Bates Motel Season 1 Episode 8 Review and Recap
A Boy and His Dog
This week opens up with Norman being taught the ins and outs of taxidermy by Emma’s dad (any fans of the original classic know how Norman is going to end up using this knowledge).
In the next scene, Emma is having a coughing fit at school and stumbles into a privacy stall in the restroom. She uses her inhaler to curb her coughing fit and after she does, a group of gossiping high school girls walk in, unaware that Emma is still in the bathroom stall. They make fun of Norman and all his social awkwardness. The girls even go on to claim that Norman would never have a chance with Bradley. After hearing enough, Emma storms out of the stall and tells the girls what she knows what actually happened between Norman and Bradley (making them look pretty stupid in the process, too).
Later on, Norma calls the sheriff’s office looking for a favor (while the creepy motel patron stands out in the parking lot creepily staring at her).
Next, we cut to a scene with Dylan and his new partner in crime, Remo, guarding the pot field. Dylan gets a call from the boss telling him their next job (picking up a group of trimmers). Dylan has no idea what trimmers are and Remo gives him the business about not knowing. Remo tells Dylan to plan for an overnight trip.
This week’s episode moved fast as the next scene cuts in with Norman and Bradley back at school. Bradley scolds Norman about telling Emma what happened between the two of them. Poor Norman gets hit with another crying fit (the manager of the site is still trying to convince me to do a top ten moments of Norman crying when the season ends. The guy has a point, Norman has cried a lot in this show). He rushes out of school and his overly involved teacher tries to get him to come back in. Norman pulls his hand away violently when the teacher tries to grab him and shocks the well-meaning teacher (Bradley is really doing a number on that poor kid).
In an attempt to figure out what the creepy motel patron’s deal is, Norma offers to clean up his room. As she is doing so, he brings up Deputy Zack and what transpired at the motel. He asks Norma the nature of her and Zack’s relationship (obviously, he already knew), and Norma tries to play it down as if Deputy Zack was simply an acquaintance. Things get too heavy for Norma and she attempts to take her leave. The creepy motel patron forcefully grabs her cleaning cart and it looks as if something violent will happen. The motel patron simply grabs a couple of towels from the cart and Norma pushes the cart out of the room, having been spooked by the motel patron’s demeanor.
Norma goes down to the sheriff’s office to speak with Romero. She asks him for a favor (for his support in joining the zoning board in order to influence the board to not build the bypass that would render the Bates Motel obsolete). Romero coldly tells her no and Norma attempts to blackmail him into it. Sheriff Romero reveals himself to be more of a bad guy than the audience initially thought when he threatens to burn Norma to the ground. On the way out of the office, Norma gets a call about her son’s behavior at school.
In the next scene, Dylan waits for his associate, Romero, to pick him up. He arrives and they head out to go pick up the trimmers (people who trim and process the marijuana).
Norma confronts Emma in the next scene about airing out his business to the high school girls and his mother. Norman angrily tells Emma to never tell anyone something he tells her in confidence again.
Back at the school, the school principal and Norman’s teacher inform Norma that they plan to suspend Norman for walking out of school (yeesh, that’s all it takes these days? When I went to high school, skipping wasn’t such a serious offense). Norman’s teacher expresses concern over the way he reacted when she tried to grab him. Norma attempts to flip it back on her by asking her if she is supposed to be putting her hands on students. The principal quickly changes the subject back to Norman and he and the teacher suggest that he see a school psychologist. “He is emotionally unusual for a boy his age.” Norma, realizing what kind of things a may become unearthed, suggests that she pick out the psychologist.
Dylan and his new business associate are at a bar grabbing a few drinks. Remo is obviously inebriated whereas Dylan is buzzed at worst. Some heated words are exchanged and the two get in a knock-down-drag-out fight with the handicaps being Remo’s intoxication and Dylan’s still-healing arm. It’s a pretty even fight throughout until they both end up on the ground. While lying next to Dylan, Remo says, “You better watch out for me, goldenboy. I’ll try to destroy you.”
That must have been a major bonding moment between the two because afterward, they were walking back to their motel rooms with a newfound respect for one another. In their conversation about the criminal syndicate they work for, it is found out that you cannot quit (however, you can be killed).
In the next scene, Norma finds out that Norman has been learning taxidermy from Emma’s dead, Will. Norma tries to explain to Will that she doesn’t like her son learning taxidermy with him already being unusual. Will takes minor offense to it when Norma expresses her concern that he will become known as a “freak.” Will stands his ground and says he will continue to teach Norman taxidermy as long as he wants to learn it.
Dylan and Remo pick up the group of trimmers (and they are a group of major hippies). One of them clearly has an attitude problem and Remo, remembering how much of a pain he was the year before, suggests they leave him behind. Dylan says they should just stick to what the boss (Gill) told them (which is bringing back all the trimmers).
Norma sees the creepy motel patron heading out of his room and she decides to follow him (and wow, she is the world’s worst tail. I know it’s probably not something she knows a lot about, but she had the subtlety of an ape in her attempt. Stevie Wonder could’ve spotted her). She follows him to the body of water where Keith Summer’s was dumped. He drives up to her after quickly figuring out she was following him. His backstory begins to take shape as the audience learns that he works for the same people as Deputy Zack and Keith Summers.
During Norman’s meeting with the therapist, Norma sits in with her son. She answers practically every one of his questions in a moment that revealed just how domineering she could be.
Cut to the next scene. Dylan and Remo are driving the group of trimmers (or hippies, depending on your view). One of them is playing acoustic guitar and singing. It drives Remo crazy (I laughed out loud when Remo looked at Dylan bobbing his head to the hippie’s music). Remo tells him to put the guitar away because he is giving him a headache. The trimmer begins to insult Remo and demands that they buy them lunch. Dylan tells Remo to pull the van over. Dylan gets out, pulls a gun on the problem-hippie, and leaves him on the side of the road. It was an additional moment of bonding between the new partners in crime as Remo was left impressed by Dylan’s handling of the situation.
After the meeting with the therapist, he asks if he could see Norman alone during the next session. Norma shoots down the idea and the therapist then suggests that she start seeing him professionally as well. This touches a major nerve and Norma has a freak-out session and stomps out of the office. (Kudos to Vera Farmiga in this scene though. Her rant at the therapist was truly the most comedic part of the episode). “I do not feel powerless! Ever!”
When Norma and Norman arrive back at the motel, Norma goes to the creepy motel patron’s room and gives him all his money back. She tells him to leave and to never come back. The creepy patron says, “Fine, you want to play? We’ll play.” He is proving to be an excellent addition to the cast. The actor playing him really knows how to play the weirdo well.
Emma apologizes to Norman in the next scene and explains why she told the girls about what happened between him and Bradley. Norman, being the goodhearted person that he is, forgives her almost instantly.
In the closing scene, Dylan brings by a van full of hippies all looking for a room for the night. Norma is absolutely elated by this and is appreciative that Dylan was thinking of her and the struggling business she is trying to run. She invites him out to dinner, just him and her. Dylan is taken back by the offer (despite some comments on Reddit, I still stand by my theory that Dylan is jealous of Norma and Norman’s relationship). Norma goes to get ready and finds a present from the creepy motel patron: Zack’s dead corpse sitting on her bed.
“A Boy and His Dog” really intrigued me. I found that there were many short scenes in the episode. It helped move the story that much further and with only two episodes left; there are a million different directions this show could go. “Bates Motel” hasn’t lost my undivided attention yet.