Bates Motel Season 4 Episode 3 – TV Review
Given the status quo change last episode, and the tightening noose that the end of this episode sets in motion, we were due for a hope spot.
And goddamn, do we ever get one.
TL;DR Step aside Dylan and Emma, because Norma and Romero are now the radiant couple to bring light to Bates Motel; they get married, and it’s gorgeous; Dylan gets out of the weed business, but Nosy Neighbour continues to lurk; Norman stews at Pineview, but his vindictive side wins out and he throws Norma under the bus.
Not literally. Yet.
Last week was all tension and terror, so this week we get a bit of romance back in the world as Norma and Romero get married for the insurance money. Norma is surprised when Romero announces he’s moving in, but he’s got to make it look real. Plus, Norma is hiding (barely) her genuine feelings for him. And him her, obviously. It’s Vera Farmiga, remember. A minor complication arises when Jamie Ray Newman appears as a former fuckbuddy of Romero’s, and a co-conspirator of Bob’s. But all is well for now. Someone who isn’t well is Norman, who seethes with rage over Norma forcing him into Pineview. He’s resistant to Dr Edwards’ sessions and grapples with his deep-seated love for Norma, and his anger over her betrayal. The anger eventually bubbles over, though, and he tells Edwards that Norma’s a murderer, knowing that Edwards will be duty bound to report it and Norma will be investigated. And in Dylan land, he’s taken on board Will’s advice to get out of the weed business. He feels guilty about having to fire Gunner, but Gunner’s already decided to leave with suspiciously excellent timing. And Nosy Neighbour comes sniffing around looking to get revenge on Caleb, but Dylan doesn’t know where he is, either.
Every time I think Caleb’s stink has been washed off, it comes wafting back.
The Internet hater in me wants to bemoan this episode for being as pale as Norman Bates in comparison to last episode. And I will.
But I was frothing over Norma and Romero’s romance last season. And to see it come to fruition so completely is amazingly satisfying.
I mean, they went from knee-touching and fight almost-kissing to getting fucking married in the space of a couple of episodes. I love it.
Why I hate this episode:
The undeniable downside of the Norma and Romero romance is that Norma and Norman’s incestuous entanglement has been effectively obliterated. That was the pulse that kept Bates Motel alive for its first two seasons (ending in that Earth-shattering kiss), and it was even a big feature of last season. So to watch it stomped under the boot of Norma and Romero’s more conventional romance is a shame.
With Norma and Romero providing the cutesy couple stuff this episode, Dylan and Emma are redundant.
I don’t care about Nosy Neighbour. He proclaims his innocence in the setup that almost got Caleb and Dylan killed, but I don’t believe him. He’s a loose thread that nobody was worried about.
Romero hires some workmen to fill in the hole at the motel, and one of them gives Norma an earring they found that they thought was hers. It’s Audrey’s, which means she could be in the hole after all. But Norma already searched. And I don’t ‘preciate anyone sayin’ mah Norma’s incompetent.
Oh, and I guess now we’ll never know what that hole was supposed to be. That’s a loose thread that does keep me up at night.
But it’s not all bad:
Norma gives another solid face drop when the workman hands over “her” earring. And we can never have enough of those.
Norma gives a lot of face this episode, in fact. Norma Bates is terrific when she’s in shrieking, over the top form. But she’s at her best when she can tell you exactly what’s going on inside without a word. It’s clear that her marriage to Romero isn’t just a formality for the insurance. She can’t hide those little smiles, baby.
The wedding itself was a bundle of cuteness, but the real standout scene for them is when they go out to dinner later. They make sure to get drunk to loosen up, and talk about their former marriages. Norma, of course, brings up both of hers (to Dylan’s “father,” and then to Norman’s father) that didn’t end well, but it turns out Romero was married once, too.
Norma gets the episode’s best line: “Oh my God, someone married you?” Doesn’t miss a beat.
Jamie Ray Newman isn’t Romero’s wife, but she could be a problem. Not only to this sham/not-sham marriage to Norma, but because she was involved in laundering Bob’s money, and is worried that the DEA could still come after her. Romero notices that she had been rummaging around his place looking for something. He takes the opportunity to relocate the money, but I don’t think she knows about that. So what was she looking for?
Dylan and Emma’s subplot doesn’t go to any great lengths this episode, but Dylan has resolved to get out of the weed business. Gunner’s sudden decision to quit has me intrigued, though. Did Will call ahead and tell him to GTFO? Did the show just need to jettison him and couldn’t wait? I’m interested.
Norman plays the same note the whole episode with his disdain of Pineview and his conflicted feelings towards Norma. Even a visit from Norma doesn’t help. But he does eventually get the lead out and dump accusations on Norma which can’t be ignored. The sparring continues.
Norman gets the second best line of the episode when discussing Norma with Edwards: “I never want her to be upset. She is the most wonderful person in the world.” Damn right.
Dylan approves of Romero for Norma. Aww.
Oh, and Norma and Romero totally have sex. Sadly, it’s offscreen. But we got there, people.