Dexter season 8 episode 5 review: This Little Piggy

Billy is full of praise for this week's surprising episode of Dexter, which boasts a captivating performance from Charlotte Rampling...

This review contains spoilers.

8.5 This Little Piggy

Last week, I was majorly disappointed in the shabby crash sequence and a perceived lack of proper connections between events. A week is a long time in La-La-Land, it seems, because almost everything in This Little Piggy, I pretty much adored.

The opening scene in which Vogel helped Debra and Dex come to terms with their love/hate relationship was heavy on metaphor. Vogel’s increasingly maternal role in their lives played out like a family spat with her playing arbiter to a sibling rivalry. Last week I proposed the notion that Vogel is Dexter’s mother, garnering much derision. But while that might not be literally true, it’s becoming their relationship, and in this story that concept was further expanded to include Debra.

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The family theme was also worked through the two subplots. One in which Vince quite rightly feels the need to find out more about his unexpected daughter, and the other where a rich kid killed daddy’s home help. The first story was lovely, because we get far too little Masuka, and C.S. Lee is a very fine actor, who can move smoothly from the pervert version of his character to a more nuanced one I enjoyed here.

Slightly more of a problem was the rich kid plot, mostly because it works on prejudices that Joey has had since his character’s introduction. Also, isn’t Dex supposed to have a sixth sense about other killers that wasn’t triggered by the super-creepy son? The fact they didn’t take DNA is probably crucial, because it will turn out that the sample they have is close to the father’s, but no match.

The highlights of this story were undoubtedly those involving Charlotte Rampling, who was quite breathtaking as Dr. Evelyn Vogel. Her fear and disorientation when her abduction hood came off was palpable, and the terror of ‘little piggy’ sequence genuinely made my skin crawl. Perhaps I have sensitive feet, or I’ve stubbed my toes too many times, but my empathy with Vogel was total.

Then, just when you think she’s going to be mutilated, Vogel plays a masterstroke of becoming the mother that drove Yates crazy. Exciting stuff, and brilliantly executed by Rampling. The only problem with this whole sequence was the general assumption at the end that Yates was the Brain Surgeon, which he’s most certainly not. His MO was entirely different, and while he bore the scars of that type of surgery, there are only limited ways to access the deeper parts of the brain. I’m sure Vogel knows that the Brain Surgeon isn’t dead, and she’s manipulating Dex and Debs for all she’s worth, mimicking how she manages to still have fully connected toes.

As with most killers who die at this point in the season, Yates isn’t the main course, or even an entree, that’s undoubtedly the real Brain Surgeon. I’ll go out on another limb, and say that Elway is being far too nice and helpful to Debra, and given that he’s made no obvious play to bed her, my suspicions are aroused.

For those who aren’t keen on this season, I can see that the swing from Debra trying to kill Dexter to where their relationship is at the end is quite a stretch. It probably is completely unrealistic, though I’m also confident that Debra’s issues with Dexter are likely to surface again before we’re done.

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Over the many seasons of Dexter, where I like the show most is when it’s poised to go in a direction that I’m not anticipating, and thankfully, I think this story brought us to that place. 

Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, Scar Tissue, here.

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