‘Bates Motel’ 2.03 Recap: “A Lot of Things Seem Like Fate, and They’re Not”

I’ve mentioned in my past couple of recaps that I haven’t found Season 2 of ‘Bates Motel’ to be nearly as much fun as the first season. Sadly, that doesn’t change much in Episode 3 (titled ‘Caleb’), but at least this week’s entry has a pretty nifty conclusion.

Last week’s episode ended with Bradley hopping on a bus headed out of town. As this week begins, Emma (who thankfully gets some screen time again) arrives at Norman’s house to show him the morning paper. Some of Bradley’s belongings and a suicide note were found. Norman doesn’t let on that he knows Bradley faked her death, even when Emma suggests setting up a memorial for her at the beach.

Norma returns to the location of last week’s musical auditions only to find out that she hasn’t been selected for the part. She runs into the musical’s director, Christine (Rebecca Creskoff from ‘Hung’), who explains that local politics kept Norma from being cast. She’s so upset that she’s also quit the musical. She invites Norma out for a drink and, later, to a reception at her home.

Back at the Bates Motel, Norma’s brother Caleb arrives and asks Dylan where she is. When Dylan finds out that he has an uncle he’s never been told about, he invites Caleb inside the house. However, when Norma arrives home to find her brother waiting for her there, she immediately kicks him out. Later in the episode, Dylan runs into Caleb in town and starts asking him questions. The two agree to meet for dinner later that evening.

When Norman learns that his mother didn’t make the play, he isn’t very interested in being in the chorus. So he goes down to the theater to drop out. However, while he’s there, he runs into the same girl who checked him out (and by “checked him out,” I mean in the business sense, not the romantic one) at the grocery store last week when he bought items for Bradley’s exit out of town. Her name is Cody (Paloma Kwiatkowski), and she talks Norman into joining the production as a stagehand.

Like the last couple of episodes, this one has some additional material about the rival drug gangs in White Pine Bay and Dylan’s involvement in their feud. Frankly, not only do I find this part of ‘Bates Motel’ uninteresting (at least at this point), but it’s also pretty hard to follow, as I can’t keep track of who is whom, nor their connections to one another. Anyway, this week, Dylan and his co-worker/friend Remo come across the dead bodies of two men from their own gang, which seems to be a retaliation for the guy from the other gang that Zane killed (and made Dylan and Remo bury) in a prior episode. Zane approaches Dylan and asks what he would do about the deaths of their men, to which Dylan replies that it might be best to do nothing and let things simmer down. Yeah, like that’s going to happen. These drug gang scenes on ‘Bates Motel’ seem like they’ve been imported from another TV show (probably a ‘Breaking Bad’ influence on the writers) and really should be nixed altogether.

Norma goes to the party and meets Christine’s divorced brother, George (Michael Vartan of ‘Alias’ fame). George flirts a bit with Norma, but the two agree that neither of them is ready to date again at this point in their lives. Of course, this means that they’ll probably start dating in a few weeks and poor George will wind up dead by season’s end. (Norma can never be happy, you know).

On her way home, Norma runs into Ms. Watson’s father, who complements her for opposing the bypass at the town council meeting a few weeks back. He says that he opposes the bypass as well. She asks if they can talk about it sometime, and he gives her his card. I didn’t catch all the printed info on it, but his name is Nick Ford, and it looks like he’s part of some kind of industrial company. Leave it to show-runner Carlton ‘Lost’ Cuse to introduce a mysterious industrialist into the mix.

At Bradley’s memorial on the beach, things gets weird as Emma gets drunk while hanging out with “Cupcake” guy from Season 1 (the boy who gave her a marijuana-laced cupcake), Gunner (Keenan Tracey). Meanwhile, Norman gets felt-up by a boy that Cody is making out with. (It turns out that he’s gay, and Cody knows it, but says that’s what you do at these types of parties.)

At dinner with Caleb, Dylan hears about how Norma’s father sexually abused her, and how Caleb always felt guilty about not doing anything to stop it. Returning home to confront Norma, Dylan tells her what Caleb said, but Norma insists that’s not true. In fact, she says that it was Caleb who raped her, not her father. Dylan believes that his mother is lying just to avoid dealing with her brother. The two have a big argument. Norman comes home in the middle of things, and gets into a fight with Dylan. Norma screams for them to stop, blurting out that Caleb is Dylan’s father in the process.

He’s your father… He’s your uncle… He’s your father and your uncle!

Forget it, Dylan… It’s ‘Bates Motel’.

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