The final pieces are finally being put into place as Marion Crane makes her journey to the ‘Bates Motel’ in this, the halfway point of the series’ last season.
This week’s story begins with Norman waking up in bed and immediately running into the bathroom to throw up. He looks down into the motel’s parking lot from the house and notices that his car isn’t there. Making his way downstairs, he sees a discarded matchbook for a place called the White Horse Bar sitting on a countertop. He’s distracted when the phone rings. It’s Sheriff Greene, wanting Norman to stop by the police station to answer a few questions. When he goes to see her, the sheriff asks about Alex Romero and eventually reveals that she knows Norman went to visit him in prison shortly before his escape. Norman has no answers for Greene, who seems more suspicious of him than ever.
Norman returns to the house yelling for his mother, but she’s not there. He calls the number on the matchbook and asks if someone named Norma was at the bar the previous night. The bartender confirms this. She left her car there and he’s been holding her keys. Norman says he’ll be out to pick up the car later. Not long afterwards, Madeleine calls to apologize about the previous night. Norman tries to brush her off by telling her that his car was stolen and dumped in a bar parking lot, and he has to go get it. Madeleine offers him a ride and Norman can’t think of a good excuse to refuse her.
After being absent for a few episodes, we finally get some more scenes with Dylan and Emma out in Seattle. Emma comes across her mother’s earring, which Dylan has saved, but Emma believes belongs to Norma. Eventually, Dylan has a sit-down talk with her and explains his belief that his brother has done some very bad things. He tells her that the earring belonged to her mother and he found it in Norman’s room. Emma gets mad at him and asks him to leave the house. (It seems like she just means temporarily.) Later, she goes online to search recent White Pine Bay news and learns that Norma has died.
Also in Seattle is Sam Loomis, who’s continuing his affair. His mistress, Marion Crane (pop star Rihanna), doesn’t know he’s a married man. She does know that Sam has some debt issues, which play a big factor in what happens next. Marion works as a Notary Public for a real estate company and is instructed by her obnoxious boss to take a large payment of cash to the bank before it closes. Marion uses this opportunity to ask her boss if he’d consider her for a position that has recently opened at the office. When he belittles her about her lack of a college education, Marion asks if she can at least get a raise. He dodges this as well by saying they can talk about it later. This leads Marion to make a rash decision. Instead of going to the bank, she takes the money home, packs up a few things, and puts the cash in a blue suitcase in the trunk of her car. She then speeds off toward White Pine Bay.
Arriving at the White Horse Bar, Norman finally tells Madeleine that her husband brought a woman to the motel. Madeleine gets furious at Norman for keeping the info from her (and even suspects that he may be lying just to get closer to her) and kicks him out of the vehicle. Norman goes inside the bar to pick up the car keys, and is surprised when the bartender seems to recognize him. On his way back home, he sees psychiatrist Dr. Edwards in the crosswalk in front of him when his car is stopped. The doctor recognizes Norman as well and waves for him to come inside a local café. Norman grudgingly goes in and the two sit down to talk. There’s really not much new discussed here, although Edwards reminds Norman that he sometimes sees his mother when she isn’t there, and sometimes “becomes” Norma.
Returning to the White Horse Bar that night, Norman is once again surprised to find that people recognize him. Going into the bathroom, a young guy approaches him and tries to kiss him. Norman then has a short flashback to the night before and remembers being dressed up like Norma and making out with the guy in the backseat of his car. After a brief panic attack, Norman races out of the bar and heads back home.
This episode wraps up with Sam and Madeleine at home when Sam gets a call from Marion. He tells his wife that it’s a business call and goes out on the porch to talk in private. Marion tells him that she’s headed toward White Pine Bay and needs to see him. Sam makes up a story about having a roommate who doesn’t like visitors, so Marion tells him to meet him at the motel they stayed at previously. When Sam goes back inside, Madeleine asks him the name of the woman he’s been talking to. It looks like the jig is up, Mr. Loomis. The final shot shows Marion arriving at the Bates Motel.
Can someone please just give Freddie Highmore an Emmy right now? He’s been fantastic this season, even in episodes where not a lot appears to happen. (I won’t argue that this week’s entry features more setup for events to follow than anything else.)
If you’re wondering what happened to Alex Romero this week, there’s a good reason why he was missing from the episode. Actor Nestor Carbonell actually directed this episode and probably made the choice to focus on other actors. (Many directors, particularly those without a lot of experience under their belts, prefer not to direct themselves in scenes.) For the record, this is the third time Carbonell has directed ‘Bates Motel’, having helmed one episode in each of the series’ prior two seasons.
Star Vera Farmiga also does not appear in this episode – possibly the first time she’s been completely absent during the entire series run.
With Marion now officially at her final destination, it will be interesting to see in the coming weeks just how much of a role she plays. Will the infamous shower scene from ‘Psycho’ happen sooner rather than later, or will the show-runners wait until the final episode?
One final bit of trivia for this episode: The police officer who pulled Marion over on the way to the motel was played by producer Carlton Cuse. Did you recognize him?