‘Bates Motel’ 4.02 Recap: “We Should All Be Scared”

Things took a turn for the worse at the end of last week’s Season 4 premiere of ‘Bates Motel’. As this week’s entry unfolds, it’s mother against son when both Norma and Norman wonder what evil the other has been up to.

When we last saw Norman, he strangled Emma’s mother Audrey to death in the Bates’ living room. As Norma returns home from her visit with Sheriff Romero, there’s no sign of a body. After leaving a voicemail message for Dr. Edwards about possibly treating Norman, Norma goes upstairs to find Norman in bed. He says he can’t remember anything from the previous night, and the last thing that he does remember is the fact that Norma had locked him in his room.

Norman starts having visions about what he thinks he saw his mother do to Audrey. He sees her dragging the body down to the basement and putting it in the freezer. Norman becomes very suspicious of Norma – particularly since she claims that she went to the grocery store when she locked him in the room, but returned with no grocery bags. However, when Norman goes down to the basement to check the freezer himself, it’s empty.

Meanwhile, at the hospital in Portland where Emma has gotten a lung transplant, the doctor removes her breathing tube to see if she can do it on her own. At first, it looks like Emma isn’t able to catch a breath, but after a short scare, she starts breathing on her own and it looks like she’s going to be just fine – much to the joy of both her father and Dylan.

Norma finds Norman in the basement, where he tells his mom his suspicions that she killed Audrey. This, naturally, causes Norma to panic and wonder what Norman may have done. A visit from Alex breaks up the tension, and Norma goes to talk with him. Alex apologizes for not accepting her marriage proposal, but as it turns out, he’s changed his mind about the whole idea. Returning home and taking some of the drug money he hid under the brick layering of his living room floor, Alex drives out to the Pine View facility and offers to pay for the first couple of months of Norman’s care… with a little extra for the administrator to make sure they can make room for him. When he’s asked why he’s doing this, Alex says that he plans to marry Norman’s mother.

Suspecting that perhaps Norman has disposed of Audrey in the large pit outside their house (the one that Bob Paris dug for no particular reason to freak Norma out during Season 3), Norma puts on her rain gear and goes down into the pit to see what she can find, but all she uncovers in the water at the bottom of the pit (it’s been raining quite a bit) is an abandoned workman’s glove. Norma hears a car arriving and climbs up out of the pit, only to be caught by Norman. The car’s occupants are a couple and their young daughter, who are looking for a room for the night. Norman insists on handling the check-in, and demands that Norma go back up to the house and clean herself up.

After returning to the house, Norma gets a call from Alex telling her that he’s arranged for Norman to be accepted as a patient at Pine View, and also that he’s willing to accept her marriage proposal so that Norman can get on his health insurance. However, since Norman is 18, he’ll need to sign off on some forms to be voluntarily admitted there. Alex tells her that he’s in the process of faxing the documents to the motel’s office. Realizing that Norman is down there, Norma races to get down to the motel before Norman sees the papers, but it’s too late. He already has them.

Norman has a vision of his father, who tells his son that Norma killed him, not Norman. Confronting his mother in the kitchen of the Bates’ house, Norman tells her that he knows she killed Audrey, that she killed his father, and that she probably killed Bradley Martin and Blaire Watson as well. Scared at what Norman may do, Norma runs upstairs to get her gun from underneath her mattress – only to discover that Norman already has it. She tries to hug and kiss him to get the gun away from him, but it doesn’t work. Norma has to run and lock herself in a room to get away from him. She tries to call Alex for help, but has to leave a message when she gets his voicemail.

Later that night, hoping it’s safe to exit, Norma sneaks out of the room and heads back downstairs. She gets a pair of shears and then makes her way down to the basement, where Norman is waiting. (Why doesn’t she just get out of the house?!) Norman still has the gun, and just when it looks like he might shoot Norma, Alex and a deputy show up at the house to take Norman away with them. Norma begs Norman to sign the papers for Pine View so that he won’t be thrown back in the county hospital. Just before he gets into Alex’s police cruiser, Norman signs.

I have to confess, I really thought this episode was going to end with Norman killing Norma, which made it incredibly tense to watch. Since star Vera Farmiga also plays Norman’s alter ego version of “Norma,” the show-runners could kill off real Norma at any time without worrying about losing their lead actress. Add to that the fact that we all know Norma’s fate, and the scenes between mother and son have a pretty high level of anxiety. (The fact that the title of this week’s episode is ‘Goodnight, Mother’ only adds to that.)

Yet Norma lives to die another day, and Norman is now in police custody and possibly on his way to Pine View for an extended stay. So far, it’s been a particularly strong start to this new season. Once again, I’m enjoying the fact that the show is primarily focusing on its two main leads and so far hasn’t gotten sidetracked with any unnecessary subplots.

What does everyone else think of the new season so far? Was I the only one who thought Norma was going to get offed this week?

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