- Dexter -Dexter's Death On 'New Blood' Came Down To Fathers & Sons
Spoilers ahead for the Dexter: New Blood finale.
After killing more than a hundred people, Dexter Morgan finally met his fate. Dexter dies in the New Blood finale, "Sins of the Father," when Harrison shoots him. But this wasn't a son's revenge for his dad being a serial killer who abandoned him and was responsible for his mother's death. Dexter asked Harrison to kill him, to free his son from the pain that he had caused (and to not get stuck being imprisoned or executed). I don't know about you, but killing my dad would probably make me feel pretty crummy. But this whole revival was designed to have Dexter's son kill him.
When a series has, what many consider, one of the worst finales in TV history, then a revival of said series is going to make an effort to fix that perception. New Blood showrunner Clyde Phillips confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter after the finale that revisiting Dexter was his attempt at making amends for the original ending (which he wasn't a part of and has been vocally critical of). "We wanted to redeem ourselves. That ending in Season 8 left a bad taste in the audience's mouth, which tarnished the legacy of a great show," Phillips said. "With Dexter: New Blood, [Dexter's death] had to happen."
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Phillips referred to the New Blood finale as a "do-over" for the Dexter finale, calling Dexter's fate "inevitable." And if you didn't like the lumberjack finale because it was too open-ended, Michael C. Hall pointed out to LA Times that this ending was far more definite.... and the Dexter actor likes this do-over more than the original. "The way the season concludes is one that resonates with me," Hall said. "It feels justifiable. As upsetting as it may be, I hope audiences will appreciate the resonance of Dexter dying this way at the hands of his son."
Harrison asked Dexter to turn himself in after he escaped from prison by killing Logan. But Dexter, who would now have to face his crimes as the Bay Harbor Butcher since Angela figured him out, wasn't about to do that. Instead, he reasoned that Harrison killing him was "the only way out." And Harrison, rather wildly, agreed — "For both of us." As Phillips has said in interviews, this goes into the idea that a son has to "kill" his father to become his own person and echoes what Dexter had written in his letter to Hannah, "Let me die so my son can live."
Even if the New Blood finale gave some Dexter fans the closure they wanted, it can't undo the original ending of Dexter. So Dexter still dumped dear Deb off the Slice of Life in a hurricane. Dexter still abandoned Harrison to have Hannah raise him. Dexter still survived and became a lumberjack. At least that ending was truly unexpected. New Blood's ending was more predictable than "inevitable" and the effort of the series to remove itself from the original was too palpable — without really addressing one of the core issues of "Remember the Monsters?"
The problem with the original ending was that it didn't hold Dexter accountable. In New Blood, Harrison does help Dexter to realize that he's not the hero he thinks he is — that he causes a lot of death and pain for non-bad people, too. But Dexter still took the easy way out by having his son kill him rather than turn himself in. "It's like, 'I'm having a full experience of being a human being now, and could you please kill me because it's unbearable,'" Hall told the LA Times about Dexter apologizing to his son in the woods.
At least Dexter evolved in New Blood since Dexter in the 2013 finale probably wouldn't have been able to say sorry for everything that he'd done. In that way, this finale can be viewed as progress. But while Harrison may have been smiling as he drove away from the father he just shot and killed, Dexter's kid is still going to feel the damage his dad caused. But hey, that's something the probable and inescapable Harrison spinoff can address. How's that for closure?
Images: Seacia Pavao/Showtime