Actor Nestor Carbonell, who plays Sheriff Alex Romero, makes his directorial debut with this week’s episode of ‘Bates Motel’. It’s primarily a Norma-centric episode, which means that young, lovable Norman doesn’t have a whole lot to do. Still, it’s a step up from last week’s rather slow-moving story, and Carbonell does a decent enough job behind the lens.
Norma drives down the road in her car when another vehicle rapidly approaches from behind, honking its horn and flashing its headlights. The car eventually runs Norma off the road into a cow field. The driver of the other car then comes back and tells Norma that she has something that belongs to Bob Paris, and it’s in her best interest to bring it to him as soon as possible.
Sheriff Romero talks to a local clam-digger named Stan at the marsh where young Lindsay Davis’ body was found. Stan tells Alex that he saw Clay DuFont (Martin Novotny) stalking the area shortly before Lindsay’s body was found there. Clay told Stan he was birdwatching, but Stan says he didn’t have any binoculars or a camera with him.
After her accident, Norma goes to the local hospital, which calls Dylan (her emergency contact) to pick her up. Dylan thinks that Norma knows about Caleb being in town, but Norma hasn’t heard about it yet and instead tells him about how she got run off the road. Dylan wants Norma to turn over the flash drive to Romero, but Norma insists on keeping it.
Romero goes to see Bob Paris at a restaurant where Bob is having lunch with Marcus Young, Alex’s opponent in the upcoming sheriff’s election. After Marcus leaves, Bob tells Alex that Annika had a flash drive that belongs to him and he needs it back. Meanwhile, Dylan returns to the Bates’ house, where he confronts Norman. Norman insists that he told his mother about Caleb, but Dylan knows that he hasn’t.
Norma once again runs into college professor James Finnigan, who sees her waiting to catch a bus (since her car is being repaired). He invites her out for lunch, during which Norma gets him to confess that he finds her attractive. She wants to know if it’s unprofessional of him to offer therapy to someone he’s attracted to. James promises to control himself if she can do the same.
Creepy woodsman/drug dealer Chick returns in this episode so ‘Bates Motel’ can continue one of its more annoying storylines that most viewers don’t care about. He meets with Caleb and, after spending a few minutes praising the taste of boar jerky, offers him a job as a driver for his drug trade. Caleb tells Chick that he’s trying to turn over a new leaf, but Chick gives him until the end of the week to decide.
At the Bates’ house, Norman asks his mother if she’s changed her dress during the day, and Norma says she hasn’t. He then asks her if they talked in the morning, and Norma has no recollection of that either. Realizing that he may have had a hallucination, Norman runs upstairs to Norma’s room and pulls the dress he thought she was wearing out of her closet. After creepily hugging it for a few seconds, he runs into his own room with it and hides it under his mattress.
Up at Dylan’s cabin, Gunner is playing a handheld videogame when the lights flicker and go off in the next room (where Dylan is growing marijuana). Gunner checks out the wall timer, opens it up and finds the flash drive inside. He then calls Dylan to tell him about it. Moreover, he’s even been able to bypass the encryption. How did Gunner get this knowledge? From illegally downloading movies on the internet. Yeah… whatever! Anyway, the flash drive contains a ledger for $15 million in profit returns on illegal drug sales in White Pine Bay. We’ll learn later than not only is Bob Paris’ name on it, but many of the town’s leaders.
Elsewhere, Romero finds Clay DuFont’s car on the side of the road. When he approaches the window, he finds Clay dead in the driver’s seat.
After learning about the contents of the flash drive from Dylan, Norma goes to see Romero at his house and insists that he take her to see Bob Paris. When he argues with her about that, Norma insists that she’s as strong as anyone else in the town. Romero relents and agrees to take her. When the two meet Paris, Norma attempts to blackmail him with an offer to keep the contents of the drive secret if he agrees to build an exit off the new bypass that will lead to her motel, along with billboards in both directions advertising her establishment. Oh, and a pool… she wants a pool at the motel. Surprisingly, Bob agrees to her demands, though I’m pretty sure he’s lying through his teeth.
Upon her return home, Norma finds Dylan and Norman waiting for her in the kitchen. Dylan confesses about Caleb’s arrival back in town, says that he wants to apologize to her, and asks her if she’d be willing to meet with him. Norma calmly leaves the room and heads upstairs, but then flips out and packs her things into a suitcase. Norman tries to stop her from leaving, but Dylan holds him back as Norma hops into her car and takes off.
As noted at the outset of this recap, Norman doesn’t have much to do in this episode, other than to contemplate his latest blackout/hallucination. The result is another so-so entry, but it’s still a step up from last week’s rather uneventful episode. Of course, it will be interesting to see in the next week or two how Norma’s absence affects Norman. I’m guessing the results won’t be good.