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Dexter: New Blood Episode 5 Review – “Runaway”

The following contains spoilers for Dexter: New Blood’s fifth episode, “Runaway,” which aired on Showtime on Dec 5.

Dexter himself was the least interesting part of this week’s New Blood episode, “Runaway,” while just about everything occurring around him — including a surprise visit from the one and only Angel Batista (David Zayas reprising his original series role) — helped keep the chapter afloat. All in all, it was a better-than-average jumble.

Dexter got caught up in a “kill of the week” swirl, fixating on a drug dealer chain that manufactured the pills that found their way into Harrison’s mouth, and rationalized it to himself as being part of his new vibe as a protective, vengeful father. It was an indicator that the old Dexter was back, as much as he’d wanted to move forward after Matt Caldwell (which was an impulsive slip/relapse), and involved actually plotting and planning a dude’s murder. If anything, maybe the takeaway here is that Dexter’s old M.O., which he already seemed ready to ditch at the end of the premiere, has always been way too clunky to square peg into a tight schedule. Because, yeah, Dexter had to improvise, last second, and kill the guy in a different manner after Logan showed up with cops for an arrest.

Anyhow, it gave fans some “old menacing Dexter with the syringe” but it felt like the odd man out here, story-wise. There was too much else going on, of larger interest, than adding one more notch on Dexter’s killpost. Yes, everything else, including Logan, who sort of rose up as a more vital character this week, felt like it was building New Blood toward some big future moments of conflict.

Dexter: New Blood Episode 5 Gallery

Dexter’s drive to become his own version of “Father of the Year” is now bumping into other “dads” in Iron Lake. Kurt is one of them, and now Logan, who’s not a biological father but assumes paternal responsibility for the teens he coaches. They’re reflections, good and bad, of what “Jim” is trying to do. More than likely, he’ll have to violently tussle with at least one of them, if not both.

The actual reveal of Kurt being the Sniper Killer (is this what we’re calling him?) felt a little flat. They danced around it so much for a few episodes that one expected it to come with a touch more fanfare (even if it was obvious). But is Harrison now being prepped as Kurt’s next victim? There are a few things to consider here. One is that Harrison’s not the right type of target, given the pattern. He’s a runaway but not a female one. Does that matter though, in this case, since Kurt’s most recent victim tried to fight back and “ruined” Kurt’s kill? Kurt would be looking for immediate satisfaction and release and maybe it doesn’t matter if it’s a guy or not.

Or does Harrison get a pass because he took the diner job? Like, maybe the pattern is that only those who waste or deny Kurt’s generocity get the basement treatment. That seems like a lot, frankly, for a killer who probably needs to satiate his bloodlust every few months. He can’t just risk having to employ all of upstate New York’s runaways. And on top of this…does anyone else think there’s a missing component here? With the kills? We can assume Kurt was upset about the girl messing up his ritual because it wasn’t clean and there’s a taxidermy aftermath element to this murder event. But is Kurt doing the embalming of does he have a partner? I guess I’m just trying to find a spot for that rich Edward Olsen character here. Also, it seems like Kurt goes out to the bar and gets drunk every time he does one of these kills, right?

But, to my larger point about “Runaway,” watching Kurt with that girl, and then her own brief mission to not go down without a fight, and then him meeting Harrison at the end, was the good stuff this week. More so than Dexter’s story, which seemed kind of tossed in. Also, in addition, we got a separate Angela and Molly side quest into Manhattan where Angela attended a cop conference and met Batista. I’m perfectly fine with Dexter never ever going back to Miami so this was a nice way of bringing a tiny bit of Miami into New Blood (with the only character who I’d ever want to see again).

With Batista coming in for a cameo, New Blood has now become a bit of a race. Who will figure out Dexter is the Bay Harbor Butcher first? Both Angela and Audrey are wise to “Jim Lindsey.” What will they uncover about him? As far as we know, despite suspicions that the Butcher was a cop, all Miami P.D. knows about Dexter Morgan is that he went nuts over Deb’s death and killed Oliver Saxon and then died in a storm. And he didn’t kill Oliver like the Butcher. It was done in a hurry, out of his usual M.O., and came off like a spur of the moment thing, caught on video. So at most, maybe, Angela will find out about that. Because if Batista thought Dexter was the Butcher, he would have brought that up when he mentioned Deb.

This leaves Harrison as the one who’ll most likely catch wind. Because he and his dad can’t bond until he knows who Dexter really is. Dexter tried this week, but what Harrison did to Ethan isn’t something you just share outright with an estranged parent. Ultimately, Dexter and Harrison not having that “talk” this week was the most frustrating part of “Runaway.” The story wasn’t ready to do it, even if we were, so it sent Dexter off on a mostly wasteful, and almost out of character (for who he is now), mission to exact revenge.

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