Bates Motel Season 3 Episode 1 – TV Review
My mothership has returned.
No, I mean that. I ship this mother. With her son.
It is the the immutable truth, you know.
TL;DR Norma lets Norman start home schooling so he can become the motel manager; she struggles with her grief over news of her mother’s death; the illegal drug trade in town is dead; Dylan starts his own, legal crop, but has to deal with a returned Caleb; Romero has to deal with the pissed off former drug workers; Norman maybe kills a hot girl staying at the motel.
Bradley must have taught Norman a little something about committing murder in a season premiere.
So it’s the start of Norman’s senior year, but Norman is still plagued by memories of Miss Watson. Norma suggests he start home schooling, which would also allow him to become the motel manager while she spends time on a community college marketing course. Norma and Norman’s relationship growth (he sleeps in her bed not infrequently) doesn’t go unnoticed to a skeptical Dylan, and Norma tries putting the skids on their affections. Until she needs a little consolation for her grief over news of her mother’s death. Meanwhile, an escort named Annika is staying at the motel, and Norman spies on her, and then later apparently kills her. Hey, whatever you turns you on. Meanwhile, Dylan pisses off Romero by telling him he isn’t interested in becoming a drug kingpin, and starts up his own legal crop with Gunner (Emma’s cute weed dealer boytoy from before). Then Caleb comes rolling around in pursuit of a little father-son bonding time. Ew. Meanwhile, Romero has been forced to comply with the DEA and eradicate the existing drug businesses in town, which doesn’t sit well with those made recently unemployed. And Norman convinces Emma to home school alongside him, and to start dating him.
Nothing’s more romantic than a pity relationship because Emma’s date of death has been bumped up.
God, it’s good to be back.
The Originals may have the Elijah Hotness Parade, and Revenge may still be chugging along with good will from its season 3 resurrection, but there has been no show in the history of I Just Hate Everything that I’ve been such an unabashed fan of.
Bates Motel is my rock.
Vera Farmiga is my waifu.
Let it not fall into seasonal rot.
Why I hate this episode:
Fucking Caleb’s back. I got quite enough of his lying, incestuous, raping arse last season, and he wasn’t even around that long. I can only hope he’ll swiftly be on the receiving end of Norman’s homicidal compulsions. Or if we’re really lucky, Norma or Dylan might bump him off. I don’t give a fuck about his desire to have a relationship with Dylan. Just cut your incest baby and run, dude. There’s not a therapist or a daytime talk show in the world that could make this anything other than horrifyingly uncomfortable.
Caleb even tries to sell Dylan some sob story about his and Norma’s fucked up parents in an attempt to justify/give context to his sex with Norma. Um, no.
Despite her feeble attempt at acquiring a backbone at the end of last season, Emma is quick to return to her meek ways. Norman, out of obvious pity for her (she says how her condition has worsened), and out of obvious pragmatism, suggests they become dating official. And she fucking leaps for it. Respect yourself, baby.
Also, what happened to you and Gunner? He’s still around. And he’s much more attractive than Norman.
I’m disappointed Norma is so in favour of Norman being home schooled. She’s the one banging on about how he needs to be more normal. Because what’s more normal than spending literally all your time with your “lets you sleep in her bed and spoon her” mother?
Norma’s new hair isn’t doing much for me. Although, I wasn’t that keen on her season 2 hair when I first saw it, but I came around.
Romero tries to talk to Dylan about continuing the drug trade in town. How? The DEA razed it all, and I would presume they’d be on the lookout for further activity. Does Romero need the money or something?
Oh, and Remo (Dylan’s partner) is gone. I quite liked him. I know he was over on The 100 for a bit, but his character is dead now. I hope he comes back.
But it’s not all bad:
It’s not all bad at all. It’s Bates Motel.
After mostly teasing us during the first two seasons, it looks like Bates Motel is ready to give us more on the Psycho front. Norman is ready to break free.
While shooing a raccoon away at night, he notices Annika’s bathroom window is open. He, of course (he’s a teenage boy, after all), spies on her taking a shower. Bonus points for the fury on Norma’s face when she catches him.
He also goes out of his way to help Annika find a restaurant she’s working at by riding in her car with her (Emma begins to offer advice on getting to the restaurant, but Norman claims it’s tricky and complicated). While in the car, Annika, who, to be fair, seems to be enjoying talking about sex stuff with a teenage boy, describes the escort work she does, which turns Norman on.
Then, to close the episode, Norman returns to the motel in Annika’s car, but without Annika. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this turned out to be innocuous, but I can hope.
Dylan does a good job of rebuffing Caleb’s attempts to get to know him. He eventually, wordlessly, gives in when Caleb makes it clear he’s not going to stop trying. I like to imagine Dylan’s resistance isn’t purely because of Caleb being fucking disgusting, but also out of allegiance to Norma.
He conceals the fact Caleb’s around from Norma, though. But that’s probably in her best interest.
Norma herself manages to steal the show with her conflicted grief over her mother’s death. She mentions how her mother was always heavily medicated for an illness she didn’t understand, and that her tears are more for the fact that she never got to have a real mother. This grief is also what changes Norma’s mind about Norman being in her bed (she had earlier kicked him out after Dylan was like “That’s weird, yo”).
Norma’s face when she hears the news of her death over the phone is so potent. And she also turns down anything from the will.
When Norma and Norman first arrive at school, Norman decides he doesn’t want to go in. Norma gets out and rips him out of his seat in front of everyone. Classic Norma.
Gunner is still a cutie. He looks like he’s lost a bit of weight or something, which kinda sucks. I liked him just the way he was.
Both Norma and Emma show jealousy when they observe Norman showing interest in Annika. Naturally.
A couple of now-unemployed drug men harass Romero at a bar. So Romero head smashes the mouthier one, and struts out like the badass he is.
It’s a relief to see Olivia Cooke away from the banal horror movies she’s been in recently.
Oh, and Norman hallucinates Miss Watson comforting him at lunch on the first day of school. It’s not a comforting hallucination for long.