Bates Motel Season 3 Episode 9 – TV Review
Bates Motel is seriously hurting my heart.
But in the most exquisite way.
TL;DR Norma is pushed ever closer to facing the disastrous truth about Norman; she and Romero have more UST than should be legal; Norman hangs around with Bradley, but Apparition Norma gets jealous; Caleb beats $50,000 out of Nosy Neighbour; Dylan gives the money to Emma’s dad.
Now that’s what I call a bribe, baby.
So Norma is still on her endless quest to keep Norman’s craziness a secret. She tries to continue her blackmail against Bob, but he’s done his own investigation and is certain of Norman’s violent transgressions. She then tries to get the USB back from Romero, but he’s not forthcoming. So she breaks into his house and ransacks it. He interrupts her and tells her the DEA has it, which means the truth about Norman will come out (presuming retribution from Bob). They have the most epic fight ever, ending in an almost-kiss that could obliterate a small village with the power of its UST. Once home, things only get worse as Caleb stops by on his way out of town to tell her about that time Norman thought he was her and tried to kill him. Poor, poor Norma. Caleb is on his way out of town because he beats the shit out of Nosy Neighbour to get the money he’s owed (and he’s not too happy about Dylan almost dying), and gets double. He gives it to Dylan, who gives it to Emma’s dad for her lung transplant bribe. And Bradley contracts Norman to help her break the “I totes actually didn’t kill myself” news to her mum, but when she sees her mum has moved on with her life, she pulls out. The episode ends as Bradley tries to seduce Norman to convince him to join her on the road, and Apparition Norma turns up to shut that shit down.
Bradley is such a bad influence on sweet, little Norman. The harlot.
You’re surely bored with my incessant fanboying over this show. So I’ll do what I can to keep it down.
But good God, this show.
Why I hate this episode:
Norma and Romero didn’t fucking kiss. Again. Again. You’re right there! Just go for it.
Dylan and Emma also fall prey to the almost-kiss blues. He visits her in her room after handing her dad the money (he’s insisting he not tell Emma who it came from, btw. Because Dylan’s noble like that), and they have a tender moment with a subtle lean-in. But then they pull out. What are you? Catholic?
Bradley’s impudence isn’t exactly surprising for her, but her choice to abandon her return is ridiculous. She just sees that her mum has a new boyfriend and has repurposed her bedroom, and that’s it. She’s going back on the road. Not even gonna say hi to mum. What the hell, Bradley? You faked your death, remember? Over a year ago. Of course she’s gonna live on. Bradley’s brattishness is kind of her thing, but I like it better when it sees her killing dudes. That’s fun.
Caleb tells Dylan he’s only planning to hide out to avoid Nosy Neighbour and/or the police, when in reality he’s fleeing town for good. Predictable.
Oh, and Romero seems blindsided by the fact that the DEA agent is suspicious of Romero, considering his father is on record (and in prison) for being a corrupt sheriff. And is responsible for the drug conspiracy that Romero has called the DEA in to investigate. Did he not anticipate that?
But it’s not all bad:
I don’t see how Bob and the drug trade conspirators on that USB are going to get out of the DEA investigation. So I hope Norma’s prediction that Bob will bite back just to spite her is true. Let’s ramp up the drama. I think Bates Motel can handle it.
Speaking of handling drama, the season almost one-ups Norman’s confession scene from last episode with this episode’s fight between Norma and Romero. They’re just two stoic-but-damaged characters, constantly forced together by fate, love, hate, and distrust. It finally explodes as Norma attempts to storm out after he reveals he’s given the USB to the DEA, but Romero grabs her and screams in her face to finally tell her the truth about Norman’s father’s death. Norma gives one, last push to keep up the facade by claiming she killed him, but Romero’s anguish for the truth wins as Norma collapses in his arms. They rage and cry, as did I along with them. And then, the aching, sensual, inhaling, almost-kiss, before Norma rebuilds her courage and leaves. It crushes my heart so divinely.
The best line of the episode is a shared venture between them, at the height of Romero’s fury for her to tell him the truth, and the breaking of Norma’s allegiance to Norman:
Romero: “Stop lying to me!”
Norma: “You know the truth! Don’t make me say it.”
The written word does not do it justice.
The second best line of the episode goes to Norma earlier in the scene, when she’s blasé about Romero catching her in the middle of ransacking his house:
Romero: “I hate you.”
Norma: “Well, I hate you, too. So what?”
So what? Who cares?
Not one to get off of anything lightly, Norma returns to the motel and briefly has an angry fit at the pool hole before Caleb shows up to farewell her. And tell her his concerns for Norman being dangerous. Because Norman thought he was Norma that time and tried to stab him, remember? Norma meekly whispers to herself that Norman is normal, but she knows it’s not even close to being true.
Caleb’s gone. That’s a victory for us. He makes sure to get Nosy Neighbour to cough up double what he owed him, though. Well done.
Nosy Neighbour’s words say he didn’t know about the ambush at the rendezvous, but his demeanour (and attempt to pull a gun on Caleb) yells pretty clearly otherwise. Caleb threatens to kill him if he tries anything on Dylan, so I’m hoping that will stick. But I don’t know, considering Nosy Neighbour literally knows where Dylan lives.
Dylan, the aspiring altruist, gives Emma’s dad the whole $50,000. Emma’s dad is humbled and offers to return the surplus, but Dylan insists he keep it. And that Emma not know who got the money for the bribe. Keep this up, Dylan, and you’ll be challenging Elijah‘s crown of Hot Older Brother Who Is Brilliantly Noble.
Norman gets saddled with Bratty Bradley, so doesn’t get as many opportunities to impress as the rest of his family. But it gives me those season 1 tingles to see him and Bradley back together again. And she seems genuinely grateful for his help with the plan to talk to her mum.
Bradley tells Norman about how living hard with no money and no family is totally shit. Which makes her decision to get back out there instead of staying in White Pine Bay kind of impressive. But tragic.
Naturally, because she’s Bradley, she uses sex to convince Norman to join her. They actually get close to getting it in, but Apparition Norma shows up at the bedside and nags Norman into fleeing the room (he’s letting Bradley stay at the motel, which is otherwise vacant).
Norman tries to get away from Apparition Norma, too, but Apparition Norma evolves her game by appearing to Norman outside the motel office as the supposedly real Norma. It works a treat, as Norman falls for her more natural appearance, listens to her throw shade on Bradley, and walks arm-in-arm with her back up to the house. The closing shot of the episode is the reveal that Norman is only walking arm-in-arm with the air. Crazy.
Norma cleans up all of Norman’s taxidermy stuff to pre-empt any investigators coming calling, as Bob vaguely tells her that he’s gonna make that happen. Norman’s anger is subdued, but he does shoot back that maybe she’s only interested in how she would look, and suggests that maybe she killed his dad. The rift widens.
The DEA agent is totally on point with her incredulity at Romero’s election as sheriff in the wake of Romero Sr being a corrupt sheriff and imprisoned criminal.
Just before the big Norma/Romero meltdown throwdown, Romero expresses his frustration at trying to keep White Pine Bay and all the shit in it under control. I know, right.
Emma tells Dylan that she knows the truth about his paternity, and comforts him. Aww.
Oh, and Norman and Bradley’s hook-up is like a pasty supernova.