Last week’s episode of ‘Bates Motel’ ended with the shocking reveal that Dylan’s uncle, Caleb, is also his father – the result of raping Norma when she was just a teen. This week is all about the aftermath of that revelation.
Emma wakes up in her underwear next to Gunner in one of the rooms at the motel and immediately assumes that she must have slept with him. She gets dressed and sneaks out of the room, where she runs into another motel customer who complains about a guy passed out in his truck. Turns out that’s Dylan, whom Emma tries to wake up with no success. Going up to the house to wake up Norman, the two get Dylan out of his truck and put him into one of the empty motel rooms. By this point, Norma has arrived to help.
By the time Dylan comes to, only Norman is watching him. Dylan doesn’t want to talk to him. He believes that Norman always knew about his father, despite Norman insisting that he didn’t. Later, Dylan tries to get Caleb to admit the truth, but all Caleb will confess to is having sex with Norma. He claims that Dylan’s real father is another man who Norma ran off with and married when she was young. Also, Caleb gives back the money that Dylan lent him last week.
Norman confronts Norma and asks why she never told him about Dylan being Caleb’s son. He also wonders if there’s anything else she’s hidden from him. She insists there isn’t. Of course, viewers already know that isn’t true, as Norma has never told Norman about his blackouts or that he killed his own father. (Norman doesn’t remember this.)
Determined to protect his mother from Caleb, Norman tells some of his problems to his new gal pal Cody. She gives Norman a tire iron and tells him they’ll go over to the motel that Caleb is staying at to scare him a bit. However, Norman gets more and more uncomfortable as they get closer to the room’s door, and changes his mind at the last minute.
Back at the Bates Motel, Emma finally talks to Gunner and learns that they didn’t sleep together, although Gunner wanted to. He says that Emma was too out of it and he didn’t want to take advantage of her, so he just tucked her into bed. Emma confesses that she wanted to have sex with Gunner too, but wanted to be able to remember her first time, as her first time might wind up being her only time (given her cystic fibrosis and limited lifespan).
After rejecting a dinner offer from Christine (and another chance to meet with her brother George), Christine arrives at the Bates’ home and insists that Norma go out with them. At dinner, however, Christine’s date keeps badgering Norma about the new bypass and the fact that no one is going to want to stay at her motel anymore. George apologizes for the other man’s behavior and, at the end of the evening, tells Norma he’d very much like to see her again. You just want to scream at this guy to run. No one nice lasts very long in White Pine Bay.
Dylan shows up at the house with boxes, telling Norma that he’s moving out. Norma tries to stop him, but Dylan claims he’s finally figured out the whole story: Caleb raped Norma and Norma used the pregnancy as a way to get out of the house and marry someone else – claiming that the baby belonged to her new husband instead of Caleb. Norma tries to explain to Dylan the circumstances, but he won’t listen and leaves. Outside, Norman has heard the whole conversation.
One of the weakest storylines of Season 2 has been White Pine Bay’s ongoing battle between rival drug gangs. This week, Sheriff Romero introduces himself to Zane and warns the drug lord not to cross paths with him. At the end of the episode, the Sheriff gets an on-duty call to get home as soon as possible. When he gets there, his house is engulfed in flames. Gee, I wonder who might have done that?
Throughout the episode, Norman has flashes in his mind about how Caleb raped his mother. At the end of the episode, he goes back to Caleb’s motel room and confronts him. The strange thing here is that Norman doesn’t talk to Caleb like he’s Norman… but rather as Norma, taking on the role of his mother and asking Caleb why he raped him/her. He tries to attack Caleb with a knife, but Caleb is too strong for Norman, eventually knocking him out and then leaving him in the motel. Later, Cody will get a call from the local diner to come and pick up Norman, who’s been sitting there catatonic staring out the window for hours.
This is one of the first glimpses this show has provided into what Norman is like during his blackout stages. (He’s sure not to remember anything in next week’s episode.) The fact that he takes on the persona of his mother is rather creepy (not to mention a chance for Freddie Highmore to really show off his acting range). While that sequence was certainly the most interesting we’ve seen this year, Season 2 still lacks the fun and dark humor that made Season 1 such a joy to watch. Even though this week’s entry of ‘Bates Motel’ was interesting, no entry this season has yet been able to match any single episode from last year.