Bates Motel – Convergence of the Twain
By: Kelly Kearney
A Bolder Norman Bates
This week’s episode of “Bates Motel” was the turning point in Norman’s (Freddie Highmore) transformation from dutiful son to unapologetic psycho. When the episode opens, Norman is taking a trip to the prison to let his stepfather know his murderous plot failed. While in jail, Alex (Nestor Carbonell) has been pretending to care about his mentally ill stepson while secretly hiring a hitman to snuff the boy out. Norman lets Alex know that not only did he fail, but Norman added Jim (John Hainsworth) to his list of victims. Alex keeps calm under the watch of the jailhouse guards, but promises Norman that he’s coming for him – when the young man least expects it.
Later, the disgraced cop takes his Norman frustrations out on a fellow inmate (Hugo Steele) and winds up in a brutal fight that lands him in the hospital. It doesn’t appear to be safe in prison for Pine Bay’s sheriff and he calls his lawyer to request a transfer. Alex is playing a good game with his eyes focused on the prize: vengeance for Norma’s (Vera Farmiga) murder.
While Norman is playing fast and loose with his crimes at the prison, Dylan (Max Thieriot) is in Seattle confused over Caleb’s (Kenny Johnson) decision to leave. Emma (Olivia Cooke) confides in him that she told Caleb to go and he understood the position he was putting his nephew/son in. Dylan’s not sure whether to be relieved or feel guilty since Caleb is the only family member currently speaking to him. Should Emma have told him to go? Maybe not, since Caleb headed straight for Pine Bay to see his sister, whom he thinks is still alive and feuding with their son.
Caleb is on to Norman
At the motel, Caleb goes up to the house only to find no one home. Following his gut, he breaks into Norma’s house and what Caleb finds is not what he was expecting. The house is dark, dank and unkempt. There’s dog food over flowing from Juno’s bowl, blonde wigs strewn about the master bedroom and he has a feeling like things are just off. After he looks around, Caleb leaves to go check into a motel and get to the bottom of his sister’s rift with Dylan.
While his uncle is snooping around Pine Bay, Norman is in town watching his new crush Madeleine Loomis (Isabelle McNally) from behind a newspaper. The young woman spots her new friend and the two engage in some flirtatious banter which leads to Madeleine inviting Norman out on a double date. Before Norman can accept her offer Sam Loomis (Austin Nichols), Madeline’s husband, interrupts them and Norman can’t believe his eyes. Sam Loomis is actually Dave Davidson – the cheater Norman spied on at the Bates Motel! This cannot be good for Sam’s survival. After an awkward, pretend introduction, Norman accepts Madeleine’s offer to meet her friend Joann (Andrea Brooks) for a double date. Sam does not look pleased and later confronts Norman and threatens him into keeping his mouth shut about the affair.
With the date set, Norman goes home to get ready and finds Mother in the kitchen learning French. Just because the woman’s dead doesn’t mean she can’t learn French insults to hurl at her son when she discovers he was at the prison talking to Romero. She calls her son a traitor and Norman asks her if she still loves Alex. Mother evades the question like a pro and tells Norman that she will handle Alex if and when he becomes an issue. Norman wonders if that means she plans on killing her husband and before she gets to answer, Chick (Ryan Hurst) is at the door.
Every great friendship starts with a dead body
Last season Chick found out Norman wasn’t handling Norma’s death very well when he saw her body chilling in the living room like she was taking a midday nap. Since then, the artist made it a point to befriend the boy being as they both are kind of loners with bizarre tastes. A friendship sparked and Chick is at the door with a bag of Apples, a dead peregrine and a business proposition. Norman escorts Chick to the basement, where he does all his best work, and the two-talk shop. A deal is stuck for a 50/50 partnership in a taxidermized modern art project. Norman does the stuffing and Chick turns it into art and then sells it to people who are into the macabre side of life.
Things get a little squirrely when Chick mentions the basement freezer and if it’s still working ok. Norman looks panicked, but quickly changes the subject back to Chick and why he wants this partnership. Apparently, the loner artist hasn’t healed from Caleb’s beat down last season and he needs the money. Little does he know that feud is about to be revisited now that Caleb is back in town on a mission. Unfortunately for Caleb, that mission comes to an abrupt halt when a stranger tells him his sister committed suicide a year and a half ago. Caleb is devastated and heads to Norma’s grave where he mourns the sister and one true love of his life. It’s a heartbreaking moment that left me wondering how I could feel for a man who raped his sister. Caleb and Norma’s relationship was a familial mess, but the two survived a childhood most wouldn’t or even couldn’t understand. Caleb has been paying for those childhood mistakes all his life and the death of Norma seems like a strange sort of closure to their past.
Norman’s Awkward Date
While his Uncle is grieving over the grave of his mother, Norman is on the most awkward blind date in history. Of course, there is tension between Sam and Norman and Madeline seems clueless to the shady vibes her new friend is throwing at her husband. Norman does a great job of charming Madeleine and his date Joann with his newly acquired knowledge of the French language (thanks Mother) when ordering the table’s wine. Things turn darker the minute Norma is mentioned and everyone gives him their sympathies over his loss. Norman excuses himself only to find Mother hiding out in the bathroom. Norman freaks and tells her she could blow her cover as she’s supposed to be dead! He shoo’s her out the bathroom window, but not before she asks him if he still likes her.
Mother is not happy that Norman gets to live his life and she is stuck being his keeper. She waits in the car until the date is over and sees Madeleine for the first time. She is shocked and tells Norman that Loomis looks just like her only, ten years younger. After asking her son if he is going to be one of those kinds of guys who dates women who look like their mothers (yes) she hightails it out of the backseat and into local bar where they both complain to the bartender about their jobs. This bartender must be seriously confused because the conversation splits between Norman and Mother telling their versions of one life, split in two.
Its beginning to look a lot like PSYCHO
Mother and son aren’t the only ones drowning their sorrows at a local bar as Chick and Caleb run into each other and the two immediately come to blows. Chick realizes Caleb is upset because he just found out about Norma and the two call a truce for the time being. Caleb has bigger fish to fry than the gimpy artist. He is convinced Norman killed Norma. He takes off to the Bates house with Chick close behind and what happens then is a flurry of crazy nobody saw coming. Caleb smashes the front window and runs through Norma’s house screaming, “Norman! I know what you did!” Room by room the uncle searches until he gets to the basement and finds the body of his sister stuffed and dressed in her Sunday best. Before the distraught brother can process what he’s seeing Mother whacks him over the head with a shovel, knocking the man out in front of Chick who made it just in time to see Norman dressed as his mother, claiming to still be alive!
Will Chick hide Norman’s secret? Will Caleb come survive his nephews homicidal alter? Can Sam Loomis make it out of this season alive? Find out next week on an all new Bates Motel.