Bates Motel 1.02 Recap: “I’ve Been Worried about Money Since I Was Conscious”

After recapping the pilot episode, fellow Bonus View contributor Josh Zyber has turned the keys to ‘Bates Motel’ over to me to provide commentary on the remainder of the season. We’re a couple weeks behind, but let’s try to catch up before tonight’s new episode.

Episode 2 is entitled ‘Nice Town You Picked, Norma’. We finally get to meet Norman’s older half-brother, Dylan (Max Thieriot), who has arrived in White Pine Bay to stay with Norma and Norman due to the fact that he’s out of both money and a job. Dylan is almost immediately an unwanted guest with both mother and son, including a scene where Norman tries to kill his older brother (or at least take a good whack at him) with a meat tenderizer. However, when Norma threatens to kick Dylan to the curb, her eldest son hints that he has a pretty good idea what happened to Norman’s father (who was found dead at the beginning of the pilot) and threatens to make that information public if Norma doesn’t let him stay. Later in the episode, Dylan will get involved with what appears to be some type of organized crime ring in the town which may or may not be responsible for burnings of citizens that take place both at the outset and conclusion of this episode. The first burning is the father of Norman’s high school friend Bradley, who the two find charred behind the wheel of a wrecked car at the episode’s outset. The second is seen by Norma hanging in the middle of town at the conclusion of the show. The identity of that person is not revealed yet.

Remember the former owner of the motel property that Norma offed in the pilot after he raped her? Well, local law enforcement has discovered his abandoned truck, and Sheriff Romero (Nestor Carbonell) is becoming suspicious of Norma. As for the deputy, Zack Shelby (Mike Vogel), he’s too taken with Norma to think she’s a killer, and decides to invite her to a lumberjack festival in town. Shelby seems to imply to Norma that the town isn’t quite what it seems (as most viewers have already guessed), but any additional info from the deputy will have to wait for future episodes.

Meanwhile, Norman and his young new gal pal from high school, Emma, play junior detectives with the book of bondage sketches that Norman found hidden under the carpet of one of the motel rooms. Emma’s research uncovers a history of sex trafficking in the area, which leads the pair into the nearby woods, where Emma thinks she knows the location of a cabin (and a grave nearby) depicted in the book’s sketches. Instead, the two happen upon a large marijuana field, along with two of the guys who are growing it. They’re chased through the woods and back to their car, where they barely get away in time, but not before they run past the cabin they were searching for.

All in all, this is a pretty strong second episode for the series, one that adds a little more mystery to the show and raises a lot more questions. It’s obvious after two episodes that this series is going to be about a whole lot more than how Norman becomes a psychopathic killer… if, in fact, he becomes one at all. (Remember, this is more of a reimagining than a strict reboot, so the writers aren’t necessarily heading toward any established conclusion.)

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