Is everyone on sedatives this week? All of my regular shows to review seemed to take some sleepy time tea before they aired, and Bates Motel was no exception. After last episode’s shocking ending, “Trust Me” was a very slow burn. Before this week things seemed to be headed in a fairly clear direction, even with the inclusion of the “darker” side of town, but now things seem set up in a very strange way for future episodes. The meandering didn’t seem to lead anywhere except, ultimately, to Norman and Norma’s “secret” finally coming to light (no not that one), but that seems an odd turn to take. Hit the jump for why “death is profound, isn’t it?”
“Trust Me” felt like a lot of wheel spinning, plus further confirmation that Dylan is the only normal person in White Pine Bay. Last week, we left Norman having found a drugged Chinese girl in Shelby’s basement, and this week we see things from a slightly different perspective: Dylan followed Norman to Shelby’s house and distracted Shelby long enough for Norman to escape, sans girl, from the basement.
That act bought Dylan some trust, and later Norman comes clean about everything — the murder of Keith Summers, the reason he broke into Shelby’s house, the manga, and the Chinese girl. Dylan immediately says he’ll help Norman, and I can’t help but note the lack of surprise when he heard all of this. Normally when people tell you someone has tried to rape and kill your mother and she went crazy stabbing him so they disposed of the body and are now living in fear, oh and PS there’s a Chinese sex slave ring run by the Deputy … I think most people would have a reaction to that. Not Dylan! What was his childhood like? (Besides getting laid at age 12).
But the story of the sex slave girl fizzled, for when Norma goes searching she finds nothing (where is that poor girl now?). Shelby gives Norman the creeper eye on their fishing trip and asks if he can trust him (he must suspect what Norman found). Neither Norman nor Dylan trust Shelby, but I think Norma genuinely has a things for him. And why not? He’s hot, she’s hot, he hides girls in his basement and she kills rapists. Welcome to White Pine Bay!
Though Emma took a powder this week because of her illness (allowing her dad, Professor Quirrell, to tell Norman to be decent about the fact that she has a crush on him), Norman learned about booty calls and shacked up with Bradley in her hour of need. See, sensitive guys don’t always finish last. Although maybe she picked up the “killer” vibe. Some of us have a great ability to pick out men like that.
I’m assuming that Norma thinks that it’s Emma, and not Bradley, that Norman is out with, so I can only imagine she’ll turn her sights on her. Though she tells Norman he’s jealous of her relationship with Shelby, it’s Norma who looks more unhinged than he did about the news of Norman being with someone else. Norma really lost it too when she couldn’t get to the carpet, but that’s to be expected — Sheriff Romero, though bluffing about a few things, seems genuinely like a cop with good instinct, which means Norma is in trouble.
Here’s the thing: we know that Norma can’t be in too much trouble. If so there wouldn’t be a show. She’ll get out of this, but how? I’m hoping that it’s something that causes a fire to be lit under the show, because right now it just seems like a very strange stalling tactic. It might clear the air in regards to The Summers Issue, but it also seems really soon to be putting that all to bed. Or will she just owe Shelby more than ever before?
Bates Motel has a lot going for it — in the first few episodes it was languid, sure, but it was also weird and nightmarish in a way that made us want to keep watching. This episode had little recommend it besides establishing Dylan as our “normative” foil, Norman getting laid, and Norma getting arrested. But in between, it was a lot of nothin’.
Episode Rating: B-
— The show has a great B plot with the “dark underbelly” stuff, which it mostly ignored this week (besides the reference at the start to the trapped girl from last week, though it didn’t go anywhere).
— So Norma knows about Norman’s hallucinations … interesting …
— I don’t think that show is suggesting that anything we’ve seen other than that one vision of Norma hasn’t been real, though. The girl was real because of the claw marks on Norman, and he definitely broke into Shelby’s house because Dylan saw him. If for some reason she’s not real, that would be a very weird twist.
— “I killed the crap out of him!” – Norma
— “Girls don’t text you at 10pm if they don’t want you to come over.” – Dylan
— Girls dig Sensitive Norman.
— For not having known Norma very long and pretty much knowing she’s a killer, Shelby is really aggressive with Norman about being in his life “for a long time.”
— “I am decent” – Norman
— “I’m not jealous, you’re my mother not my girlfriend” – Norman
— “You’re a real piece of work, Norma” – Dylan