Dexter: New Blood Episode 9 is the Perfect Penultimate Episode

“The Family Business”

Dexter with a troubled look on his face

If you haven’t seen Dexter: New Blood Episode 9, “The Family Business”, proceed with caution. This article contains major spoilers.

Last week, I wrote that the eighth episode of Dexter: New Blood felt like a penultimate episode. The pieces were obviously being put into place for what would feel like a two part finale, with one part centering around Dexter and Harrison’s relationship and the truth coming out and the other part, Dexter’s personal conclusion. As it turns out, my assumption was correct. Dexter: New Blood Episode 9 gave us everything we’ve been longing for between Dexter and Harrison and a lot, lot more. We’re about to get into heavy spoiler territory moving forward so if you haven’t seen Dexter: New Blood Episode 9, you’ve been warned.

Deb vs The Dark Passenger

The moment we’ve all been waiting for is here. Dexter has to get honest with his son. I loved the plot device of Dexter telling Harrison the story of an old kill from his days in Miami (one we never saw) to walk his son exactly through who he is and what he’s done. This clown Dexter was stalking was beyond creepy and was a child killer, the perfect way to soften the blow for the truths about to be revealed. There was nothing innocent or redeeming at all about this clown.

As a viewer, it was also nice to feel like we were back in our old surroundings, even if we didn’t see the Miami setting or any familiar faces. We were watching Dexter be Dexter. He even donned his old green shirt that he frequently wore in the original series when he was out to kill. It felt good yet appropriate, a clever way to incorporate nostalgia without doing so in any kind of “fan service” way. This was advancing our current story while giving us a taste of the past in Dexter: New Blood Episode 9.

The inclusion of Deb here was, in my opinion, the best use of Deb to date in the new series. Throughout the season, Deb has tried to steer Dexter clear of turning Harrison onto the same path he went on, arguing that there could be a different way for him. In my articles this season, I’ve argued the same thing, hoping that Harrison wouldn’t be subjected to the life Harry set up for Dexter. This was Deb’s last chance, she was desperate to stop Dexter, and for awhile, she did. Although we all knew that sooner or later, Harrison would question the abrupt ending to Dexter’s story.

The Impending Showdown

It was the right call to conclude the Kurt storyline in Dexter: New Blood Episode 9. The finale needs to be reserved for what becomes of Dexter. As great a villain as Kurt has been (second only to Trinity in my humble opinion), his purpose was to unite Dexter and Harrison and give Dexter a chance to fully bring his son into his world.

Kurt in his hunting attire, prepared to kill

Here, in our “Very Merry Dexter Christmas Episode”, we saw Kurt crash the Christmas Day exchanging of presents between Dexter, Angela and their romantically involved teenagers. Dexter had just gotten done talking to Harrison about the art of blending in and Angela had just gotten done researching the Bay Harbor Butcher’s victims. Between these things and Dexter and Harrison’s awful Christmas sweaters, was Killer Kurt crashing the party to give Angela a gift and get in the guy’s heads really the weirdest thing happening here?

Of course, from the moment Kurt showed up at Angela’s, the chase was on. Dexter told Harrison they needed more proof to act on the code, although at this point, Harrison didn’t realize the full extent of what the code entailed. With an assist from the drone Kurt gave Harrison earlier in the season, Dexter and Harrison found a part of Kurt’s property that appeared to lead underground, where Dexter assumed Kurt was hiding his trophies. Dexter knows a thing or two about trophies, although that never came up in his reveal all speech to his son.

Dexter and Harrison on the back of a truck, using a drone
(L-R): Michael C. Hall as Dexter and Jack Alcott as Harrison in DEXTER: NEW BLOOD, “The Family Business”. Photo Credit: Seacia Pavao/SHOWTIME.

Having Kurt go to Dexter’s cabin at the exact same time that Dexter and Harrison went to Kurt’s cabin on some level reminded me of Trinity. Trinity got in his parting shot by killing Rita and although he intended to kill Dexter and Harrison, Kurt burning down their home was one of two parting shots he would execute in this episode. At the same time that Kurt was watching Dexter and Harrison’s home burn, a grisly discovery was being made at his own cabin.

Kurt’s “trophies” were on another level. We had seen him embalm his victims already this season but up until Dexter: New Blood Episode 9, it was largely an unresolved plot point. Here, we found his underground museum of horrors. Each of victims were preserved, dressed in similar white dresses and put in display cases lining the walls. Dead woman after dead woman, made up to look pristine, in a lifeless row made for a visual unlike anything previously seen in this series before. It was haunting. It was truly disturbing. It became even worse when we saw that Molly was one of these lifeless women, killed as expected by Kurt, although off-screen.

At this point it became evident that Dexter was not only going to kill Kurt, he was going to have to finish his story and reveal what he did to the bad people he found. Fortunately for Dexter, Harrison figured it out before he had to say the words and just like that, for only the second time in this new season, Dexter was setting up a “kill room”, only this time, with his teenage son.

As a viewer, even though we knew this was coming, it felt weird to watch Dexter explain step by step what he was doing to his son. It reminded me of how much I wish Harry would’ve found a different path for Dexter, but this episode doubled down on Dexter’s belief that he was doing the world a favor by taking out these bad people who escaped the law. It feels strangely appropriate, this conversation about vigilantism, in this day and age. While the vigilante feels that they are doing a service to society, the system they feel has failed doesn’t agree with their assessment. Dexter thinks that he’s being a good father here, helping his son channel his rage and dark desires. He’s also creating another vigilante in the process who will inevitably be hunted by the law enforcement whose mess he feels he’s cleaning up. The cycle continues.

Or does it? Harrison, despite proclaiming that his father was a hero and is saving additional lives from being lost, didn’t do well watching the actual murder happen. He was bothered by it in a way that we can assume Dexter wasn’t at his age. While Harrison does have this rage within him, his disgust and inability to witness Kurt’s demise gave me hope that perhaps he can channel his feelings in a way other than his father’s coping mechanism, although that remains to be seen. The question remains though, how much did seeing his father in this light mess up this already damaged child?

The Good Cop Continued

Angela spent this episode wrapping up her case in a sense. She’s actively pursuing Dexter as the Bay Harbor Butcher. She’s connected the neck puncture wounds from the Miami victims to the drug dealers in Iron Lake Dexter assaulted. She’s matched the exact drug used to a drug Dexter purchased (horse tranquilizer). She’s gathered all available evidence on the Bay Harbor Butcher case to know that the victims were all criminals who escaped the law and that Miami Metro Police Department was quick to blame it on the deceased officer James Doakes but the killer very well could be on the loose. Angela is working this case and Dexter is her suspect.

Dexter and Angela sneaking in a moment on the investigation
Image courtesy of Showtime

The cliffhanger ending to Dexter: New Blood Episode 9 was Angela opening an anonymous letter that said “Jim killed Matt Caldwell” and then had the same screw from Matt’s leg that Kurt taunted Dexter with earlier this season. So the stage is set for our final episode, just as we assumed: Angela is set to bust Dexter and unlike previous encounters with law enforcement, this time Dexter doesn’t see it coming.

There’s something that feels different this time, compared to the original series. Our main character doesn’t see the hammer preparing to fall. He’s at some level of personal peace after helping (in his mind at least) his son with his “Dark Passenger”. The pieces are in place for Dexter to finally be brought to justice for his hundreds of murders, which could involve a final cameo  from the fine folks at Miami Metro as I’ve speculated all season. Or maybe not. Let’s examine some possibilities as to how this could all end.

I don’t see Angela letting Dexter off the hook. No way, not happening. That’s the absolute worst case scenario finale ending but I rate that as having a 1% chance of actually happening.

There’s always the possibility that something bad happens to Harrison and the ending is Dexter being even more tormented, but that doesn’t feel right given this story we’ve seen play out either. Could Harrison snap and kill his own father before the police can get him? More likely than other scenarios but still doesn’t feel right.

I see two likely possibilities here. Dexter is finally getting arrested in both scenarios. The possibilities both center around Harrison. In the first, he does follow in his father’s footsteps and we end with him killing someone (maybe Angela) for taking his father from him. The second scenario is that Harrison chooses another life for himself—that seeing his father be apprehended, truly being alone in the world makes him want to run from any and everything having to do with this life. Start fresh. While that’s the ending I would prefer, I’m not sure it’s the most likely. There has to be a reason this show has been called New Blood, right?

Cut to Harrison in Miami, with Angel Batista in his sights. Right back where the show started, with the son getting revenge for sins committed by his father. Does it fit “the code”? No, but a young, grief stricken and rage filled Harrison just might make an exception, and what a shocker of an ending that would make for. The past has been cleared and a new story can begin.

Written by Andrew Grevas

Andrew is the Founder / Editor in Chief of 25YL. He’s engaged with 2 sons, a staunch defender of the series finales for both Lost & The Sopranos and watched Twin Peaks at the age of 5 during its original run, which explains a lot about his personality.

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