Bates Motel: “Nice Town You Picked, Norma” Recap

Max Thieriot shows up in the beginning of this week’s  new episode as Norman Bates’s older half-brother, Dylan. It’s nice to see him in something. I don’t think I’ve seen him in a while. Except that horror movie with Jennifer Lawrence. He’s basically playing the usual dead beat, unemployed prodigal son. And he’s not so much the prodigal son as a douchebag. Except in this family he’s probably the only normal one among them. He certain thinks so and let’s Norma know that repeatedly.

Someone essentially burning to death and crashing their car because of it right outside your newly opened motel cannot be good for business.

Someone essentially burning to death and crashing their car because of it right outside your newly opened motel cannot be good for business.

Of course, nothing seems to be normal in this town. As soon as Norman goes to the bus stop to go to school the one pretty blond girl’s dad goes racing by in his car and crashes right in front of the motel. I don’t really know why her name is Bradley but whatever. Her dad crashes and they wrench the door open only to find that he’s been set on fire. Like totally set on fire. Apparently his warehouse was set on fire and he took off driving from the scene. It was pretty bad. Norman tries to go up and give Bradley a flower because he’s sorry for what happened to her.

And at school Emma, the girl with cystic fibrosis asks him if he wants to study together. He’s rolling in the ladies.

Dylan, of course, is up to no good. Norma tells him he’s going to earn his keep but he goes to hang out in a strip bar instead where he finds some guy crying over Bradley’s dad. That’s not weird at all. He’s got all kinds of money which clearly comes from illegal dealings. Which Dylan wants in on. And which Bradley’s dad is obviously in on. When he goes home he and Norma get into another fight. Dylan’s always been pissed off at her it seems. Because she left his dad for Norman’s dad, because she always cared about Norman and not him. Considering how she’s sort of creepy in how she handles her relationship with Norman that’s not unreasonable. Dylan sees through all of it. Even asks her how she got all the money she has now to buy the hotel. It’s from Norman’s Dad’s insurance policy.

Color me surprised.

Do you ask all the young ladies who want to court your son what their life expectancy is?

Do you ask all the young ladies who want to court your son what their life expectancy is?

Emma shows up at a pretty awkward moment. And Norma makes it way more awkward. Basically Norman and Norma are swiffering like crazy as if that’s going to hide all Keith’s blood from when they murdered him last episode. Emma shows up to do homework and Norma basically asks her all these really personal questions about cystic fibrosis and her life expectancy. I mean, I’ve known people with C.F. and I wouldn’t just ask them two seconds after I’ve met them what their life expectancy is because c’mon. Though I do find it amusing that she’s supposed to be from England and has been in the US for five years and has no sign of an accent at all. That said, she probably isn’t intimidated by Norman falling for a girl whose only going to live another ten years or so at best. Meanwhile Freddie Highmore sometime sounds like he’s really trying hard to avoid the native accent. Anyway, they talk about William Black’s “The Tyger” and then bond over the torture porn manga drawings Norman founds. Because that’s not weird at all.

I guess it’s not any weirder than Norma trying to keep the cops off her trail. She’s super awkward and not very good at lying. I mean, obviously, she’s not going to get caught having murdered the guy. But Romero, the sheriff – who was the mayor in the Batman movies before he died in them – has her number and is going to cause her all kinds of grief until she finds a way to weasel her way out of it. That’s part of the problem with a show like this, you know? You know no one is going to catch her or figure anything out. She has to stay out of jail so she can be in Norman’s life forever and shit. But the cops have found Keith’s truck and someone saw him shouting at Norma and Norman. So. She needs to be creative.

Which seems to mean hitting on the cute deputy, Shelby. She tells him her sob story about losing her husband and wanting the best for Norman and everything. It’s like super awkward. Because he’s actually returning her hitting on him. And he’s like twenty something. She tells Norman it’s all to get him to like them but she’s got some super awkward agenda. You can tell. Plus she refuses to let Norman come along. Also, she starts changing in front of Norman…

Oh, and she also probably set fire to Bradley’s dad’s warehouse which I’m assuming was storing stuff for the building of the new overpass that would have passed by the Bates’ motel. She pretty much implies that earlier in the episode.

Norma goes off to have fun without Norman and leaves him home alone with Dylan. Whose just gotten back from making some shady deal to work as muscle for someone. Though how there is a criminal underground in a town that’s supposed to be as small as this I have no idea. Norman gets pissed off that Dylan has Norma in her phone as “The Whore” and he actually attacks him. Then he attacks him with a freakin’ hammer. Dylan doesn’t hurt him the first time around but Norman actually kinda tries to kill his brother. So, I mean, it makes sense that he’d smack him around then.

Seriously, though. Dylan. Call the cops. Find evidence, call the cops. You can inherit the hotel and watch them both go down for murder and you can have a nice little life. Just saying.

And then you could avoid more awkward meals like this.

And then you could avoid more awkward meals like this.

But of course he doesn’t. Instead Norma comes home and sees Norman and she gets upset. Norman goes off to see Emma when she texts him and finds out she lives in some super creepy taxidermy shop. I feel like if your kid is dying of cystic fibrosis surrounding them with death is not the best idea. What, is her dad going to stuff her, too, at some point? At least we know where Norman learns all his taxidermy stuff in order to stuff his mom in the movie. Anyway, Emma is some kind of freakin’ Nancy Drew or something. She takes the torture porn notebook and does some research and figures out that the book is really telling a story. It’s the story of four Chinese girls brought to the US to work as house maids who are instead turned into sex slaves.

Then she kisses him. After explaining all that. Because she’s basically just as weird as Norman. Then they decide to go find the grave of one of the girls that was drawn in the notebook.  It’s adorable in it’s awkwardness.

While Norman is off macking on his new little girlfriend, Dylan starts having a little heart to heart with Norma. If by ‘heart to heart’ you mean he breaks it down for her that he gets that shady shit was going down. She tells him to leave but he’s got something he can hold over her now – how her husband died. See, he had a really had time finding Norma and Norman. He had to talk to the people at the insurance company where Sam worked and they had all these wonderful stories about how Sam was a loving husband and father. But Dylan knows the truth about “what it was really like living with Sam.”  So apparently he wasn’t a very nice guy or something. Or she just hated him. I don’t know. Basically, Dylan tells her he knows that if someone looks into his death they would find it to be suspicious. Which we all pretty much know. They didn’t exactly try to hide that.

Honestly I'm just posting this  to have another reason to have Max Thieriot's face in this post.

Honestly I’m just posting this to have another reason to have Max Thieriot’s face in this post.

I still have no idea why he didn’t mention Norman’s freak out, though. Unless she already knows about his anger issues. Dylan clearly seemed to because he knew that Norman was going to come after him with the hammer and was able to move out of the way. He had warned him not to do it even.

This just makes me feel like my hypothesis that Norman killed Sam accidentally and just blocked it out is way more likely.

Norma can’t be so controlling, though, because when we come back from the commercial Norman and Emma are hiking a freakin’ mountain. They are looking for the shed where the Chinese girl’s body was buried and so far the notebook drawings have been pretty accurate. Unfortunatel  the whole hiking thing isn’t really going well for her even with the oxygen tank in tow. So they take a break and take in the scenery for a while. But that scenery? It just so happens to include a massive pot field. And a bunch of hillbillies guarding it. On the plus side, while running away from it, they find the shed! They get away but it’s close. Presumably they will go tell someone but… maybe not. No one tells the cops in this town anything.

Emma, honey, just be careful.

Emma, honey, just be careful.

Speaking of town… while the kids are off playing Venture Brothers together someone’s just been strung up in town by the marina and set on fire. And Norma driving buy actually seems kind of freaked out by it. For a minute I thought maybe it was Dylan and she’d killed him but she didn’t seem to know what was going on. Plus Dylan was in the preview for the next episode. But seriously. Maybe someone else is setting people on fire? Or maybe Dylan did it because he knew that it was Norma and he’s trying to send some kind of stronger message?

I don’t know. But next episode – looks like Norman is going to be even more crazy! Sweet. I mean, that’s the only reason we’re watching this show, right? To see this kid lose it and turn into the main character from psycho. I’m also assuming that at some point soon we’re going to find out that the pretty blonde girl’s dad was responsible for all the Chinese girls being sold into slavery and what not. This town was at least messed up before Norman showed up? More so than we think if someone else is out there setting people on fire.

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