This Dexter review contains spoilers.
Dexter New Blood Episode 6
Dexter Morgan and Kurt Caldwell are on a collision course. It’s not just that Iron Lake is too small for two serial killers, it’s also the fact that both men seem to be fighting for the soul of Harrison.
Obviously, Dexter is conflicted with whether he should open up to his son. Not many people would react to news of their dad being a serial killer well, but because of their history and the resentment Harrison already feels, plus his worsening mental state and desire to “hurt people,” Dexter is probably the best person for Harrison to talk to. However, Dexter’s self-preservation is actively making their situation worse and driving Harrison directly into the arms of Kurt, who seems eager to nurture Harrison’s violent impulses. Also, in classic teenager fashion, the more Dexter protests this budding relationship, the more he pushes Harrison into Kurt’s arms.
And those arms are not where anyone should want to be. Molly Park (Jamie Chung) almost found out firsthand if not for Dexter. By intervening and saving Molly, both men now know where the other sits. Kurt may not have concrete evidence that “Jim” had something to do with the disappearance of his son, but his convenient timing and “let’s have a look-see, neighbor” attitude has got to raise his suspicion. If we know anything from listening to nine seasons of Dexter Morgan voiceovers, it’s that killers like this can sniff each other out, and my guess is that Kurt has gotten a big enough whiff. These two are two sharks in a small pond, circling each other, waiting for the right moment to strike, and by clumsily inserting himself into Kurt’s business, Dexter dropped some blood into the water.
That said, the cold war between Kurt and Dexter isn’t the main draw of “Too Many Tuna Sandwiches,” it was finding out how Angela would react to the fact that “Jim” was living under an assumed name. Dexter rationally uses the murder of his wife and the death of Deb as an excuse for why he needed out of his old life, and it’s just plausible enough to believe. Still, Angela is hurt by the constant lying and no longer trusts “Jim.”
The fallout leaves Dexter looking for someone to blame for the outing of his real identity, and his paranoia leads to Molly. Ultimately, by the time Dexter finds her with Kurt he realizes that she had nothing to do with uncovering him, but seeing Dexter rattled and paranoid is good for the show. I mentioned last week that having Dexter a bit off his game helps explain some of his sloppy behavior, and once again, he reiterates that time in Iron Lake has dulled his instincts.
For instance, in the past Dexter may have been smarter than meeting with Logan to talk about Angela, realizing that Logan has seen enough at this point to be suspicious of him. Ultimately their conversation doesn’t raise any red flags, but after Harrison’s wrestling match, when Dexter confronts Kurt, it may raise another alarm for Logan. This character has been getting too much screentime to not factor into this season’s endgame, how soon before he starts to realize that something is seriously off about “Jim?”
Finally, Angela puts two and two together and realizes that Kurt only wanted to call off the search for Matt once she mentioned searching the caves. With no other hunch to follow, she heads out to canvas the area, and in her searching, she finds the body of Iris, her missing best friend that she was assured moved away. This is likely where Kurt is disposing of his bodies and helps color in why Kurt has been going with the ruse that his son is alive. In the episode’s final moments, Angela calls Dexter, not “Jim,” for help, knowing that his CSI background could help color in the details of Iris’ murder. How long before it dawns on her that his CSI background also could have helped him clean up the Matt Caldwell crime scene?
The highlight of “Too Many Tuna Sandwiches” is the therapy scene between Dexter and Harrison. It’s not because either of them has a breakthrough; it’s mostly because of the way each person is hiding right in front of the therapist’s eyes. Dexter is doing his normal nice guy schtick even as his son pokes holes in the façade, and Harrison is clearly dying to talk about the violent impulses he has inside, but cannot bring himself to speak his truth when he knows the man next to him is so shrouded in lies.
Typically, when prestige dramas focus on their teenage characters, things go awry (hello, Homeland fans!), but there are so many interesting wrinkles to Dexter facing the same conundrums that Harry had to face raising him. Prior to New Blood airing, I wondered if the series would be able to justify its existence beyond just being IP extension for ratings sake. On that therapy couch and in the hallway after Harrison’s wrestling match, New Blood justified itself to me.