This week, Bates Motel begins exactly where it left off, with police cars arriving at the motel and a mysterious young woman, Annika Johnson, is dead. Romero arrives on the scene as Norma is being treated by a medic. Norman has gotten out of bed and wanders downstairs into the chaos. He looks at Norma and wonders aloud, dazed, “Did I do it?” but Norma is able to get Norman out of the situation quickly as Dylan arrives and takes him up to the house. Romero looks on, a bit suspicious of Norman and Norma. Romero sits across from Norma in her kitchen as she truthfully recounts what happened (leaving out the flash drive bit, of course) but, again, Romero is still skeptical. Why did Annika come back to the motel? What was wrong with Norman when he came downstairs?
In Norman’s bedroom, Dylan is watching over him as Norma rushes in. Norman is confused and his mother believes that he blacked out earlier in the tub. “I blacked out and then she was dead,” Norman says. Dylan is watching, concerned, and offers to stay with Norman as his mother goes into her room to change. She has saved the flash drive and later that evening plugs it into her laptop, but it’s password protected and she can’t crack the code.
The next morning at breakfast Norma prepares a meal for Norman. He asks her if she still likes him. Norma, of course, she’s shocked. He insists that’s something has been different between the two of them since Dylan came back into the picture. She tells him that nothing is wrong.
At the sheriff station, Romero learns that Annika was shot about twenty minutes before she arrived at the motel and that the car she was driving belonged to the other girl who was found dead in the marsh.
Emma and Norman study together but Norman is clearly distracted. As Emma suggests that they get out of the motel for a picnic in the next few days, Norman sees his mother enter the house. He starts making out with Emma to make his mom jealous (EW!) and it kind of works?
Romero returns to schmancy, sleazy club to find Bob Paris, the president, outside. He tells Paris that there are two dead girls both with links to the club and it looks really bad for him. Paris asks if the latest victim (Annika) had anything on her which is totally not a question that a murderer would ask. Romero notices the odd query and ultimately gets no real answers out of Paris and leaves.
Norma is in the college library and the psych professor spots her again. He and Norma decide to grab coffee and she begins to open up and breaks down a little in front of him. When Norma returns to the hotel, she sees Romero’s truck parked out front. She finds him inside Annika’s room going through her belongings and he asks Norma if Annika had anything on her when she died. Norma denies her having anything on her and she and Romero have vague conversation about what each of them is up to. When she gets up to the main house, Norman is in the kitchen making food for his picnic with Emma. However, Norma sees right through Norman’s nonsense and calls him out for using Emma to try and get back at her for whatever he thinks is going on between the two of them.
Norman lays it on thick and I have to say, as a viewer I am loving this new shade to his already very quirky character. The innocence of this young man as portrayed in the first, and to an extent the second season, has mostly vanished, and I’m beginning to find him manipulative and angry. The scene ends with Norma explaining to Norman that he can’s sleep with Emma. It’s the perfect weird little cherry on top. Later that night Norma brings the flash drive to Dylan and asks him to try to crack the password. They agree to keep it between them only but Norman sees Norma leaving Dylan’s room and overhears her tell him not to tell Norman so naturally, he’s stewing with jealousy. Has Dylan replaced him as their mother’s favorite?
Romero sits with a young woman at a diner and we learn that she’s an escort just like Lindsey and Annika, the two murdered girls. The girl didn’t know her two friends were dead but knew that Lindsey and Bob Paris (super douchey president of The Arcanum Club) were having a relationship. She also reveals that maybe Annika was part of their relationship, too. Hubba hubba!
Speaking of “hubba hubba,” across town Norman and Emma find a cabin in the woods to snuggle up in. They build a fire and start making out. Norman stops it, though, and tells her that his mother told him not to have sex with her because she could get hurt due to her condition. This not only offends Emma but makes her so angry that she gets up and leaves.
Back at Dylan’s cabin, he and Caleb get into a big fight while Caleb is working on the roof. As they bicker, Caleb falls off and gets really badly injured. Dylan wants to take him to the hospital but Caleb won’t let him because there’s a warrant out for his arrest. Oh boy. What for? We don’t find out. Dylan agrees to Caleb’s request and brings him inside to stitch up Caleb’s hand himself. It’s a bizarro father/son heart-to-heart and Caleb explains his version of his and Norma’s relationship. It’s a creepy scene but seemed sincere, too. At its core, Bates Motel really is a family drama just like any other. Well, except for all the murder and incest.
Anyway, Dylan returns to the motel to find the front office broken into. Dylan pulls out his gun and finds one of Bob Paris’s goons snooping around. They exchange words and the goon makes it clear that he’ll be back and the main house is his next target. Dylan rushes upstairs to tell Norma but Norman hears them whispering and comes in to find out what’s going on. They don’t tell him and he gets mad and storms off. Dylan offers to hide the flash drive at the farm to protect her and Norman. As he’s on his way out, Norman is waiting for him and asks again what’s going on. Dylan doesn’t tell him and heads back to the cabin to hide the drive.
As he and Caleb are saying goodbye for the night, Norman emerges from the shadows, jealous that Dylan and Norma have been whispering behind his back and furious on his mother’s behalf that Caleb is holing up with Dylan. Norman runs and Dylan and Caleb chase him. Dylan and Norman wrestle and Dylan begs Norman not to tell Norma about his relationship with Caleb for fear of losing his relationship with Norma. It’s a sad and touching moment from Max Thieriot, the greatly under-appreciated actor who plays Dylan. Unfortunately Norman is unsympathetic and only sees his brother as a threat to his relationship with Norma. Norman drives off leaving Caleb and Dylan at the cabin.
What will Dylan do to Norman? How will Norma react to the news? We’ll find out next week!
Bates Motel airs new episodes Monday nights on A&E.