I need us to find out NOW that we’re getting a fourth season of Bates Motel, because three seasons in, I haven’t had enough of these people. Putting that on the table right now. And I’m super grateful that the show has stayed a Monday night staple for three years. I love diving into the dark and spooky and downright unhinged proceedings every week. So what did we get tonight? Well, surprisingly, a very lovely civil dinner party that I’m reasonably certain is 110% the calm before the mother of all storms.
So, Norma’s back home, and figuring out what that means. She takes Norman with her to town to fetch another cell phone and he wants to know where she was. She says she drove around and stayed in a motel and she tells him his interrogative behavior isn’t becoming. When they get out to the car with her new phone, she sees the leftover messages from Dylan and the message fromÂ Romero that he was shot, and hilariously comments, “What the hell? I meant can’t a woman get in a freaking mood for one night without the whole world coming to an end?”
She callsÂ Romero back and gets his voicemail and then finds him on her upstairs landing inside the house when she comes home, which seems brazen. He gets no sympathy about being shot and tells her he wants the flash drive, pleading his case that she asked for his help. She tells him it’s at the farm.
He goes to see Gunner, who unlocks the drive for him and when he sees that one of the names in the ledger is his long-dead mom’s,Â he confronts Bob, telling his henchman that one day he’ll kick his ass and enjoy it. Bob says the name was assigned by Romero’s locked-up dirty cop dad. He goes straight to the prison to demand her name be removed, and his father says he will, but first they say some ugly things to each other about Mrs. Romero’s suicide all those years ago.
Dylan asks to speak to Norma and she launches in that Caleb can’t come around and Dylan stops her that he actually wanted to chat about Norman. He tells her about the fugue state and the bathrobe, and he tells her they need to do something–that she can’t just keep Norman locked up. Out at the farm, Caleb asks if he can come to the house and Dylan says it’s not a good idea.
James is all needy Nelly calling Norma and he finally drops by. She’s awkward and distant until she says Norman needs help and she asks if he’ll talk with him and he stupidly says yes. That goes as well as you think it will when Norma and James completely miscalculate and Norma leaves him alone with Norman in the basement.
It takes about two minutes to cut through the niceties before Norman wants to know the particulars on James shagging his mother. James keeps his cool, initially, until he reverse-grills Norman about why it matters and asks him if he wants to sleep with Norma and gets choke-holded for his troubles. He flees upstairs and out the door and yells to Norma that her son needs help now.
RomeroÂ calls Norma when he drinks himself too far to drive and she comes to get him. She puts him to bed in the motel and they have a moment after she asks him what happened and he actually tells her the truth. He strokes her hand and her arm and she leans in and then tucks him in and stands up. He tells her she’s beautiful and she reminds him that when he sobers up, he won’t be happy he said that.
After Norman’s outburst with James, Norma asks Norman what’s wrong and he says he worries they’re not as close as they were. She says she would neverÂ leave him. Â It was just a lapse. “We all go a little crazy sometimes,” she says. Eager to restore some sort of domesticity to their lives, she decides to fix a proper dinner. She asks Dylan to stay, and invite Emma.
Dylan comes to see Emma in the office and invitesÂ her toÂ dinner as a thank you and she happily agrees, but her father (a recast Andrew HowardÂ from Hell on Wheels) cuts their exchange short when heÂ shows up to bring her home, sharing with Dylan that her night with him and Norman depleted her. Dylan is upset and apologetic, and Emma is embarrassed.
Dylan goes to see her dad alone later and he tells Dylan that she may only have a few years left and even less if she doesn’t pace herself. Dylan had no idea, and says as much. He asks what can be done, and her dad says she’s on a transplant list but probably not high enough. He mentions there’s a hospital in Portland where you can buy your way up the list. Dylan asks how much. Her dad says $20,000. Dylan thinks about that and says he’ll be in touch.
Emma gets ready for dinner and when her dad tries to keep her home, she tells him that she needs to do this, that Dylan is someone who’s really amazing and wants to have dinner with her and she wants to spend some of whatever time she has left with him. She says she can’t even tell him why that’s so important. Her dad says she can go but sweetly teases her that she didn’t win the fight.
As Norma’sÂ outside trimming herbs for her meal, Caleb appears at the top of the stairs, with flowers and a note, thanking her for hearing him out. She says they can’t be friends. He understands and starts to leave, but in the next breath she asks him to stay for dinner, just the once.
They go inside and Dylan an Emma are there and they greet him warmly. Caleb takes in the room, and comments on the piano. He asks Norma to play and she does. They sit down and sing “Tonight You Belong to Me,” warm and light and easy with each other, and Dylan just watches. Norman comes in and under his breath accuses Dylan of bringing Caleb into their house, and he say it was Norma.
RomeroÂ comes into say he’s leaving and Norma insist he stay to dinner, too. They all sit down (after anÂ unaware Norma takes the chair at head of the table out of Norman’s hand and slides it back for Romero).Â Norma toasts–thanking them for fulfilling a long unmet dream of home where friends could come and go and eat dinner together. Caleb stands and toasts Norma for being the sun in aÂ cold universe. Norman says their food will get cold. Norma starts serving, and they eat, and are a family. Happy. Whole.
Later that night, Norman lies in bed,Â unable to sleep. As “Tonight You Belong to Me” plays again, he walks down to Norma’s room, where she’s sleeping above the covers. He watches, and then he puts his hand on her waist and slides itÂ down her hip.
My first thought was–I have no idea how people can sleep through that. My second thought was–lock your doors, woman.
One of the things that has come up when we’ve had the opportunities to chat with the cast and creators of Bates Motel is this thread of craving normalcy underneath this oppressive sense of sadness and dread about what we know will eventually come to pass. So, as I watched the Bates/Massett clan dine with their friends, warm in the glow of love and family, there was a darkness hovering in the room because it cannot last. For the briefest of moments, they do have a little peace, which will makeÂ its undoing that much more brutal. They don’t even need outside forces to destroy it–all of the ingredients are in the room.
I love whatever is happening with Dylan and Emma. As I said last week after “Norma Louise,” one of the bloggers on the call a couple of weeks ago asked Max Thieriot about a possible Emma and Dylan relationship and the gal was either psychic or trafficking in spoilers, because that had never crossed my mind.
I’m totally on board with that idea now. I just don’t want Dylan to get killed trying to buy her a new set of lungs–he offers to take Caleb’s run for Chick when Caleb backs out and Caleb shuts him down that he can’t do it. And then he later says heÂ understands the desire to help Emma when he sees her at Norma’s. Not sure which way that conflicted parental guidance will push him.
The wink, nudgeÂ tonight has Norman andÂ Romero both commenting to Norma that they thought she might have been deadÂ when they couldn’t track her down.Â “Why does everybody immediately jump to, ‘I died?'” she asks Romero. Oh, Norma.
Bates Motel airs Monday nights at 9/8c on A & E. You can rewatch “The Last Supper” later tonight at 12 am/11c and online starting tomorrow.
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