When we chatted with Carlton Cruse Friday about season three, he mentioned they were intentionally returning to the darker “monochromatic” atmosphereÂ of the showâ€™s first season, and I have to say, Iâ€™m completely down with that. I like my moody shows dark and broody, and out of the gate, we’re back to the overcast skies and rain. Last season, despite the sunny appearances, the show went some increasingly dark places, and if the season premiere Is any indication, weâ€™re going there again.
Norma and Norman
We begins the season with mother and son sharing a bed, and taking it one step further by spooning, Itâ€™s sort of a fascinating dynamic thatâ€™s really uncomfortable to watch, and at the same time you canâ€™t not watch. We find out theyâ€™ve spent the summer together, under the same roof with Dylan, who sees them in bed together and raises the issue with Norma that maybe itâ€™s time to shut that down. Norma takes his advice to heart and tells Norman that, and he of course snits out about it.
When they get to the first day of school, heâ€™s reticent to go and she yanks him out of the carâ€”which is so not the best thing for an already maligned and whispered-about student. Then he sees MissÂ Watson at lunch and she chatters away at him until she bleeds out and he panics and races home to Norma. He tells her the truth and she talks him down.
She decides to pull him out of school and promotes him to manager. Then a pretty young guest arrives and just like that, a dangerous switch flips in Norman. He befriends her, and then peeps her until Norma busts him.
Norma gets news from home that her mother has died and she icily tells the lawyer sheâ€™s not interested. When Norman catches her crying and assumes itâ€™s about the peeping, he apologizes and she tells him sheâ€™s grieving her mom. She reneges on her earlier decision to make him sleep in his own room and once again he cuddles up to her.
Norman and Emma
Norman is caught up in his newfound freedom from high school and his shiny new job when Emma brings him down to earth with the news that her health is deteriorating. Out of left field, he tells her he thinks she should home school with him and that they should date and sheâ€™s thrilled. She doesnâ€™t know Gunner is back in town, which will surely bring some complications later.
Norman and Annika
The new guest, Annika (Tracy Spiridakos) is a lovely young woman who openly tells Norman that sheâ€™s a sex worker hired out for parties. Sheâ€™s aware enough to realize that she probably shouldnâ€™t have blurted that out to Norman, but unaware enough to realize that telling him that works as a trigger.
They have a sweet chat when he comes to help change her light bulb and she tells him that heâ€™s lucky he and his mom are close. When Norman offers to ride along into town to help her findÂ the restaurant where she’s working, she talks to him about being able to disengage from the physicality of working the parties and that sex is a natural need. We donâ€™t see her again, but Norman brings her car back to the motel.
Dylan and Caleb
Dylan is happily back at home and seems to be enjoying a genuinely warm relationship with Norma, for the first time ever. Theyâ€™re transparent about his business and what heâ€™s doing. The DEA has moved into White Pine Bay so heâ€™s changed his mind about continuing in the illegal weed business and instead wants to run a small legal farm for medicinal use. Romero tells Dylan heâ€™s on his own then, and Dylan says thereâ€™s no problem because heâ€™s legit but Romero intimates heâ€™s still in danger without him.
Caleb turns up again, and all kudos to Kenny Johnson for making him so raw and wounded as he quietly and sadly tells Dylan he just wants to know him because heâ€™s now his only family with the death of his mother, and he tells Dylan he knows heâ€™s his father. Dylan runs across him a few times and keeps telling him to stay away, and Caleb says Norma doesnâ€™t have to know. He also chillingly makes the case that their mother was ill and their father was extraordinarily violent, so all he and Norma had were each other.
Dylan later hears from Norma that her mother died, and she talks about a ribbon her mother gave herÂ during one of her lucid periods.Â Sheâ€™s emotional with him in a way she doesnâ€™t initially let on with Norman.
Gunner shows up to offer his weed services because Remo has fled town, and my Spidey sense there is that heâ€™s undercover. I know nothingâ€”just a vibe. If he is now, hopefully he wasnâ€™t when he slept with Emma.
And those are all the pieces in place as we begin.
I love watching all of these characters feel their way, as we are always on the razorâ€™s edge of realizing how horribly wrong itâ€™s eventually going to go. I was doing that nervous laughter thing watching Norma and Norman in bed, mostly with an eye toward â€œoh boy, this is bad,â€ and also just as a fan of the performances asÂ Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore walk this tightrope of extreme affectionâ€”lying in bed and talking at homeâ€”and extreme agitationâ€”Norma screaming at him and physically pulling him out of the car at the school.
The soft-spoken scenes between Dylan and Caleb were my favorite because Dylan just got his mother back, and is really working on that relationship, and then hereâ€™s Caleb,Â lost and broken and wanting his own relationship with his son while still grasping with how that son came to be. I look forward to seeing what Max Thieriot does with playing that struggle.
As for the inevitable fate of Annika, Iâ€™m guessing that mystery will be our throughline, and it puts Emma in a pickle about whether to vouch for Norman since she saw him leave with her. And I fully expect that Norma’s loss will finally register for her and dovetail back to Caleb being in town. Weâ€™ll also have to see whatâ€™s up for Romero as heâ€™s left to find an alternate income stream and way to hold onto his power without the weed business funding the town.
Iâ€™m so glad weâ€™re back!
Bates Motel airs Mondays at 9/8c on A&E. You can catch a repeat of the premiere tonight atÂ 1:05 am/12:05 cÂ and throughout the week.
If you missed it, our interview with Vera Farmiga, Carlton Cruse, and Kerry Ehrin is here.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Previewing SurrealEstate Season 2 Finale + Revisiting the Season with George R. Olson
[Warning; General spoilers ahead.] Strap in, SurrealEstate fam, because we’ve arrived at the Season 2 finale, and it’s a doozy. As we saw in the closing moments of last week’s episode, Susan is back. But because we have one more episode left, it’s not as simple as all that, as…
Tyler Hynes Talks Through His Eight-Film Hallmark Holiday Library
Things you realize when you have to re-record your shows on a new DVR – just how many Hallmark movies your people have done. Fan favorite – and one of ours – Tyler Hynes has done eight Christmas movies for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries since 2018. Alongside…
Spencer Creaghan Talks About Creating SurrealEstate’s Signature Sound
SurrealEstate is winding down its second season, with two episodes left, and just as in Season 1, Spencer Creaghan’s music continues to be a character unto itself. And every week, he shares tidbits with the fans via his s social media channels, something he started to help give them an…
Andrew Walker Talks Christmas Island and the Magical Hallmark Community
[Warning: Spoilers for Christmas Island.] Now that the Screen Actors Guild strike has been resolved, we’re able to resume regularly scheduled programming and interview our favorites and yours. Up first, earlier today, I spoke with Andrew Walker about Christmas Island, which premiered last weekend and encores tonight and through the…
George Olson and Danishka Esterhazy Talk SurrealEstate “I Put a Spell on You”
[Warning: Spoilers for the episode.] Tonight’s fun new SurrealEstate found Luke caught up in an especially bewitching woman, Kay, played by Tara Yelland, Susan trapped in her house, and Zooey learning the ropes. In the next part of my conversation with showrunner George R. Olson and producing director Danishka Esterhazy,…
Danishka Esterhazy Talks SurrealEstate: “The Butler Didn’t”
[Warning: General spoilers for the episode]. Tonight’s new SurrealEstate, “The Butler Didn’t,” follows the team as they investigate the years-earlier mysterious death of a woman whose ghost now reenacts her hanging by dropping over the banister from the second floor to terrify anyone on the landing or at the bottom…
Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders Talk the From Season 2 finale
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale.] How’s everyone doing after that finale? While we wait and wonder and hope for a third season announcement, soon, here’s what Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders had to say about their parts of the finale, and where they hope they get to go next….
Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders Talk From Season 2 + A Season Finale Preview
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] It all comes down this, #FROMily. As Sunday’s episode wraps up Season 2, we begin with the aftermath of the terrifying onset of seemingly simultaneous attacks on Julie, Marielle, and Randall, which accelerate the “We gotta get out of this place” of it all. Sara comes…
Alison Sweeney Talks About What’s Next for Hannah and Mike After Carrot Cake Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery
[Warning: Spoilers for Carrot Cake Murder.] Everybody OK after that Hannah Swensen Mystery twist? Thankfully, our favorite crime-solving couple is still on speaking term, even if they’re on a break (hopefully not that kind of break). Most importantly, we already know this isn’t the last film in the series. No…
Counting Down to From Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] We’re just shy of two weeks away from Season 2 of last spring’s obsession, From, which premieres at 9 pm/8c, Sunday, April 23rd, on MGM+ (formerly EPIX). If you never picked it up last year, now’s your chance, and you can do it for free, catching…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…