|By Apathy Babcock|
Last week’s episode, “Trust Me,” (pack full of juicy details and teases), was as much about control as it was about trust.
We watched Shelby manipulate Norman over the threat of the belt. We watched Norma manipulate Norman with the idea that he sees and hears things that aren’t there.
I wondered at that moment if that’s how she “seduces” Norman, which is “enough for him to be taken away from you,” per Dylan (without specifics) – ewwww. Even Norman has to remind his mother, “you’re not my girlfriend” when she says he is jealous over the fact she was gone at 2 am to Shelby’s, whom she now suddenly seems to like for more than just his police protection.
He’s “pretty…like an old woman.”
Clearly, Norma has been out of the dating game for a while. She may not have had control in her abusive past relationships, but she certainly is trying to hold onto Norman. But in the great final flip-flop, she finds HIS bed empty and is forced to confront (with hysteria and slapping) the fact her son might be getting laid…to a girl who’s a dead ringer for a pre-busted Tara Reid…with dramatic music…and lots of floating gauze (those romantic kids). Norma is as crazy in this moment as Norman admitted to Dylan she was when she “killed the crap out of” Keith Summers. The episode ends with control firmly slipping out of Norma’s grasp when she is arrested for murder. If Norman was going to take off Summers’s belt, he should’ve taken off his highly ugly and specific watch too.
As out of the game as Norma is with dating, Norman kicks of his sexual career by actually spending the whole night with Bradley and having the decency to leave without waking her up. The huge smile on his face he wears (a rarity for Norman) on his walk of shame/victory is wiped off his face immediately upon arrival home. Norma’s not asleep. Dylan advises him, “she’s in jail.”
The boys dutifully troop down to the station, and Norman’s desire to help is met with the same cold eye-rolling sarcasm we first saw when she said, “I’m sorry I was raped, Norman,” in the first episode. Dylan offers to put the hotel up for collateral to meet the $100,000 bond, but Norma doesn’t want their help. “Really? Given everything that happened, you don’t need any help?” Oh…sh…We watch Norma realize Norman has told Dylan what she has done. As she turns to look at Norman, he averts his gaze. She screams “get out of here” when Dylan reminds her there’s nobody else to help and he quickly complies.
“Mom, I want to help you. Please.” Norman pleads but his mother silently faces away at the wall. She just broke up with Norman. His betrayal by being a 17 year old who wants to chase pretty girls is bad enough, but the fact he told her secret cannot stand.
Back at the hotel, Norman is frustrated as he goes through boxes and albums and can’t find what he’s looking for. He is surprised by Emma, who heard about his mom. “I’m just sorry because…damn that’s gotta suck.” She offers to let him stay with them but he’s got his brother. Norman has found what he is looking for – the deed to the hotel he needs to get bail money. Emma offers to take him and Norman accepts.
Because although he is a sensitive boy, (“decent,” as he described himself to Emma’s dad), he’s still a boy so he will let the sick girl who has a terrible crush on him help him, even though he just humped the popular girl hours before. Norman!
Dylan also wants to help. By seeking an advance from his drug-running employers. Who probably kill people who owe them money. His colleague finds this laughable (as do we – BAD IDEA), until Dylan says he needs to get his own place, somewhere for him and his brother, which seems to make his colleague Ethan think.
Back at the jail, Shelby tries to get Norma to eat but she doesn’t “care about food right now.” He leaves the atrocious-looking meal without another word.
Norman and Emma find the bail place closed. Norman advises her he’s found the girl from the manga book. “She’s being held prisoner in some guy’s basement. A cop.” Norman doesn’t want her to freak out, but as they have stumbled upon “a police conspiracy,” that’s not an easy direction for Emma to follow. Norman doesn’t want them to go to the authorities because his mom is in jail, nor does he want to tell Emma how he found the girl. She’s gone and although Norman wants to help her, he has to deal with his mom first. “You’re freaking out all over Italy,” he tells Emma – is that a thing? Then Norman lets her kiss him – NORMAN – but just a little. “Did she do it?” “No…she didn’t.”
Vintage Norman types out a text on his one nod to modernity, his smart phone, while he remembers his magical sex night. But the text he gets back is from the bail bondsman. Ouch.
The earnest Norman greets his mother on her release from jail with flowers, but “she has nothing to say” to him.
Seated side by side in an attorney’s waiting room, Norman asks, “Mother, when are you going to look at me?” Norma shoots him a look, but it’s not the one he was hoping for. As Norma’s female attorney crafts a defense, Norma is more concerned with the lawyer’s age, and seems to be incapable of understanding just how damning DNA evidence is. “I didn’t DO it,” she says before storming off. In the car, Norman tries to tell Norma to be reasonable and help herself. But for Norma, it’s all about how Norman went out and got laid when she, the mother-of-the-year, was weeping over what would happen if she was taken away from him, and she lays it on thick. Norma believes Dylan is trying to turn Norman against her – “no one can do that.”
Norma pulls over, “you told him our personal business. How could you do that to me. Norman?” Norman finally tells her she does things that don’t make sense and she scares him. “I scare YOU?” When she isn’t able to throw him out of the car ten miles from the house, she drags him out. Turns out there is someone who can turn her against Norman. Norman. His brother stumbles along on his motorcycle and rescues Norman, which is becoming a pattern. Family alliances are shifting. As they ride, Norman’s big smile reappears. Life without mom seems bright.
But still he won’t abandon her. Dylan advises Norman his mother is like an addict, and he should walk away from her drama. Dylan explains to him everyone walks away from their parents, “you leave the nest.” Dylan is moving to “Ocean View,” and wants Norman to cut the cord and move in with him. Norman insists his mom needs him but Dylan doesn’t think that’s a reason to stay, “given who she is.”
Dylan’s colleague thoughtfully brings him food from “that bagel place,” which is even more thoughtful when it turns out to be a bag of cash so he can get a place with his brother. Ethan knows Dylan’s good for it, and thanks him for making him look good. Ethan seems cool. Which is why he is screwed. A tweaker approaches the car and shoots him. WHAT? Dylan rushes his bleeding friend to the hospital.
It’s a foggy night and Norma meets up with Shelby in his car. He is so sorry he had to bring her into the station – “all in a day’s work,” she says. And he asks for a break – “it’s not safe.” Norma just gets out of the car and prepares to throw a fit, but he tells her he loves her, and he has been in hell that he couldn’t do anything while she was in jail. She cries and kisses him. I don’t think this break up will stick. “I’ll figure it out,” he tells her. He’s still high up on my “bad guy list,” though.
At the station, when Shelby confirms Sheriff is out, he sends the receptionist on a pointless errand so he has time to screw up her computer surveillance and steal the evidence against Norma. He is not just handsome, he’s handy too.
Dylan is driving around upset when he stumbles upon the Ethan-shooting tweaker walking alone. Dylan monster trucks after him down an alley and yes, he runs over “the crap out of him.” Now there is blood on Dylan’s hands too. Like mother, like son.
Surfing online in a coffee house, Emma uncovers something with Marine Titling. She seems intrigued. Cut to Norma, looking at the Bates Motel site, and the smiling picture of her and Norman. She is interrupted by the news from her way-too-young female attorney that…the evidence against Norma has been lost. The case is over.
Norman is leaving a voicemail for Bradley – because he’s old-fashioned, he actually makes calls with his cell phone. The message is awkward, painful, way too long, and full of excuses for Bradley not contacting him. As he hangs up, his mother rushes in to tell him the evidence has been lost. This is the old Norma and Norman. For a second. “It wasn’t a miracle, I’m pretty sure it was Zack.” “What’s he going to make you do for this one?” Norman asks before leaving.
As he storms off, Emma arrives in her orange VW – “I have an idea where the girl might be.” She’s excited, but Norman just wants her to take him away. At the beach, Norman doesn’t want to talk about his mom. While he cradles his phone (just in case Bradley texts – c’mon, we’ve all done it), his friend asks “If I had an Asian sex slave, where would I hide her,” which sounds like a messed up party game but is the key to what she was Googling. As she runs through her search, she notices Norman’s focus on the phone, and after she has just come along to his aid, he chooses this moment to tell Emma he is “with” Bradley. It is Emma who has to explain sleeping with someone doesn’t mean anything unless she changes her relationship status – “hook up.” Norman changes the topic back to Googling and Emma advises Keith Summers owned a boat. We may know where someone would hide an Asian sex slave. The kids head off to the boat, where Emma uses her handy oxygen tank to break a lock. There is tension as they swing open doors, which come up empty, but they take the opportunity to look around. And out leaps an angry determined Asian sex slave!
So now Emma and Norman have to play “If I had an Asian sex slave, where would I hide her” too. Good thing Norman owns an unopened motel. They take the woman, now passed out, and bring her to a room. The kids put her in bed and try to clean the blood and vomit off her. Exiting the office, Norma sees the VW and a light on in the room…in her unopened motel. She bursts into the room and demands to know, “why is this girl here.”
“Mom, please sit down.”
Norman tells her this is the girl from the basement. “Norman, stop it, you’re making this up.” Norman tells Norma to ask her.
“He keep me. He keep me in his house. He make me have sex.”
Norma’s response to this admission from this poor bloody vomit-covered girl? “It’s not true – it can’t be the same man.”
She runs back to the office for a newspaper and brings it to the room. She shows the girl a picture of Zack, “This is not the man,” Norma insists.
But “he is the man. He is the man.”
The episode ends with Norman saying, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I told you.” We end on Norma’s face processing this information.
Turns out her amazing boyfriend Shelby is handy, handsome, loving…and unspeakably evil.