Liam Hoofe reviews the first episode of Dexter: New Blood – ‘Cold Snap’…
When people mention the TV show Dexter, there are two moments that immediately spring to mind. The iconic ending to season 4, which, in this writer’s point of view, is one of the best season endings of all time, and the ending of season 8, which is one of the worst.
Few shows have offered as much promise as Dexter only to completely crash and burn. The glory days of the show had it pegged as one of the all-time great. Instead, the final season secured its entry on every top 10 worst TV endings list until the day the internet dies.
When it was first announced that Dexter would be making a return to TV a full eight years after he left us, there was a mixed response. With Clyde Phillips returning to pen the series, there was a lot of hope that the show could rectify that awful ending, but there was also a general cynicism around the whole thing. Digging up old TV shows has been somewhat of a trend in recent years, and in most cases, it has been a colossal failure.
All eyes, then, were on the season opener ‘Cold Snap’ to answer so many of these questions. Did it succeed in justifying the show’s return? It’s hard to say. The whole episode was better than almost anything we saw in Dexter Season 8, but it also wasn’t really the return to the glory days many would have hoped for.
We pick up nearly a full decade after the events of the last episode, with Dexter now living in the fictional town of Iron Lake. He is living under the name Jim Lindsay, a clear nod to the writer of the Dexter novels, Jeff Lindsay. Under his new name, Dexter has carved out a nice little life for himself. He has a shack in the woods, is dating the local chief of police, and has a peaceful job in the local hunting shop.
Everyone is going well for Dexter until some questionable characters turn up. Needless to say, things quickly change for the former Mr Morgan and before the end credits hit, the plastic wrap has made an appearance.
Of course, as the trailers spoiled, there is also the appearance of Harrison, which looks as though it is going to be one of the key plots for this mini-series. There will be a lot of questions, including one about how he managed to track him down, but it should be interesting to watch unfold. Deb’s appearance as his new passenger is the only other reference in the show to his past life, and it will be interesting to see whether we get any other ghosts from his past appearing.
The biggest obstacle that this series is going to have to overcome, however, is justifying its existence. We will need to see if the writers can get enough out of Harrison’s development, as well as the inevitable arrival of the season’s villain to get us invested. With such a short run to do so, it could be an uphill battle if it doesn’t up the ante in the next two or three episodes.
There is, undeniably, still something missing from the show. The humour that was a trademark of the early seasons is gone, and it doesn’t look as though many of the new characters are going to be as memorable as the original bunch. A quick look at Netflix’s You could provide the series with some guidance. While many have suggested that the show has borrowed a lot from Dexter, it has also shown that you can inject humour and build memorable but disposable characters in a short space of time when done correctly.
One thing that has always been consistent about Dexter is Michael C Hall’s central performance, and after eight years away, he slides effortlessly back into the role. Watching him take a deep breath and attempt to hold in his lust for blood will never get old, and the knowing smirk he gives the camera is still as infectious as ever. There’s also a nice couple of easter eggs dropped throughout the episode.
Ultimately though, if you were a fan of the show’s original run, you will just be happy to see Dexter doing what Dexter does best again without a Hannah McKay or slightly incestuous love-angle getting in the way. There’s a long way to go, and while the opening episode didn’t quite set the world on fire, there’s still plenty of time for things to heat up.