This week Bates Motel returned with a major creep factor and one of the more obvious Psycho references yet.
A day or two has passed since Norma has returned to the motel. Dylan finds Emma working in the office and asks her if he can buy her dinner to thank her for her help with Norman. She agrees and asks if Dylan has told Norma about Norman; he hasn’t, but plans to tell her soon. Just then Emma’s father enters the office upset with her for coming into work when she should be resting.
Norma and Norman are in a tech store picking up a new phone since Norma trashed hers during her episode. Once reactivated, she realizes that she has a zillion messages from Dylan about the night she left and one from Romero telling her he’s been shot. Meanwhile, Bob Paris sees a car parked in his driveway. As he approaches to tell them to leave he sees Marcus Young’s dead body sitting in the passenger seat with a note that reads “I officially withdraw my candidacy for Sheriff.” Romero sure wasn’t messing around.
As Norma and Norman return to the motel, James calls and Norman jealously answers. Norma walks up to the house and Norman to the office. Once inside the house, Norma finds Romero waiting for her. He’s upset that she’s been off the grid and feels like she should be a little more concerned with both of their safety. Dylan visits Emma’s dad at his taxidermy shop to find out a little more about Emma’s health. It’s grim according to him but Emma is on a list for a transplant and if the hospital gets a big enough donation on behalf of the patient, she might move up the list quicker. Dylan is determined to find the money for Emma’s transplant.
Back at Dylan’s farm, Gunner and Caleb are working on the barn when Romero drives up and asks to speak to Gunner. He goes straight for the flash drive and asks Gunner to open the flash drive. At first he plays dumb but Romero tells him to cut the nonsense. He opens the drive and looks at the files and notices something. He takes the drive and finds Paris and confronts him about his mother’s name on the ledger which is curious since she’s been dead for twenty years. Paris reveals that it was Romero’s father who has been using her name for some bad business. At the motel, Dylan confronts Norma about Norman. He puts the pieces together and begs her to do something, to deal with Norman. His brother is not well and he needs help.
Speaking of troubled family members, Romero visits his father in jail. He was a dirty cop and is serving time. Romero tells him, firmly, that he needs to take his mother’s name off the ledger or he will kill his own father. Meanwhile, Caleb asks Dylan if he could ever come by the house sometime but he tells him that’s not the best idea. Then, Chick comes in to follow up with Caleb about the transpo job but Caleb says that he’s changed his mind. Dylan, seeing an opportunity to make quick money to pay for Emma’s transplant, accepts the job. After Chick leaves, Caleb tells him that he can’t do the job.
After calling and calling, James finally shows up at the motel to check on Norma. She tries to blow him off but he doesn’t take no for an answer so Norma brings James inside to speak with Norman who is in the basement working on his taxidermy and Norman agrees to speak with him but only if Norma gives them some privacy. The conversation seems to be going well until Norman asks James about his sexual relationship with Norma. It gets totally weird especially when Norman asks what it was like having sex with her. Ew! EW!!! He then attacks James. I will say, this was a little silly considering that the actor who plays the therapist is a large man and Freddie Highmore isn’t the most physically imposing of people. The idea that he could take this much bigger person out was a bit ridiculous, but never the less, Norman lets James go and he runs out of the house but not before telling Norma to get Norman some help immediately.
Norma goes downstairs to speak with Norman about what just happened and what ends up happening is Norma softens and she offers to make them some dinner after promising to him that nothing has changed or will change between them. Norma also delivers the famous line, “We all go a little mad sometimes” from the Alfred Hitchcock classic film on which the series is based. As Norma goes upstairs to make dinner, Romero calls her and asks her to pick him up. He’s drunk and can’t drive himself home. She does and takes him back to the motel to sleep it off for a little bit. As she’s tucking him in, she asks what happened and he tells her about his mom’s name on the ledger. As they talk, they have a nice moment where they come close to kissing but it doesn’t quite happen. As Norma prepares dinner, Dylan enters and tells Norma of his plans to take Emma out that evening. She asks him to stay in and eat with the family and to invite Emma to join them. Dylan seems disappointed, but agrees. As Norma goes to her garden to cut some herbs, she finds Caleb outside with flowers and a note thanking her for talking to him. She tells him that they can’t be friends and he says that he understands. As he turns to leave, she stops him and invites him for family dinner.
It’s a full house with Norma and Caleb at the piano singing and laughing like they did when they were kids, Dylan and Emma and their new relationship–however it will be defined–and Norman, who sees all of this and quietly accuses Dylan of bringing Caleb into the house but Dylan corrects him and tells his brother that Norma brought him in. Finally, Romero comes up to thank Norma for helping him and to let her know he’s going to take a cab back to his truck but she won’t let him and invites him to stay for dinner, too.
As the group takes their seats, Norman hovers, not quite knowing where to go and sitting in between Caleb and his mother. Norma gives a lovely toast thanking them all for being there and Caleb also stands and makes a toast, thanking her for her hospitality and for opening her door to him. It’s becoming very clear that there is a divide in the family: Norman and everyone else. He will never accept them all being together and sharing Norma’s affections and he’s going to make Norma choose.
After the meal when everyone is asleep, Norman enters Norma’s room and watches her sleep. He kneels by the bed and lightly caresses Norma’s body.
With just three episodes to go in the third season, it’s clear that the series is building to something that will be huge but what? Will Norman kill Dylan or Romero? Is the series truly flirting with the idea of killing Norma Bates so soon? We’ll find out when Bates Motel returns Monday night on A&E.