The family that kills together.
“This Little Piggy” opens with a fantastic family therapy session between Dr. Vogel, Debra, and Dexter. This comes on the heels of last episode, where Deb tried to kill Dexter and herself by veering his car off the road into the water. After being saved from the wreckage by a fisherman, Deb pulled Dexter from certain death (in a style reminiscent of Friday the 13th I might add). Now, Deb and Dex have an opportunity to air their feelings in the warm confines of Dr. Vogel’s home. But Dexter isn’t too keen on the session. Hysterical to watch, Dexter is pissed at Deb. Who could blame him? She tried to kill him. But for Deb, rising out of the water to save Dexter was therapeutic. She finally hit her rock bottom.
“This Little Piggy” continues with Dexter hunting down AJ Yates, the serial killer Miami Metro is looking for, The Brain Surgeon. But Yates is on the run and has his eyes on his ultimate prize, a mother figure to supplant his own. Interestingly enough, with Debra now heavily involved with Dr. Vogel, the good doctor’s abduction by Yates forces brother and sister to work as a team and track Yates. Is this a sign of something to come? Is this how Dexter will end, with a new Dynamic Duo killing on the mean streets of Miami? Only time will tell – five more episodes to be exact.
Family is layered throughout “This Little Piggy.” Whether it’s Masuka’s sperm bank daughter showing up after twenty years or Deb and Dexter trying to patch up their lives, blood relations are examined. In a new murder case seemingly sensitive to the higher ups in Miami Metro, a high profile family comes under question. The family’s son, Zack Hamilton, appears to be a mini-Dexter, skulking around his father’s outdoor pool. He has ‘the look’ and Dexter knows it. But high profile families don’t like exposure, and Zack has his father’s wallet on his side. This family will hide the dirty truth because of that blood relation, even if it ended in murder.
Another prevalent theme in Dexter, not just in this season but throughout, is how massive childhood trauma can shape and trigger something dark, deep inside. It is as if the killers, whether Trinity, Dexter, The Ice Truck Killer, or The Brain Surgeon are trying to find a solution to ease their pain. The only way they can is through inflicting more suffering on their victims, perhaps giving the killers a short reprieve until they must do it again.
The Brain Surgeon is obsessed with women’s high heeled shoes. He then goes about breaking the toes of his victims before killing them. This little piggy goes to market; this little piggy gets twisted with a pair of needle-nose pliers. We find out this is due to a childhood trauma, the clacking of his mother’s heels as he hid under his bed, waiting for punishment. But The Brain Surgeon had help; he was one of Dr. Vogel’s patients. Is Dexter telling us that some people cannot be helped, they cannot be saved? They will always have to satisfy their craving, their hunger, until they are either caught or die.
That’s a comforting thought.
The end of “This Little Piggy” contained a scene that could have finalized the series. Not that it was a great ending nor highly satisfactory, but it could have ended with Vogel, Dexter, and Debra all as one happy murdering family. But we are only halfway through the final season. The slate is now fresh for the final half of Dexter.