Wednesday, April 24, 2013

BATES MOTEL: "The Truth" S1E6 (recap)

By Apathy Babcock
On last week’s episode, we learned that although Norma likes to tell Norman he sees things that aren’t real, he actually did see an Asian sex slave in her boyfriend’s basement.

Does this mean maybe Norma was responsible for sending Norman off to Shelby’s house to retrieve the belt?

Because this week’s episode is entitled, “The Truth,” we’re bound to learn more.  But it’s hard to believe anything’s the truth coming out of White Pine Bay…

It’s a new week for us, but the same shit night for the Bates family.  We open on Norma sitting silently on the motel patio after the terrible shock of finding the girl from her boyfriend’s basement is not only real, but is also recuperating in her motel.  Norman approaches his mother to see if she’s okay.  Understandably, Norma has nothing to say.  Discovering your hunky dream man has been keeping a sex slave imprisoned takes some time to absorb…not that it seems to bother Norman much.  Emma wants to do something for Norma, but Norman thinks, “maybe she just needs to absorb the information for a minute.”

I’d say, at least a minute.


As Emma wonders what it must be like to find out the guy you’re really into is a “monster” (I’m going with terrible), we see Norma rise and leave in the background.  Norman tells Emma all Norma “has been through already” when they notice she’s left.  Norman chases her to her car and tries to stop her, leaping into the open window of the moving vehicle.

“You’re going to kill us,” he pleads as Emma watches helplessly.

“Shit,” is all she has to offer.

To stop the hysterical Norma from speaking to Shelby, Norman tosses the keys out of the car.  As his mother cries, she tells him, “He’s not going to get away with it because everybody always gets away with everything.”  For Norma, that shouldn’t be such a bad thing.  After all, she’s gotten away with killing Keith Summers.  “I promise you, Mother, he’s a bad guy and we will get him.  We just have to do it the right way.”  The right way…Norma calms down, really quickly.

“You’re right.  Now go find the damn keys.”

A beautiful seascape gives way to the shattered remnants of Ethan’s bloody vehicle.  Dylan is on the phone with someone, “I need to talk to you.” 


We cut to some sort of work room, where Dylan tells a man with a magnifying glass, “he was a real bloody mess.”

He details how he took Ethan to the hospital but had to leave him there because the cops showed up – “he was already gone.  I’m sorry.”

Without turning around, the man with the magnifying glass says, coldly, “that’s a loss.  Would you recognize this sonofabitch?”  Dylan, with tears in his eyes, both of sadness and fear says, “he’s dead.”

Dylan admits to killing him, even though he’s clearly not sure how this is going to go over with this stranger.  The man approaches him and he’s off the hook - he’s “done good, stepping up means something.”  I think we’re meeting the man behind those acres of pot.  Under voiceover, we see Ethan drive the truck to a secluded area and light a match to destroy it and all the DNA evidence.

The truck explodes.

As Dylan watches, the truck burns.  “As soon as you’re done admiring you’re handiwork, we can get the hell out of here.”

Gil (probably the man in the workshop) has sent someone to pick Dylan up.  This is clearly not this guy’s first time at the shooting match…or truck burning.  This is Remo, and he’s been working for Gil a lot longer than Dylan – 23 years.  There’s tension between the two – Remo is a seasoned professional.  But we learn, Dylan isn’t working for him…Remo is working for Dylan.

Clearly Dylan made some serious inroads with the drug lord by his willingness to run over a tweaker in an alley.

Our sex slave is still sleeping it off in the motel room when Norma drops off food.  Norma looks at the woman’s arm (full of drug bruises), covers her and is lost in thought. 


Back at the house, Norma muses how asleep the girl is.  Emma wants to go with the girl to the police – “she has to participate.  Nobody will believe us without her.”

Emma is the voice of reason and wants to move quickly with the FBI.  But strangely, Norma and Norman are stalling.  Norma will make a case later for why the girl should talk to the police.  But later.  Norma offers to call Emma’s mom, which is when we learn she hasn’t heard from her mother in 8 years – “I guess taking care of a CF child isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

Norma tells her she deserves so much better, and Emma actually hugs Norma, who slowly folds into the hug for real as Norman watches.  Emma just wants to do the right thing.  “Tomorrow,” says Norma, putting Emma in the car.

“Tomorrow.”  Norman commends Norma for how she was with Emma but she returns to being cold, ruthless Norma.  “There’s no way we’re going to the police tomorrow, or any day, until we get that belt.”  Norma’s agenda has not changed with the arrival of the Asian sex slave.

It’s night.  Dear God, is Norma actually getting ready for a date?  “Mom, don’t do this – he’s dangerous,” says Norman, as we see Norma applying makeup.  She’s going after Shelby…and the belt.  Norma apologizes to Norman for not believing him about the girl.  And he finally asks, “Is there something wrong with me?”  Norma tells him of course not, she just had to say something in the moment to justify not believing him, and that they just have to focus on getting the belt back.  “The one that Shelby has?”  Dylan has arrived home.  And he doesn’t want them to go to the police either – he agrees Shelby will come for Norma. 

For the first time, the family has become a family unit.

Dylan and Norma are connected by the blood on their hands…But how does Norman fit into this sick little family triangle?  Dylan asks Norman to take him to the boat, telling Norma not to go anywhere or do anything until they get back.  “And you can wipe that lipstick off.”

In the car, Dylan tells Norman he’s put down first and last on a beach bungalow.  “You’re really going to do it – you’re really going to move out,” Norman says. 

Dylan tells Norman he’s coming with him – “no crazy people, just live life the way it’s supposed to be lived.” 

Norman smiles but… “What about Mom?” 

Dylan sighs (as do we), “you gotta let her go.  She’s just going to bring you down with her.” 

Norman drops the subject and directs Dylan to the boat.  The boys climb aboard to look “everywhere.”  After the last time they went on the boat and a screaming lady came running out, my nerves were on edge as they go to the room below the boot.  This is Hell Boat.  They sweep with flashlights, going through junk everywhere. 

Suddenly Dylan says, “Norman, how do you think your father died?”  Norman tells him a huge shelf in the garage fell on him.  “Pretty freak accident,” says Dylan with light sarcasm before noticing a false ceiling.  He asks Norman for a screwdriver.  As he unscrews, Dylan tells Norman, “I think she killed him, took the insurance money and got the hell out of there.”  Norman doesn’t think she would’ve done that to his dad, and Dylan tells him he can’t keep making excuses for people all the time.  “He was a bastard, and she’s insane – dangerous even.” 

In the midst of dropping this into the conversation, what drops from the ceiling is…that fucking belt.  Dylan actually found it.  The family is freed from Shelby’s bond.  “Just stick with me, Kid,” Dylan says.  They take the belt and leave.

Norma is alone in a chair when headlights pull up outside.  She rushes out to see…Shelby.  “I had to see you,” he says running forward.  Norma cowers and says, “this is a bad idea” as he kisses her. 


He has no idea how bad.  Norma doesn’t want to be seen making out on the porch.  So Shelby wants to go down to the motel.  “What’s wrong, did something happen” Shelby asks. 

Because Norma can’t tell him about the woman her son has sprung from Summers boat, she reluctantly leads Shelby to the motel instead.

The boys throw the belt into the sea.  “Now she’s safe,” said Dylan.  But he doesn’t know what’s happening back at the motel.  Norman thanks his brother and Dylan wants to go home and pack up Norman’s stuff.  Which is good because their mom needs them.

Norma is having sex with Shelby. 

But the position and dead-eyed stare make the act reminiscent of the violation by Keith Summers.  Norma’s interactions with men so far have not been kind.  “What’s the matter,” Shelby asks – this is nothing like they’ve been doing.  Which is no surprise since she basically told him she didn’t want to and to leave, but Shelby isn’t bothered by details like that.  Instead, Norma tells him she’s worried about Norman – Shelby laughs and encourages her to take a break from that. 

She turns over and smiles, asking to start again.  It looks like Norma is once again willing to sacrifice for Norman.  But before she has a chance…Shelby hears something in the motel.  Norma assures him nobody is staying there.  “Then there sure as hell should not be water running through these pipes.”  Shelby draws his gun and goes to investigate with the nervous Norma following.  He heads towards door 11 and we cut to a brief glimpse of the girl in the shower. 

“Police, open up,” Shelby yells.  Norma tells him one of the painters from Sacramento is staying over.  It’s too late, and Shelby wants to know why she lies to him.  The door opens up.  The rescued sex slave sees Shelby and takes off running towards the woods. 


He actually tries to shoot her but Norma throws him aside.  He returns the favor, calls her a bitch and runs off into the night.  Dylan and Norman pull up, but it’s too late and the injured Norma limps out to greet them.  Dylan tells them they found the belt and she’s home free. 

“Norman and I are going to go up to the house and pack up his stuff.  He’s leaving with me tonight.”  He thinks everything is over, until Norma tells them Shelby’s there, he’s seen the girl and is chasing after her in the woods.  But something is way more troubling than that to Norma. 

“Norman, is what he just said true?”  Dylan digests the magnitude of the crisis on their hands and tries to get Norma in the truck.  She doesn’t care about dying – she wants to know why Norman would leave her. 

“Did you kill my father,” asks Norman. 

“No, honey, I didn’t.” 

The screwed up family moment is halted when Shelby arrives with his gun drawn.  He knows who Dylan works for and gets his gun.  Everyone heads up the house for a chat.

Norma, Norman and Dylan are seated at the kitchen table as Shelby paces and mutters what he’s going to do.  Norma assures him nobody will say anything but he tells her to shut up.  He points the gun at Norman and blames him, not himself, for the sex slave debacle. 

“I loved your mother…this is not the way things work around here.  Now you’ve gone and gotten yourself in trouble.” 


Shelby actually puts the gun to Norman’s head and cocks it while Norma pleads.  “This is a nightmare what you’re making me do, Norma,” says Shelby.  He has become the stereotypical abuser, laying blame at the feet of the abused.  Norma goes into self-preservation mode - nobody is going to say anything.  Norman just stares at Shelby. 

It’s Dylan who jumps in and says everyone is cool.  They are not.

Shelby calls Norma a lying bitch and slaps her with “I loved you.” 

As his mother is beaten, Norman seems to be processing, and somehow, this seems like a new Norman.  He actually hits Shelby, who tussles with him, injuring Norman.   Dylan has time to secure one of the guns and start a shoot out with Shelby as Norma cowers over the unconscious Norman.  Both parties take hits.  Dylan finds the wounded Shelby on the floor.  He is about to shoot him but his weapon comes up empty, giving Shelby time to get his gun and go back shooting.

Dylan runs upstairs.  Shelby reloads and goes after Dylan.  Meanwhile, Norma drags the unconscious Norman outside.  Upstairs, Dylan is attempting to reload. 

Norma…actually calls 911.  If only she had done that before, maybe they wouldn’t be in this place.  She gets Norman to stand up, telling him “nothing has been more important in your entire life.”  As Dylan reloads upstairs, we see Shelby coming down the hallway after him. 


Meanwhile, Norma gets Norman into the car.  “What’s happened, my head hurts.” 

Norman seems unaware of what has happened.  And Norma becomes aware she doesn’t have keys to the car.  As Norma gets out of the car, we see the flash of gunfire upstairs in the house.  Norma stares off into the darkness as we see a limping figure emerge from the house. 


At first we can’t identify but…it’s Shelby.  And he’s got a serious head wound.  He draws to fire but collapses.  Dylan runs out after him.  He has actually killed Shelby and saved them.  Norma runs up to give her son a hug.  “We’re safe,” he says.

Dylan checks Shelby’s pulse:  “Your boyfriend, Norma, he’s quite the prize.” 

Norma says we need to get Dylan to the hospital.  “I called the cops,” says Norma, to which she should’ve added “actually.”  Dylan says they’re going to tell them the truth.  He’s done with the craziness and the stories.  “You don’t know the whole truth,” says Norma.  Dylan, like us, wants to know what he doesn’t know.  “Let me tell you what happened that night Sam died.”  The truth is…whatever happened to Norman’s father.

We go to a flashback.  It feels like 40 years ago…except for the flatscreen TV.  Sam is bitching at Norma for spending money on curtains .  He flaps a paper on her face, and she holds up the iron.  He seems like another real prize of a guy.  Sadly, we still don’t get to see Norma having a decent relationship, even with Norman’s father. 

They argue as Norman tries to drown out the sound in the next room with a blender.  Sam hits Norma, and Norman empties the shake, slowly enters the room and hits his dad over the head with the blender. 

Norman stands there stoically as blood pools under his father’s head. 


“Norman, look at me….c’mon, answer me.”  Norma is hysterical, but Norman never says a word.  She takes him down the hall to rest, wraps the bleeding dad’s head, drags him into the garage (much like they dragged Keith Summers, although she didn’t plan ahead for the blood on that one) and rips the shelf down. 

She unwraps the bloody t-shirt off his head and leaves Sam laying in a spreading pool of paint.  Norman wakes up and finds his dad in the garage.  “Dad?”  He pounds on his mom’s door.  Clearly he has no recollection of what happened as he weeps over his father.  “I’m so sorry,” she says as she cradles him.

“Sam’s death was an accident.  That’s what he believes,” Norma tells Dylan, who wants to know what’s wrong with him – Norman. 


“I don’t know.  Maybe it was an isolated incident.  He doesn’t know what he was doing,” she tells Dylan.  But we know it wasn’t an isolated incident.  We’ve now seen it happen twice.  And will likely happen again if anyone goes after Norma.  “You can either get out of my way, or you can help me,” Norma tells Dylan. 

As the police arrive, we end on Norman’s dead eyed stare in the car.

Norman does have blood on his hands too.  Maybe it’s not the best idea to tell “the truth” to the cops after all.

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