'Bates Motel' Recap: Norma's First Son Threatens to Ruin Everything
'Bates Motel' Recap: Norma's First Son Threatens to Ruin Everything
Jennifer Lind-Westbrook
Jennifer Lind-Westbrook
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Norma's eldest son arrives in White Pine Bay. The police question Norma about the disappearance of the motel's previous owner. A mysterious accident proves the picturesque town has an ugly side. Norma becomes closer to one of the town's residents. Let's jump into this episode of Bates Motel.

It's a busy morning in White Pine Bay. First Norma receives an unexpected (and by the look on her face, unwelcome) visit from her other, eldest son Dylan. Seems that Dylan might be that first pancake kid; the one that turns out really messed up. There is some definite hostility between Norman and his half-brother as well. I'm guessing it stems from Dylan being the odd man out. Norma asks Dylan why he's shown up at the Bates Motel, and he tells her that he has no job and no money. He also refers to her by her first name.

At the bus stop, party girl Bradley asks Norman where he disappeared to the night of the party. She's suggesting they get together to study, when a car comes careening towards them at high speed and crashes into an embankment. Bradley says it's her dad's car which means that the crispy fried man behind the wheel must be daddy.

Norma was busy murdering Keith Summers (W. Earl Brown) while someone was setting fire to Mr. Martin so we know she's in the clear on that one. Too bad that Mr. Martin crashed where he did because it calls attention to Mr. Summer's truck parked on a side road. Sloppy, sloppy Norma. She didn't think to get rid of the vehicle. The sheriff, who has developed an immediate dislike for Norma, tells her the man is missing and asks if she's seen him. She says no, and the police start to search the area.

Even witnessing a human torch doesn't get Norman out of school for the day. In his Language Arts class Norman gets partnered with Emma Decody (Olivia Cooke) for a project. The two met briefly in the premiere episode. She offers to come to his house to work on it. Emma doesn't even give him a chance to turn her down. This nice sickly girl doesn't seem to stand a chance. After school, a smitten Norman goes to the hospital to see Bradley but is denied by what appears to be her creepy boyfriend.


With cops crawling all over the property and two violent acts occurring the short time that she's been in town, Norma tells Dylan he can stay but he'll have no free ride. She sends him on an errand but he winds up at a strip club instead. Dylan runs into an employee of Mr. Martin's, who tells Dylan the man is in a coma and probably not going to live. He offers to buy Dylan a beer and pulls out a fat wad of cash. Dylan questions how someone can make that kind of money in a town the size of White Pine Bay. In case I've failed to mention it, Dylan has bad boy written all over him and inherited his mother's good looks. A deadly combination in every sense of the word.

Later, Dylan finally returns to Norma's and she lays into him immediately. It turns out that in addition to murder, Norma likes to "get around." She had an affair with Norman's father while married to Dylan's dad. Considering what happened to Norman's father, Sam, the guy got off easy. Dylan questions Norma on where she got the money to buy the hotel. It seems that unlike Norman, who has enjoyed a comfortable middle class upbringing, Dylan has had to scrape for everything. Norma tells him the money came from an insurance policy. Even though we haven't seen a single tender exchange between them, and she tells him that she hates him; she grows irate when he won't call her mother.

While Norma obviously craves love from her eldest son, her youngest does all her bidding. The two furiously clean the kitchen. Since the cranky sheriff is sniffing around, Norma is not taking any chances. But let's face facts, if Gomer Pyle couldn't find a corpse in the bathtub while taking a piss, they are probably in the clear.

In the middle of all the Swiffering, Emma shows up to study. Norma is friendlier than she was when Bradley came calling. Her politeness soon becomes an interrogation. Dylan, taking pity on his younger brother, tries to distract Norma but fails. We find out that Emma has Cystic Fibrosis. The fact that she is terminally ill seems to please Norma. Emma can be at most a brief distraction.

The two retreat to his bedroom to read poetry. Emma finds the small notebook Norman discovered underneath the motel's carpets. It contains some disturbing images but she seems unfazed and asks if she can borrow it.

Later, Norma is in her own bedroom seductively applying lotion to her legs. Her hand lingers on a large scar on her inner thigh. She's in deep thought when Sheriff Romero rings her bell. Naughty Norma has been caught in a lie. Someone witnessed the exchange between Norman, Mr. Summers and Norma. Sheriff Romero trips her up but not enough to implicate her. He does warn her that she doesn't want to get on his bad side. I'd say the feeling is mutual.

Norma recognizes an easy mark and sets her sights on the handsome Deputy Shelby. She finds him downtown and charms him into asking her to go for coffee. Now she can paint him a picture of her and Norman's tragic past. She's just a lonely widow trying to support her son and give him a fresh start. She's also able to extrapolate information about the sheriff from him. Norma agrees to meet the deputy that evening at a town event.

As Norma gets ready for her liaison with the deputy, she tells Norman about the house call from Deputy Romero and how she was caught in a lie. She considers this rendezvous with the young deputy a "good will mission." I think that in addition to trying to save her ass, Norma likes the company of very young men. The blurred boundaries of their relationship are again demonstrated when Norma changes her shirt in front of Norman. The act disturbs Norman, a fact that doesn't go unnoticed by his mom.

That evening as the two brothers are left alone together in the house, Dylan receives a call on his phone from someone he has designated as "The Whore." It turns out to be Norma which sends Norman into a rage. He attacks Dylan even though he stands no chance against him. Dylan tells Norman that Norma controls him; that "she's ruined him." Norman asks Dylan if he feels that way, why is he there. Dylan admits he has nowhere else to go. His real motives are bound to be revealed eventually. Norman has yet to be a physical threat but the dark thoughts are already there.

After Norma finds out about the fight, she informs Dylan that he has to leave. However, Dylan possesses information regarding his mother's past that could destroy everything she is trying to build. So it looks like Dylan will be around for as long as he likes.

It looks like Norma moved to the right town. It's only a matter of time before she has the deputy wrapped around her finger. And as long as people are being set on fire, her little indiscretion may go unnoticed altogether.

Bates Motel airs Mondays at 10pm on A&E.

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(Image courtesy of AMC)

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