‘Bates Motel’ 4.07 Recap: “Mother, I’m Coming Home”

After a few weeks of treading water (although entertainingly), ‘Bates Motel’ finally makes some forward progress this week with events that are sure to impact the Season 4 finale. Also of note is that this week’s entry was directed by star Nestor Carbonell in what, I believe, is his second time at the helm of a ‘Bates Motel’ episode, and he does a pretty good job.

Norman has yet another therapy session with Dr. Edwards (who spends so much time with him that he couldn’t possibly have any other patients, could he?). The doctor tells our junior psychopath that he had yet another blackout. Not long afterwards, Norman does papier-mâché crafts with buddy Julian and puts a few strips of newspaper together that (conveniently!) reveal the fact that Norma is now married to Alex Romero.

Back at the Bates home, after spending the night making sweet, sweet love to Alex, Norma goes down into the basement to get an old sewing machine. She tells her new husband that she wants to start fixing up the house, starting by making some curtains (to conceal all the murders, no doubt). She also mentions that she’s not doing very well financially, at which point Alex pulls out the big bag full of money he’s been hiding and asks Norma to make use of it. When she learns the money is Bob Paris’ cash, she’s a little hesitant, but eventually agrees to take it. The phone rings, and Alex runs upstairs to pick it up. It’s Norman, who asks to talk to Norma. He tells her that he’s coming home.

Alex gets a visit at work from Rebecca, who tells him she’s leaving town to go visit her sick mother in Indiana. Basically, she’s got her $3 million and is splitting. Remind me again what the point of this character was? It’s like the writers had an idea for her and – for whatever reason – decided to abandon it. Maybe I’m wrong and she’ll pop up again this season, but it doesn’t seem like it at this point.

Norman learns from one of the nurses/caregivers at Pineview that he can’t just check himself out. He needs to type up a formal letter requesting his release, wait 72 hours, and have Dr. Edwards sign off on it. Meanwhile, Dylan goes to see Norma at the house and shows her the letter he found in Norman’s room from Emma’s mother. He tells his mom that it’s not a very good idea to let Norman come back home.

After Emma tells him that her mother’s cell phone number has been disconnected, Dylan finds a phone number for the apartment complex where she was living and gives it a call. He learns that Audrey is several months late on her rent and is being evicted. She also left all her belongings behind. However, when Dylan takes this information – along with the letter he found – to Emma, she figures that her mom is broke, was looking for money, and had come to see her just to bad-mouth Emma’s dad. It never occurs to her that maybe her mother’s disappearance is suspicious. Even worse, Emma’s comments make Dylan less worried that Norman might be responsible. Also during this scene, Dylan tells Emma that he loves her – which is pretty much the kiss of death for one (or both?!) of these characters come the season finale.

Norma visits Norman at the hospital, where he confronts her about the fact that she married Alex. Norma denies it at first, until Norman holds up the newspaper story. She then claims that the only reason she married the sheriff was to get Norman health insurance and swears that Alex is just staying at the house for appearances. She also agrees to allow Norman to come home.

Norman has a long conversation with Dr. Edwards, during which he cries a lot. (Earlier in the episode, Norman implied to Julian that his emotional outbursts aren’t real, but rather his way of manipulating people.) The doctor agrees to sign his release forms on the condition that they still meet three times per week.

Returning home, Norma discovers that Alex has purchased a new 60″ TV for them (or, more likely, just for him). For some reason, he bought a bunch of DVDs to watch on it instead of Blu-rays, or better yet Ultra HD…but I digress. Norma tells him that she’s agreed to let Norman come home. Alex isn’t too happy about that, but that he reluctantly agrees.

The episode ends with Norma picking up Norman at the hospital and returning home where, I’m sure, everything is going to be just fine. For maybe an episode.

Despite some very strong performances this season (which continue this week), I’ve felt like the writers didn’t really have enough story for ten episodes. (Keep in mind that they’ve essentially plotted out the remainder of the series, as Season 5 will be the final one.) So they’ve moved Norman away to Pineview for a big chunk of Season 4. Now that he’s back home, however, things should really start picking up and I’m anxious to see who will or won’t survive this season’s finale. My bet is that both Emma and Dylan are in big trouble. I think Alex is a marked man too, but should survive for at least one more year.

The best thing about this week’s episode? No Chick!

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