'Dexter' Recap: It's All About Family, Guys

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SPOILER ALERT: The recap for the "This Little Piggy" episode of "Dexter" contains storyline and character spoilers.

"You turned me into a murderer of an innocent woman, and made me an accomplice to your decades-long serial killer spree!"

"Well, you tried to kill me by driving us both into the ocean!"

"Yeah, but I saved you!"

"Which you only had to do because you TRIED TO KILL ME!"

"Eh, let's call it even and be brother and sister again."

We're not quoting directly, mostly, from "This Little Piggy," the fifth installment of "Dexter" Season 8, but that pretty much sums up the whiplash speed at which Dexter and Debra's relationship has spiraled out of control and back into alignment in just a handful of episodes in the series' final season. Here's how they got there …

Joey Quinn, Aspiring Sgt.

Since he passed that sergeants exam, Quinn is going all he can to prove himself worthy of Angel's consideration to promote him to sergeant. That means taking on the politically charged Norma Rivera murder case, in which the victim is, er, was, the maid — and mistress — of a very wealthy man. Quinn wants to question the very wealthy, and randy, Mr. Hamilton, but Chief Matthews cautions him to tread lightly; after all, the Hamiltons "are good friends to Miami Metro."

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Dexter, Quinn, and Det. Miller (Quinn's rival for the promotion) head off to question Mr. Hamilton, who confesses to an affair with Rivera, and offers security camera proof that he didn't kill her. His son, on the other hand, may prove to be the more interesting member of the Hamilton clan …

The Psychopath Whisperer vs. the Psychopath

Having brokered the thawing of relations between relatives Dexter and Deb, Dr. Vogel is flipping through a stack of mail — with her favorite song, Cass Elliot's "Make Your Own Kind of Music" — playing happily in the background, when A.J. Yates crashes through her windows and threatens to kill her if she tries to get away.

Deb plans a pop-in at Vogel's, only to happen upon an open door and a living room covered in glass ... she knows Vogel's in trouble, and she tracks Dexter down to A.J. Yates' house to get help.

Dex and his Miami Metro cohorts are dealing with their own discoveries, which Masuka pithily describes as "cray cray": Yates has multiple women buried in his backyard, and Masuka has determined that he not only buried them with their purses and IDs, but he also broke all of their toes before killing them.

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But Dexter and Debra have more immediate Yates problems to deal with, as Deb tells her bro Vogel is missing, and he knows it's Yates who has Psychopath Whisperer-napped her. Deb tells Dex she wants to help find Vogel, but he first asks her why she saved him after trying to drown him. "I knew you were going to die, and I couldn't imagine my life without you in it." (Well, except for those few minutes when, you know, I tried to kill you).

Dexter: "So, what … now everything just goes back to normal?"

Deb: "It was never normal."

You said it, sister.

And They're Off

Dexter and Deb make a plan to ferret out Yates, while we see he has taken Vogel to an empty house in another part of Miami. Yates is angry at his doctor … he's upset that she ordered brain surgery performed on him. She says it was for his own good (more of her rogue methods of treating psychopaths), but he's not buying it. Plus, he knows she aimed Dexter at him, so she's staring down a double barrel of Yates' rage, and her attempts to manipulate and soothe him are not working.

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Also not working: efforts to keep the Hamilton family out of the Rivera murder case. Quinn and Miller question a food truck vendor near Rivera's apartment, and he puts Hamilton near the scene of the murder, near the time Rivera was killed. Oh, but it wasn't Papa Hamilton there … it was Junior.

Meanwhile, Back at the Office ...

Quinn's witness recants his story about seeing Zack Hamilton near the Rivera crime scene, and Matthews warns that people, especially those seeking a promotion, should leave the Hamiltons alone lest there is a lot more evidence tying them to the murder.

Angel's detective work on behalf of the department provides Dexter with the info to pinpoint the section of town where Yates may be holding Vogel, so without sharing that connection with Angel, Dex and Deb get to work trying to find the doc and her very, very sick patient.

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Time is of more importance than they know, though, as Yates is melting down rapidly, recalling with Vogel the reason he needed her therapy: His mother abused him terribly, frightening him so badly as a child that he would hide out under his bed, terrified by the clacking of her shoes as she paced back and forth in front of the bed (ah … Yates' toe-breaking and shoe obsessions explained).

Vogel's attempts to identify with Yates only serve to rile him up, and he starts to go after her toes with a pair of pliers. "So ... which little piggy won't be making it to market?" he asks. As a last resort, Vogel starts yelling at Yates as his mother would, and smacks him in his face, twice. She draws blood, and her actions startle and disorient him long enough for her to get to her cell phone and dial Dexter's phone, with her cell left on speakerphone. A quick call to Deb's boss Elway, who traces Vogel's phone, leads the Morgan sibs to Yates's latest cray cray mess, and not a moment too soon.

Psychopath Vs. Psychopath

Because Yates discovers Vogel's cell phone connection. When Deb and Dex get to the house, Vogel is stashed in a closet, and Yates is hiding — where else? — under a bed. The duo unties Vogel, and, spying Yates under the bed, Dexter takes a pointy-ended curtain rod off the wall and stabs it down into, and through, the bed, killing him in the one place he had always felt safe.

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Vogel, feeling safe back at her home, praises Dexter and Debra for patching up their differences, and Dexter invites the ladies out on a boat ride. To dump Yates' body.

"I wanted to be with family," Dexter tells the women.

As Deb said earlier, "The family that kills together …"

"Dexter" Short Cuts:

  • Poor Vince Masuka. After all these years, he finally gets a storyline, with sperm donation daughter Nikki popping into his life, and he suspects she might be trying to get to him for his cash. Here's hoping she legitimately just wants to connect with her dad, and that Masuka's hiring of Deb to investigate Nikki doesn't blow up his new relationship before it has a chance to begin.
  • Best line of the night, when Jamie blackmails Dexter into (briefly) going along with the double date she arranged: "Serial killer bested by 100-pound nanny," says Dex.
  • Who else still associates that Mama Cass song with "Lost"? It's being used pretty effectively with Vogel, too, as she continues to insist on practicing her own kind of music while treating her very volatile patience. Will her arrogance come back to haunt her again this season? We're guessing yes; first, she still seems to have underestimated Dexter's capacity to be empathetic, and might that not mean she and Harry were overzealous in their decision to turn him into a serial killer? Second, the ninth episode of the season is titled "Make Your Own Kind of Music," which suggests a Vogel-heavy installment.

"Dexter" airs Sundays at 9 PM on Showtime.