Is 'Dexter' Finally Happy? 'This Little Piggy' Finds His Way Home

Dexter is the sort of series that assumes its hero will never achieve perfection. Instead, Dexter is a show about that protagonist simply trying day in and day out to maintain the status quo. Unfortunately for Dex, his status quo just happens to be extremely illegal. So why is it that midway into Dexter's final season, Mr. Morgan appears to have already achieved his perfect life?

Sunday night's "This Little Piggy" takes Season 8 to a strange place. The entire episode revolves around Dr. Vogel being kidnapped by her tormentor and former patient, Yates. It feels strangely like a premature season finale. By episode's end, Dexter and Deb team up, suddenly united by the shared goal of saving their surrogate mother, Vogel. They sweep in to an unoccupied house where Yates threatens to break Vogel's toes before she does her best Mommie Dearest impression and he locks her up in a closet. Dex and Deb find Vogel, and while they play dumb about Yates' signature hiding place under the bed, Dex grabs a conveniently pointy curtain rod, rams it through the mattress and then through Yates' chest. In one swift motion, Deb, Dex, and Vogel are made into one happy family while Yates bleeds out — even though only a few hours prior Dexter was shooting daggers at Deb and refusing to forgive her for trying to kill him. But hey, that's how family works, right?

Right, if you're a Morgan — or an honorary Morgan like Vogel. This episode feels oddly final, unlike most other seasons of Dexter, in which one season-long antagonistic relationship dictates the ebb and flow. Instead, with only a few episodes under our belts, we find ourselves along for a peaceful boat ride as Dexter drops Yates' remains into Bay Harbor while Vogel looks on like a proud mother and Deb looks on like a little sister who's finally joined her sibling in the horrors of adulthood. If it wasn't clear that Dexter was in his happy place, he manages to spell it out for us, explaining that he brought them along for this ceremonial body dump because he wanted to "be with family."

Of course, that doesn't involve Harrison. He's far too young and angelic (both in demeanor and in appearance, with all that bright blonde hair) to be a part of this adults-only family moment, but even that separate piece of Dexter's life seems to be perfect. Jamie, his sitcom-grade sassy nanny, tricked him into a date with the cute neighbor Cassie (One Tree Hill fans may recognize the one and only Haley James) and Jamie even offers to stay with Harrison over night while Dex attends to his late-night business — about which, she has no penetrating questions. Perfect? I think so.

But, it gets better for our anti-hero. Cassie is a carefree, cool girl whose sideways smirk definitely signals that she could have a dark side (though hopefully not Hannah-dark, for Dexter's sake). For now, she's just the sexy neighbor who gets Dexter out of this forced double date, but not without making plans for a make-up session. (And since this is premium cable, we're almost guaranteed a make-out session too, right?) It's just the right amount of romantic possibility, without the responsibility Dex can't handle. Also, pretty perfect.

Dexter's got his surrogate mother, his sister, his son, a perfect nanny, and a sexy neighbor who seems to be easygoing enough to deal with his abnormal schedule without asking too many questions. Could this set-up be any more perfect? In Dexter's world, I'd bet not. But that's exactly why we know that the proverbial shit is about to hit a fan fit for an Everglades AirBoat. Enjoy it while it lasts, Dex.

Image: Showtime