Daybreak at the Bates Motel – Mother is testy with Dylan, wanting him to help with the new carpet that’s being delivered. (heh.) Dylan is all, “Pshh – I gots a job” and leaves. In school, Emma is freaked out about being chased by the gun-toting pot smokers and feels guilty because all she originally intended was just to drag Norman up there and smooch. Now they’ve got angry rednecks, a field of marijuana and possibly a dead Chinese girl in a shed. First dates are rough, aren’t they? Norman just wants his torture porn book back and can’t stop himself from thinking about it, even fantasizing in class about tying up his guidance counselor like the drawings in the book. He thinks about it so hard he passes out. Dating isn’t going to go easy for Norman.
While you're checking him for head trauma, perhaps you could look into another problem he seems to have...
Dylan’s “job” turns out to be acting as an armed guard for the same $5 million pot field that Norman and Emma got chased away from. Fancy that. Norman has been brought to the hospital but Mother is called away to the motel as the new carpet is being delivered, just barely missing the arrival of Super Model Becky. Turns out her name is actually Bradley, but whatevs. She’s brought Norman some flowers and they bond over both losing their fathers, hers because he got burned and is in a coma and Norman for causes maybe or maybe not related to Mother. Bradley offers to stay with Norman, chastely crawling into bed with to watch TV. Yup, Mother’s gonna love this.
At the house, the carpet arrives and so does the sheriff with a warrant. Mother flees back to the hospital to collect Norman and check him out against the doctors’ protestations that they don’t know what’s going on with him. On the way out, Mother insists she didn’t see the cops remove anything from the house and anyway, they cleaned it too well to find evidence of Keith’s murder. Norman, however, seems nervous because of something Mother doesn’t know – he secretly kept Keith’s utility belt under his bed. When they arrive home, three guesses as to what’s gone missing.
At this point, sidebar, I’d just like to mention that my iPad lost all my notes from this episode and I had to start watching again from the beginning. So thanks for that, Apple.
The jig, she is up. Norman confesses to Mother about the belt. Most parents would be understandably disturbed by this, but such is Mother’s devotion that she sets out to put things right. Meanwhile, back at the pot ranch, Dylan learns that the entire land is property of Bradley’s father, who “pissed someone off and was set on fire as a message” according to his coworker. In retaliation, the crew sent another message right back in the form of the burning man hung up on the town flag pole. So much burning in this episode – did this town never hear of Valtrex?
Now that Emma knows the drawings are probably for real, she’s desperate to get back up that mountain. Emma, nascent Nancy Drew that she is, shows Norman that there’s only one thing in English in the sketch book – the number four. Norman found the book in room four. To the Bat Cave! They investigate the room and Emma speculates that Keith must have brought the girls from China and kept them prisoner in the motel to be “tried out” first. Not clear how she figured this out, but it’s not like Keith seemed like a good citizen, so I’ll allow it. Emma discovers that someone has etched a word in Chinese into the paint underneath the sink in the hotel room bathroom, which tracks with pictures in the sketch book of girls chained to pipes.
Mother, meanwhile, has found Deputy Shelby and is laying it on thick – she’s just trying to start a new business and provide for her boy, why is the sheriff harassing them? Flirty flirt, O BTdubs, did they find anything in the search of the house? Shelby agrees to talk with her. If she’ll have dinner with him. Shelby, you sly dog. He tells her everything will be okay in the same tone he insisted that the burned guy would be “dealt with.” Weird that the Bateses aren’t the scariest people living in this town.
"As an officer of the law, I am compelled to tell you that I am exactly as creepy as this smile would suggest."
That night, Norma arrives at Shelby’s house for sexy dinner time! Mother has “put her face on” and looks quite fetching. They have a drink, sit on the couch but like a seasoned pro who doesn’t give with the goods until the money’s on the dresser, Mother asks about the belt before getting too comfortable. Shelby got to it before any other cop did so no one else knows (bad move, Shelby – your life expectancy just got a little lower) and he says he can help her if she’s honest with him – he just wants to know why Norman killed Keith. Mother makes for the sexy time to keep him from prying any further.
Dylan, meanwhile, has been thinking out loud about how he knows nothing about Mother, really, including where she grew up or why she has a pretty large scar or burn mark on her leg. Coming home, Norman is beside himself worried about Mother who hasn’t called or responded to his texts. Dylan says that Mother is smothering Norman and he needs to get out more. Thing is, not only is Dylan right, but he is actually trying to be helpful and protective of Norman. He’s tactless, but caring in his own stunted way. Possibly concerning, however, is that Dylan references the other night when Norman tried to attack him and Norman legitimately has no memory of the event.
"Remember when you tried to kill me?" "NO! Psychotic breaks LOL!"
Much later, Mother arrives home to find Norman asleep in her bed. Ick. She tells him that they should be okay for the time being, Shelby won’t talk. Norman doesn’t like that Shelby may make mother do “things” that she doesn’t want to do. Mother finally slips a little and asks Norman why, dear God, did he keep the belt? Norman confesses it’s because he like to keep mementos of things. Mother makes the amazingly accurate observation that it is insane to want to keep the memento of her rape and the murder of the man who attacked her. But oh, who cares, come here and let me hug you in my bed like the enmeshed man-child that you are.
In school, Norman tries to flirt with Bradley, but Emma cockblocks him telling him that the Chinese word they found is the word for “beautiful” and she wants to go to the police at which point Norman LOSES. HIS. SHIT. He insults her illness and demands that she not involve him or the motel with the police. That night, Norman lies in his room in the dark when Mother comes to him and tells him that he was right – as long as Shelby has the belt, he can hurt them, just like Norman’s father did. (!) “It’s all your fault,” she tells him. “I know,” he responds. “There’s something wrong with me. I know what I have to do.” No surprise here, it’s a hallucination and Mother isn’t actually in the room. Norman walks in a trance from the motel to Shelby’s house.
A suddenly surprisingly cogent Norman manages to break into Shelby’s house. He finds a locked basement door and goes looking for a key, finding it in Shelby’s nightstand in his bedroom. Also, Shelby’s porn is in there too. That’s not technically relevant, just a nice detail that I wanted to call out. Well done, props department! Norman is interrupted by Shelby’s guard dog, which is either deaf or lazy, considering how long Norman’s been in the house and making noise. Norman escapes the dog and makes it to the basement with the keys and you JUST KNOW this is going to be good. What does the fine upstanding Deputy Shelby have in his basement? Oh, you know. Just a cheesy homemade porn set, complete with mirror ball and camera. And a secret door. That locks from the outside. And opens to another porn set with an almost dead Chinese girl locked inside. Norman could freak out (or get aroused), but just then, Shelby comes home…