This article contains major spoilers for Dexter: New Blood Episode 3, “Smoke Signals” (written by David McMillan and directed by Clyde Phillips)
Dexter: New Blood Episode 3 is a test of patience. Last week was a slower moving affair but it felt acceptable. The story was being laid out and we were getting acclimated to our new surroundings. This week was definitely more world building but there was a lack of momentum here. Sure, some things happened and we’ll get into that soon but the story crawled along and as a viewer, didn’t leave me hooked to tune in next week. This is a slow building story and one that you have to want to commit to. If you haven’t seen Dexter: New Blood Episode 3, we’re about to get into heavy spoiler territory from here on out.
The New Big Bad
Its becoming increasingly clear that Kurt (Clancy Brown) is the big bad of the season. This week he continued to keep himself directly involved in the search for his missing son Matt, who oddly enough was right under the searchers feet, chopped up and bagged, beneath Dexter’s fire pit. Kurt was quite the antagonist to Angela during the investigation scenes, who is quickly becoming the most likable character of the series and is a good cop too, in a town full of below average ones.
In Dexter: New Blood Episode 3, we saw two scenes with the new killer we’re following, who despite wearing a ski-mask, had a body type and eyes that looked exactly like Kurt. At this point, it feels pretty safe to put two and two together. There’s an ongoing theme that when this killer is in pursuit, we hear 1950s era rock n roll, which would be age appropriate music for Kurt. I’m going to be nit-picky here when I say that less popular song choices could’ve created the creepy atmosphere they were obviously going for. Songs like “I Wander” are just too recognizable to be creepy. I generally like the idea of 1950s rock n roll being used to establish a mood with a villain but there are countless songs to choose from and in my humble opinion, popular choices don’t lend to the desired mood.
We saw the same young lady, still locked in a room, looking out a window where she could see a man in a white ski-mask walking towards her room. She found an open door and ran down a long hallway which led her outside to the snow. She ran, getting several hundred feet away when the man in the mask emerged and killed her with a single shot from his high power riffle. The killer literally hunted this woman with an expensive gun, much like Matt, who said he needed his high powered rifle for hunting. Like father, like son?
I took note when we saw the killer, face still not revealed, embalming his victim after she was dead. It’s pretty unique for a killer to embalm one of their victims but even more noteworthy when we consider Dexter’s life long fascination with blood. The likelihood of this killer knowing this about Dexter is small but a common trait nonetheless.
I can’t help but wonder given Kurt’s dismissal of the Native American community’s feelings about the killing of the white buck if he has strong feelings of dislike towards that community in general? There have been references about missing Native girls, specifically an Iris, who we learned this week was a childhood friend of Angela’s. Did Kurt start his killing with Native girls before he had an appetite that had to be quenched regardless of who the victim was?
There continues to be increased focus on Dexter’s desire to be a good father despite not knowing how to. He wants to. His inner monologues show that he’s trying to prioritize Harrison above all and that killing Matt was a mistake to him, not a quenching of his thirst. Dexter: New Blood is going out of its way to tell us that Dexter Morgan wants to be Jim Lindsay. He wants this family with Harrison, Angela and her daughter Audrey. He wants a quiet life. He wants his Dark Passenger to be silenced.
Harrison in Dexter: New Blood Episode 3 started school and took to a picked on kid, who was being bullied by the jocks he hung out with last week. Befriending this kid put Harrison in a position where he had to physically defend his new friend from the jocks where we saw that son indeed possessed the same physical fighting skills this his father has. He backed the jocks off and then told them that he made the wrestling team and would see them on the mat. Additionally, Harrison took a high school placement test and scored better than anyone previously at this school. He was accused of cheating and was hurt when Dexter told him to take it again and prove he didn’t cheat. Harrison took the test again and scored better the second time.
In terms of character development, this episode showed us that Harrison takes after his father both physically and intellectually. Building off the fact that he was also “born in blood” the way his father was, we can see the obvious in front of us. The question is what can Dexter do about this? Can Dexter’s desire to change alter the path his son is on? Or could Dexter’s worst fears come true? Hear me out: If Harrison takes after Dexter and Dexter is trying not to kill, could we see a scenario where Harrison goes after Kurt this season and dies as a result? Dexter kills Kurt’s son so Kurt returns the favor? Dark, I know, but how tragic of a figure does Dexter become if he’s forced to live through the death of his son and Deb’s warnings were correct all along?
Covering His Tracks
The other major plot running through this episode was Dexter trying to properly dispose of Matt’s body. It showed that Dexter was out of practice to some extent but scenes like when he threw off the search dogs showed that he still possessed these skills, as rusty as they might be.
In a scene with Deb, Dexter emphatically stated that he didn’t want to kill again, he just wanted to clean up his mess and be a father. I believed him. I think that’s what he truly wants. But can he? Dexter: New Blood Episode 3 showed us that Dexter, when his back is against the wall, can slip back into this former self, even after a few missteps. The season premiere showed us that he can kill without much forethought. There’s an element of human tragedy at play here, questioning whether or not a person can truly change. Especially one with a “Dark Passenger”.
In the most bizarre scene of the episode, after disposing of Matt’s body, Dexter found Kurt stumbling drunk in town, outside of a closed bar. Dexter insisted on driving him home when Kurt told him that his son Matt called him tonight and not just a call, a video call. Dexter played along, despite knowing that he had just burned Matt’s body. Which begs the question of what exactly this guy is talking about?
Is Kurt, whom I believe is a deranged killer, truly nuts and does he actually think he talked to his son? Or does he want the search to stop for reasons of his own? That’s my personal theory at this point. However, given that we saw Kurt draining the blood from a dead body earlier, we aren’t heading towards a Kurt is actually Dexter’s dad scenario here are we? I know it sounds far fetched but my trust isn’t totally back with this show yet and if they’re moving towards some kind of personal culmination with Dexter, the missing father who is also a blood obsessed killer thing kind of makes sense. Please don’t let it be that though.
Until next week my friends…
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I’m not convinced Kurt is the killer. I’m thinking it could be how they’re reintroducing Arthur Mitchell. Clancy Brown is 15 years younger than John Lithgow, but they are the same height, and have similar brows.
Interesting! I’m still of the opinion that Arthur will appear in a vision of some sort