Bates Motel Season 3 Episode 3 – TV Review

Bates Motel Persuasion Norma Norman bathroom

It’d be so disappointing to find out this is a hallucination.

It’s a hallucination.

A sexy hallucination.

TL;DR Annika isn’t dead, but then she dies; Romero faces resistance from the head honcho of the Arcanum Club; Caleb is successfully ingratiating himself to Dylan; Norman distances himself from Norma because she doesn’t trust him.

But Apparition Norma is always ready and willing to undress him. It’s a decent fallback.

So the Annika mystery deepens this episode. The body that washed up last episode wasn’t Annika, but another high priced escort. Romero tries to question Bob, the owner (?) of the Arcanum Club, but Bob blocks him. Moreover, Bob calls in someone to oppose Romero in the upcoming sheriff election. Romero has a tendency to fucking murder anyone who threatens the White Pine Bay status quo, so Bob better watch himself come the season finale. Meanwhile, Norma tries to balance her new marketing course with Norman’s nasty efforts to pull away from her because she thinks he’s killed Annika. Just as things look bitterly hopeless, Annika turns up at the motel dying from a gunshot wound, and hands Norma an ominous USB flash drive. Meanwhile, Norman begins to crack from Norma’s betrayal. He acts generally douchey, but maintains that he remembers the night he drove with Annika, and he didn’t kill her. Apparition Norma does pay him a visit, though, and implies that maybe he did (of course, we know now he didn’t). Wishful thinking, girl? Meanwhile, Caleb buys expensive lumber for Dylan’s pot farm against his wishes, but Dylan appreciates the apparent altruism. And Emma stumbles upon Caleb at the pot farm (and she knows the sitch, remember), and Dylan asks her not to tell Norman or Norma.

She’s a good little pet.

I was betting on Annika not having been murdered by Norman. That would have been too easy.

What I wasn’t betting on was her sudden reappearance, death (I think?), and the expanding mystery via USB.

I thought we’d at least get a few more gratuitous shower scenes.

 

Why I hate this episode:

Caleb is still, like, super gross. I just can’t look at his faux-conciliatory, incestuous, rapist face without being disgusted. And Dylan is falling for his shit, too. Goddammit, Dylan. After the years of hard times you’ve given Norma, yet you’re willing to break bread with this arsehole?

The reason Emma meets Caleb at the farm is because Dylan had his marijuana plants delivered to the hotel, and Emma quickly brought them to the farm to prevent Norma from seeing them. Dylan is grateful. Probably shouldn’t have had them delivered to the bloody motel that Norma works at/lives at, then?

Apparition Norma heavily implies to Norman that he did kill Annika. I sincerely doubt that Norman did anything violent to her. Both because she shows up alive this episode, and she also tells Norma to use whatever the USB contains to help herself and her son. At least commit a murder first before creepily owning up to it, Apparition Norma. Gosh.

Oh, and I’m not sure if the psychology tutor who hits up Norma after class is trying to make a move on her, or if he’s just hustling to get a client. He unsubtly inserts the fact that he has an ex-wife into the conversation, so I’m inclined to believe the former. But then he hamfists in the “You could use therapy. Here’s my card.” Norma ain’t got time to play your games.

 

But it’s not all bad:

Norma, again, carries this episode with her soaring emotional responses. The jewel in the crown is her breakdown at the end of the episode, just after she saved Norman from drowning in the bath (Apparition Norma told him to), and just before Annika shows up. Just her simple walk from the house down to the motel to close up is heartbreaking. Vera Farmiga is exquisite.

Massive points also to Norma for kicking the fucking bathroom door in when Norman doesn’t respond.

I enjoyed her apprehension about beginning her marketing class. After all, she is the dreaded Mature Age Student. She accidentally goes into a psychology class and is treated poorly by the tutor, before realising she’s in the wrong place and hurriedly leaving.

The tutor finds her later to apologise for his behaviour, which is when he plays the flirt/hustle a client game. He says that, as someone who went through a bad upbringing, he can sense the same in her, and suggests therapy could help. Norma initially scrunches his card up and blithely tosses it away. But she picks it up seconds later and takes it with her.

Norma also gets the episode’s best line in this scene. The tutor apologises for being a dick, so Norma reassures him: “I guess we’re all dicks sometimes.” So articulate.

Annika’s arrival was a relief. She gives Norma the USB with her (maybe?) dying breath, and tells her to use it because it’s “important.” At a quick guess, I’d assume it’s something to do with the Arcanum Club’s secrets. But White Pine Bay is a messy place, so it could be anything, really. Cool.

And Norma does call 911, so fingers crossed Annika isn’t dead.

While I don’t appreciate Norman strutting around and wounding Norma emotionally, I can definitely get behind him spinning more out of control. Near the end of the episode, he confides in Emma that Norma thinks there’s something wrong with him and he’s “bad.” Emma tries to assure him he’s not, but Norman goes apeshit from the pressure of his mother being against him.

This is what eventually leads him into the bathroom where Apparition Norma appears and suggests he submerge himself in the water to try to remember what happened. It appears to work, as we see a few memory flashes. She also undresses him, and that belt action is hot.

Dylan doesn’t get to do much this episode except pal around with Caleb. He and Emma have a sweet little silent understanding when her face drops at the mention of Caleb’s name, and he asks her to not tell anyone.

She and Gunner also say hi to each other. It’s refreshingly not awkward. Although she does conceal her sex with him from Dylan.

I look forward to seeing how Romero deals with Bob and Marcus, the opposing sheriff candidate. With the other dead girl also being a high priced escort ($10,000 a weekend. Cha-ching, baby), and Bob’s strong reaction against Romero’s questioning, I expect the Arcanum Club is soon to have their guilt proven, and face a Romero takedown.

Bob does jibe Romero with the fact that Romero let the town erupt into a drug war. This cat’s got claws, too.

There’s a quick scene where Emma dresses extra nicely to impress Norman, and it seems to work. So maybe Norman isn’t going to take her totally for granted.

Oh, and Norman defies Norma’s protestations by eagerly agreeing to talk to Romero about the dead girl. He probably needs a little more practice for his “I’m a cool guy” act, though.

Bates Motel Persuasion Norman couch

We can blame Miss Watson for this one.

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About ijusthateeverything

Sincerity is death.

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