THIS LITTLE PIGGY RECAP
- “This Little Piggy” begins with Vogel working with Dexter and Debra in a “family therapy” session. Vogel is the counselor, attempting to get to the bottom of both of their feelings. Dexter is furious and incredulous as to why Debra would try to kill him, while Debra seems genuinely remorseful over her actions. Vogel expresses empathy for Debra, diagnosing her actions as Deb acting out of her post-traumatic stress. She also says that Dexter should be pleased about this in a way, because that this latest action was Debra finally hitting the proverbial ‘rock bottom,’ and that she will be getting better from here on out. However, Dexter is still incredibly angry about the situation and he leaves after a few minutes, but not before throwing some stinging verbal barbs. Deb remarks that she has never seen him so angry before. Vogel claims that this is because Dexter is more hurt than anything else. He feels like Deb betrayed him.
- The next morning Jamie sets up a double dinner date between herself and Quinn, and Dexter and Cassie. She really thinks that Dexter and Cassie have chemistry. Dexter isn’t particularly enthused about this idea, knowing he still has to catch Yates. However, Jamie is insistent.
- At Miami Metro, Quinn runs the briefing of the Norma Ramirez murder since Batista is elsewhere. They have some semen obtained from the corpse, and are already looking at Norma’s former employer, Mr. Hamilton, as a possible suspect. He asks Dexter to accompany him for the DNA testing. Before they go, Chief Matthews coaches Quinn to be polite and respectful in this investigation, since Mr. Hamilton is a friend of the police force. When they go, Mr. Hamilton confesses that he was indeed having an affair with Norma, but offers them proof that she left his house alive. While they’re present, Dexter meets Mr. Hamilton’s creepy son Zack. Zack is interested in Dexter’s work, and he confidently informs Dexter that he knows his father didn’t do it. (Gee, could HE have killed her?!)
- AJ Yates breaks into Dr. Vogel’s home to abduct her. Not too long afterwards, Deb arrives to try and talk to Vogel and discovers that she’s been taken. She immediately tries to get ahold of Dexter.
- Masuka is particularly happy today, because he just used a DNA test to find out that he is, in fact, Nikki’s father. He’s very happy at the idea of having a daughter, since he doesn’t have any family beyond his two aging parents. However, he starts feeling suspicious about why Nikki just appeared now out of nowhere. He’s particularly bothered when Quinn suggests that she might be hitting him up for money, and he grows more suspicious when he buys her a particularly big lunch. Later in the episode, he hires Debra to do a background check on her to see if there’s anything he should know about.
- Angel gets AJ Yates’ information from the girl Dexter saved last episode, and they investigate his house. It isn’t long before they find a group of decomposing bodies buried in the backyard. Each one of the female corpses have had all of their toes broken, and been buried with only one shoe.
- Deb arrives at the crime scene and asks to immediately speak with Dexter. She informs him that Vogel has been taken, and Dexter agrees that he needs to try to save her. However, he doesn’t want Deb to accompany him, because he still doesn’t want her to get hurt. Before they begin their search, they have a quick moment of healing when Dexter asks Deb why she saved his life in the last episode. She says that even after everything that’s happened, she can’t still imagine her life without Dexter. Getting back to business, they quickly deduce that Yates is probably keeping Vogel in one of the houses that he’s installed cable for, since he knows which houses will be abandoned for the holidays. They divide these houses up between themselves, and also subtly get Miami Metro to help them out in their search by revealing the projects.
- Yates angrily confronts Vogel at his hideout. She tries to apologize for her part in his brain surgery, but he doesn’t want to hear it. He’s clearly batsh*t crazy, and more than a little bit creepy.
- Meanwhile, Quinn is still investigating the Ramirez murder, and he finds an eyewitness that places Zack Hamilton near the victim’s home right before she died. However, the witness recants his testimony when he’s later brought in for questioning. Mathews recommends that Quinn drop this pursuit since he doesn’t have the evidence. He also implies that Quinn might not make sergeant if he tries any more agressive tactics.
- Dexter and Deb both pursue their own leads with Yates, but when Dexter gets back to his apartment, he gets caught up in the double date with Jamie, Quinn, and Cassie. Jamie forces Dexter to stay at the date, or she’ll quit. Despite this, Dexter gets Cassie to help bail him out of the date without hurting Jamie’s feelings. Impressed that she was willing to help him, he promises a rain check with her later. He then goes to pick up Deb so they can start checking the houses to try and find Yates.
- Yates has Vogel in one of the homes, and he’s preparing to break her toes the way he did with the other women. She delays him by first reminding him of his issues as a child and trying to empathize with him. When this tactic fails, she starts channeling Yates’ own abusive mother to temporarily cow him, even going so far as to slap him hard enough to draw blood from his mouth. While he leaves to mop up the wound, she grabs the cell phone to call Dexter. Once he answers, she leaves the line on so he can hear what’s going on.
- Deb quickly calls Elway over at the firm, asking him to try and trace the phone number. Once he provides the address she and Dexter make their way to the house, listening to Vogel’s conversation with Yates the whole way over. After a while, Yates realizes what Vogel’s done and who she’s called, and he turns the line off. Dexter and Deb arrive at the house, and after searching a while, they find Vogel locked in a bedroom closet. Dexter realizes that Yates is hiding under the bed, and he misleads him by saying they should leave. Yates is preparing to take his knife and slash Deb’s ankles, but Dexter leaps onto the bed and thrusts a sharp iron curtain-rod through the mattress, impaling Yates on the other side and killing him. Deb is clearly shaken by this abrupt bit of violence, but she seems to recognize that Dexter saved her life.
- After gathering up all the evidence of Yates’ messages to Vogel, Dexter takes both Deb and Vogel out on his boat to dispose of the body the way he usually does after a kill. Both Vogel and Deb notice that Dexter has never done this with anyone else before. He claims that he wanted to do it with his family this time. With that, the episode ends.
“This Little Piggy” had some really good moments, but there were several issues that prevented it from being great.
“This Little Piggy’s” theme was all about family, and I feel that it was explored in several different avenues. We of course had the temporary resolution of the conflict between Debra and Dexter, along with Masuka’s mixed feelings about Nikki, but a few other issues that fit the theme very nicely. I especially liked Dexter’s little moment with Harrison at the beginning of the episode. We don’t often see Dexter having to discipline his son, so I liked this touch. He’s still absolutely adorable.
Also on the subject of family, we got to learn more about Yates’ and his backstory before he was abruptly killed off. From what Dr. Vogel was telling us, Yates was horribly abused by his own mother, which is why he preys on women. This touches on the classic theme that monsters like Yates are not born but made through years of abuse. I liked how Vogel channeled his mother to freak him out, and Charlotte Rampling showed us just how versatile she can be with that scene. I would be a lot more impressed if they hadn’t clearly taken that aspect from Red Dragon. It’s exactly what Graham had to do with Dolarhyde.
After the last two episodes, I’m rather displeased that they killed Yates off so quickly. The scenes he had with Vogel were some of the creepiest that the show has given us in a long time. The writing developed Yates to such a degree that it’s very possible he could have been a Big Bad in one of the earlier seasons. That being said, it doesn’t really surprise me that they killed him off so soon. Over the last two seasons, I’ve felt that the writing team has had to condense a lot of their bigger ideas to fit inside the final two years. Last season had way too many small story arcs that didn’t fit together very well, and now I’m a bit worried that we’re going to start seeing more of that in this final season.
One of the most disappointing things about this episode was how they barely addressed last episode’s surprise ending. We only get two real scenes dedicated to Dexter and Deb talking about it, and I don’t buy that their issues could be resolved as quickly as they were. This sounds exactly like Dexter’s relationship with the hitman from last season. The hitman is focused on killing Dexter, but he puts that hatred and dislike aside to satisfy the needs of the plot. I thought that was dumb in that situation, and it’s even dumber here.
But by far the biggest problem I had with “This Little Piggy” was how some of the scenes were framed. For example, in the first scene between Vogel and Yates, they almost exclusively focused on Vogel’s face, and there wasn’t anything too special about it. They completely excluded the more dynamic and interesting Yates. He was so filled with energy he couldn’t sit still, and I would have loved to actually see the expression on his face, instead of focusing on the back of Yates’ head.
It does look like the season is going to take yet another twist next episode. I just hope it’s in a better direction than the way this one ended.