Jul 29, 2013

Dexter: "This Little Piggy"

By Mike Horky

Sorry for my absence last week folks, but I’m back and boy did Dexter take a wrong turn when I was gone. It’s not that tonight’s episode, "This Little Piggy", was terrible, but it’s definitely placing the series in the direction of a lackluster finale. It’s a step backwards for season eight, and it makes an awkward position out of the middle of this season. Is Dexter ever going to get caught, or will he literally get away with murder (all 131 of them)?

Dexter has always been a character that’s gotten away with almost everything, and the consequences rarely affect him as much as they do his loved ones. This episode seems to embrace that character trait too firmly, creating an untouchable criminal out of Dexter Morgan. Following the aftermath of Deb’s ludicrous attempt to kill Dexter, and then save him, the two find themselves in the council of Vogel. She tries to get them to make amends, all while explaining to both Dexter and Deb why they do the things they do. It’s a rather strange, ineffective opening to this episode, not so much in the concept, but in the execution. What could have been a moment of understanding for Dexter concerning his faults and the emotional turmoil Deb has been going through, turns into a “let’s continue to defend Dexter” party, which after a while has gotten pretty old. If this is the final season, shouldn’t Dexter be answering for his misdeeds and suffering consequences? Because right now it looks like Dexter won’t ever learn his lesson, while everyone he loves learns it for him. The episode continues to give Dexter a break, as he finds himself even closer to finding The Brain Surgeon. But what looks like an easy catch for Dexter, proves to be more complicated as Vogel is abducted by Yates and brought to an undisclosed location. This could have led to a few very interesting episodes of Dexter, putting Vogel in danger, and adding another victim to his already reckless lifestyle. Vogel’s capture and possibility of death could have been the catalyst to finally get Dexter to realize how much hurt he’s caused people, which had been starting with Deb. But, classic Dexter moment, he finds out where Yates is hiding instantly and kills him, all while rescuing Vogel and getting away scot free; no harm done. And on top of that, Deb seems to be cured of all her hatred and depression, so Dexter doesn’t have to feel responsible for anyone’s pain. So it’s a win for Dexter, but not for the series. Everything is lining up to be too perfect, and all threats towards Dexter appear to be thrown away too quickly. The final scene of this episode proved to be one of the most frustrating of the series, as Dexter brings Deb and Vogel out on his boat while he disposes of Yates’ body. Dexter has found his family, the people he can expose himself to. It’s as if the writers are trying to further isolate Dexter from the idea that he is anything but a friendly, lovable serial killer, instead of the vicious monster his father saw years ago. It’s too perfect of a picture, and not the kind of show Dexter should have become. Along with this, we are treated to horribly developed side plots dealing with Quinn’s determination to make sergeant, Masuka finding out he has a daughter, and the murder of a maid. The last sub plot introduces Zach Hamilton, son of a wealthy family, and who looks to be the prime suspect in the murder of the maid. From what the previews suggest, he might become Dexter’s protégée, which could be detrimental to the season, or provide an interesting storyline that might deliver the satisfying ending we have all hoped for.

In spite of all these faults, the episode had some shining moments, all of which were in the acting category. Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter continue to give it their all this season, and Hall especially delivers in this episode. From his tortured, angry outburst during the opening therapy session, to his sad longing for Deb’s companionship throughout, Hall nails all the emotional complexities of Dexter. Yet, once again it’s Charlotte Rampling who steals the show. Her scenes with Yates are incredibly compelling, as she doles out Vogel’s sinister charm and eerily calm analysis. As she speaks to Yates, and tries to calm him down, you feel as uncomfortable as he does. And when she yells at him, it resonates. Rampling has created a character that is both likeable and detestable at the same time.

Sadly, "This Little Piggy" appears to be business as usual for Dexter, and leaves me worried that the series will end on a sour note. It’s still up in the air as to how it might end, but the path it’s straying towards does not look too promising at all.

Grade: C+

Last Week’s Grade ("Scar Tissue"): B-

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