‘Bates Motel’ 4.03 Recap: “Sleep Well, Mrs. Romero”

Last week’s episode of ‘Bates Motel’ concluded with Norman voluntarily signing the papers that would commit him to the Pineview mental health facility. This week is all about the aftermath of that. Norman has to deal with his new surroundings, while Norma deals with the fact that her son is no longer at home with her.

The opening shot of this week’s entry has Norma looking at Norman’s empty bed. Norman is now a patient at Pineview, and his first question to the staff there is why he no longer has his belt. Of course, belts are taken away from patients so they don’t have an opportunity to hurt themselves. The next we see of Norma is at City Hall, where she’s joined by Alex. They’re there to get married, although Norma seems less than thrilled about it. After the ceremony, Norma even seems surprised when Alex says he has to move in with her in order to keep up appearances and his reputation in the community. If people find out the marriage is only for the sake of Norman’s insurance, he could lose his job.

Emma is still at the hospital in Portland, but getting much better. She’s allowed to take a walk outside on hospital grounds. She still has an IV, but she no longer needs the aid of an oxygen tank to breathe. Dylan tells Emma his plans for getting out of the marijuana business (which makes sense, since recreational cannabis is now legal in Oregon – something that’s never mentioned in this series). He says that he’s first going to fire Gunner from the farm.

When word of Sheriff Romero’s marriage gets around White Pine Bay, a friend of his who owns a restaurant invites the newlyweds for a free meal. Norma is reluctant to go at first, but finally agrees. She even gets quite tipsy during the meal via a lot of white wine. Norma talks about this being her third marriage, and we also learn that Alex was married once before, for about six months.

The next morning, Alex leaves a note telling Norma that, as a wedding present, he’s gotten some workers to fill in the large pit that Bob Paris dug in front of the motel last season. When she goes out to take a look, one of the workers brings her a piece of jewelry he found in the pit. She lies and says that it’s hers, but wonders who it might really belong to… Emma’s deceased mom, perhaps?

Dylan returns to the farm all ready to fire Gunner, only to find out that he already decided to quit and is getting ready to leave for California. Dylan is actually upset that he didn’t get the chance to fire him. After Gunner leaves, creepy neighbor Chick shows up, looking like hell and limping on a walking stick because Dylan’s father Caleb beat him to nearly an inch of his life. Chick wants to know where Caleb is, but Dylan says he has no idea.

Alex stops at his house to pick up a few more of his things, only to find a woman he’s been sleeping with waiting for him inside. (I don’t remember this character from last season, so she could be new to the series.) She works at the bank and is worried that the DEA will investigate her for laundering Bob Paris’ money. When Alex reveals to her that he’s just gotten married, the woman doesn’t seem too upset about it. After she leaves, Alex becomes concerned that she might have found the money he’s hidden under his floor. She hasn’t, but Alex decides to put it in a bag and take it all back to the Bates’ house, where he hides it in the basement. Norma sees him down there and asks him what he’s doing. When Alex says he’s hiding money, Norma thinks he’s joking.

Dylan comes to the house and finds out about his mother’s marriage. He tells Norma that Alex hasn’t married her just for the insurance. (He’s a guy too, so he knows exactly what Alex wants.) Norma says she’s too concerned with Norman to think of anything else. In fact, Norma makes a trip to Pineview to see if she can talk to him.

Norman has recurring sessions with Dr. Edwards at the facility, but hasn’t said much. He complains that if he tells the doctor the truth about what’s really going on in his life, bad things will happen. Norma shows up and Edwards agrees to let her see Norman, but after a brief conversation, Norman tells his mother that he’s terribly disappointed in her for what she’s done to him. When Norma begs for forgiveness, Norman says, “I don’t forgive you. I can’t forgive you.”

Norma returns home upset and falls into Alex’s arms. It isn’t long before the two start a heavy make-out session and Alex carries his new bride upstairs to finally consummate their marriage.

Back at Pineview, Norman tries to see Dr. Edwards while he’s meeting with another patient. Norman gets upset and hostile, and is dragged away by a couple of orderlies and locked in a holding cell. When Edwards finally comes to talk with him, Norman tells him, “I have reason to believe my mother is insane and might be killing people.” Edwards asks Norman if he understands that the doctor will have to report a serious accusation like that to the authorities. Norman replies, “I do.”

At first glance, this week’s episode may seem like filler, but the acting this week – particularly from star Freddie Highmore – is so good that it’s hard not to enjoy this entry, even though not a whole lot transpires. Some of the dark humor I really enjoyed in past seasons started creeping its way back into this episode. About the only thing I didn’t enjoy this week was the fact that the show-runners brought back Chick, a character I’d hoped we’d seen the last of. I suspect he’s going to cause more trouble as Dylan tries to say goodbye to the drug trade. It’s also a little surprising that the DEA hasn’t come calling on Romero yet. I can’t imagine he’ll get off scot-free after killing Bob Paris.

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