‘Bates Motel’ 2.08 Recap: “That’s the Great Thing About Taxidermy… It Goes with Everything”

With only two more episodes (after this one) to go this season and Norman’s girlfriend Cody out of the picture, ‘Bates Motel’ begins to put a laser-like focus on setting things up for the season ender. This week brings us one of the better episodes we’ve seen all season.

At the beginning of the episode, Norma awakens in the morning and calls for Norman, but can’t find him. It turns out that he’s already down at the office of the motel working. He has an evil glint in his eye that lasts on and off for the better part of this entry. Sheriff Romero, who is still staying at the motel, comes down to the office to get some coffee – but what he really wants to do is size up Norman, as Romero has recently learned that Norman’s semen was found inside the body of the late Ms. Watson.

When Norma finally finds Norman in the office, she tries to be pleasant to him, but Norman gives his mother the cold shoulder. Nick Ford arrives at the motel to see Norma. He tells her that he needs to talk to Dylan, and wants Norma to relay the message to him. Norma tries to explain that she’s had a falling out with her oldest son, but Nick won’t take “No” for an answer.

The morning after Zane’s raid on Nick Ford’s warehouse, Dylan finally regains consciousness about 20 yards away from police cars that have arrived on the scene. Luckily, the police never notice him as he sneaks away and makes his way back to Jodi’s house. There, he meets with Jodi and Zane and complains about how crazy it was to cross Ford. Zane doesn’t see it that way, but agrees to lie low for a while.

Norma gets Emma to drive her to Dylan’s place of work, but when Dylan hears that Nick Ford is looking to meet him, he wants nothing to do with it. Later that night, Dylan is driving his truck when Romero pulls him over. The sheriff tells Dylan to get out of the vehicle, then slams him against it, demanding to know where Zane is. Dylan says he doesn’t know, and Romero threatens to kill him if he finds out that Dylan has lied to him.

George (Michael Vartan) tells Norma that the bypass construction has been delayed for environmental studies, but also that he needs to know where their relationship is going. He invites Norma over to his place for dinner. Later, Nick Ford shows up at the Bates’ house when Norma isn’t home. Norman lets him in, and Nick asks why he took his photo at the cemetery. Norman explains that he didn’t know Nick was Ms. Watson’s father and thought he might have been the man she argued with on the phone. Ford explains that the man in question was an associate of his who had contacted Ms. Watson to inform her that her father had cut her off from any financial support. Norma comes back to the house and sends Norman into the kitchen while she and Nick talk business. Nick isn’t very happy that Norma wasn’t able to set up a meeting with Dylan, and tells Norma that he’s the reason for both her seat on the council and the previous councilman’s untimely death. Norma kicks him out of the house, but not before Nick tells her that she’s making a big mistake.

Romero wants to find out more about Norman’s relationship with Ms. Watson, so he gets Norman down to his motel room to help him with a broken shower curtain rod. While Norman is there, Romero admits that he knows that Norman lied about having sex with Ms. Watson and wants to know why. Of course, Norman can’t admit that he’s having blackouts, so he just keeps denying it and runs away from Romero back up to the house.

When Norma arrives at George’s house for her date, he talks about his background and his college days, and Norma has to confess that she lied to him about her own lack of education. She leaves George’s place and heads back to the motel.

Dylan finally agrees to meet Nick Ford at a pizza shop outside of White Pine Bay. After dressing Dylan down for his lack of courtesy when they greet each other, Nick tells Dylan that Zane is the town’s biggest problem and that Dylan needs to kill him. Dylan tells Nick that if he goes near his mother again, he’ll be the one getting killed. Dylan returns to Jodi’s to tell her about the meeting with Nick, and Jodi slyly suggests to him that if he needs to take care of Zane, she’ll support him. Hmmm, could both Nick and Jodi be working together to get rid of Zane, with Dylan as their fall guy? I wonder.

Norma arrives home to find Norman watching a movie on his computer, after having previously blown her off to watch that same movie together. (“It’s nice to watch a movie by yourself,” he says. Tell me about it, Norman!) Norma tries to reconcile with her son, but he’s not having any part of it. He asks his mother how it feels for someone to keep a secret from her for a change. Norman then runs up to his room and locks himself inside. After pounding on the door for a while, Norma leaves the house, races back to George’s place and throws herself at him. She’s hardly inside for more than a minute before she’s removed her panties from underneath her dress. You just want to yell “Run!” to George, but considering that he’s as good as dead by season’s end (Norma can’t ever be happy, right?), he might as well enjoy the moment.

Back at the motel, Norman hears a noise, which he assumes is Norma returning again to the house. Heading downstairs to see who it is, he’s suddenly grabbed by a man we haven’t seen before, who puts a cloth over Norman’s mouth (chloroform, I presume) and knocks him out. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Nick Ford is probably behind this episode-ending abduction.

This proved to be a wonderfully entertaining episode that returns to the kind of fun and suspense viewers saw in the show’s first season. If you’ve been following these recaps on a weekly basis, you already know that I’ve felt that Season 2 has been pretty uneven, but the last couple of episodes have been promising. Hopefully, the final two of the season will be equally as strong.


  1. I’m sure the fact that Norman was watching Double Indemnity (as the episode goes out of the way to point out a few times) will prove instructive with regard to the storyline about Dylan and Jodi.

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