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The Ending Of Dexter: New Blood Explained

Contains spoilers for "Dexter: New Blood" Season 1, Episode 10 — "Sins of the Father"

It was certainly understandable why so many "Dexter" fans were skeptical of "Dexter: New Blood" when Showtime first announced plans for the series (via The Hollywood Reporter). The last episode of "Dexter" is one of the most universally despised series finales in the history of television (via TVLine). However, over the course of its first season, "Dexter: New Blood" would seem to have proven itself a valued continuation of the original series. The penultimate episode of the reboot's first season, Episode 9 ("The Family Business"), currently sits at a 9.7 out of 10 rating on IMDb, certainly a far cry from the original series finale of "Dexter," which is currently only managing 4.6 stars on the same site. 

As reviews and reactions for the finale of "Dexter: New Blood" continue to flood in, it will be interesting to see if fans of the series prefer this as a more definitive ending or want to see it as the first part of a new entry of the franchise. Here's a quick explainer about where the last episode leaves things.

Kurt Caldwell seals Dexter's fate by mirroring Trinity in a way

Originally introduced as the kind-hearted owner of a local business (somewhat surprisingly not named the Krusty Krab), Kurt Caldwell (Clancy Brown) is slowly revealed to be a monster who murders helpless women. Even though Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) kills and dismembers Kurt in Episode 9, the late serial killer's presence still looms large over the events of the season finale. In the penultimate episode of this season, Dexter discovers that Kurt is leaving him with two parting gifts, action which mirror the most heinous crime of one of Dexter's greatest enemies.

Before he winds up sealed in plastic, Kurt sets fire to Dexter's cabin and mails Iron Lake Police Chief Angela Bishop (Julia Jones) a letter that proves Dexter killed Matt Caldwell (Steve M. Robertson). Kurt's final actions are very reminiscent of those of Arthur Mitchell (aka Trinity) (John Lithgow) in the Season 4 finale of the original "Dexter" series. In that episode, Dexter murders Trinity and returns home only to discover that Trinity has already murdered his wife, Rita (Julie Benz), and left his son, Harrison, crying in a pool of blood. Despite technically winning the battle, few would contest that Dexter ultimately lost the war with Trinity.

Similarly, Kurt's letter to Angela and his subsequent burning of Dexter's cabin directly lead to Dexter's arrest in the finale. As she stands over the smoldering remnants of Dexter's cabin, Angela locates a titanium screw that previously held Matt's leg together. With all the proof she needs, Angela arrests Dexter for murder and makes a quick call to one Angel Batista (David Zayas) of the Miami Metro Police Department. Once again, Dexter's enemy bests him from the beyond.

Dexter's fate is unexpected, but not in every way

After decades of murder and dismemberment, Dexter finally meets his own end in the last moments of "Dexter: New Blood." The final episode sees the famous serial killer cornered at all angles by his former girlfriend, Iron Lake Police Chief Angela Bishop, who promises to extradite the infamous Bay Harbor Butcher to Florida, where he will surely face the death penalty. Unwilling to accept his fate, Dexter makes a mad-dash escape from the jail, leaving a bloody trail in the process. Dexter rushes to Harrison (Jack Alcott), but the elder Morgan's killing of Sergeant Logan (Alano Miller) is a step too far for the young serial killer in training, who recognizes that Dexter's actions violate the code. 

At Harrison's urging, Dexter considers the plethora of innocent people who have died as a result of his actions. We see flashes of Logan, LaGüerta (Lauren Vélez), Doakes (Erik King), Lundy (Keith Carradine), Harry (James Remar), Rita, and Debra (Jennifer Carpenter), all people who suffered untimely deaths because of their proximity to Dexter. Faced with the truth of his past, Dexter admits that Harrison is right and invites his son to shoot him in the chest. While not exactly the same as "Dexter: New Blood" showrunner Clyde Phillips' original plan for the "Dexter" series finale, the highlighting of Dexter's truly innocent victims represents a similar narrative choice in that Dexter is finally forced to take responsibility for his actions, just prior to his own death.

Harrison teaches Dexter the meaning of real love

Throughout "Dexter" and "Dexter: New Blood," Dexter makes it clear that he is unable to feel genuine emotion, despite how normal he may seem to some people. In Season 1, Episode 1 ("Dexter"), he says, "People fake a lot of human interactions, but I feel like I fake them all, and I fake them very well." By the end of the series, Dexter admits that his emotional mimicry and violent urges will always hurt those close to him. He abandons Harrison to spare him the suffering. In furtherance of this goal, Dexter also initially refuses to have anything to do with Harrison when he arrives in Iron Lake.

However, despite pleas from Debra's postmortem manifestation, Dexter eventually embraces Harrison as a son, teaching him the code and even inviting him into his kill room. Sadly, Debra's pleas would seem to have been well founded. The code is ultimately proven unable to prevent Dexter from harming numerous innocent people. Realizing that Dexter is the person responsible for most of the suffering in his life, Harrison openly blames his father for his mother's murder, his aunt's death, and his own dark tendencies. Harrison screams, "Open your eyes and look at what you've done!" 

Slowly, Dexter comes to grips with the truth in Harrison's words, telling Harrison that he deserves a better life and a better father. Just before Harrison shoots his father, Dexter notes, "I've never really felt love. Real love. Until now." It has certainly taken some time for him to learn, but Dexter's final moments seem to offer him some understanding of what it means to actually be human.

Harrison leaves Iron Lake for an uncertain future

It's difficult to tell where things could go after this type of a finale. With the titular character dead, the future seems somewhat limited. Of course, any speculation about any more potential seasons of "Dexter: New Blood" is bound to focus on Dexter's son, Harrison, who leaves Iron Lake with no specific destination in mind. As Harrison departs Iron Lake, he reads an old letter written by Dexter to Hannah McKay (Yvonne Strahovski), in which his father affectionately refers to Harrison as his "phantom limb" and says that a normal life will never be possible for Harrison, so long as he is around. While one interpretation of this scene is that Harrison can live a normal life now that his father is dead, a darker interpretation is also equally likely.

Harrison has previously displayed a multitude of dark tendencies, much like his father. It's unclear if Harrison will be able to hold his Dark Passenger at bay without his father's assistance. However normal Harrison manages to make his future, that voice which guides him could, at some point, take on the form of a familiar face. In the original series, Dexter's Dark Passenger is represented by his deceased father and mentor, Harry Morgan. Given Dexter's role in his son's life, it's possible that Harrison's memory of his father could one day occupy the same function. That voice in the finale might just be the beginning of Dexter's own postmortem manifestation inside Harrison's head. 

While a show called "Harrison" probably wouldn't have quite the same appeal as "Dexter," perhaps someone out there is already trademarking something like "Dexter: Afterlife" with this very plan in mind.