In the premiere of “Bates Motel” last week, we saw amazing performances by Vera Farmiga and Freddy Highmore, who did a fantastic job channeling a young Anthony Perkins. Now that the plot had been set up, we can learn more about the town and Norma’s other son.
SPOILER ALERT: Do not read any further if you haven’t watched the episode yet. This is a recap with specific details from this episode. Continue only if you have already watched it.
Norman was fascinated by the little picture book he found last week while cleaning and obsessed over some of the bondage pictures. When the doorbell rang, he was awakened from his trance and hid the book. Norma ran down the stairs to open the door and was shocked to see the surprise visitor: her other son, Dylan.
Norman asked Norma how long Dylan was staying but she shrugged it off. Dylan walked in during Norma making breakfast and the family dynamics were definitely off. When Norma asked why Dylan was there, he replied that he lost his job and wanted to go home like normal people, unlike Norma, who hid her new location from Dylan.
When Norman got to the bus stop outside the hotel, the popular girls were there. Bradley asked why Norman left the party early the other night. She even asked Norman to study together and for real this time. Before he could answer, a car screeched past them and crashed into a ditch near them. They pried the door open and saw Bradley’s dad in the driver’s seat all burned up.
While a tow-truck worked on the car, Sheriff Alex Romero briefed Norma on Bradley’s dad, who owned a warehouse up the road. Someone set the warehouse on fire with him inside. Dylan walked up to his mom and remarked on the strange town they now lived in. She scolded him for calling her Norma and gave him work to do.
Sheriff Romero directed Norma to a side street. Keith Summers’ truck was parked there. (He was the previous owner; we know what happened to him from last week!) Norma kept her cool but the sheriff was a little suspicious.
In class, Emma imposed herself as Norman’s partner for the assignment and invited herself to the motel to work.
At the hospital, Norman brought a flowering plant to Bradley. She saw him but he was intercepted by Richard, who disdainfully stopped Norman from giving the plant directly to Bradley.
At a strip club, Dylan tried to enjoy the show but the patron next to him was crying. The patron lamented about his boss being in the accident from earlier. When he pulled out his stash of cash to pay, Dylan got interested.
Returning to the motel with his assignment, Norma was waiting. She scolded him for coming home late. She wanted to build a life there with Norman and would not let Dylan screw up her plans. Turned out that Dylan and Norman had different fathers and even Dylan noticed the slightly inappropriate closeness between Norma and Norman.
Dylan questioned Norma how she got the money for the motel. When she explained about the insurance policy, Dylan was not fully convinced.
Another doorbell rang while Norma and Norman were cleaning the kitchen. Emma arrived to work with Norman on their homework project. Norma immediately quizzed Emma on her life story despite Dylan trying to distract her. When Norma found out Emma’s life expectancy from cystic fibrosis was only until 27, she became at ease and even suggested Norman and Emma do their homework upstairs.
Emma and Norman worked on their poem homework in his room when their discussion topic evolved to contemporary murders. Emma found Norman’s little picture book. She was not disturbed by the pictures as she had read steamier manga and even borrowed it.
While Norma was getting ready for bed, another doorbell rang. If Bates Motel gets this much business, the Bates would be rich! Sheriff Romero and Deputy Shelby were at the door. They were asking her about Keith Summers and Norma slipped up during the questioning. She got a little flustered but refused to let them in without a search warrant. Did Norma just flirt with Deputy Shelby right there?
Driving through town, Norma stopped next to Deputy Shelby and joked about being arrested. Deputy Shelby asked her for coffee instead. At coffee, as they flirted, we got to learn more about the sheriff’s relationship with Keith Summers. The charming deputy even managed to arrange a “date” at the town festival that night.
A giddy Norma showed off to Norman what she was wearing for her evening “date”. Norma explained that she was buttering up the deputy as goodwill. Norman was amused. Then Norma undressed and tried on another top right there in front of Norman. When he looked a little uncomfortable, she shrugged it off. Even after she turned around, he continued watching her change.
When Norman expressed his concern and wanting to go with her, she quickly convinced him that her visit with the deputy wouldn’t mean anything.
At a boat building warehouse, Dylan was introduced by the strip club patron to a man named Gil, who promptly asked if Dylan knew how to use a gun.
Heating up dinner in the kitchen, Dylan’s cellphone rang and Norman cracked a joke about “The Whore” calling. Norman got visibly angry when he learned that was Norma and tried to fight Dylan. Dylan subdued Norman easily and quickly but Norman’s anger festered. He grabbed a meat tenderizer and tried to hit Dylan but missed. Dylan knocked Norman down and left. “She’s not a whore,” Norman sobbed angrily.
At the Woodchuck festival, Norma meet up with Deputy Shelby and he told us more about Keith Summers. When Norma brought up the weird things that are happening in town, the deputy offered more insights about the townspeople, who seem to be richer than they should be. Looks like the deputy may be in on town’s strangeness as well.
Norma came home and found Norman with his bruises from earlier. Norma now wanted Dylan to leave and Norman agreed. After Norma left, Norman got a text message from Emma to meet at her store.
At the store, Norman found Emma working at the computer. Norman got fascinated by the taxidermy in the store. Emma’s dad was the best taxidermist in town. Sounds like someone’s gonna get an apprenticeship soon?
Emma was able to translate the picture book and learned the story of four girls from China who were forced to be sex slaves. One of them died and was buried nearby. So Emma wanted to go find the grave to prove the story and then planted a kiss on Norman. Norman was a little flustered but was pleased.
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In the living room, Dylan was wistfully looking at happy pictures of Norma and Norman when she came downstairs. She told Dylan to leave in the morning. He then confronted Norma about Sam’s death and how he had to talk to insurance people to find her. He suggested that maybe he should tell the insurance people the true nature of her relationship with Sam. She got quiet. Dylan just continued drinking alone sadly.
Emma and Norma trek through the woods following the picture book. After stopping for Emma to catch her breath, they came up to a field of pot plants. They ran off when the guards saw them and they came across the shed from the picture book. Luckily they managed to escape.
Driving through town, Norma saw the burning body of a man hung upside down in the town square. What has she gotten them into by coming to this town?
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