Bates Motel Episode 104
Written By: Kerry Ehrin
Directed By: Johan Renck
Original Airdate: 8 April 2013
In This Episode...
Let’s back up a little bit. Last week, we saw Norman snooping around Shelby’s house when the deputy comes home. This week, we see Norman leaving his home - and Dylan follows. Norman is so lost in his fugue state that he has no idea. When he sees Shelby come home, he knocks at the door, claiming is bike is out of gas and is looking for the nearest station. Shelby looks annoyed. Dylan can’t distract him long, but it is enough for Norman to get out of the house. Dylan is waiting for Norman when he gets home. Norman says he was out for a run; Dylan confronts him. He promises he won’t tell mom.
The next day, Norma and Shelby meet for a clandestine romp. They end up back at the motel and go at it like crazy. When Norma leaves she finds Dylan sitting right outside, having a smoke. He taunts her lightly about her afternoon delight - until Shelby comes out and Dylan recognizes him. Dylan is instantly wary.
Bradley’s dad died, so Norman picks up some movies from the video store (how quaint) to take her mind off things. On the way, he sees Shelby pulling someone over. Norman picks up the pace, but Shelby sees him and despite Norman’s best efforts, he catches up. There is something both sincere and sinister in the way that Shelby tells Norman that he wants to be part of his life; that he wants to take care of him and his mother. He wants to take Norman fishing. Norman is spooked by this encounter and rushes home to tell Mother everything: the journal he found, breaking into Shelby’s house to get Keith’s belt back on her command, and the woman he found in the basement. Norma hugs him and explains that this was all in his head - and it wasn’t the first time. Norman gets frustrated and storms out. That night, Norma stays at Shelby’s house. Unable to sleep, she steals away into the basement - and finds nothing out of the ordinary. Damp boxes, old sporting equipment, a washer and dryer set - no evidence that anything untoward went on down there.
Norma makes Norman go on the fishing trip with Shelby. The trip is cut short when he gets called in to work. Shelby arrives on the docks and Romero shows him what turned up in a fisherman’s net: Keith’s severed hand, his signature “ugly” watch still attached. With the rest of the morning ahead of him, Norman meets Bradley for ice cream. She tells him about “some hand” that they found, which sends Norman scurrying home to Mother in a complete panic. She does her best to calm him down, but is interrupted by Shelby at the door. Romero wants her to go to the station to answer some questions. Norma maintains her innocence, even after Romero tells her they found carpet fibers in Keith’s watch that they can match to the motel’s carpet. Can match - they do not have a sample. Norma plays dumb and says she doesn’t remember where she dumped it.
Naturally, the moment she gets home she grabs Norman and takes him dumpster diving. The dumpster has been emptied, so they head directly to the dump. It is locked up tight, and Norma loses her mind. She tries to climb the chain link fence but is thwarted by barbed wire. She screams and shakes the gate like King Kong throwing a tantrum. Norman talks her down and tries once again to get Mother to turn herself in. She tells him she “killed the crap” out of Keith, that it went past self defense and was flat-out rage. (It would still fall under self-defense, but whatever; this isn’t a procedural.)
Mother and son go home. Norma goes to her room and cries herself to sleep. Norman is pained listening to her, and goes for a walk. He tries to ignore Dylan, again sitting outside the motel, smoking and drinking, but Dylan is hurt, so Norman sits with him. Dylan wants to forge a relationship with his brother, and apologizes for leaving Norman alone with “the crazy woman.” In a rush of anxiety and emotions, Norman tells Dylan everything. Norma’s attack, Keith’s murder, the guilt he feels over not being there to help, Keith’s belt that he believes Shelby is using to control Mother, even the woman in the basement. Dylan promises to protect Norman. When he sees a text from Bradley, he encourages Norman to respond, to go over there, to “be a teenager,” and to get laid. Norman is both embarrassed and emboldened and heads out. He arrives at Bradley’s house, shy and nervous. They end up having sex in her bed.
Norma wakes up and immediately goes looking for Norman. He isn’t there, but Dylan is. “I hope to god he is getting laid. He deserves it for putting up with you.” He then tells her that Norman told him everything - enough for the authorities to take Norman away from her. Norma flips out and slaps Dylan. The two fight, with Dylan pinning his mother against the wall until she calms down. Another doorbell, another interruption between mother and son. Romero is there to arrest Norma for Keith’s murder.
Dig It or Bury It?
Tonight’s episode really focused on the familial tensions in the Bates clan. It is nice to see Dylan and Norman starting to interact like brothers. It really highlights the psychological hold that Norma has over Norman. I am interested in finding out more of what happened between Norma and Dylan. I have to imagine that she didn’t try to pull the same crap on Dylan when he was a teenager; I think she was just neglectful. But there has to be something else. There also has to be a reason that Dylan doesn’t have a relationship with his father at all.
So they are establishing Norman as seeing things. I am leaning towards the girl in the basement being real, but it is certainly clear that he enters into regular fugue states. Something doesn’t sit right with me about his relationship with Bradley. I’ve always maintained that there was something wrong there because she should be the mean girl, yet she is the nicest “mean girl” ever. But the sex scene between Norman and Bradley was weird. It was under covers, but looked like it was underwater, and in general had a weird, overly-earnest tone that just didn’t sit right with me. Is Bradley - or his relationship with Bradley - all in his mind.
Even though she is charged with murder, Norma maintains her innocence. She blames Dylan for turning Norman against her.