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BATES MOTEL Recap: ‘Norma Louise’

This episode of Bates Motel picks off essentially exactly where the last left off. Norman is having a full-blown meltdown in the kitchen, tearing it apart while Dylan looks on trying to calm him down. Norman is convinced that Norma has left for good because she hates him and it’s all Dylan’s fault. When Norman tries to hit Dylan, he hits him back and knocks him out cold onto the kitchen floor.

Norma, meanwhile, drives furiously into the night, ignoring Dylan’s calls and texts. She pulls over to the side of the road, pulls out her gun and shoots her phone. She’s officially off the grid. She makes her way into town and buys herself a new outfit in a local boutique. It’s a sassy red top, tight black pants, and a new jacket. She’s leaving her patterned print dresses behind and ready to make herself over.

Dylan is still trying to get ahold of Norma, begging her to call him back, telling her that Norman is panicking and he doesn’t know what to do. It’s also worth noting that Dylan calls her “mom” in his voicemail. Norman is convinced that she’s left them forever, the same way that she’s abandoned others that they’ve been close to in the past. While Norman lies in bed, he is feeling strange. If his mental state was fragile before, this kind of trauma probably isn’t helping. Emma calls to the boys upstairs and Dylan goes down to meet her. He explains what’s going on and Emma offers to stay the night with them and Dylan is grateful.

Across town, Romero checks out at the local supermarket and walks to his car. He’s shot in a drive-by and bleeds out onto the pavement. He wakes up in the hospital and aggressively tells the nurse that he needs his phone and that she needs to leave him alone. Realizing that his being targeted is the product of Bob Paris, he calls Norma to warn her but of course she doesn’t answer. Instead, she finds her way to a car dealership looking to trade in her old car for a new one. What she doesn’t realize is that she’s being followed. Norma rents a room at a nearby motel. Alone, she lays down and remembers all of the terrible trauma she and Caleb experienced as children. Back at the Bates Motel, Norman awakes to find Emma sleeping in the chair by his bed. He wanders down the hall calling for Norma but doesn’t find her in her bedroom. Instead he is tormented by visions of moths and watching his house fall down around him. A metaphor for his mental state, perhaps?

Dylan goes back to the cabin to find Caleb. He reveals that he has asked Norma to talk to him but she has refused and that he’s going to have to leave. Caleb understands, but they are both heartbroken. Caleb clearly loves Dylan like a son and has serious shame and remorse surrounding his relationship with Norma. Speaking of Norma, she’s not done for the night and finds her way to a local bar where she proceeds to get super drunk and meet a handsome stranger. They slow dance and she drunkenly tells the young man that she ran out on her wedding earlier that day (wait, what?) and that she had been married once before, but it ended when killed her first husband. It’s a strange admission but she blames it on the booze. Norma and then young man make their way out to his truck to fool around, but Norma gets upset when things go a little too far, too fast. She gets out of the car and into hers as he speeds away. She finds a pay phone and calls her friend, the psych professor James Finnigan, asking if she can come over. It’s late but he agrees.

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Norman is in his basement with a pigeon in his hands that he proceeds to cut open. His dog begins to bark (pretty sure that dog died a few seasons ago–is Norman having a hallucination?) and we realize that the bird is still alive. Dylan and Emma find Norman staring into space still clutching the bird. They walk Norman back up the stairs as he mutters, “I want my mother,” over and over again. They put him to bed in Norma’s room and Emma begins to have a coughing fit and exits the room. She lays down on the bathroom floor and asks Dylan to hit her chest to knock the junk off of her lungs. It’s a sad and sweet moment between the two–are they like brother and sister or future lovers? Either way, they seem to care about each other.

Norma arrives at the professor’s house. She’s still being followed. Alex gets a late night visitor by way of Marcus Young, there to let Romero know that Bob Paris and his men are going to kill him but if he agrees to work for him when he’s the new sheriff, he can protect him. A nurse appears to tell Young that visiting hours are over. As Young walks to his car, Romero comes out of nowhere! They struggle and Romero shoots Young, killing him inside his own vehicle. Holy cow! Romero sits in the driver’s seat and speeds out of the hospital. Back at the professor’s house, Norma begins to open up. She can’t keep carrying on the way she has been. She makes sure that he can’t tell anyone what she tells him (patient/ doctor confidentiality) and she reveals that Norman isn’t normal, that he killed his father when he was a child and has no recollection of the events that happen when he blacks out. Once she realizes what she’s said, she starts to backtrack, claiming that she is drunk and that he shouldn’t listen to her. She tries to leave but he won’t let her. He puts her to bed and Norma kisses him. He resists due to their professional relationship but she persists and he gives in.

Back at the Bates Motel, Dylan is awoken by rustling sounds in the kitchen. He finds Norman dressed in his mother’s bathrobe making French Toast. Dawn hasn’t broken yet and Norman is speaking in a peculiar manner. Dylan realizes that Norman thinks he’s Norma. It’s totally weird and awesome at the same time. The transformation to the caretaker we met in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic is in full swing.

The next morning Emma and Dylan talk. She doesn’t know about the incident in the kitchen. Norman is sleeping soundly and she leaves to shower and change her clothes. Dylan lies down beside his brother and falls asleep. Norma is also waking up at the house of the psychology professor. It’s time for her to go home to see the boys. The professor tries to get her to stay but he can’t explain that as a parent, she can’t.

At the cabin, Chick sees Caleb overlooking the water. He asks if he’s decided what he’d like to do about the transpo job. Caleb agrees but asks about the details of the job which, of course, Chick the crazy hippie won’t give him.

Norma gets back to the motel and finds her boys sleeping next to each other. She wakes them up and tells them that they’re all going to Dylan’s farm to finally talk to Caleb. Norma is irritable and short but the boys do as they’re told. Once Norma arrives at the cabin, she comes face-to-face with Caleb who loses control, breaking down in sobs, apologizing and begging Norma for forgiveness. She cries too and they hold each other. Dylan is moved by what he’s seeing; his mother and his father finally reconciling after so many years of sadness and hurt. But Norman looks angry as he watches them with contempt. Is this one more person who will be in their lives now to take his place when it comes to Norma’s affections?

We’ll find out next week! Bates Motel airs Monday night at 9pm on A&E.

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