For the past decade, Dexter has been living a quiet, isolated life far away from the temptations of his past. He’s found comfort in a new identity and has assimilated into small-town life as a beloved member of the Iron Lake community. When a local hotshot begins behaving recklessly, and a mysterious stranger seems to be on Dexter’s trail, he questions whether he can continue to suppress the murderous urgings of his Dark Passenger.
Dexter runs in the snow, gun in hand, through a forest. He points the gun at a white stag but doesn’t shoot - instead he falls to his knees in the snow. He does a variety of chores, like chopping wood, starting a fire, feeding some goats and other animals, before going inside.
Dexter goes inside, where Deb is waiting in her house robe. Dexter comments on how cold it is outside and she responds, “You’re the one that picked this place.” They sit at a table and Deb, seemingly a vision in Dexter’s mind, disappears.
Dexter gets in his truck and drives past a sign that reads “Welcome to Iron Lake”. A cop pulls him over and asks for his license and registration. He hands over a New York State driver’s license that says “James Lindsay” on it. He tells her “Jim” is what he goes by and she asks him to step out of the vehicle before patting him down. She pulls him in for a kiss and they laugh before having sex in her car. The cop, Chief Angela Bishop, gets paged and has to go. She kisses Dexter and tells him to stop by the station later.
Dexter rounds the corner and sees the butcher slicing into a pig. He longingly looks at the bloody floor and then hands the butcher a sharp set of knives that he requested. “You’re a lifesaver, Jimmy”.
Dexter goes into Fred's Fish & Game and puts on his work badge and vest. He helps a customer, Matt Caldwell, buy a knife and a rifle to go hunting. The customer gets flagged in the FBI background check and can’t buy a gun for 24 hours, which upsets him but he accepts it.
Dexter goes into the police station and chats with some of the officers there. They talk about why Matt Caldwell would’ve been flagged in the background check. One officer looks him up in the system and sees “more than a few spots” on his record. Dexter’s girlfriend, Angela, walks in and puts another missing poster on the wall- “same as always - no body, no pattern, no case.”
Dexter and Angela go out line dancing. He goes to grab drinks, chatting with the bartender that he knows, who tells him Matt Caldwell is picking up everyone’s bar tab. Dexter refuses the offer and dances with Angela. Matt comes over and invites Dexter to a party at his dad’s house. He then asks Dexter if he can get that rifle early but Dexter said his background check needs to clear first. “Man, this Eagle Scout loves his rules!” Matt exclaims. He tells him to still come to the party.
Angela overhears a girl at the bar asking about a burger and offers to pay. Angela then gives her money for bus fare and points out Desiree, a woman in town who runs a shelter in case she needs a place to crash for the night. Angela’s smart doorbell rings and sees a bunch of kids enter her house. She tells Dexter she needs to go “be a mom”.
The next day, Dexter runs in the snow and sees the white stag. “Beautiful”. Something scares it and it runs off. Dexter thinks he sees someone in the distance. At home, Dexter tells an imaginary Deb, “I have the feeling I’m being watched”. Imaginary Deb tells him to stick to his routine.
Dexter goes back to the store the next morning and sees that Matt Caldwell’s background check is still pending. He helps more customers at the store. He goes on his lunch break and passes a group of protesters screaming “Drilling is killing, save the planet, shame on you”. Angela walks up and tells him that a petrol billionaire is in the local tavern and that’s who they’re protesting. Angela sees Audrey and asks her if she has a math test today. The billionaire walks out and tells them to keep fighting for what they believe in.
Dexter turns around and thinks he sees someone in a hooded sweatshirt watching him. Back at the store, Dexter’s boss tells him to just sell the gun to Matt because the background check cleared and his dad is a friend of the store. He asks Dexter to deliver the gun and reluctantly, Dexter agrees. A party is happening at the house. His friend, Bill, sees Dexter and brings him upstairs to get a signature for the gun. Matt is having sex with someone and Bill tells him to wait.
Bill pours out coke on a counter and snorts a line while Dexter waits. Bill starts to complain to Dexter about Matt and his friends, how they call him dickface and take his girls. Bill opens up about the boat accident he and Matt were in, where five people died. Bill admits he covered for Matt at the trial (in exchange for $2,000 a week and a Rolex) and that Matt was really culpable for what happened that day. Bill realizes he told Dexter more than he should and asks him to keep quiet about it. Dexter recognizes the girl who was sleeping with Matt - Becka. She begs him not to tell her dad.
Dexter finally hands Matt the paperwork for the gun and has him sign. He kisses the gun in glee. Dexter imagines shoving the gun into Matt’s face but resists. He leaves the party.
Dexter goes home and sees someone inside his house. He grabs an axe and walks around the back of the house. He finds a young man going through his things. The guy asks him, “Are you Dexter Morgan? It’s me. Harrison.” An imaginary Deb tells him “You can’t, everyone close to you dies, that’s why we’re here.” Dexter tells his son that he’s not actually Dexter. Harrison tells him that he looks just like he remembered. Deb lists all of the people in his life he’s lost. She pulls up her shirt to reveal a gunshot wound. Dexter tells Harrison he seems like a good kid and gives him a suggestion for a bus and shelter to leave this town. Harrison leaves.
Dexter looks down at the photos Harrison was going through and sees a photo of Dexter with Harrison as a baby. Dexter burns the photo. Dexter has nightmares about Deb. Deb tells him he’s a changed man now - almost ten years without a kill.
Dexter runs in the snow again to find the white stag again. This time he approaches the stag and pets it. As he pets it, it gets shot by Matt Caldwell. The stag’s blood splatters all over Dexter’s face. Dexter hits Matt over the head with his gun. He takes Matt’s knife and tries to resist using it but thinks “it’s been a long time”. He first cuts the stag’s neck to make its blood bleed everywhere. He puts the bloody knife back into Matt’s pants.
Back at home, Dexter puts plastic up in the shed and lays down Matt’s body, still alive. Dexter apologizes for the mess because he’s out of practice. Dexter tells Matt to own all of the bad things he’s done. If not, he’ll kill him. Dexter tells Matt he used to be a serial killer - then he corrects himself saying “I am”. Matt admits to all of his wrongdoings on the boat. Matt screams “it’s not my fault” because he had a shitty childhood.
Dexter stabs Matt in the chest. Angela calls him and asks him where he is because he’s supposed to be at the Christmas festival. He tells her a fox got in the hen house and that he’ll see her tomorrow. He dismembers Matt’s body and gets in his car, where imaginary Deb is waiting to ask him what the f*** he is doing.
Dexter drives to the bus station to find Harrison. He tells him that he was right- he is Dexter Morgan. He asks Harrison to come home. They drive home together. Spatters of blood can be seen in the snow outside Dexter's cabin.
- "I may be a monster, but I’m an evolving monster."
- —Dexter Morgan
Dexter’s voiceovers are absent until Matt Caldwell shoots a white stag while Dexter is befriending it. Blood sprays onto Dexter’s face and Matt runs up, gloating over his kill. Suddenly, Dexter knocks Matt out with his rifle. As he looks down at Matt, he thinks, It’s been a long time. But if I’m gonna do this, I need to do it right. First rule of the code... don’t get caught. Dexter cuts the deer’s throat and lets its blood flow across the snow, which hides Matt’s blood.
- "The Passenger" by Iggy Pop
- "Burnin' For You" by Blue Oyster Cult
- "King of a One Horse Town" by Dan Auerbach
- "Hear of Glass" by Blondie
- "Heavenly Bodies (Fred Falke Remix)" by Midnight Faces
- "Haunted When The Minutes Drag" by Love & Rockets
- "Kraftwerk" by Leon Rockmore
- "All Alright" by Sigor Ros