Television

Dexter: New Blood Season 1 Episode 8 Review: Unfair Game


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White-knuckled and holding our collective breath, Dexter took us for a ride.

In an already superb season, Dexter: New Blood Season 1 Episode 8 has got to be one of the most streamlined episodes thus far. It was focused, well-paced, and unrelentingly suspenseful. 

There’s no time to waste now. Secrets are out. Everything is coming to a head.

Bonding - Tall - Dexter: New Blood Season 1 Episode 8

The episode’s progression from day/light to night/dark gave it a real sense of slow-building foreboding. 

You said you had all day? Well, I’ve got news for you. The night is mine.

Dexter [voiceover]

In the day, outside, Elric was the predator and Dexter the prey. However, as soon as night fell, Dexter reversed their roles. He channeled his desperation into a cold-blooded rage. 

The whole Elric/Dexter chase sequence was very reminiscent of Fargo. Even Elric himself felt like a Fargo-esque villain — though he came across as a bumpkin, he was smarter than he looked. He was still just the minion needing to be dispatched before the final boss, but he definitely made Dexter work for it.

Dexter will need to dispose of the body before anyone finds it — he certainly left a mess. Now that he’s got Harrison in tow, Elric could potentially be their first father-son dismemberment. 

Snowy Trees - Dexter: New Blood Season 1 Episode 8

Clancy Brown does such a great job mastering Kurt’s two-facedness that it’s sometimes hard to watch. The way he manipulated poor Harrison was just monstrous. He constantly put “Jim” down, implying a lack of love or care in order to force a bond between himself and Harrison.

For their entire time together, it was hard to know exactly what Kurt was up to with Harrison — we just knew Dexter was going to be involved, and it wouldn’t end well.

In a sick way, it seemed like Kurt genuinely wanted to give Harrison a meaningful time with a loving father figure, a parting gift of a truly special final few hours before shooting him down like an animal. 

You are who you are. Find what gives you joy and you do that thing. No apologies. Whatever it is that brings you pleasure in this world.

Kurt

It was as though Kurt actually did like Harrison as a person — the only reason he wanted to kill him was because he happened to be “Jim’s” son.

Good Listener - Dexter: New Blood Season 1 Episode 8

Harrison was so desperate for that connection he was blind to Kurt’s manipulative tactics. That utter helplessness on Harrison’s face at Kurt’s betrayal was brutal to watch. 

Brown’s Kurt is so beastly that seeing him in his full hunting gear, knowing the person he is underneath — or at least who he pretends to be — makes him even scarier than when his identity was still unknown. 

Sometimes it feels good to be bad, don’t you think?

Kurt

At least Kurt succeeded in one way where Dexter failed — he brought Harrison and Dexter together and helped them connect on a level they hadn’t before, even if it was bonding over thwarting a serial killer. 

Exactly how much is Dexter going to tell Harrison? What does he mean by everything? Does he mean Bay Harbor Butcher everything?

It’s hard to know how Harrison will take it — will Harrison have anything to share of his own? Regardless, that should be a hell of a conversation. 

I really hate it when I’m the one who’s bleeding.

Dexter

Get Outta Dodge - Dexter: New Blood Season 1 Episode 8

Kurt has vanished off into the night. Once he sees that Harrison and Jim are gone, it’s unclear what he might do next. He could just escape, cementing the suspicion around him, especially now with Harrison’s experience, which would be congruent with the evidence around Iris’s injuries. 

However, Kurt has proven to be a much more confident player than that. He may try to tackle this problem head-on.

Angela definitely doesn’t trust him, but Kurt has Iron Lake on his side — he’s lived there for decades, whereas “Jim” and Harrison are relative newcomers. With Angela’s new suspicions, she might not know who to trust.

Angela Bishop is really putting it all together. Good for her! This woman is a great detective. Her instincts are spot on. She’s pieced together the puncture wounds, and now that has led her to the suspicion that Dexter could be the Bay Harbor Butcher.

The question is — what will she do next?

Christmas Tree Shopping - Dexter: New Blood Season 1 Episode 8

This could go in a few possible directions. It will depend if Harrison and Dexter decide to disclose their close-shave experience with Kurt to the Iron Lake PD. A manhunt could ensue if this happens.

If Harrison and Dexter take matters into their own hands — which I suspect they will — it may lead to a messy confrontation with Angela.

Maybe the scene with Molly and Kurt in Dexter New Blood Season 1 Episode 6 was foreshadowing. Dexter may have to decide to let Kurt “handle” Angela in order to keep Dexter’s past a secret. How much does he love Angela? Enough to sacrifice her for his own freedom? 

One would hope that Angela is smart enough to keep her suspicions secret until she can decide what she wants to do. She probably sees now that the man she used to call Jim is an extremely dangerous individual, and she should know that he is capable of anything.

How will she process this information? Will she confide in Molly or Logan? Will she contact Batista again? 

Snowy Forest - Dexter: New Blood Season 1 Episode 8

Harrison finally came around, and Jack Alcott did well at covering the gamut of Harrison’s emotions.

This is a disturbed, traumatized kid, but there were so many moments where you could just see the sweet little boy who wanted nothing more than his daddy’s (or any father figure’s) love and acceptance.

The “curveball” scene was strange.

The point was obviously to show Harrison’s masochistic side, but it seemed silly to let the balls keep hitting him.

Couldn’t the machine have been adjusted, or could Harrison have taken a step to the left? It just seemed like an easy fix that took away the impact of what the scene was trying to evoke. 

By talking through things with Kurt, Harrison admitted that he was just as much at fault for giving his father a hard time. It’s interesting to see a teenager with the self-awareness that he’s sometimes being deliberately antagonistic.

It’s a shame it took a near-death experience for Dexter to finally get the words out, but it is heartwarming in a perverse way that the true father and son finally have their bond.

Elric: I was just doing my job. Nothing personal.
Dexter: You’re talking about my son. There’s nothing more personal than that.

The murder-spree dream sequence was horrific and telling. The song — “Old Rugged Cross” was a deliberate, clever choice that had some very apt lyrics (trophies, suffering and shame, slain sinners.)

The soundtrack for all of Dexter: New Blood Season 1, in general, has been exceptional.

Harrison in Town - Dexter: New Blood Season 1 Episode 8

There are more than a few loose ends and minor characters that will either come into play. Hopefully, it all wraps up in a satisfying way.

How will Audrey and Logan fit into all this? For that matter, Edward Olson the oil-billionaire, or Tess the schoolteacher? Fred Jr. and his husband, Pastor Brian? Officer Teddy? Molly?

Iron Lake has a rich tapestry of intriguing supporting characters, and it feels like there are many more stories to tell — more than can fit in two episodes.

It all depends on whether the series will have a satisfying conclusion or be left open-ended. Does Dexter deserve a happy ending with a family? Or does he deserve justice? 

How do you think the final two episodes will wrap up?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

You can watch Dexter: New Blood online right here at TV Fanatic! 

Mary Littlejohn is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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