By using our website, you agree to the use of our cookies.

Bates Motel “The Arcanum Club” 

Photo Credit: James Dittiger/ A& E
Photo Credit: James Dittiger/ A& E

At first, I was just going to cover one or two scenes of the episode and then that turned into four or five, so let’s just look at all of the intricate pieces of tonight’s Bates Motel.

Norma and Norman

Fairly quickly, Norma realizes Annika hasn’t been back to the hotel despite her car being out front, and she’s mildly concerned. Then Emma lets slip that Norman was the last one with her, and her concern goes straight to Defcon 1.

She confronts Norman, who lied to her that he hadn’t seen her, and he comes clean (ish, I’m guessing) that she stayed in town and said she would be drinking so Norman brought her car back for her, assuming she would cab it.

All of this is highly logical and probable except that it’s Norman.

Norma and Romero 

I’d forgotten that Romero took a room at the motel when his house burned. He packs up to go, his new house finally ready, and Norma stops to bid him goodbye. They have a sweet exchange where he offers her a check for the summer and she won’t take it because he’s a friend of the family. He insists, reminding her that bypass will be ready any day, so she accepts it, and they start to awkwardly shake hands and then it becomes a hug.

Norma hangs on a little longer than she should, and Romero lets her. Before he can drive away, she stops him again and tells him that she felt safe with him there all summer. She doesn’t mention her concern about Annika to him.

Norma and Annika

Norma steals an invitation from Annika’s room, that puts her out on the edge of town at the episode’s namesake Arcanum Club. She doesn’t have the password to go with the invitation so, being Norma, she scales a wall and trespasses.

When she spots some of the men heading out to a small adjacent building, she goes for a peek at the window and gets an eyeful of Eyes Wide Shut being presided over by Kevin Rahm (Mad Men). Then Romero spots her and calls her out and she comes clean that she’s looking for one of her guests, who was  last seen with Norman. He gets it and says he’ll look into, that he’s not there for the sex party, and then he sends her on her way.

Photo Credit: Cate Cameron/ A& E
Photo Credit: Cate Cameron/ A& E

Dylan and Caleb

Despite his better sense, Dylan lets Caleb stay, and he and Gunner are moving full steam on their new farm. Later that night, a random dog runs up and fights with Gunner’s hound and out of nowhere, Kenny shoots him.

The next day, a stoner type named Chick (Sons of Anarchy‘s Ryan Hurst) wanders up looking for his dog, and Dylan is amiable enough until Caleb saunters out and without hesitation, introduces Dylan as his son. They talk around the weed business without ever getting right to it.

That night they go calling on Chick. While Caleb tries to intimidate him, he only seems intent on engaging Dylan, who’s still, in his mind, walking a legal path with a medicinal 99 crops. Caleb essentially says they will all leave each other alone and they’ll have no problems. I’ll call bullsh-t on that right now since this is episode two.

Norman and Emma

After Emma outs Norman to his mother about Annika, she makes the point to him that she won’t repeat the things they do together to Norma. They go on their first proper date and it spirals into a sea of awkward as Emma talks about sex being magical and special and naughty (go, Gunner), while Norman doesn’t see it as all the special. Emma then talks to him about maybe not feeling that way because of his ties to Norma, but he still has to grow up and be his own man, unless he wants to be Peter Pan.

He says he’ll be Peter Pan if she’ll be Wendy. And then she says very simply that Wendy and Peter Pan don’t have sex. And Norman does a full-body, “Oh,” as it finally registers what Emma is putting on the table if they’re really going to date each other.

She drives him home and they kiss and he shuts her down that he doesn’t want to start something they can’t finish. She drives away and he’s halfway up the stairs when Norma, who barreled into the highway sign with her tank of a Mercedes, pulls up. She’s upset and crying and Norman asks her where she’s been. She tells him a partial truth that it was a party, and she ran into the highway sign. He hugs her and says he’s worried about her with all she’s been through. They walk arm and arm up to the house.

The next morning, a dog barks at the body of a young woman face down in the water.


I get that Emma has likely wanted to date Norman from the jump but I hope her inner voice kicks in before her hormones. Olivia Cooke and Freddie Highmore were so good in their date scene as she was really talking about sex with him as a friend, and what that meant to her, and it became clear to her that his experiences were not at all the same as her experience with Gunner.

I have no idea what Chick is all about other than that he is dangerous. When he trailed off into a discussion about bunnies and two guys in a book, he lost me. If that’s a reference I should know, comment me! I like that Dylan is just nervous enough about Kenny that he’s not all in. Hopefully he’ll keep on with that. We didn’t see him at home at all this week–I miss him with Norma.

Norma and Romero was unexpected because we only saw the explosive side of him last week. I’d forgotten that he was genuinely helpful to the Bates family, and I totally get why Norma felt safe with him, even if Norman was the only one she should fear. I like the idea they might be allies in trying to protect White Pine Bay from her son.

Bates Motel airs Mondays at 9/8c on A & E. Click here if you missed our interview with Freddie Highmore and Kerry Ehrin.

Related posts


  1. nickie_b34

    I’m pretty sure the two men and rabbits comment was referring to “Of Mice and Men” not exactly sure what it’s supposed to mean though…

    1. Heather M

      Thank you! I knew that I *should* have known it but I didn’t. 😉

      1. StopPoliticsAsUsual

        I wondered how many people actually caught that literary reference. It was pretty obscure for a mountain man, espcially to be used in such a snarky manner.

    2. Jennifer White

      It is from Mice and Men. Lennie liked to pet the rabbits as he was gentle and innocent. But then there is the dangerous side we find he has that come from his sheer strength. I think Chick was comparing these two as he already believed that he knew who the most dangerous one was.

      1. Heather M

        Thanks, Jennifer. Other commenters also chimed in on the reference.

  2. Lee

    It is from “Of Mice and Men” and my guess is that Chick was trying to insult Caleb by implying that he reminds him of the character Lennie.

    1. Heather M

      Thank you! It’s been 30 years since I read that.

      1. Tobi

        Just looked up the clifnotes and it meant: Lennie’s personality is like that of a child. He is innocent and mentally handicapped with no ability to understand abstract concepts like death. While he acts with great loyalty to George, he has no comprehension of the idea of “loyalty.” For that reason, he often does not mean to do the things that get him into trouble, and once he does get into trouble, he has no conscience to define his actions in terms of guilt. Lennie only defines them in terms of consequences: “George is going to give me hell” or “George won’t let me tend the rabbits.” He is devoted to George like a dog is devoted to its master, and he tries to follow George’s commands. There is a childlike wonder in Lennie that can be seen when he first sees the pool of water and slurps down huge gulps of water like a horse.

        For anyone who looks this up later that is just starting season 3!!

  3. Justin F

    The showner is hugely into foreshadowing.
    It means that Dylan is going to shoot his father.

    1. Heather M

      I figured that from the moment he hit town. 😉

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.