela, after being shown the horrors Kurt committed, her life’s investigation basically, would start seeing things Dexter’s way. Maybe.
But Angela was never going to let anything slide. Julia Jones was excellent in this finale as well, as a “final form” culmination of everyone who ever got too close to Dexter’s secret. Part Deb, part LaGuerta (even a little Doakes, at times), she was smart, dogged, and emotional enough to take Batista’s advice and go with her gut. And Jones, with so many catastrophic plates spinning in “Sins of the Father,” let loose a fabulous, primal F-bomb that would have made Jennifer Carpenter proud. Speaking of Carpenter, the spare use of Ghost Deb here at the close was nice, especially the hand-holding at the end.
New Blood’s finale had several great moments, including the original series music returning for Dexter’s frantic run through the woods at the end to meet Harrison (which was a nice bookend for his New Blood premiere chase after the white deer). Who would have known that the key to undoing all of Dexter’s best laid plans was Logan, who was the other father figure for Harrison in town he had to contend with after Kurt? As it turns out, what really truly sold Harrison on Dexter’s vigilantism was the altruistic part of it; the part where they save people.
Harrison mentioned it last week when they burned Kurt’s body and he said it again at the top of this episode: Harrison wanted to help people. To him, “don’t get caught” didn’t mean “don’t get caught because then you’ll have to kill someone innocent to get out of it.” And this was a thoughtful, clever way to cause a rift between father and son. It didn’t feel arbitrary. At the burned wreckage of his home, Dexter looked out at all the Iron Lakers we’d met over the season and… honestly, we barely knew them, except for Logan. We spent a great deal of time with him, so it made sense that he’d be the reason Harrison balked, and for the show itself to stand firm on the position that “Dexter is wrong.” Look, if you never envisioned an ending to Dexter where he died… I don’t know what to tell you. It’s been baked into the DNA of the show the entire time and, regardless of how it happened, it’s what original showrunner Clyde Phillips wanted all along.
That being said, there was a slight rushed feeling to Dexter and Harrison’s final scene. In an episode filled with conversations, it felt a little quick to go from “You killed Logan?” to “If you’re leaving you’re on your own” to raising the rifle. It’s understood that Dexter didn’t want to go on the run without Harrison, off to another anonymous lonely life, but maybe the whole thing could have gotten an extra minute or two.
The last line of Dexter’s note to Hannah — “let me die, so my son can live” — holds a lot of weight. Of course, it could mean spin-off (Harrison with Ghost Dexter?), if we’re being commercially crass, but more so it was meant to spell out the difference between Dexter and Harrison’s anger. Harrison himself even nailed it when he realized he’s bitter and violent because he had a f***ed up childhood, not because he was born with a demonic urge to spill blood. We don’t know what Harrison’s off to do now, but just having his dad be an example of what not to do might be enough to spur the young man into a decent life — with therapy involved. Of course, as mentioned, it was important that Dexter be outed as the Butcher, but the emotional crux of the series had to be Harrison learning who Dexter was and then taking a different path. And for those mourning Dexter Morgan, take solace that, for the first time, he felt real love.