‘Bates Motel’ 4.04 Recap: “Put on Your Bra, For God’s Sake”

After telling Dr. Edwards that he thinks his mother might be a killer, this week’s episode of ‘Bates Motel’ would certainly have that news get to Sheriff Romero, who would immediately be suspicious of Norma, right? Umm… no, not at all.

Norman is sitting alone in his room at Pineview when an orderly comes to give him his daily medication. Norman insists on making a phone call but, of course, is told he’s not allowed to do that unless he gets permission. He agrees to take the medication, but as soon as the orderly leaves, he sticks a finger down his throat to throw the pills back up. Norman then runs into fellow patient Julian and asks if he knows a way he can make a phone call. Julian helps him gain access to one of the offices, where Norman calls Dylan. He tells his older brother that he believes Norma is in trouble and the police may pay her a visit. Dylan doesn’t seem to be buying any of it and asks questions about Norman’s well-being instead. Norman gets frustrated hangs up on him.

Back at the Bates’ house, Norma cooks up a big ol’ breakfast for Romero. The sheriff tries to put the moves on her again (after all, they slept together the previous night), but Norma pulls back. Alex asks her to come with him to the town’s Winter Festival that evening for appearances’ sake, but Norma says she’s planning to drive to Portland to visit Emma.

Up at the hospital, Emma is allowed to take a walk on the building’s roof. (I can’t imagine a hospital allowing this, but I guess the episode director thought it would be a cool place to film the scene.). She tells Dylan that she’s planning to move to Seattle, which has a great respiratory hospital that would give her a chance to go to college. She asks Dylan if he’ll move there with her, and he agrees.

At Pineview, Norman tells everyone that he’s going to be released that day. He believes this is true because he told Dr. Edwards that his mother is a crazed killer, so naturally he thinks he’s being held for no reason. However, Edwards tells him that he isn’t going anywhere for the time being. Not only does the good doctor say that it will take a while for the police to investigate Norman’s claims, but sometimes people believe things to be true when they’re really not. In other words, Edwards still thinks Norman is unhinged. Did he even call the police? Since Alex Romero should be the one to get this report, I’m guessing the doctor didn’t even try.

Romero gets a text message from Rebecca Hamilton (nice last name for a woman who manages a bank, right?) telling him she needs to see him immediately. Romero goes to the bank, where Rebecca asks him flat-out if he killed Bob Paris. Alex refuses to answer the question. Rebecca tells him that Bob held $3 million inside a safety deposit box that nobody else knows about. She has one of the two keys needed to open the box and figures that whomever killed Paris must have the other key. The biggest question here is: Can you even fit $3 million dollars in a safety deposit box? That’s 30,000 $100 bills. That’s a lot of cash! How big is that box?! Do the writers even think about these things before they put them into episodes? Maybe they’re negotiable bearer bonds, though my research tells me those have been pretty much phased out in the United States.

Anyway, Romero rushes back to the basement of the Bates’ home to search through the money he’s hidden in the basement. Sure enough, he finds Bob’s passport, and taped to one of the pages is the safety deposit box key.

Later that day, Alex gets a call from a DEA agent asking about Bob Paris and Rebecca. Alex says he’s familiar with Rebecca because he has an account at the bank (it’s the only bank in town, he points out), but denies being involved with her in any personal nature. The DEA agent also says he believes Paris was using the bank to launder money. It’s hard to tell if the agent suspects Romero or not during this scene, but at least we know the DEA hasn’t forgotten about him after the events of Season 3.

Norman and Julian steal an employee key card and make an escape from Pineview. Julian assures Norman that the two of them are going to have a fun time. He has a huge wad of cash on him, and after the two are finally able to flag down a car, Julian gets the driver to take them to a local strip club, coyly named “The Landing Strip.” Norman Bates in a strip club full of scantily clad young women – this is not going to end well, is it?

After Julian heads to a private VIP Room with one of the dancers, Norman gets invited by a stripper named Athena (not her birth name, I’m guessing) to do the same. There, she gives him a lap dance, during which Norman pulls a screwdriver out of his pocket and places it next to him. While being sexually teased by Athena, Norman makes the switch once again into his Norma personality – giving twisted fans like me a chance to see actress Vera Farmiga make out for a few seconds with the attractive stripper. (Thank you, writers!) But then Norman starts to feel guilty about what he’s doing and leaves the room. In the hallway, he sees Julian fighting with a couple of club bouncers. Norman gets involved too, but is knocked out by one of the guards in pretty short order.

Norma goes to the Winter Festival after all and meets up with Alex. When the sheriff is called away for a moment, Rebecca approaches Norma and introduces herself. She seems jealous of the newly married couple, but doesn’t cause a scene or tell Norma that she and Alex used to be lovers. Later, Norma and Alex return to the house to find that it’s been ransacked (and apparently searched) by someone or a group of someones. Was it Rebecca (seems like a big mess for one person), the DEA (wouldn’t they just come with a warrant?), or some of Bob Paris’s old associates (that would be my guess)?

Dr. Edwards arrives at the strip club to take Norman back to Pineview. Talking in Edward’s car before leaving the premises, Norman confesses that he had another blackout and tells the doctor he’s worried that he’s the one who’s dangerous. Upset and crying, Norman asks for Edwards help.

Although this week’s entry isn’t really much more than filler (with the exception, perhaps, of the plot advancement regarding Alex, Rebecca and the DEA), the acting in ‘Bates Motel’ is so good that it’s hard not to enjoy this episode.

I had planned to put forth a theory that Julian isn’t real at all, but actually a figment Norman created in his mind. (Before this episode, and early on in this week’s story, Julian hadn’t made any physical contact or had any conversations with anyone other than Norman). However, that’s disproven this week because other characters both interact with and talk about Julian. (I wonder if we’ll even see him again in the episodes to come?)

Ultimately, this may not be an essential episode as far as the ongoing story goes, but it’s fun nevertheless. What did everyone else think?

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