'Bates Motel' Recap: A Mystery Guest Checks In
'Bates Motel' Recap: A Mystery Guest Checks In
Jennifer Lind-Westbrook
Jennifer Lind-Westbrook
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
After the showdown between Norman, Dylan, Norma and Deputy Shelby, it seemed as if  the family's troubles in their new town had finally reached an apex. When Sheriff Romero arrives at the Bates Motel and finds Dylan injured, holding a gun and his deputy dead on the front walk, Norma finally decides to come clean. Apparently, she confesses everything starting with the rape and ending with a crazed Shelby brandishing a gun.

While Romero is initially shocked, he quickly pulls himself together and constructs a story that takes into account every misdeed leaving the key players other than himself and Shelby out of the chain of events. For some unknown reason, it is in Romero's best interests to orchestrate a cover-up for Norma and her sons. Like every other resident of White Pine Bay, he must have some nasty secrets or may be protecting someone who yields a great amount of power. So while Norma and Norman get a second chance at a fresh start, the episode is otherwise filled with an abundance of firsts, all of which seem likely to soil the Bates' clean slate.

The First Strange Motel Guest

The next morning Dylan encounters a man sitting in his car in front of the motel. The stranger asks what happened to the Seafair, the name of the establishment when it was owned by Keith Summers. Dylan explains the motel is under new ownership. The man asks Dylan where he can find Keith Summers. When Dylan informs him of Summer's death, he simply says, "I see, thank you." He then drives off. Anyone poking around, especially anyone who had a relationship with the late Mr. Summers, is guaranteed to be either bat crap crazy, diabolical or just plain evil.

Norma, invigorated by Romero's pardon, starts to promote the motel. As she tries to develop a mutually beneficial business relationship with a local restaurant, she is informed, for the first time, that her every action and all of the unsavory incidents that have occurred at the motel both before and since her and Norman's arrival has "tainted" it. It's hard to believe Norma is surprised by this news. She gets her first lesson on how quickly news travels in a small town.

Later that night, a defeated Norma encounters the same man Dylan spoke to that morning. He stands in front of the door to room number nine trying to open it with an old key. As Norma approaches him, he expresses his confusion at no longer having his previously arranged, standing room reservation every other month. Norma identifies  herself as the new proprietor and explains that she had the locks changed. The man introduces himself as Jake Abernathy (Jere Burns). She offers him his usual room despite his odd and detached behavior. It only makes sense that the motel's first paying guest would be a mystery man with a strong attachment to a particular room. 

Norman's First Broken Heart

By far the most significant firsts of the episode all involve Bradley. While out running errands with Norman, Dylan meets her for the first time. There is an instantaneous attraction on both sides. Dylan knows that Norman has some sort of relationship with Bradley, but he isn't aware that she was Norman's first sexual encounter. Norman keeps this information to himself when Dylan questions Norman whether he slept with her or not.

Norman starts having erotic dreams about Bradley, and judging by his reaction when his mother wakes him out of his reverie, these are the first sexual fantasies he has ever had. In addition, Norma envisions her son having sex for the first time which leads to their first conversation about sex. It is strange and inaccurate and contains no actual useful or practical information. The talk is indicative of the odd fantasy world that Norma has created for herself as a retreat from reality. Norma even scoffs at the possibility that a girl like Bradley would have any interest in Norman.

Determined to prove his mother wrong, Norman goes to Bradley's house and confesses that he has feelings for her, his first significant connection with a female other than Norma. Believing that Bradley feels the same way about him, he is crushed when she spurns his advances. She makes him feel unworthy, and his heartache starts to turn to anger. It is then that we get the initial glimpse of Norman not only hearing his mother's harsh criticisms in his head but him also adopting Norma's entire persona.

Tonight's episode reminds viewers that Norman's fate is sealed. No matter how many fresh starts Norman, Norma or even Dylan get, it won't change who they are or erase the bad things that they've done. It's just an illusion that makes things seem good when they aren't, kind of like White Pine Bay.

Bates Motel airs Mondays at 10pm on A&E. Add the show to your personal Watch List by downloading the free BuddyTV Guide app.

(Image courtesy of A&E)

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