A lot is happening on ‘Bates Motel’, which has established itself as an early contender for the best new show of 2013. At the conclusion of last week’s episode, Norma (Vera Farmiga) had been arrested for the murder she committed back in the pilot, while Norman (Freddie Highmore) had finally made sweet, sweet love to his high school crush, Bradley (Nicola Peltz). This week, the mysteries deepen even more.
Norman and Dylan (Max Thieriot) head off to see Norma in jail, but she wants nothing to do with either of them. Norman is determined to use the motel as collateral to raise money for his mother’s bail, but Dylan is thinking about raising funds to find a place of his own.
Norman finally reconnects with Emma (Olivia Cooke, who did not appear in the fourth episode) and tells her about the Asian girl he discovered at Deputy Shelby’s house. He also finds the deed to the motel, and the two go to a bail bondsman to get the funds to spring Norma from her cell.
Meanwhile, Dylan’s co-worker floats him a loan of $5,000 to help in his search for a new place. However, out of nowhere, a man walks over to the truck they’re sitting in and shoots Dylan’s pal in the neck. Dylan drives to the hospital in an attempt to save his friend, but quickly leaves after getting him inside the hospital. Later in the show, we’ll see Dylan spot and start following the man responsible for the shooting. Driving faster and faster to keep up with him, Dylan runs him down.
Norman bails Norma out of jail, but she still wants nothing to do with him. On the drive back to the motel, she finally reveals why. On the night she was arrested, she knew that Norman was off making love to Bradley, and isn’t happy about it. Norman confesses that his mom scares him, and Norma reacts by kicking him out of the car. Fortunately, Dylan comes along to give his half-brother a ride back to the motel.
After meeting with a young lawyer, Norma discovers that the police have found a fiber from the motel carpet under the watch on the severed hand of Keith Summers. After meeting with him, Deputy Shelby tells Norma that he’s going to take care of things, and later we see him turn the police station cameras off so that he can sneak into the evidence room to take the incriminating proof of Norma’s crime. The next day, Norma gets a call from her lawyer that the charges have been dropped because the evidence has disappeared.
After some internet research, Emma has an idea of where the Asian girl might be hidden. She and Norman head down to the docks, where they start searching Keith Summers’ boat. There, they find the girl that Norman had discovered in Shelby’s house a few episodes back. They bring her back to one of the motel rooms, and Norma storms in wondering what’s going on. Norman explains that this is the girl he told her about in Shelby’s home, but Norma doesn’t believe it. Running back up to the house, she finds a newspaper with Shelby’s picture and brings it back down to the motel room. The Asian girl positively IDs Shelby as the man who has been forcing her to have sex.
This show continues to impress. There’s a lot of forward momentum this week, and I’m glad to see that it doesn’t look like Norma will go on trial for her crimes (which could have quickly bogged down the storyline with standard courtroom fare). I’m still not 100% sure what’s going on with Bradley, as Norman’s visions of their encounter seem almost like a dream. (Did he imagine it?) When we saw her at the episode’s opening, her body was pretty still and unmoving. During this episode, Norman tries to call her, but gets no response. I don’t think anything bad has happened to her, but in this town, you can’t believe everything you see!