This episode contains major spoilers for Dexter: New Blood Episode 5, “Runaway.” Proceed with caution.
If you’ve been on the fence about Dexter: New Blood, then this is the episode you’ve likely been waiting for. Familiar faces? Check. An intriguing killer who feels unpredictable? Check. Law enforcement hot on Dexter’s heels? Dexter: New Blood Episode 5 had that too. The suspense of Dexter being on the hunt for a bad guy to kill was the cherry on top. This felt like Dexter at its prime. It had all the things we loved about this series years ago, coming off a really good episode last week. If you haven’t seen Dexter: New Blood Episode 5, we’re about to get into heavy spoiler territory from here on out. You’ve been warned.
My Little Runaway
If you’ve been keeping up with my weekly coverage of Dexter: New Blood, then you know how excited I was for Clancy Brown to be a part of this cast. I don’t think it was ever really a question that his character, Kurt, was the killer. This week, we got to see Brown turned loose as an actor, showing exactly what he could bring to this role as the Big Bad and if this episode was any indication of what’s to come, then we could be looking at a truly memorable villain.
Last week, we saw Kurt pick up a teenaged runaway and bring her back to the scene of the previous murder. This week, we got to see the entire process, from the moment he locked her in the room, to when she sees “You’re Already Dead” written in red under the camera, to Kurt killing her. Only nothing went according to plan. This victim had a survivor’s instinct and was fighting for her life. First, she stood in front of the camera, undressing, trying to tempt Kurt. Only he reacted with anger.
There’s something about the routine of these kills that matters to Kurt. This young woman not reacting with terror and trying to survive made him melt down. He threw a tantrum as she stripped and turned off his laptop used to monitor her. Same with when he told her she was free to go, which is when he would hunt her as she ran. She refused to leave the room, planning to attack him with a large piece of glass she was hiding. He again melted down at her not playing her role. There was something genuinely creepy about watching him cry and yell that this murder was not going to plan. He’s not just a killer, he gets off on either the terror or the process. When she charged him outside instead of running away, he screamed, “You aren’t supposed to do this!” as he shot her in close range and then shot her again in a fit of rage. A killer this emotionally unstable makes for an unpredictable killer. What else is he capable of?
It was equally as noteworthy to learn that every few months, Kurt enters the local bar “like he owns the place” according to the bartender, and plays out another pattern. He plays Del Shannon’s “Runaway” on the jukebox and then asks the bartender to dance with him. It should be noted that he did this after locking the young woman up, before anything in his plans were impacted. If he does this every time he brings a new victim home and he does this every few months, that’s a lot of dead runaways, potentially making him exactly who Angela was looking for.
The Good Cop
Dexter: New Blood Episode 5 saw the unlikely duo of Angela and Molly head to New York City for a Law Enforcement convention, with the true purpose of the trip being to investigate credit card charges made from Matt Caldwell’s card at a NYC hotel. Both purposes for the trip wound up providing interesting results.
Upon reviewing the security cameras at the hotel, the person who was using Matt’s credit cards was revealed to be a man 20 years Matt’s senior. Which means that Kurt is going to great lengths to convince the police that his dead son is alive. But why? So he can get his own vengeance? To keep the police away from him so he can kill? It’s all very unclear but I can’t help but wonder if he knows that Dexter killed Matt and he wants to keep the police off Dexter’s trail for his own reasons. Kurt is invested in Dexter and his son.
While I didn’t get this completely right, partial credit for calling that Angela and someone from Miami Metro would connect. It was a welcome sight to see Captain Angel Batista at the Law Enforcement convention, as a speaker. When Angela approached him after he was done speaking, the writing was on the wall: Angela is going to discover who Dexter really is. While talking about patterns in serial killers, it all came together. First Batista mentions Deb, then her dead brother Dexter, then the orphaned son Harrison. This, combined with Harrison slipping and telling Audrey that his dad’s name isn’t Jim and Audrey telling Angela was enough to make Angela do some digging. The episode ended with her printing off an article on Dexter’s death, photo included.
So now, with five episodes to go, Angela is hot on Dexter’s trail. She’s likely going to think he’s behind the missing girls but what else will she learn? Will she call for help from Miami before it’s all over? Hard to say. This cameo from Batista could be it, or perhaps we will get an emotional moment in the finale where Dexter comes face to face with his former co-workers and friends. It would certainly be captivating television if he did.
Father and Son
Dexter: New Blood Episode 5 largely focused around the fallout from last week’s attempted school shooting. Dexter, in an attempt to be a good father, tried to talk to Harrison about slashing Ethan. Harrison set out to run away but wound up at a survivors’ party—an invite only party in his honor, with only the would be victims from the “kill list” Ethan made. This setup a series of narrative dominos that fell quickly.
Harrison, being emotional and upset, was tempted into taking ecstasy, and then a second pill, which wound up being fentanyl. Before he overdosed, he told Audrey that his dad’s name isn’t Jim Lindsay, which would set off another chain of events. Harrison’s overdose would trigger Dexter, who in a break from his code, wanted vengeance.
While I wouldn’t call myself someone who craves nostalgia, I found myself captivated by Dexter spending this episode stalking first the drug dealer who sold the teens the drugs and then the man who made the homemade fentanyl pills. Dexter gave into his rage and it felt right, but also like it could be the last time. The fact that Dexter didn’t get to kill the first man and didn’t get to perform his ritual with the second man, having to settle for staging an overdose with the police ready to storm the home was significant. We the viewing audience were denied part of the nostalgia we might have hoped for. Dexter was deprived of his routine, much like Kurt in this episode. Only with Dexter, he didn’t meltdown. He adapted. I can’t shake this feeling that there was some larger symbolism at play here, that Dexter not being able to carry out a kill the way he did for eight previous seasons was by design, a reminder that the past is over and the ending won’t be what we expect.
Where Do We Go From Here?
The scene where Kurt sees Harrison trying to leave town and convinces him to have dinner with him was one of the most intriguing to me. He talked Harrison into going home. He talked to him about not being able to outrun the rage that’s inside him, almost as if he knew him better than he should. One killer able to spot another? A good guess as to what’s plaguing Harrison? Or does Kurt know more about Dexter and Harrison than he should?
I was never really satisfied with the explanation in the first season about who Dexter’s biological father was. It seemed a little too convenient to me, like it was a merely a way to give Rudy (Ice Truck Killer) an interesting kill but not a fully thought out plot point. One where they left themselves some narrative wiggle room, as the blood type explanation given can be easily worked out. I’m still of the opinion that I don’t want Kurt to be related to Dexter but why else would he take such a strong interest in both Dexter and Harrison and keep the cops off Dexter’s trail?
We’re now entering the back half of the season / series and kudos to Clyde Phillips and team for assembling the pieces on the chessboard as well as they have. With five episodes to go, we have an intriguing killer at play, Miami Metro activated (or at least included to a certain degree), cops after Dexter, Harrison’s Dark Passenger is a factor, the ghost of Trinity continues to loom large most weeks, Dexter is still trying to not be the monster he used to be and more. There’s a lot of interesting things happening narratively that should result in a highly suspenseful and tightly packed final five episodes.
My assumption is that Dexter is going to have to be truthful with Harrison about his past in the next episode or two, as they’ll likely be on the run as soon as Angela tips her hand that she’s onto Dexter. I think what I’m most curious about now is how Harrison reacts. Does he follow his father or does his own Dark Passenger tell him that his father needs to go? While the Dexter getting busted and finally arrested outcome is very likely, I can’t shake this vision of Dexter avoiding the law one more time, killing Kurt and then winding up on a table, with his son standing above him with a knife. New blood indeed.