Picking up right where we left off last episode, Psychotown’s Finest are on the case, arriving several minutes after the nick of time to stop the psychotic child sex trafficker on the force who just tried to kill the Bates family. Good on ya, PD. As the Sheriff rolls into the parking lot, he sees Shelby’s body and Dylan holding the gun. “We’d better talk,” he says. We cut to sometime later with Mother having just finished telling the entire story to the Sheriff. “Now you know it all,” she says. The Sheriff is apparently not as pure as he seems, because he instantly agrees to go along with a fake story whereby they all pretend that the Sheriff has long suspected Shelby was dirty and Shelby killed Keith and the Sheriff is the hero in everything. Dylan ain’t pleased, which is understandable since he’s the one who actually stopped the raving madman, but Mother and Norman are just thrilled to be not under indictment.
Some indeterminate time later, Norman
and Bradley make
tender passionate love like the experienced sexers they are has a wet dream
about making tender passionate love just as mother enters the room to wake him
up in the morning. The motel is opening in seven days and Mother wants them to
be ready now that all the Shelby mess is behind them. Sidebar, Norman plays out
this entire scene with his blankets specifically draped over his lap. Well
"Would you be comfortable if I called you 'mother' while we do this?"
Norman repairs a trellis at Mother’s request when he discovers a wee, angry dog underneath the porch. He tries to coax it out with a donut, but the dog makes a break for it and runs.
In the house, Mother cooks Dylan a lovely breakfast, arousing Dylan’s suspicions. Mother seems like she’s honestly trying to just thank him for, you know, getting shot saving them and all and seems genuinely hurt when Dylan says he’s still planning on moving out. Mother throws a temper tantrum over a trash bag, which Dylan all but wrestles away from her to help her out. Taking the trash to the dumpster, a swanky car pulls up to the motel. A dapper man asks what has happened to the motel and where he can find Keith Summers before speeding off when he learns that Summers is dead.
In school, Norman walks RIGHT PAST EMMA to go to Bradley, who is back at school and surrounded by her Super Model handlers who have literally done her homework for her while she was gone. When Norman asks if he can see her later, Bradley just kinda shrugs. Norman, you just got PWNED!
Mother puts on her nicest business suit and heads to a restaurant to ask them to help promote the Bates Motel. The manager instantly shuts Mother down, saying she doesn’t like to associate with certain businesses. Mother is confused until the manager explains that everyone in town knows about Shelby being shot there and the missing/dead Chinese girl. Small town life, everyone knows everyone else’s shit, nothing to be done about it.
"So, you're telling me the three dead people on my property in less than a month might be a deterrent to success?"
That night at the motel, Mother notices the dapper man from earlier trying to get into room 9 with an old key. He tells her that he has had a standing weeklong reservation for this room every other month. Mother offers to give him the room, eager for a customer. Dylan notices him from earlier in the morning and is worried. When Dylan asks him for his license, the man tells him they should already have it on file. Dylan feigns ignorance, new system, etc. Dylan “casually” questions the man, who says he comes to town on “sales” and pays in cash rather than giving a credit card. Meanwhile Mother, smarting from what the local business folk have said, is trying to scrub the blood out of their steps at the spot where Shelby died. Actually, kinda starting to see the townspeople’s hesitation about this place, now that I think on it. And yes, this is a scene about Mother trying to “get blood from out of a stone.” Jesus, writers – we get it.
The next day, Bradley approaches Norman and Dylan buying supplies. Bradley mentions that her mom is out of town so she’s alone, but also says that she’s heard that Dylan is working for Gil now, who used to work with her dad. Man, Bradley. You do not do “casual” well at all. Dylan puts two and two together, however, and figures Bradley’s up to something and it’s not just booty calls with Norman that she’s embarrassed to tell her friends about.
Emma is not going to take Norman’s snubbing lying down. She shows up at the house and Mother invites her in. When Mother goes to fetch Norman, Norman asks her to say that he’s sick and can’t come down. Emma, the resident wounded puppy dog, blames the tears in her eyes on allergies, arousing Mother’s sympathies. Mother asks Emma to come with her to help her on an errand for the motel. In the car, Mother tells her that Norman is “going through something” right now but not to worry he’ll get over it. “Between us,” Emma tells her, “I go to school with ‘it’ and I don’t think he’s getting over her.” Oh shit. See that bag, the one that used to have a cat in it? Emma may be non-threatening to Mother, but the same can’t be said about someone Emma describes as “the prettiest girl in the school.” Emma offers to point her out at her yoga class downtown, which is conveniently right by where they need to go on their errand. Mother is SO NOT STEALTHY in checking out Bradley at her class. Mother begins to imagine fantasies of Norman and Bradley having all kind of porn-y, S&M sex with nipple licking and lights swinging around right under her roof. (I’m not exaggerating, this seriously is something the show filmed.) Mother is, in short, taking this a lot harder than Emma.
"Let's be friends, so that you can better help me to manipulate my son and your affections."
Back at the motel, Norman is hanging up the welcome sign (literally) and trying to woo the dog from earlier with cookies that he’s set out, despite Mother telling him not to attract strays. Norman tries to get Mother to let him keep the dog, saying it’s what normal families do. Mother reluctantly agrees as long as Norman takes care of it. That’s when Mother decides to give Norman “The Talk” out of the blue. When the polite route doesn’t work, Mother lays it out: “you don’t know that girl well enough to be screwing her,” she tells him. Mother almost erotically tells Norman about what happens in woman’s body during and after sex and he shouldn’t be dabbling around in that. Also, Mother says she’s hired Emma to help out, so have fun with that obstacle that I’ve just given you. This leads to a fight when Norman insists that Bradley is his girlfriend, even though they’ve only talked twice since having sex and Bradley is a special flower who’s just dealing with her dad being dead which is why she’s not answering any of his texts and then he storms out. (As a total sidebar, I haven’t really said enough about how great Vera Farmiga is at playing Mother – she really nails the manipulative smoothness that Mother has in this scene and it’s frankly a lot of fun to watch her.)
Norman goes to Bradley’s house to talk to her and you just know this isn’t going to go well. Norman gives a long passionate speech about how he knows how much they mean to each other and how great their soft-focus early 80s-music video style sex scene was and he knows she feels the same and she should break up with Richard (remember him?) and God, it’s like watching the cliff approaching while the car is stuck at 90mph. When Bradley tells him, honestly in a very adult, mature way, that she’s flattered but she really doesn’t feel the same way, Norman runs off, causing her to run after him. She finds him a block away, walking with a creepy blank look on his face reciting Mother’s earlier words about Bradley’s low behavior verbatim. “I don’t think you’re a nice girl,” he tells her menacingly.
Might want to avoid taking any showers around this kid, I think...
Back at the motel, the dapper man comes upon Mother working late in the office. He tells her that he likes her changes to the motel and offers to put out the word about her place with “all the business contacts” that he has in the area. He asks for the same business arrangement that he had with Keith, where he books every room for the first week of every other month. “Is that for all the other people you work with?” Mother naively asks. Yes, Mother. That’s totally it. Sheesh. For a murderer, you really don’t have any instincts, do you?
Norman arrives back at the motel to see the dog waiting for him across the street. He calls for the dog to come to him and when the dog does the show totally drops a bridge on the poor mangy thing in the form of a suddenly speeding car. And yes, the camera shows us everything. If you have any kind of sensitivity to animals dying, this is NOT the scene for you to watch. Norman breaks down as Mother arrives, telling her that he was wrong about Bradley. He decides to bring the dog’s body to Emma’s father because he can "fix dead things." That he's saying this to Mother is doubly creepy, since we all know what eventually is going to happen to her.