TV Recap: 'Bates Motel' Episode 110 - 'Midnight'



bates motelBates Motel Episode 110
Written By: Carlton Cuse & Kerry Ehrin
Directed By: Tucker Gates
Original Airdate: 20 May 2013

In This Episode...

Norma goes straight to Romero to tell him about the threats Jake Abernathy made. He promises to “take care of it” but won’t elaborate on how. Norma can’t trust him on that and goes to Dylan, asking for a gun. He thinks that is a bad idea, but later takes pity on her and brings her a pistol. They go out to the woods and spend some quality mother-son bonding time as Dylan teaches her to shoot. He even, accidentally, calls her “Mom,” which pleases Norma and embarrasses Dylan.

Romero retrieves a sack of cash from a garage, then meets with Keith’s sister, Maggie. She was the bookkeeper for Keith and Shelby’s little business, and had been visited by Abernathy - using the name Joe Fioretti. He beat her up before finally believing she didn’t have the money. Maggie admits that her brother had four other “businesses” operating up and down the coast. Romero promises nothing will happen to her if she keeps her mouth shut.

It is time for the Winter Formal, and Emma doesn’t have a date. Norman offers to go with her. It is the worst invitation ever, and Emma says no. Norman insists he isn’t asking because he feels bad; he wants to go. Emma accepts. Norman goes to tell Miss Watson that he doesn’t want to submit his story to the lit magazine, and overhears her on her cell phone, having a heated, fearful argument with someone named Eric. She begs him to keep it a secret.

Bradley comes over, a pleasant surprise to Norman - until she tells him she is there to see Dylan. Norman pastes a fake smile on his face as he excuses himself - just to the other room, where he can still hear everything that is going on. Dylan brings her a box of her father’s things from his office. Norman seethes with hurt and jealousy as he listens to their awkward, but not overtly flirty conversation. This puts him on edge as he gets ready for the dance. He loses his mind when he can’t find any black socks and screams at Norma for it. It felt like a very normal teenage tantrum - the first normal teenage thing Norman has done. Dylan loans Norman some socks, and asks Norman to go easy on their mom. Norman, in turn, tells Dylan that he should ask Bradley out - in that way that totally means, “I will kill you if you ask her out.”

Norman and Norma sit together uneasily on the couch, watching the seconds tick by. Norman is waiting for Emma to pick him up for the dance; Norma is waiting for her clandestine meeting with Jake. She is scared and decides that someone finally know the truth about her... just in case. She has never told this to anyone, but there is no one she is closer to than Norman. “My brother used to make me have sex with him,” she blurts out. It started when she was around 13, and went on until he moved out. Mom was “already checked out of her body,” and dad was violently insane. She never told him because she knew he would kill her brother (seems like justice to me). One day, her brother was raping her when their dad came home from work early. Norma was terrified and she jumped up so quickly she knocked the hot iron off the nearby board. The whole story seemed to be leading up to Norma’s explanation of the scar on her thigh. Norman is understandably frozen with this new information. Emma arrives and Norma, all smiles, brings her in. It takes Norman a few moments to bring himself back to the here and now. He and Norma share a fierce, meaningful hug before they say their goodbyes.

As midnight approaches, Norma heads out to the docks. She is surprised that the car that arrives is carrying Romero. A few moments later, Abernathy shows up, and Norma hides. From behind crates, she watches the entire encounter. Romero informs Abernathy that the “cute but nutty woman who runs the motel” is no longer involved, and that from now on, he must run all his business through him. Romero wants a 50% cut, which Abernathy takes exception to - Keith and Shelby together didn’t take that much. But Romero speaks with such conviction, Abernathy seems intrigued. Norma is scared, and has her gun - shakily - at the ready. At Romero’s request, Abernathy looks for a phone number in the duffel bag of money. He then shoots Abernathy into the ocean and tosses the duffel bag after him. Without turning around, Romero tells Norma to go home. “When I say trust me, trust me.”

Norman is distracted by Bradley at the dance. Emma gets fed up with it, and is mad that Norman is too stupid to see what he has in front of him (good for her!) and leaves, telling him to find his own ride home. Bradley’s boyfriend takes Norman outside to tell him to leave her alone. Norman tries to protest, but Bradley had told him that Norman took advantage of her in her state of grief. The boyfriend drops Norman with a single punch to the face, pretty much marking the end of the evening for Norman.

As he walks home in the rain, Miss Watson drives by and insists he get in. She sees his bloody face and insists on taking him to her place so she can clean him up before dropping him off at home. Things are uncomfortably intimate between the two, but nothing inappropriate happens. Miss Watson decides to change out of her cocktail dress before taking Norman home - but she doesn’t shut the door to the bedroom. Norman watches with a mixture of nervous lust and anxious guilt before Mother “shows up,” insisting that Miss Watson is trying to seduce him. “You know what you have to do.” 

Norman runs home, as fast as he can. Norma almost hits him with the car as they arrive at home at the same time. She is finally feeling safe and happy and the two go inside.

But of course, that is not where the story ends. We go back to Miss Watson’s house. Her throat has been slit and she is dead on her bedroom floor. Around her neck, she wears a letter B pendant, nestled in her bloody d├ęcolletage.

Dig It or Bury It?

Solid. A good, clean way to end the season. All the ends were tied up, and Norman has gone, for lack of a better term, “full Psycho.” When Norma appears in Norman’s brain at Miss Watson’s house, she is wearing a dress and hairdo that is almost identical to the one Mother’s corpse wears in Psycho.  It is interesting to see that we have gone “full Psycho” so soon into the series; of course, it doesn’t seem like it was a long walk for Norman to take.

I am a little confused as to the significance of Miss Watson being “B.” Clearly, this is the B that Bradley’s dad was having an affair with. But with both of them dead, why does it need to be such an intense reveal? I assume that Jerry was not killed by Gil, but rather by Miss Watson’s mysterious Eric. He probably found out about the affair, set Jerry on fire, which spread to Gil’s business. Surely Eric will come looking for Miss Watson next season, then stick around to start trouble.