Bates Motel Season 2 Episode 9 – TV Review
I knew it.
TL;DR Norman did have sex with Miss Watson, and he did kill her; he spends this episode locked in a box due to Nick’s kidnapping; Dylan kills Nick instead of Zane; Norma breaks down, and also ruins her relationship with George; Emma chucks a whinge over everybody excluding her.
Oh, so you haven’t been the centre of the universe for 2 whole episodes. You poor thing.
Well, the episode’s titled “The Box,” so Norman gets to spend all his time in said box, which is a bug-infested, not rain proof metal locker out in the woods. Nick puts him in there to give Norma incentive to convince Dylan to kill Zane. Dylan does try to get the deed done, but the one thing Zane is actually competent at happens to be protecting himself from assassination, so it doesn’t happen. Dylan goes to see Nick to talk things out, but ends up killing him. Oh well. Whatever works. Meanwhile, Norma goes through a mental breakdown because her baby is in peril. Romero comes knocking and has decided he needs to know if Norman killed Miss Watson or not (hearing that Norman had sex with her doesn’t help Norma’s mood, either), and becomes an ally when Norma tells him about the kidnapping. George also stops by, but Norma being a stressed out bitch isn’t good for their relationship. And Emma, finally fed up with being left out of the loop, quits working at the motel.
Nobody cares. Go stand near a naked flame.
This episode is certainly a ramp-up from last episode’s “Meltdown.”
The closest thing to a bum note it hits is Emma’s attention-whoring subplot. But my cruel hyperbole aside, at least it makes sense for the character.
It’s just that, like, I don’t care, though.
Why I hate this episode:
Neither does anyone in the show. When Emma tearfully gives Norma a last chance to include her, Norma just pats her on the head and closes the door in her face. Take that as a sign, Emma.
Also, and I’m gonna let my ableism flag fly here, but you got heaps of hours, an employer who is really good to you, and hot-ass boyfriend out of working at the motel. Good luck finding that in any other job in White Pine Bay. You can’t lug that oxygen tank around the marijuana fields all day.
Why did the one thing that Zane managed to do well have to be self-preservation? Just fucking die, already. I’m not sad to see Nick go, but Zane needs to have a bullet in the head sometime soon.
Nick’s goons are terrible goons. Dylan, who I shouldn’t have to remind you is an important figure in Nick’s rival drug operation, goes to Nick’s place to meet with him. The goons escort Dylan to Nick’s office so they can talk behind closed doors. In fact, that privacy is so complete that the goons don’t hear the not-very-quiet scuffle that goes on inside the room, including their boss getting fatally whalloped with a fire poker in the face. Having your secret meeting room be so soundproof that your goons can’t protect you? Smooth.
Dylan can also just run out the side door of the room to safety. Where are your fucking perimeter patrols, Nick? Jesus.
Nick’s goons find the pearls and newspaper clipping on Norman and take it to Nick. Nick dies before he can do anything about it. What a waste.
George and Norma’s fight is due to both of them being kinda dicks to each other. He feels like she’s playing power games, she thinks he’s an idle-rich, affluenza sufferer. Just shut up and enjoy each other’s gentials, would you?
Oh, and the episode ends on a semi-cliffhanger as Norman is still locked up inside the box, and with Nick dead, they presumably will have difficulty finding him. Then the preview for next week shows Norman totally out and about and fine. What tension?
But it’s not all bad:
We finally get confirmation as to what happened on the night of last season’s finale. Norman goes into a trance in the box, and he remembers that night’s events: Miss Watson totally did fuck him, and he also totally slit her throat. Mid-sex. An appariation of Norma told him to. It’s the advice any good mother would give.
Not to be the only one of her family to get a death scene this episode, Dylan kills the crap out of Nick. After admitting he was unable to off Zane, Nick becomes frustrated and pulls a gun on Dylan, presumably to kill him for his failure. Dylan will not go quietly into that good night, and slugs Nick’s face off with a fire poker. He tries to get him to spill Norman’s location, but dead men don’t talk. You might not have killed Zane, Dylan, but you solved the problem anyway. At least until Nick’s subordinates come calling for revenge.
I’ve got to hand it to Zane on getting his act together. He takes no chances when Dylan comes to visit, and seems to be aware of both Dylan’s disdain for him, and the possibility that Dylan and Kathleen want him dead. Zane tells Dylan to go convince Kathleen that Nick is the one who needs to die. You got your wish, bro.
Despite all this excellent noise, Norma steals the show with her anguished attempts to contact Norman when she finds him missing, and her increasingly erratic behaviour once the ransom call comes in, and Romero reveals that Norman’s semen was all up in Miss Watson’s v-chip. The showstopper is her voicemail to Norman after Romero’s first visit, where she promises that no matter what (she also knows Romero thinks he might be the murderer), she loves him. Season 2 has been a “Good Mum” proving ground for Norma, hasn’t it?
Norma, unsurprisingly, gets the best line of the episode. After the ransom call, where Nick demands she convince Dylan to do what he asked, she rushes to Dylan’s office and flatly tells him to comply with whatever the mission is. Dylan admits that Nick wants him to kill Zane, and Norma is unflinching: “Well then you have to do it.” And to Dylan’s credit, he tries. Bates family is best family.
I’ll give Emma some pity points for at least trying to make herself heard. She is right in her bitching about getting constantly left out of the loop. Her tragic, final plea for acknowledgement from Norma is met with more withholding, so I’ll allow Emma her tears.
Things aren’t all lost, though. After Norma immediately regrets fighting with George and unsuccessfully tries to chase down his car as he leaves, Emma (who watched the fight go down) comforts her. Honorary daughter status confirmed?
When Norma creeps home from her rendezvous with George last episode, she is all stealth-like and pretends that she’s been home all night. It’s a shame Norman wasn’t there to be fooled by her excellent spy moves.
Romero valiantly offers to defend Norma from Nick once she tells him about the kidnapping. Well, he did put a bullet in the last creep to cross her path. He loves her. You know it’s true.
Romero has organised for a polygraph test for Norman. Once he tracks him down, I guess.
I also appreciate that he has decided to take the pursuit of truth seriously and actually investigate Miss Watson’s murder.
Oh, and there’s only 1 episode left to go. I hope we don’t have to wait almost a year again for another Bates fix.