Bates Motel Episode 4 Review and Recap
“Bates Motel” picked up exactly where it left off with the cliffhanger at the conclusion of last week’s episode. There was a slight addition to the scenario: it just so happened that Norman’s brother, Dylan, was riding his motorcycle when Norman was on his psychosis-driven march to retrieve the belt (after hallucinating his mother instructing him to get it). Dylan noticed his brother and tailed him to find his little brother breaking into Deputy Zack’s house.
While searching for the belt, Norman stumbles across the chained-up sex slave from last week. Suddenly, Deputy Zack arrives home from work. This is where Dylan shows a moment of true character growth when he decides to help his brother. He rings the doorbell and pretends to be a stranded motorcyclist looking for a gas station. This buys Norman enough time to get out of dodge (it’s difficult to tell whether the girl was real or not. Norman did have a hallucination beforehand, but he also had a mark on his leg. This is supposed to be the guy who ends up so unstable that he believes he is his mother after he kills her, so I’m guessing he is capable of imagining it).
When Norman comes sprinting to the Bates Motel doorstep, his older brother, Dylan, confronts him. Dylan informs Norman that he saw everything that transpired and even saved him from certain disaster. Dylan tries to get Norman to open up about everything and Norman storms off. I’m thinking Dylan is starting to feel some sort of bond with his estranged brother. Who knows what brought this on? — but I will say that it’s a nice dynamic to an already compelling story (awkward, dorky, future-killer Norman around his semi-normal rough-around-the-edges brother). It’s a real odd couple homage: the most perfect blend of psychopathy and sentiment.
Norman then goes to check on his friend, Emma, to ask her about what he saw (or thought he saw) at Deputy Zack’s house. Her father answers and tells Norman that she has been under the weather and will be gone for at least a week (due to her cystic fibrosis, she cannot take any chances). Norman asks to see her, and Emma’s father turns him down. Emma’s father then gives Norman a talking-to about his daughter’s feelings for him. He summed it all up by saying, “Be decent,” to which Norman replied, “I am decent.” I’m still trying to figure out exactly what the nature of Norman and Emma’s relationship is supposed to be; I do have a feeling that there is something to be revealed about it that most viewers would not suspect.
In the next scene, Norma meets up with Deputy Zack and they make plans to have a little no-tell-motel action at the Bates’ residence. They used one of the motel rooms for their hour of debauchery (its difficult to discern whether Norma is using Deputy Zack or has genuine feelings for him). After they finish, they run into Dylan outside the room smoking a cigarette. Dylan gives the evil eye to the deputy the whole time (it was one serious staredown between those two). I’m sure they recognize each other from earlier in the episode (when Norman broke into the deputy’s house and his brother rang the doorbell pretending to be a stranded motorcyclist).
Thereafter, Norman is cleaning the motel windows when he notices his crush, Bradley, kneeling down at the crash sight of her father (a shining example of showing instead of telling that her father had died). She begins to weep and Norman consoles her.
Norma walks into the kitchen to find Dylan shockingly stocking the fridge with groceries. Dylan tells her (or rubs it in her face) that he wants to contribute since he will be staying there for a while. Dylan then scolds his mother about her relationship with Deputy Zack. Dylan tells her that he doesn’t trust him: Short, simple, but effective dialogue that I found to be nice use of minimalism (so much more can be said with silence or at least in this case: creepy music).
Norman then runs into Deputy Zack who tries to wave him over to say hello. Norman puts his hood up and attempts to snub Deputy Zack. The deputy sneaks up and startles him. The deputy then puts out an ultra-creep vibe (Death is profound, isn’t it?). He gives Norman the “I’m going to be in your mom’s life” talk that every son detests hearing. He then invites Norman out fishing and closes by intimidatingly telling Norman never to run when he waves him down.
We finally get a name for where the story takes place (White Pine Bay, Ore: a fictitious Northwestern town) when Norma is seen looking at the City Council’s official web site (I’m guessing that she has plans to interrupt the construction of that bypass that would render the Bates Motel obsolete). Norman walks in and tells his mother what (or what he thought) he saw when he broke into Deputy Zack’s house. He then tells her that she told him to do it and she realizes that he hallucinated an image of her. She then explains to Norman that he sees things that aren’t really there. Am I the only one that finds it appalling that his mother wouldn’t try to get Norman on medication or into therapy?
Norma does give her son the benefit of the doubt though as she sneaks into Deputy Zack’s basement while he is fast asleep. She discovers nothing and Deputy Zack catches her snooping around his basement. She tries to shrug it off and say she just wanted to see the rest of the house. The deputy buys it or at least appears to believe her (how dumb is Deputy Zack?).
In a lighter scene, Norman sounds like a middle-aged father as he berates his mother about her relationship with Deputy Zack. I did notice that there was a moment of mirroring dialogues between Norman and his brother, Dylan: “I don’t trust him” (both Norman and Dylan said this about Deputy Zack in this week’s episode).
The audience gets another peak into Norman’s past with his father when Deputy Zack asks him about it while they are out fishing. It stays unclear what exactly transpired, but the audience did get to see Norman’s blind loyalty to a man that obviously wronged him in some way (he refused to say anything negative about his father). Things get weird with Deputy Zack again when he starts talking to Norman about trust. “Can you trust me,” the deputy said. Freddie Highmore plays the awkward, dorky kid again (and wow, does he play it well) as he tries to assure the deputy that a trust exists between them (obviously, there is zero trust there). Deputy Zack gets a phone call from the sheriff and has to cut the fishing trip short.
The hand of Keith Summers was discovered in a fisherman’s net (the wristwatch was still wrapped around the severed wrist). This most likely means that Norman’s mother, Norma, will be the one that the authorities will look at (now that they have tangible evidence).
Norman gets an invite from his crush to get some ice cream. There are some nice exchanges of morbidity and death-talk between the two of them and it becomes apparent that they are growing closer. Norman’s seems to be a man of science and reason as he breaks down grief into physiological terms (for a dysfunctional-schitzo, he is incredibly matter-of-fact). Bradley then tells Norman through additional smalltalk that they found a decomposing hand.
Sheriff Romero and Deputy Zack then bring Norma to the police station for questioning. At the station, Sheriff Romero tells Norma that they found carpet fibers in the wristwatch on the hand. He then told her that they planned to match the carpet fibers that she threw away with that of the carpet fibers in the wristwatch. Norma keeps her cool, but the audience knows she is falling apart on the inside.
Norma and Norman go searching for the carpet, but to no avail. When they finally track down what dump the carpet would be located at, it is locked up. Norma then has a nervous breakdown and admits to her son that she killed Keith Summers unprovoked (because he raped her).
Norman runs into his brother, Dylan, while walking out of the motel. Dylan asks him why he always walks away from him and this gets Norman to stay around. Dylan gives Norman a drink of his bottle of whiskey and Norman begins confides in his brother. He tells him everything that has transpired with his mother, the murder, the deputy, etc. It appears as though there is a strange trust/understanding between the two brothers. It’s a peculiar relationship indeed (it was only a couple of episodes ago that Norman tried hitting Dylan over the head with a meat tenderizer after all). Norman get a text from Bradley and Dylan guides him to getting her to let him come over.
Norman visits Bradley and gets lucky. It was nice to see the protagonist catch a little bit of a break because Norman has had a pretty rough go of it thus far. Norma discovers that Norman is gone and Dylan tells her that he is out with a girl. She gets angry, and begins screaming at Dylan (Norma and Norman’s demeanor mirror each other when it comes to jealousy. Both of them don’t like the other to be romantic with anyone). Dylan then tells his mother that Norman told him everything. Norman attacks her son and he restrains her. Suddenly, the doorbell rings. The episode ends with Norma getting arrested for the murder of Keith Summers.
I have to admit, the pacing was a little bit slow this week (that could be why the rating took a little bit of a plummet this week), but the story was absolutely solid. “Bates Motel” is a show that is unafraid of blazing its own trail in the new world of television. It’s difficult to put Bates in any genre or compare it to any show that has been put out in the past. This is why I will still be watching next week.