In this week’s season 2 finale of Bates Motel, Norman is rescued and returns home with news for Norma. Dylan and Sheriff Romero join forces to stop Zane. Norma and Dylan reconcile. And Norman takes a polygraph.

The Search for Norman

Unlike his brother, Dylan has no problem admitting to the sheriff that he committed a murder. Dylan, fleeing the scene on foot, is intercepted by Romero. When we last saw the sheriff, he was taking off on his mighty steed when Norma told him about Norman’s kidnapping and Ford’s demands.

The two head back to Ford’s house where Romero ascertains that Ford is indeed deader than a doornail. He finds one of Ford’s lackeys and, with some persuasion, is able to make it to the general vicinity where Norman is hidden. Upon hearing about the untimely demise of their boss, Norman’s babysitters have headed for the hills, but Norman is able to hear Dylan screaming his name. We knew this rescue wouldn’t take long since darker things lay in store for the young killer.

On the Mend

Norma arrives at the hospital where Dylan is stationed. When she finds out Dylan returned Norman to her in one piece, she declares her love for him. Dylan doesn’t seem to know what to do with this proclamation and runs off to find a doctor.

Norman’s eyes are barely open and his lucidity is questionable, but he immediately begins to tell Norma about dreams he had while trapped in the box, or more specifically, memories. Norma works her magic telling him they were only dreams and to put them out of his head.

Norman and Norma arrive home to a very inquisitive Emma. She’s full of questions about what happened to Norman, and the best lie Norma can be bothered to come up with is that he had the stomach flu. Never mind the bandaged hands and bumps and bruises. Emma just really picked the wrong time to try and get some much-needed affirmation from Norma.

Norma breaks the news to Norman that Emma quit and why. She says it’s sad, but there’s nothing she can do about it. She does admit that she’s going to miss the girl.

Social Pariah

Norma is in her element nursing Norman back to health. She heads to the store to pick up all the fixins for a pot roast when she runs into Christine, who looks like she plans to breeze by without so much as a curt salutation. Norma apologizes, but George definitely didn’t hold back anything from his sister regarding what Norma said about the upper-crust of White Pine Bay. I never liked that guy anyway. He’s way too vanilla for Norma. I’m Team Romero all the way.

Norma says she was upset, but Christine says that’s no excuse. Christine is offended and rightfully so. She lists all the ways she embraced Norma despite the hotel proprietress’ bad rap. Christine figured there was nothing wrong with Norma that a few friends couldn’t cure. Now she’s convinced our girl is a trainwreck. She banishes Norma from her life and threatens her newly-acquired town council seat.

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Norman Confesses

Norma and Norman discuss his semen over dinner. Norma tries to comfort him by saying that all it means is that Blair Watson liked her men very young. She also breaks the news that Sheriff Romero wants him to take a polygraph test. Norma says he has nothing to worry about since it’s not like he killed her. The look on her son’s face indicates otherwise, and he admits that he thinks he may have. Norma questions why he would say such a thing, and he brings up the memories he had while being held captive. Norma blames it on stress, but Norman is steadfast that they weren’t hallucinations or some traumatic nightmare.

Norman says that now her refusal to discuss his blackouts makes sense. He knows that when he blacks out, he can be a bad, bad boy. Norma sticks to her belief that his story is ridiculous and he’s traumatized. Norman tells her she has to face it, and Norma loses it, screaming at her son to stop. And like that, in her mind, it’s over. She tells him to eat his pot roast before it gets cold.

Saying Goodbye

The next morning, Sheriff Romero comes by the office to see how Norman is doing. He scheduled the polygraph test, and Norma tries to stonewall, but Romero isn’t letting Norman off the hook any longer. He says there are enough circumstances that he can’t look away. He tells Norma that he may have sent the wrong man to prison, and he can’t live with that. The only way he won’t reopen the case is if Norman passes the test.

Norman, also convinced he can’t live with something he may have done, takes his mother’s gun and starts preparing to kill himself. As part of getting his affairs in order, he has a talk with Emma. He questions why she’s leaving the motel, and she says she feels like an outsider. Norman, likely in an attempt to placate her, confides in her about Dylan being Caleb’s son.

Norman, capitalizing on Emma’s sympathy for Norma, tells her how much she means to his mother and asks her to reconsider her decision to leave.

Norman also says his goodbye to Norma. They spend the evening together, dancing, and he lets her know, in no uncertain terms, what a wonderful mother she is and how much he loves her. Quite a turnaround from just days ago. That prolonged period of time trapped in a box brought Norman quite a bit of clarity.

The Drug War Ends

Romero and Dylan get Jodi to lure her brother out with the news of Nick Ford’s death. Yet again, even though Zane seems like an utter moron, he’s a step ahead. He doesn’t show up at Jodi’s alone, pitting himself against her, Romero and Dylan. He cuts the lights and violence ensues. Jodi gives him what amounts to a scratch with a knife, and in retaliation, he blows his own sister away. Zane turns his attention to Dylan, but gets taken out by the ultra cool Romero.

Romero comes up with a story to cover both his and Dylan’s butts. It’s very similar to how he covered for Dylan after Zach Shelby went bonkers. Dylan questions why Romero would give him a free pass, and Romero says it’s because he thinks Dylan understands how things work in White Pine Bay, saying, “What you can do, what you can’t do.” Romero’s personal mantra, I would guess. Romero says that right now there’s a vacuum, and someone has to fill it. Dylan says he won’t do it; he didn’t sign on for any of this. Romero says that he wants to make sure that whoever does understands the rules because the rules are what makes it possible for the upstanding citizens and the “entrepreneurs” to co-exist.

Hugs Not Drugs

Norma meets with Dylan and tells him about Norman, and his insistence that he killed Blair Watson. Since she confided in her eldest son about Norman clocking his daddy in the head with an iron, she knows she can turn to him. She’s lost. She tells him about the polygraph and that Norman will wind up in prison where he’ll simply “dissolve.” Norma uses Norman’s blackouts as an excuse to keep the monster her son can be from getting the help and/or punishment he desperately needs. Or, if she gives up, is that a failure she can’t face?

Her plan is to take her sons and abscond to Canada. She apologizes to Dylan covering every wrongdoing over the course of his life. Desperate to be accepted but still conflicted, he tries to keep his expression steely, but you can see the wave of emotions in the twitches and blinks. He does finally cut her a break, telling her it wasn’t her fault, that she was just a kid. The two embrace which would suffice as a cliffhanger in and of itself.

Dylan tells her she can’t run. He tries to convince her that Norman needs to be put in an institution, but Norma refuses. Dylan says if he did kill Miss Watson that Norman needs to be somewhere where he can be protected. He also lets her know that it’s time for her to find out the truth, and if she really loves Norman and wants to protect him, he needs to take the test.

Norma arrives home to find a stuffed bird and a cryptic note. Norma rushes down to the motel and asks Emma if she’s seen Norman. Emma says he went for a walk in the woods. Once again, Emma’s left wondering what the hell is going on. 

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Teenage Suicide (Don’t Do It)

Norma catches up to her son, and he takes off but loses his footing and falls. Now he’s like the chick who gets butchered first in a horror movie. He’s sprained his ankle, and he can barely hobble, and Norma’s gaining on him fast. She tackles him, and he knocks her off. He apologizes for hurting her at the same time that he’s pointing a gun in her face. She asks him why he wants to kill himself, and he admits he doesn’t want to be who he is, and he doesn’t want to hurt her. He says he’s bad, but she says he’s innocent and that he never meant to hurt anyone in his life.

She tells him that the blackouts confuse him, and he doesn’t know what he’s capable of. Norman remembers he had an episode the day his father died and asks Norma what happened. She says if he hands over the gun, she’ll tell him. So now she’s Chatty Cathy. Norma gets the gun and paints the rosiest picture of the day he killed his father as possible. She tells Norman that his father was hurting her, and he was protecting her. Norma doesn’t divulge any of the gory details, but at least that dead cat is out of the bag.

Norman asks her how she expects him to live with the guilt, and she uses the trick utilized by mothers everywhere: she piles on more. She says she will die if he leaves. She pledges her undying allegiance to him no matter what. Whether it’s because he’s too cowardly to go through with it, or he loves his mother more than he despises himself, or the squirmworthy show of affection from mother to son, Norman relents.

Norman Gets Away with Murder

The big day arrives, and the entire family is on hand. Norman is truthful about a lot of shady doings, but when the time comes for the million dollar question, his Norma side emerges. She makes it clear that he didn’t kill Blair Watson, she did. She says he has to keep it a promise, and he agrees.

Norman passes the test, which is good news for Norma (for now) but spells bad news for the residents of White Pine Bay, patrons of the Bates Motel and anyone else who crosses his path. 

Will Dylan become a real power player now that the heads of the competing families are dead? Will Norma bounce back after her falling-out with Christine? And who will fall victim to Norman and mother next?

(Image courtesy of A&E)

Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.