Bates Motel Season 3 Episode 4 – TV Review

Bates Motel Unbreakable Norma underwear mirror

We’re saving that wad for later.

It’s been a long time, but we’ve finally run into a Bates Motel episode that made me go “meh.”

The star has dimmed.

TL;DR Norma tries unsuccessfully to access Annika’s USB; Romero continues to get nothing out of Bob or the Arcanum Club; Norman and Emma have arbitrary relationship drama; Dylan partially saves the episode as his relationship with Norma hangs in peril.

Because Norman is a fucking little snitch baby.

So, sadly, Annika is definitely dead. Norma still has that USB flash drive from her, though. A couple of attempts at accessing the data fail, so she ends up giving it to Dylan to hide, because it looks like the Arcanum Club wants that shit back. And because Dylan is the only son she trusts right now. Meanwhile, Romero beats down Bob’s door again, but again is met only with evasion. He does manage to link Annika with Lindsay (the other dead girl) and the Arcanum Club, though. So there’s still room to keep digging. Meanwhile, Norman takes Norma and Dylan’s newfound closeness to heart and does his best to piss Norma off. Mainly by getting hot and heavy with Emma. Emma ends up getting pissed off when Norman patronises her for her condition, though. But all hope is not lost, as Norman follows Dylan at the end of the episode, finds out Caleb is back in town, and pledges to expose Dylan’s situation to Norma, thereby ruining all the progress they’ve made. Dylan’s anguish is the only truly redeeming feature of the episode.

I just try to imagine that Caleb isn’t loitering in the background. Because he’s yuck.

It pains me to register my disinterest in this episode. Bates Motel was my rock.

But damn, this one’s a snooze. I always thought animosity between Norman and Norma would be dazzling, but it’s just awkward.

Just get back to the incest. That worked well last season.


Why I hate this episode:

Caleb is still around, and he’s still a fucking waste of space. He goes out into town with Gunner, against Dylan’s advice, and almost runs into Norma. He makes a big, emotional deal of making sure she doesn’t see him and sneaking away. Dylan blows up at him later when he finds out, and Caleb is all “whatever, whatever, I do what I want and if she sees me she sees me.” Then why did you mope and hide?

During this argument with Dylan, Caleb falls off the barn they’re building and cuts his hand open. He refuses to go to the hospital because he’s wanted by the police, so Dylan sews his hand up, instead. Bates Motel unexpectedly cheaps out on the effects, because “Caleb’s hand” is perfectly, prosthetically still in every shot of Dylan stabbing into it with the sewing needle. Disappointing.

Norma should know by now that she can trust Romero with something like the USB.

When Norman sees Annika’s dead body, he goes into a mild trance and repeatedly asks whether he killed her. No, you didn’t. Shut up.

I’m pretty sure this home schooling thing was a terrible idea.

Norma’s tutor buddy’s intentions continue to be elusive. First, he’s flirting with her and asking her for coffee. But when they have coffee, they take on a very blatant therapist/patient dynamic. What do you want, bro?

Emma embarrassingly overreacts to Norman’s concerns about sex being bad for her health. She plays the victim and bitches at him for patronising her, and for bringing up the fact that Norma was the one who advised him against having sex with her. Bitch, you’re the one who told Norman that your condition has worsened. Even if he knew you’d had sex just fine with Gunner, you told him yourself (and I can’t stress this enough) that your condition has worsened. Would you prefer he just fuck you without checking to see if you’ll die from it?

Dylan appears to be buying into Caleb’s sob story about his childhood with Norma, and how they were so close and they were each other’s world wah wah wah. How about no?

Oh, and I would have thought Caleb’s reaction to seeing Norman would be a bit stronger considering what happened the last time they were together.


But it’s not all bad:

Caleb provides the second best moment of the episode, surprisingly: his fall off the roof. Both because Caleb sucks and watching him almost die is fantastic, but also because the stunt is done bone-crunchingly well. It’s hideous. And, therefore, beautiful.

The best moment of the episode is when Norma asks Dylan to hide the USB, because some gun-toting men were looking for it, and it could be very valuable. The fact that she trusts him that much, particularly over Norman, is wonderful.

Dylan picks up the episode’s best line with his affirmation to help her: “I don’t want anything to happen to you.” Aww.

Dylan’s scene with Norman at the end also helps redeem this otherwise lacklustre episode. Norman follows Dylan back to the farm (Dylan is hiding the USB), and sees him and Caleb together. Because Norman is a childish turd, he immediately informs Dylan he’s going to tattle. Dylan tackles him and tries to threaten him, but Norman is resolute. In a last, desperate bid, Dylan begs Norman not to tell Norma because it would destroy all the progress they’ve made. Norman is, frustratingly, merciless. Oh, Dylan. I’ll hug you. If you take your shirt off.

Norma and Norman’s minor war with Emma in the centre kind of keeps things bubbling along. The scene where Norman prepares for the picnic features a couple of cute little snipes at each other. It’ll have to do for now.

Norman’s whingeing about how Dylan and Norma are whispering so he can’t hear them talking about the USB is also a joy. He’s such a homicidal little brat, isn’t he?

Norma’s attempts at hacking the USB include trawling a coffee shop for a computer nerd to ask to help (he fails), and having a go at simply guessing the password. She starts off with Annika’s name, before trying out other things about her. One of her guesses is “sexcrazed.”

Romero is blocked by Bob, but Bob does ask Romero if anything was found on Annika, which means there obviously must have been something. Progress is slow at the moment, but when Romero’s on the case, dead villains are sure to follow.

Romero tracks down yet another prostitute who confirms that Annika and Lindsay did work for Bob (sometimes simultaneously). She had suspected Lindsay had gotten in pretty deep with Bob, and given that the car Annika pulled up in last episode belonged to Lindsay, we’re thinking that Lindsay might have been the one to steal whatever’s on the USB. White Pine Bay just got over its glut of drug lords. Now they have to worry about spy hookers? Rough.

Oh, and Norma is the queen of cockblocking. All she had to do was plant that one little seed, and Norman’s ingrained allegiance to her did the rest of the work. Still, Norman has proven himself no slouch in the sex department.

Bates Motel Unbreakable Norman Emma sex

Bates Motel Season 4: The Harem’s Revenge.

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About ijusthateeverything

Sincerity is death.

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