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Smoke Signals is the third of ten episodes in Dexter: New Blood. It first aired 21 November 2021 on Showtime.

Dexter hopes to have a chance to make things right with Harrison, which is proving to be tough to do when there’s a full-fledged crime investigation that Dexter himself has caused. Harrison joins the high school wrestling team and quickly makes a name for himself at school. Meanwhile, a true crime podcaster from LA arrives in Iron Lake and befriends Dexter’s police chief girlfriend.

Summary

From his porch, Dexter watches the search party cooking breakfast at his firepit. They are unaware that Matt Caldwell is literally buried under their feet. Dexter needs to find a way to get everyone off his land so he can be a "proper dad" to his son. He finds Harrison flying a drone with Sergeant Logan and reminds him that they're meeting with the school principal since it's his first day.. Logan, the high school assistant coach, suggests that Harrison try out for wrestling, describing it as a great sport that teaches personal growth, confidence, and mental toughness. Harrison agrees to consider it.

Angela orders the officers to go back to the station because there is a break in the case. Harrison overhears and asks Dexter if they could have found the body, though it's not yet confirmed that Matt is dead. Dexter says they will find out soon enough.

At school, Principal Strode asks Jim (Dexter) why Harrison's GPA suddenly dropped, then went back up in a year. Dexter doesn't know why, so Harrison explains that his stepmom died, after which he was placed in the foster care system, and moved from Argentina to Miami. Strode is shocked and asks Dexter, "And where were you?" Deb, dressed as Strode, appears and needles Dexter to reveal why he left his son. Harrison defends his father, saying it wasn't Jim’s fault because they had just moved and when his stepmom died, Jim had no way of reaching him.

Tess Silvera, the science teacher enters the room and introduces herself to Harrison. She and Harrison speak a few words of Spanish to each other. Strode notifies Harrison that Ms. Silvera will be administering his placement exam so they'll know which grade level he's at.

At the station, Esther, the receptionist, tells "Jim' that there is footage of Matt Caldwell shooting the white deer. This blindsides Dexter since he didn't know about the thermal cameras in the woods. Angela takes him into the conference room where Sergeant Logan, Teddy Reedy, Kurt Caldwell, and Sam (Zoologist) are waiting. Dexter is asked to look at heat signature footage and identify the type of gun the person is carrying. Dexter says it's a Modern Outfitters MC with a distinctive Leupold scope, which is like the one he sold to Matt Caldwell.

Dexter is then shown additional footage from the next quadrant over, about seconds earlier. There is another unknown man heading for the same spot as the first guy. Due to blind spots, nothing else was caught on camera. Kurt screams at Angela for not realizing earlier that this is a criminal investigation instead of just a missing persons case.

At school, Harrison talks to some of the guys he met before. Zach shows him a text message chain with Ethan, a nerdy guy at school where they pretend to be an interested hot girl. Harrison tells them that it’s “fucked up”.

Dexter gives a list of current hunting licenses to Angela. She feels guilty for calling off the search after the first day because a glove was found. She asks, “What was I thinking?” Dexter though, “What I wanted you to think.” He assures her that she is a good cop and will find Matt.

Damian Church, a crime scene investigator from Albany, NY, has been called to Iron Lake. Angela wants to finally get some answers, but Dexter hopes he’s no match for him. As Damian is unloading his van, he clumsily drops his forensic equipment and swears. Jim (Dexter) offers to help and Damian thanks him. Dexter asks if he can watch him work the scene because he’s a "big fan of those CSI shows." Kurt says he’s also coming since it’s his son they are looking for. Damian allows them but insists, "As long as you both stay outside the crime scene and don't disturb the corpus delicti." Teddy asks what that means and Damian explains that it's Latin for "body of evidence.” He again drops his supplies. However, as Damian starts to sweep the crime scene, he quickly establishes himself as very capable. Dexter even comments that he is doing exactly what he would have done if their roles were reversed. When human blood is found that was mixed with the deer's blood, Damian accurately guesses what happened, He believes there was an attack that was covered up. A sample of Kurt's DNA is collected to try and match the blood to Matt’s DNA.

While at the crime scene, Dexter receives a call from Principal Strode to come to the school. When he arrives, he's told that Harrison did exceptionally well on the test but she thinks that he cheated when Tess left the room. Harrison maintains his innocence. Dexter suggests that Harrison retake the test to prove that he didn't cheat. This idea angers Harrison, who thinks his long-lost father should be sticking up for him. Harrison, however, does retake the test.

Back at the search camp, Angela informs "Jim" that search dogs will arrive the next day. Deb anxiously tells Dexter that he needs to move Matt's body ASAP before they arrive. Dexter argues with Deb (in his mind) about what to do about Matt's body. She keeps pressuring him about the situation and even holds a gun to his neck. When Dexter orders her to stop, she asks if he's going to kill her again.

On his way into the bathroom, Harrison tells Dexter that he got an even higher score when he took the placement exam for the second time. Dexter merely says, "Congrats."

Angela calls Kurt to tell him it’s a match for Matt's blood. He’s furious with her for not doing better earlier in the investigation but she assures him she's doing everything she can. Kurt seems concerned when she mentions an upcoming search of the Clarke Caves.

While Harrison is asleep, Dexter slips out, digs up Matt's remains, and takes his orange vest. After reburying Matt, Dexter heads to the spot where the white deer was shot. Using that as a starting point, he drags the vest through the woods up to the highway where Matt's glove was found.

An unknown person puts on a white ski mask, while watching Lily on the hidden camera in her room. She's still alive and sees the door open automatically. She puts on her jacket and runs out of the room and down a corridor. She makes it outside and runs for her life through a field. The person points a gun at her and shoots, knocking her down. From a distance, Dexter hears the shot but assumes it's an early hunter.

When Dexter arrives home that morning, Harrison is awake, eating breakfast. Harrison remarks, "Looks like you had a long night." Dexter lies that one of Mrs. Gross's sheep was lambing and needed his help.

At the search camp, Logan walks up to Jim (Dexter) to tell him that it’s been confirmed to be Matt's blood at the scene. Logan says that he needs to interview everyone who saw Matt 48 hours prior to the incident and Dexter agrees to stop by the station during lunch.

Logan tells Harrison that he noticed he had signed up for wrestling, adding, "Real men are made on the mat."

Rusty and the search dogs arrive and Teddy Reed nearly gets bitten when he tries to pet one of them. A woman, later identified as podcaster Molly Park, offers to help volunteer, claiming to be an activist.  Angela sends her over to talk to Logan.

Deb and Dexter discuss ways to dispose of Matt's body as they sit in his truck outside the school. Every place has drawbacks and she eventually suggests using a woodchipper which culminates in a bloody scene. She is dubious when Dexter vows that he will never murder anyone again.

Elsewhere, someone washes a body (presumably Lily's) and drains the blood.

Angela visits Miriam, a Seneca woman, who remarks that she hasn’t seen Angela in "these parts" for a while. Angela apologizes and says she's looking for Johnny Bullhorn, who is on a list of people that she needs to speak with about Matt Caldwell. Miriam insists that Johnny couldn't have hurt the Caldwell kid because he's been sick with the flu and she's been taking care of him all week. Miriam mentions Iris, her missing daughter, who was Angela’s best friend while growing up.

Editing...

Logan interviews Dexter, asking him if he goes hunting in the woods and if he carries a gun. Dexter says he carries one for protection but he doesn’t hunt. Logan asks Dexter to identify the gun that the mystery man on camera is carrying.

At school, Harrison sits down with the nerdy boy, Ethan, and tells him that he’s being catfished by Zach and that his internet girlfriend isn’t real. Ethan gets revenge on Zach, the bully, by sending a photoshopped text back. Zach tries to hurt Ethan but Harrison physically intervenes and warns him to back off. Audrey steps in to give Harrison a ride home.

Audrey and Harrison go to Gig’s to pick up some sausage and find out that the buck is hanging in the back. She's upset that it’s just being treated like roadkill. Audrey opens up to Harrison about her birthmother who abandoned her and her father. Her car breaks down and she sends Harrison down the road to the auto shop to get some supplies.

Edward Olsen drives up and offers to help Audrey, but she refuses his help telling him to help the planet instead. He comments on her gas guzzling car and drives away.

Dexter hikes up into an abandoned iron mine to hide Matt’s body. He finds a black bear there and he runs out. Angela calls him and invites him over to dinner because Audrey invited Harrison. At dinner, Audrey explains her plan for the white buck - to have a bonfire to honor it. They do it that night.

Dexter apologizes to Harrison for not standing up for him with the cheating accusation. Harrison says “Thanks Dad”. Later, Dexter burns Matt’s body at a local incinerator. He drives into town and sees Kurt, drunk, outside a bar shouting “wahoo”. Kurt runs up to Dexter and tells him Matt’s alive, claiming Matt FaceTimed him. Dexter offers to give him a ride home and Kurt gets in his truck. Dexter wonders why Kurt is lying.

Quotes

  • Ah, wilderness. Snow. Ice. Privacy. Well, maybe not so much privacy. I've got a search party all over my property looking for someone who's literally under their feet. - Dexter (voiceover)
  • Who'd have thought I would find this. A family in Iron Lake. A family that I very nearly lost because of an impulsive kill. I don't want to lose this. - Dexter (voiceover)

Music

  • "Avalanche" by Leonard Cohen
  • "Runaway" by Del Shannon
  • "I Just Really Think I Miss You" by The Pistols
  • "Bad Ass Bitch" by Lunachicks
  • "All I Have To Do Is Dream" by The Everly Brothers
  • "Stop Staring" by Japan, Man
  • "My Heart Can Feel the Pain" by The Tonettes

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