When Right finished in 2013 with a hugely unsatisfying ending, Michael C. Hall’s character was determined to fade into obscurity as a lumberjack in Oregon.
With one last knowing look directed at the camera, we knew he was still a killer at heart.
Fast forward to 8 years later and being a lumberjack clearly wasn’t good for the writers of Dexter: New blood.
Instead he switched coasts to the snowy town of Iron Lake, New York, where he works at a gun shop under the name Jim Lindsay. Showrunner Clyde Phillips makes no attempt to explain how or why Right has moved on from its lumberjack obscurity, nor why we haven’t returned to sunny Miami as we’re embarking on another chapter.
“Jimbo” is quite the town’s favorite, he is friends with the locals and hangs out with the local sheriff Angela (Julia Jones). Adept at living up to people’s perceptions of him, Jim leads a double life. A smiling charmer and dancing boyfriend one minute, a very lonely existence the next.
To begin with, there is a white stag in the woods that drags him on a daily chase… like Ahab’s white whale seems to peer into his soul, perhaps to see its flaws. But the beauty of him is something Right it cannot kill even if it is literally in its optical scope.
Then there’s his conscience personified by his late sister Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter), as Dex struggles to contain his “dark passenger.” This is a genius move given by the writers Right he was forced to bury her at sea, wrapped like an angel in a white shroud. It brings back the chemistry between the two leads that was so fundamental to the original (brings out the swear jar for Deb).
Yet in the two episodes I’ve watched I’m largely underwhelmed by the choices: knee-deep snow isn’t exactly evasive, yet it’s the triggers that woke up Right that leave me colder. 8 years without homicides and just a local crime, not really personal, to see him lose his inner battle? I get that he’s always been a killer out to right injustice, but the stakes aren’t high enough.
Thankfully they’re all grown up when his teenage son Harrison (Jack Alcott) makes a surprise appearance. Right fans know how he learned basic instincts from his adoptive father Harry (James Remar), so now the question arises: Did Harrison inherit the same? This is a great dramatic question to explore.
Among the other characters, none come close to previous faces James Doakes, Angel Batista, María LaGuerta or the eccentric Vince Masuka, but the series maintains its diversity with a gay salesman and a police receptionist who uses a wheelchair. there’s even a local protest against climate change. I’m encouraged that actor Clancy Brown (Carnival, Billions) is in the mix, and that John Lithgow will return as “Trinity Killer” Arthur Mitchell.
There will be more murders, more moments where you almost get caught, more fights with his “dark passenger” – all the things we loved in the original – added to a new father / son dilemma. These are enough for me to continue watching, albeit with caution.
But after that sad ending I expected a more convincing reason Right wake up from his slumber, and I be so forgiving.
Right screens today on Paramount+.