After the cliffhanger that ended last weeks episode of Bates Motel, this week begins with Norma once again seemingly dealing with the ramifications of her sons behavior.
Norma Bates walks down a long hallway at what appears to be a medical facility looking serious and somber. She enters a room where she finds Sheriff Romero and a coroner. A body lies underneath a sheet, which Romero pulls back to reveal a blonde woman’s body. Norma takes a long look at the woman’s face and tells Romero that she’s sure it isn’t Annika. Romero doesn’t quite believe her but Norma insists. Norma returns home and she and Norman get into a bit of a fight on the front stairs. He’s concerned that Annika is still missing but Norma tells him not to think about it because at the end of the day, it’s not their problem. She’s agitated, probably in part because she’s decided that she’s going to take a marketing class to try and combat the effects of the bypass on her business. After she arrives at the local college nervous that she’s too old to be there. She goes in anyway and enters what she believes to be Business Marketing 101 and takes the last available chair. After a brief confrontation with the professor, she realizes she’s in Psychology 101 and she’s in the wrong class.
Back at the motel, Annika’s car is being towed away just as Emma arrives at work. Norman notices her being a little more dressed up than usual and compliments her which, of course, she loves.
Romero returns to The Arcanum Club where the big party from last week was held. He’s not greeted with open arms by Bob Paris who is the president of the private gentleman’s club. Romero, who knows Paris, reveals that a woman has been found dead and wants to know if she had been working the party. However, Romero gets no help from Paris and is reminded that he’s no friend of anyone’s now that he allowed the DEA to show up in town and torch the marijuana fields. Paris reminds Romero that it’s going to make his re-election campaign for sheriff mighty difficult but Romero is not swayed by the threats. He then makes his way to the Bates home. Norma invites him in for dinner but he informs her it’s not a social visit; he needs to question Norman about Annika. Norma is afraid and hesitant but Norman enters and is happy to speak with Romero. Norma joins them but Norman, irritated by his mothers intrusion, orders her to “Go make dinner.” It’s an aggressive moment in a surprisingly not-tense scene between Norman and Romero. Once Romero gets the answers he needs, he leaves.
Norma is furious with her son but Norman is irritated, too. He aggressively defends his actions and is angry about his mothers behavior. Why does she not believe him about Annika? Why was she lying to him? Why did she tell Romero he was the last person to see Annika, a claim he strongly denies? Norman yells at Norma, finally stating, “I think one of us has a problem and I’m tired of the assumption being that it’s me.” She says nothing in return and watches him walk up the stairs. It’s a very tense and aggressive exchange, most likely foreshadowing the things to come for Norman Bates…
Later, a girl shows up with a truck full of marijuana pants for Dylan and Emma has no choice but to deliver them to the farm herself. She greets Dylan and thereby meets Caleb as well. Since Emma knows who he is and the terrible history between him and Norma, she is clearly shaken by meeting him. She asks if Norma knows that Caleb is there and Dylan says no. He makes her promise not to tell Norma or Norman and she agrees.
At the college, Norma is leaving school and the psych professor sees her and apologizes to her for being a jerk. She accepts and he notices that she seems upset. He asks her if everything is OK and offers her some therapy. She’s not pleased with the suggestion but ultimately keeps his business card (maybe not for her but for Norman?).
At the sheriff’s station, Romero is being briefed on who the dead woman is. While he’s getting the details from an officer they are interrupted by a man, Marcus Young, who is there to announce to Romero that he will also be running for sheriff and he wants to talk to Romero privately. Once they are alone, Young informs him of his background and lets him know he intends to win Romero’s current title in the upcoming election. Of course Romero isn’t having it.
Later, Dylan returns to the cabin after being out and finds Caleb playing guitar. There is a pile of high end lumber waiting for him, as well. Earlier that day, Dylan had refused Caleb’s offer to buy it for him even though he needed it but Caleb did it anyway because he wanted to do something nice for his son.
Back at the motel, Emma and Norman talk about what’s been bothering Norman. He reveals that he feels like Norma is acting differently and that she thinks there’s something very wrong with him. As he explains how he feels about his mother, Norman begins to get more and more angry and storms off but Emma follows him. She tells him to calm down but he says he can’t. As he charges up his stairs and up into his bedroom, Norma follows. Norman finally comes clean: he wanted to take responsibility for the death of Blair Watson but Norma wouldn’t let him and now he feels trapped. He’s trapped in a world of tension and lies and he’s furious with Norma for putting him in that position. It’s an incredibly clever move on the part of the series which, I have to say, is moving very briskly through its third season.
After their argument, Norman goes into the bathroom and has a vision of his mother–it’s the version of Norma who was with him in Blair Watson’s house, the version who he saw when he was trapped in the box underground and remembered exactly what happened with Blair. He tries to recreate the feeling by submerging himself underwater in the bathtub and just as he begins to lose consciousness, Norma busts down the door and rescues him. She gets him into bed and Norman murmurs, “What if I did kill her, Mother?” Norma loses control and runs down to the motel office, sobbing. A BMW pulls up and Annika staggers out of the drivers side (WHAT?!). She is alive but bleeding. After she falls into Norma’s arms and hands her something, she tells Norma that it is important and to use it for her and her son right before she dies. Norma calls 911 and tells them someone has been shot. As Norma opens her hand to look at the important item that Annika has given her: a flash drive.
What could be on the drive? Has Norman been pushed past the edge of no return? Tells us your thoughts on Bates Motel so far this season!
Bates Motel airs Monday nights on A&E.