Bates Motel Season 3 Episode 2 – TV Review

Bates Motel The Arcanum Club Norma window

“Well, I can see why he likes it.”

If Dylan’s subplot is anything to go by, then the drug trade is still going to feature prominently in Bates Motel.

And now we’ve got a secret organisation called the Arcanum Club to add to the mix, too.

White Pine Bay is a busy little place, isn’t it?

TL;DR Annika is super missing; Norma suspects Norman did it, but also investigates the Arcanum Club; Dylan has trouble with a nosy neighbour, and Caleb’s macho bullshit; Norman and Emma go on a date.

Norman is a fuckin’ player, man.

So the major plot this episode revolves around Annika’s disappearance. At first, Norma is just blandly curious. But when Emma mentions that Norman was the last person to be with her, she hits full-on, Norma Bates-speed panic mode. She struggles to balance an earnest pursuit of Annika with the sinking feeling inside that Norman may have pulled a Miss Watson on her. Her search leads her to the Arcanum Club, a secret organisation full of rich white men, and a party where Annika was meant to be working. Romero happens to be there (more out of obligation than anything), and she mournfully fills him in on Annika’s disappearance, and how she thinks Norman might have done it. Meanwhile, Caleb is getting a little too enthusiastic about helping Dylan and Gunner set up their weed farm. Mr Nosy Neighbour from across the mountain tries to intimidate them, so Caleb acts like a fucking whack job in return. The chance for peace is still on the table, though. Meanwhile, Norman and Emma have an uncomfortable date. Because Norman isn’t really that into her, you know? And the episode closes as a woman’s body washes up on a lake shore.

Presumably, Annika. Obv.

It’s incredible how Bates Motel can burn so slowly, yet so brightly.

Norma, as is her style, carries the episode with her conflicted emotions over Annika’s disappearance. I feel like her fervent pursuit of what happened to her is simultaneously in the hope of finding her alive and well, thus proving Norman is fine; and also, in case Norman did kill her, to cover up the evidence.

Kids these days, amirite?

 

Why I hate this episode:

I’m still disappointed in Emma. For someone who’s lived around the Bates family for this long, she’s such an oblivious little twit. You need to start putting this shit together, girl. You can’t be wasting your time; you haven’t got that much.

She’s also totally unaware that Norman isn’t really interested in her. Wise up, baby.

Caleb is a brutish dickhead. It’s bad enough that Dylan seems to be quietly tolerating him, but then he starts shooting dogs and harassing neighbours. Kick this fool the fuck out.

After Nosy Neighbour tries to intimidate them with the fake story about his fake dog, Caleb and Dylan decide to go intimidate him back. Instead, they are intercepted and surprisingly offered a drink and a friendly chat. Nosy Neighbour, or so he says, simply wants to get along and keep things peaceful around where they are so they don’t draw any unwanted attention. This is completely reasonable, but Caleb makes sure to take an unnecessary dump on things before the meeting ends and proclaim that they’ll shoot guns as much as they damn well please. Ugh.

And, of course, Caleb is calling it “our property.” Bitch, it’s Dylan’s property. Go away.

I’m fairly certain Gunner did lose a bit of weight, and he changed his hair. And it’s not working for him.

Oh, and Romero and Norma fumble a perfect opportunity to kiss when he’s leaving the motel (his house is fixed or whatever). They first do an awkward hug/handshake dance, then almost kiss on the lips, but puss out for a kiss on the cheek. Then when Norma stops him before he drives off, there’s another long pause that would have worked great for a pash. I know I ship Norma and Norman, but Romero has got that hunk factor. Why not both, Norma?

 

But it’s not all bad:

The Norma/Romero scenes are the highlights of the episode. His farewell from the motel has more UST than I think is safe for human consumption. Romero, in particular, seems to be longing for any sign that Norma could feel something back for him. Aww.

Later on, he busts her while she’s spying on the Arcanum Club party. She spills the beans about Annika’s disappearance (she had been concealing it from him in the hope she could find Annika herself), and flat out tells Romero that she thinks it’s possible she’s dead and Norman is responsible. Romero, naturally, is his usual, accommodating self, and promises to look into it. He then shoos her away from the party before she is discovered by the other guests. They make such good partners in crime, but they could make excellent partners in life, too.

Norma gets an understated best line of the episode when she stops Romero before he drives away from the motel: “I just wanted to tell you I always felt safe when you were here.” Me, too.

In addition to the dual concerns Norma has for Annika I mentioned earlier, there’s also a heavy undercurrent of fiery jealousy. The only older woman Norma wants Norman driving around with is herself, dammit.

Likewise, she is happy when Norman tells her about dating Emma because she doesn’t see Emma as a threat in any way.

Emma and Norman have a pretty standard teen date at a local restaurant, but their conversation turns out to be not so mundane. Norman awkwardly brings up whether or not Emma slept with Gunner, and if she felt bad after sex. He says that he does feel bad after sex, and Emma makes an interesting observation: Norman probably feels bad because Norma so often tries to prevent him from growing up, and having sex is such an adult thing, so he feels guilty for doing something that would effectively be against Norma’s wishes. Keen eye, Emma.

The only redeeming feature of Dylan’s subplot is Dylan’s seeming willingness to co-operate with Nosy Neighbour. When asked how many plants they’re cultivating, Caleb immediately tells Nosy Neighbour to STFU, but Dylan then quickly undermines him by saying they’re planting exactly ninety-nine plants. So Dylan hasn’t fallen for Caleb’s influence just yet.

Norma’s dress for the Arcanum Club party (despite being rejected at the gate, she still sneaks onto the property) is divine. It’s got a fish tail hem and everything.

On the way home, she feebly launches an attack at the sign for the bypass construction. Then she just runs it over with her car. It works.

Emma and Norma snoop through Annika’s room for clues (which is where Norma finds the Arcanum Club party invitation), and Emma is amused by one of the sex whips.

Oh, and the kisses may be missing, but Norma and Romero do have one raunchy-ass hug. There’s emotional inhalation and everything. Those animals.

Bates Motel The Arcanum Club Norma Romero hug

The allure of the guyliner is strong.

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About ijusthateeverything

Sincerity is death.

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