'Bates Motel' Recap: Caleb Turns Norma's Family Upside Down
'Bates Motel' Recap: Caleb Turns Norma's Family Upside Down
Jennifer Lind-Westbrook
Jennifer Lind-Westbrook
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
In this week's episode of Bates Motel, Dylan is left shattered and confused by Norma's revelation. Emma finds herself in a compromising position. Cody helps Norman with a family problem. Norma goes on a date with George. And Caleb leaves town.

Thanks to the bombshell that Norma blurted out at the end of last week's episode, viewers have a whole lot more insight into why Norma doesn't dote lovingly on her firstborn. Dylan didn't believe Norma's accusations regarding her brother, so in order to accept Caleb as his father, Dylan will have no choice but to accept there was a sexual relationship between them.

About Last Night

The following morning, Emma discovers Dylan covered in vomit and passed out in his truck in the parking lot. Unable to roust him, she recruits Norman to get him inside a room and out of view of the customers. Emma's curious what could cause Dylan to get so wasted. She questions Norman if it could be girl troubles or if he got fired. Norman curtly cuts the game of 20 questions short.

Norma shows up and dismisses them and does what little she can to care for Dylan. She shows him some uncharacteristic tenderness, something he would never allow were he conscious. She exits the room and questions why Emma is at work so early in the morning. Not anxious to admit that she went on a bender of her own; she had a one night stand with pothead Gunner. Hey, in White Pine Bay a girl can do much worse.

Norma takes off, presumably to confront Caleb, but can't bring herself to do it. She just sits in her car in his motel parking lot before bursting into tears and pulling away. She can't run like she did after Sam's death, so the woman who lives in a perpetual state of denial is going to have no choice but to deal with her past.

Norman brings Dylan something to eat, and he immediately questions how long Norman has known. Norman admits that he didn't know about it until Norma's poorly-timed confession. Dylan finds it hard to believe that Norma kept him in the dark. Dylan says the revelation finally sheds light on why he's always been the outsider in the family. It's understandable he's upset, but he's convinced that Norma and Norman took some type of perverse pleasure in the situation and kept the truth from him as part of some secret pact between them.

Norman swears that Norma never spoke of it, probably because it was too painful for her. Instead of having sympathy for Norma, Dylan scoffs at the idea of her suffering. Norman's having a hard time relating to what his big brother's going through. Dylan can't get his brother to understand the magnitude of the situation. Dylan asks Norman how he would feel if he found out something about himself that completely changed his perception of who he was, and Norman admits he doesn't know. Well, now Dylan seems determined to expose his coddled younger brother to the truth about himself.

A Confusing Confrontation

Dylan runs into Caleb down at the docks. He confronts Caleb and says he can't speak to him anymore. Caleb doesn't deny having sex with Norma, but he's trying to sweep the deviance of the act under the rug. Dylan suspects Caleb sees him as a mark, a way to get the money he needs. Caleb swears that things aren't all that they seem. He says that Norma got knocked up by a guy in high school, and that's who Dylan's real father is. In an attempt to gain some credibility, he gives Dylan back his money. He claims to not know what's going on but admits he should have never come to town.

The One Man Norma Can Count On

The mood is bleak at the Bates home. Norma turns down a dinner invitation from Christine and then has to deal with Norman being offended that she chose not to confide in him. He questions if there's anything else she's hiding from him, and she tells him no. We know this isn't true, which unfortunately does call into question the validity of her stories of sexual abuse. I don't know if the writers have done this intentionally, or if it's just an unforeseen result of Norma's pathological need to lie to protect herself and her family.

Norma tells Norman that she wanted to confront Caleb, force him to face the consequences of his actions and let him know she wasn't scared of him anymore, but she couldn't. But she is frightened, petrified to run into him on the street. Interestingly, she's less concerned about him as a physical threat or the damage he could further do to Dylan than she is about him taking her money. Norman says Caleb has no reason to stay, and he'll leave. Spooning her in a way usually reserved for lovers after moments of intimacy, he promises to take care of her.

Visitors

Christine decides to not take no for an answer and shows up unexpectedly to drag Norma out for a night on the town. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and she tells Norma that her brother George will be picking her up at seven.

Emma's being especially inquisitive and exceedingly annoying. She catches Norman looking up motel information on the computer, and doesn't buy his excuse that he's researching the competition. She finds herself on the hot seat when Gunner shows up, and she ducks into the back office. Norman is only mildly curious and doesn't pursue an explanation.

Emma finally finds the nerve to question Gunner about the night they spent together. It turns out they didn't sleep together, not that he didn't want to, but he prefers it when the girl is conscious. He also assures her that if they had slept together, it would be a memorable experience. Emma may still have her virtue intact, but Gunner's going to be around, and it's time for Emma to live a little.

Date Night

Moments before her date, Norma tries to talk to Dylan. She wants him to just put this unpleasantness behind him. She warns him that Caleb's only interest in him is money. Dylan shows her that her brother gave him his money back, but before she can respond, the doorbell rings. Norman greets George politely but eyes him with some skepticism. He also sounds like her father when he inquires into what time she'll be back.

A Blossoming Friendship

While working on props for the musical, Norman actually confides in Cody about what's going on. Not every dirty detail, but far more than he was willing to share with Emma. Cody questions why Norman doesn't just beat the crap out of Caleb. She even offers to walk him through it. It seems she has a lot of experience dealing with dysfunctional family members. She drives him to Caleb's motel and gives him a tire iron.

Sex, Violence and a Blunt Object

As Norman waits for his uncle, he envisions what a sexual encounter between his mother and her brother might have looked like. But instead of being violent and dark, his version is highly erotic and sensual. His mother's confession runs through his head like a soundtrack. His fantasy becomes increasingly more intense.

At the last minute, he tells Cody she has to take him away. Sexual arousal can be a trigger for Norman's more aggressive tendencies, almost like foreplay. Does he leave because he's frightened that he'll actually seriously injure or kill this man, or does he simply chicken out? Cody tries to convince him to follow through and tells him they're just going to scare the guy, but Norman insists they leave. Thrown for a loop, Cody agrees to go.

Norma and Dylan Deal with Their Demons

Norma's date goes better than expected and even in the midst of deep emotional turmoil, she manages to continue to charm George. He makes it clear he'd like to see her again.

Dylan and Norma finally have their long overdue confrontation. Dylan sticks up for Caleb, telling his mother that things weren't the way Norma says they were and that he isn't Dylan's father. Norma says that's because she never told Caleb. Dylan asks the question that's probably been on most viewers' minds since finding out the truth. Why did she have him? When she doesn't immediately offer an explanation, Dylan says, "Yeah, that's what I thought." Norma wants to know what he means by the comments. Dylan accuses her of using him as a way to get out of her house. She got knocked up by her brother and got her high school boyfriend to marry her.

Your heart breaks for Norma as she tries to derive some level of empathy from Dylan. She explains that she was just a kid. She had an abusive father, a distant mother and a brother who no one could protect her from. Norma says all she ever wanted was to tell Caleb to leave her alone. She tells Dylan none of this is his fault, but it isn't her fault either. Both are in tears, and it's one of the most beautifully acted moments between the two.

But in their typical push-pull fashion, Dylan isn't deterred and leaves.

Norman Goes Full-Blown Mother

After overhearing the whole conversation, Norman pays a visit to Caleb. Norman flips into mommy mode. He isn't just speaking on Norma's behalf, he becomes Norma. He tries to stab Caleb but is overpowered and rendered impotent. Caleb gives his nephew a swift kick before leaving the room and, apparently, White Pine Bay for good.

As Norman and Cody seem destined to grow closer, will she figure out there's a monster dwelling within? 


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

(Image courtesy of A&E)



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