Bates Motel Episode 106
Written By: Carlton Cuse & Kerry Ehrin
Directed By: Tucker Gates
Original Airdate: 22 April 2013
In This Episode...
After being confronted with the truth about her boyfriend, Norma is in shock. She heads for her car to try to get away, but Norman won’t let her. He actually dives through the open window of the car and fights her for control of the steering wheel. Eventually, Norman wins and throws the car keys out the window. Norman calms her down and promises that Shelby won’t get away with it. Now that Norma is composed, she confronts Emma and calms her down. Emma wants to go to the police - or the FBI - immediately. Norma convinces her the best thing is to let Jiao rest first.
With Emma gone and Norma cool-headed again, she decides that no one is going to the police until they find Keith’s belt. Dylan and Norman head back to the boat where Jiao was being held and examine every inch of it. The fraternal chatter includes Dylan insisting Norman move in with him to his new apartment on the beach, and insinuating to Norman that it was Mother who killed Sam (Norman’s father). Dylan finds the belt and he ditches it into the harbor.
Norma is waiting anxiously for her sons in the dark. Headlights pull up and she runs to the door to greet them. Of course, it is Shelby, not her sons. She fights desperately to hide her fear and disgust for him as he comes toward her with desire in his eyes. She weakly uses her boys as an excuse; Shelby simply suggests they go to the motel. “I can’t help it, I love that damn motel.” Out of excuses, Norma goes with him to the motel. They start having sex, but Norma is a million miles away. She pulls herself together gets into it, but Shelby hears running and dismounts. Norma claims she doesn’t hear anything, but Shelby has his gun drawn and is prowling along the row of rooms. Blood speckles the door of cabin 11, and Shelby pounds on it. Jiao, fresh from the shower, answers the door, sees Shelby, and screams. She run into the woods. Shelby shoots at her but Norma pushes him, causing him to miss. He throws Norma to the ground and pursues Jiao into the woods.
Norma doesn’t know what to do. Her boys return and tell her about the belt. The good news rolls right off her as she tells them about Shelby and Jiao. Shelby returns and we assume that Jiao is dead. He takes Dylan’s gun and forces the family into the kitchen, where he paces anxiously and tries to figure out what he is going to do. He loves Norma and blames Norman for “sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong.” This is what enrages Norma. Norman sits quietly, entering his fugue state, until Shelby strikes Norma. Norman tackles Shelby, allowing Dylan to take back his gun. Norman is thrown to the floor and Mother uses her own body as a shield as Shelby and Dylan shoot it out. Dylan gets hit in the arm; Shelby takes a bullet to the thigh. When Norma can’t wake Norman up, she drags him out the front door. The stairs are impossible to navigate with dead weight, so she finally calls 911. Meanwhile, the fight inside has moved upstairs. Shelby’s wound was more debilitating than Dylan’s, but when he came to land the killing blow, Dylan discovered he was out of bullets. He has enough time to get up to his room and reload while Shelby drags himself upstairs.
On the porch, Norman wakes, but has complete amnesia for the last hour or so. He is mobile enough to make it into the car - but Norma realizes she doesn’t have her keys. Another bout of hysterics is only quelled by a series of gun flashes from the second floor of the house. They wait with baited breath to see who would emerge from the house the victor. A figure appears. It is bloody, it is limping, it is in bad shape. It is Shelby. He levels his gun at the car - and slides to the ground. It looks like Dylan got him in the eye. He’s super-dead. Dylan comes out a few moments later, unharmed save for the earlier bullet wound. Norma embraces him tightly. Who’s the favorite now, bitch?
Dylan is adamant that when the police arrive, they tell them everything. Everything. Norma is still hesitant, and finally fills in Dylan on the whole truth. Through flashback, we see what really happened to Sam. He was beating Norma because she “bought more clothes than a Fifth Avenue whore,” and Norman went into his fugue state and slammed his father in the head with the blender. Norman was completely unresponsive, so Norma dragged her husband’s body to the garage and pulled the shelves down to make it look like an accident. She then put Norman to bed and took a shower. The very first episode opens when Norman pulls out of his fugue state. It is unclear if Norman’s hit actually killed his father, or if Norma helped finish the job. I have a hard time believing that a skinny 17-year-old can lay out his old man with a single blow to the head.
This is why Norma is so overprotective of her younger son. She believes that this was likely an isolated incident, but regardless, Norman has no idea of what really happened, and Norma will do anything to keep it that way. Dylan can help her or get out of her way.
Dig It or Bury It?
This was a wonderfully intense episode. It build tension throughout, and yet you got every payoff you wanted. It was so satisfying. I am a little concerned about where we will go from here - this almost feels like a season finale. Are we just going to have a weirdo-patron-of-the-week now? Are we going to go back to that “the whole town is fucked up” gimmick?
The family dynamic in Bates Motel is really wonderfully done. It is a wholly realistic interpretation of a (hopefully) unrealistic family. It actually reminds me of some of the melodramas of classic cinema from the 1940s. The family dynamics of Bates are basically the same - generally ridiculous situations with real familial ties.
When Dylan and Norman return from ditching Keith’s belt, Dylan tells Norma that Norman will be living with him. Norma tells them about Shelby and Jiao with as much concern as she would rattle off a grocery list; her true worry is the idea of her baby boy leaving her. Sure, a psychopath is on his way to kill them all - but nobody takes her baby away!
The police arrive at the Bates property to deal with the aftermath of the carnage. Maybe now Norma can get back to the quiet life of an innkeeper. Or not.