Dexter: New Blood review: The best part is the killing

By the time it ended in 2013 after 8 seasons, Dexter’s most popular victim was undoubtedly Dexter. A parody of itself, the series was primarily consuming time: season after season, somebody got near to antihero Dexter Morgan just to die themselves, and the slate was wiped tidy so that Dexter might as soon as again question if he was an excellent individual who did bad things, or a bad one misguiding himself with the fairy tale of an excellent life. The most twisted aspect of all this is most likely that now, 8 years later on, somebody would believe that anybody would desire more.

Premiering over the weekend, Dexter: New Members is not a re-imagining nor extreme departure from the Showtime drama. It is, remarkably, an extension of the initial series that pretends it’s still in the heady great old days of yore, albeit with a modification of landscapes and a brand-new supporting cast that offers the series space to duplicate those familiar beats without the absurd luggage that comes with the very same cast of characters being deceived over and over, every year — not to mention the similarly hazardous luggage of needing to deal with any of those characters once again. Rather, it takes a brand-new perform at an old concern: Why does Dexter Morgan eliminate? And why is eliminating the important things Dexter is finest at?

Still, the majority of New Members is perfunctory. It’s a properly paced thriller that, were it not for the callbacks — Dexter’s kid Harrison, now a teen after his tottering last look; the ghost of Dexter’s sis Deborah, who passed away in the series ending — would work well as a standalone miniseries. Dexter Morgan, a reformed serial killer, has actually taken a vow to not hurt any living thing and has actually invested the approximate years in between Dexter and New Members ending up being a delighted component in the little Upstate New york city town of Iron Lake under the name Jim Lindsay.

Temptation strikes Dexter when an edgy visitor pertains to town with bad vibes in tow, and quickly Dexter feels obliged to eliminate once again. It’s at that minute that New Members ends up being interesting, not since it’s especially outstanding tv (at its finest, it’s simply great) however because, like in the initial series, the program comes to life in its representation of Dexter’s kill routine.

Dexter’s kill space scenes are the sort of thing television reveals intend to spin into Emmy gold. They’re basically small one-act plays, where Michael C. Hall gets to extend his theater chops and Dexter’s authors get to penetrate the morality play at the heart of the program a bit more. In these minutes, Dexter Morgan comes alive, revealing his victims his real self after he’s exposed theirs — frequently actually, as they are usually naked and plastic-wrapped to a table. Normally, Dexter utilizes the chance to justify his murder, to argue prior to a captive audience that he holds the ethical high ground since he abides by a code, which code includes making sure that his targets are guilty of hurting innocents, or some other pernicious evil that is much better rid from the Earth.

Even in its prime time, the sort of program Dexter was at a provided minute was typically in flux, hugely dithering in between 2 poles: On one end, Dexter was a philosophical character drama about nature vs. support and morality. On the other, it was a cat-and-mouse thriller in between a killer with scruples and a killer with none. When the program was at its finest and welcoming the previous approach, the kill space scenes revealed Dexter as he is, and how he considers himself. However in its pulpier, and eventually even worse, mode, the kill space scenes were primarily about simply desserts, there to cast Dexter as the hero and his target as the bad guy that deserved it.

Dexter faces his latest victim who is strapped naked to a table in Dexter: New Blood.

Photo: Seacia Pavao/SHOWTIME

To its credit, New Blood is interested in the more introspective murder. The 2021 revival pointedly uses Dexter’s ever-present monologue to ask whether his life is starting to take a downturn because he slipped up and killed, or if it’s going to shit because he abstained for so long in denial of who he — and the now-grown son he abandoned in the Dexter finale — really is.

Through this prism, Dexter new and old becomes a study of masculinity and intimacy. Cold and dead-eyed in his day-to-day life, Dexter Morgan tries to fit into a life that seems normal and right to him: Where he has a good job, a good family, and maybe even friends. Over and over again, intimacy is attempted, and rejected, in favor of the kill space, where Dexter has power, where he can assert that he is right and his victim is wrong, where he feels most like himself. If Dexter Morgan is redeemable, he must escape the kill room he can’t stop returning to.

There’s a comparison to the Incredible Hulk here. When done right, the character is fueled by a terrible irony: Repressed scientist Bruce Banner wants to do everything in his power to keep himself from transforming into his monstrous alter ego. The audience, however? There’s nothing they’d like to see more. In its first four episodes, New Members seems at least mildly interested in this tension, carefully setting up the snug woodsy community that will likely go to hell should Jim Lindsay become Dexter Morgan once more. But we’ve already seen this happen, only then it was eight straight years in Miami. Dexter’s problems aren’t solved by a change of scenery, but they might be with a change of perspective — one that New Blood seems fundamentally uninterested in.

Dexter Morgan doesn’t turn into a computer-generated rage monster, but he is trying to keep a monstrous part of himself in check; the thrill of Dexter is in witnessing his attempts to channel that monster — dubbed his “Dark Passenger” — and the consequences that emerge from the fact that there’s no real way to channel murder into positive character growth. In repeating many of the familiar beats from the previous series, Dexter: New Blood demonstrates the same inertia Dexter and Dexter Morgan suffers from. Nothing has changed here. Some monsters are not that complicated. Maybe it’s foolish that we ever thought they were at all.

Dexter: New Blood airs brand-new episodes on Sunday nights on Showtime and Showtime At any time.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.