'Bates Motel' Season 2 Premiere Recap: Bradley and Norman Are Obsessed with Death
'Bates Motel' Season 2 Premiere Recap: Bradley and Norman Are Obsessed with Death
Jennifer Lind-Westbrook
Jennifer Lind-Westbrook
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
On this week's season 2 premiere of Bates Motel, news of Miss Watson's death spreads. Norma finds the future of the motel in peril. Bradley returns to town with one thing on her mind. Norman has an obsession of his own finding out who killed Miss Watson.

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To Miss Watson, With Love

The premiere picks up the morning after the dance. Norma receives a phone call informing her of Miss Watson's death and upcoming memorial. Norman appears and asks who was on the phone. You can see the wheels spinning in Norma's head as she tries to piece together the events of the previous night. She questions her son in greater detail about his statement that Miss Watson had offered him a ride home.

Norman claims he can't remember if he got in the car or not. He tells her all he remembers is running. This is of little comfort to Norma, who knows that if Norman did actually black out, he could have clobbered the seductive language arts teacher over the head with a blender.

Norma breaks the news of Miss Watson's death, and Norman gets visibly upset. His reaction at home is nothing compared to the scene he makes during the memorial, where he begins blubbering so noticeably that Norma is forced to play the role of dutiful mother, but she looks more annoyed than anything else.

After the funeral, Norman continues to brood. He comments to his mother how kind she (Miss Watson) was, and he can't understand why anyone would want to hurt her. Norma explains that he didn't really know her, saying, "We only see the tip of the iceberg with anyone. We see what people want us to see, but that doesn't mean there wasn't something else underneath." What an apropos observation for so many reasons. I adore this show's sense of irony and dark humor.

Norma leaves him to his grief, and Norman pulls a string of pearls from his pocket, presumably the late Miss Watson's.

Bradley Takes a Tumble

Also distressed, but for a different reason, is Bradley. She's tooling around in her convertible drinking and driving recklessly; the playing chicken with an oncoming car kind of reckless, not the rolling through a stop sign kind. Her father's love letters from the mysterious "B" are on the seat beside her. She parks her car in the middle of a bridge and takes a plunge off of it.

Four Months Later...

After such a bleak start, there's nowhere to go but up. It's summer, and Norma emerges from the house with a new haircut and a spring in her step. The motel is packed full of vacationers. Emma is still under the employ of Mrs. Bates, who comes into the office looking for Norman. Obviously bothered by his absence, we find out why when he finds him practicing his taxidermy in the basement. From the looks of all the dead things, Norman has spent a lot of time perfecting his craft.

After luring him out with the promise of a driving lesson, Norman heads to work. Things are not the same between him and Emma. She's courteous when he enters the office, but you don't get the sense that the two have spent any time together outside of work since their disastrous date.

Emma hands him a stack of envelopes, which are unopened letters to Bradley addressed to the Pinecrest Institution. Emma also informs him that Bradley is due to return home that day.

One Girl in the Cuckoo's Nest

Bradley's not looking too good. Her usual shimmery golden locks are tangled, and she has dark circles under her eyes. She also seems less than thrilled at the prospect of going home and gives her mother a frosty and dismissive greeting.

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Domestic Bliss

Norma is really enjoying the respite from all the craziness of season 1. She's contentedly preparing a roast for dinner when Dylan tries to give her a check for rent. It's interesting how the prodigal son has returned to the fold. After spending all of last season aching to move out on his own and take his little brother with him, he's now content enough to stay put.

Norma refuses to take his money because she knows where it comes from. Dylan tells her that's stupid, and that she might as well not frequent any of the businesses in town since the whole town exists because of the weed industry.

Baby, You Can Drive My Car

Mother and son go for a driving lesson, and viewers are reminded of how fast Norma can go from zero to 60. She's high-strung, bossy and controlling. Meanwhile, Norman is quickly agitated by her "helpful hints."

Norman chooses the cemetery as their destination, much to Norma's chagrin. Apparently, aside from the basement, this has been Norman's hangout all summer. He validates his obsession with Miss Watson's death with the argument that he didn't get to say goodbye. Norma's patience is running short, and she questions her son about when his endless moping over his teacher is going to end. Norma longs for her son to engage in more traditional summer activities and admits to him that she's concerned he's developing an affinity for morbidity.

On the ride home, Norma gets some bad news. Construction on the bypass that will redirect traffic away from the motel is about to begin. Norma thought she had time to fight it because of a delay due to funding. Now she has 24 hours to concoct a scheme. She breaks the news to Norman in her typical melodramatic fashion, stating,"This is the road that's going to ruin our lives."

Not Exactly Nancy Drew

Gil arrives home to find Bradley waiting. She wants to know who killed her dad. Gil plays stupid, but she's persistent. He says he's sorry about her father's death, but all he can do is tell her things she doesn't want to hear. He says Jerry Martin was a s**theel who only looked out for himself. It's clear Bradley isn't going to get any more info unless she's willing to give something of herself in return. This disgusts her enough to get to go back down. He advises her to go home and forget about her father.

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Suicidal Tendencies

Bradley goes through a box of her father's things and finds a gun. She's not timid with the weapon, hinting she's been exposed to them in the past. She seems to consider using it on herself, but her mother knocks on the door announcing there's a boy waiting to see her: Norman Bates.

Norman sits awkwardly on her bed, and Bradley does her best to be a b**ch and sits at her desk facing away from him and scribbling. Despite her best efforts to push him away, puppy dog Norman is determined to break through her icy facade. In his equally endearing and annoying way, he lets Bradley know that she can always talk to him and that he will always be there for her as a friend.

A Mourner to Be Named Later

Norman makes another trip to the cemetery where he encounters a strange man standing at Miss Watson's grave. He uses his phone to take pictures of the man, who starts to chase after the boy once he realizes what Norman is doing.

Miss Watson's Double Life

Gil instructs Dylan to make sure that nobody speaks to Bradley if she shows up digging around for information. Dylan asks one of the guys why Gil hated Jerry Martin so much and finds out that Jerry was sleeping with Gil's girlfriend, Blair Watson (B).

Norman Implicates Himself

Norman immediately runs to Sheriff Romero with his "evidence." He also tells Romero about the argument he overheard having over the phone with a man named Eric.

Romero, possibly protecting the person in the picture, shifts the focus of the conversation to Norman's relationship with Miss Watson. Soon, Norman is practically offering himself up as a suspect. Having successfully rattled Norman, Romero assures the young man that they will find her killer, and Norman leaves.

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Political Incorrectness

Norma attends a White Pine Bay City Council meeting to argue her case against the construction of the bypass. She's not treated very warmly or even with much respect, especially by Lee Berman, the head of the council. He successfully humiliates and bullies her. This leads to a Norma meltdown during which she calls Berman a d**k. Probably not the best way to go when you're trying hard to salvage your family's fresh start.

Friendly Warnings

Bradley meets with Dylan who warns her to discontinue her investigation into her father's death. He does tell her about the love triangle between her father, Blair Watson and Gil. He warns her she might get hurt, and she scoffs at his concern. It turns out Bradley e-mailed Dylan several times while she was away and got no response. Dylan tells her that his brother likes her and there's some lines you just don't cross.

As if Norma's foray into local politics wasn't disastrous enough, she finds out about Norman's visit to the police station from Sheriff Romero. It's interesting the odd kinship that has developed between the single mother and the mysterious sheriff.

You're a Good Boy, Norman Bates

Norma confronts Norman about his obsession with Miss Watson's death. He finally admit that he was at her house the night she was killed. He tells Norma things got weird, that he started to feel like Miss Watson was attracted to him. "It felt wrong but not wrong," he says. He describes how she left her bedroom when she changed clothes, almost beckoning him to watch. He said he got scared, felt faint, and the next thing he knew, he was running home.

Norman is riddled with guilt or at least does a convincing job acting like it. He thinks about what might have happened if he had stayed, that perhaps he could have saved her.

Norma tries to assuage her son's guilt, and most likely repress her own suspicions, by telling him that his teacher was trying to seduce him. She decides for the both of them that he ran away because he knew it was wrong, that he left because he's a good boy.

Quid Pro Blow Your Brains Out

Bradley makes another trip to Gil's, but this time she's wearing her big girl pants, metaphorically. She's actually wearing very little. Gil is no match for this long-legged seductress. Bradley manages to confirm that daddy Jerry was sleeping with Blair Watson but blows Gil's head off before she can find out anything else. Not a very effective interrogation technique.

I'm guessing that aiding and abetting isn't exactly what Norman had in mind when he offered Bradley his undying friendship.

Bates Motel airs Mondays at 9pm on A&E.

(Image courtesy of A&E)

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