TV Recap: 'Bates Motel' Episode 102 - 'Nice Town You Picked Norma'



Bates Motel Episode 102
“Nice Town You Picked, Norma”
Written By: Kerry Ehrin
Directed By: Tucker Gates
Original Airdate: 25 March 2013

In This Episode...

Dylan comes to town, to stay with Norma and Norman. He has no job, no money, and no place to go. We learn that Dylan and Norman are actually half-brothers; Norma left Dylan’s dad because they got married too early. Dylan insinuates that Sam, Norman’s father, was abusive. Mother agrees to let him stay but he must earn his keep and help out. On his way home from running errands, he stops at a strip club, where he meets a guy with a huge wad of cash. This guy takes him down to meet some friends, who can give Dylan a job that will yield his own wads of cash. The only requirement for this job is that he be able to shoot a gun.

As Norman, Bradley, and some other kids are waiting for the school bus, a car comes out of nowhere, swerving erratically before it slams off the road, just across the street from the Bates Motel. Inside is Bradley’s dad, burned beyond recognition. When the sheriff comes around to investigate, one of his deputies discovers Keith’s truck abandoned in the woods. Sheriff Romero has known Keith since they were kids, and he has been missing the last few days. He asks Norma about it, but she gets defensive and denies any knowledge of Keith’s whereabouts. The next day Norma sees Shelby in town and jokes about it. The two chat, then go for coffee. He unofficially invites her to go with him to the town Woodchuck Festival, a holdover from the town’s logging days. Norman doesn’t like the idea of his mother going out socially, but she assures him it is a “goodwill mission.” At the festival, Norma brings up the burned man in the car; Shelby assures her that people here deal with things in different ways, but they are always dealt with. He also hints that the townspeople are involved in illegal trades that keeps the money flowing in.

Emma comes over to study with Norman. She finds the journal that he found in the motel, and she is fascinated. She loves manga, so she isn’t offended by any of this. She borrows the journal, but texts him in the middle of the night, telling him to hurry to her house. This text interrupts a fight between Dylan and Norman, which began when Norma calls Dylan and her name pops up as “The Whore” in his phone. So Norman heads over to Emma’s house. She has translated the text in the journal. It seems to tell the story of four Chinese women who come to this country illegally to work as maids in order to get citizenship. But it is all a ruse. The girls are injected with drugs and kept as sex slaves. One of the girls overdoses and the others bury her out in the woods. Emma recognizes the place in the woods where the girl was buried, so the next day, she and Norman go out to find it, unearth the grave, and prove the journal is true. The kids head out to the woods and find the location, but they stumble upon a massive pot farm and are chased away by two guards with shotguns.

Dig It or Bury It?

I’m not enjoying the entire town being made into something dark and corrupt. That seems to take away from the inherent creepiness that is the Bates property. If the whole town is bad, the Bates property is no longer special.

Mommy Dearest

While preparing for her not-date, Norma asks Norman’s opinion on her outfit. They chat a bit, then Norma decides she wants the other blouse. So she strips off her top, revealing a lacy bodysuit. Norman becomes very uncomfortable and nervous. Norma laughs. “This shouldn’t embarrass you; I’m your mother.” She then takes her time putting her other blouse on.


Norman blacks out at school. He doesn’t want his mom to date Shelby. Emma wants to take the journal to police - he tells her not to.