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Emmys 2017
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'Bates Motel' recap: 'The Deal'

With Dylan’s big secret finally out, tensions rise as Norma finds herself in an unexpected position of power.

Posted on

James Dittiger

Bates Motel

TV Show
Mystery and Thriller
run date:
Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore
Current Status:
In Season

It’s official: Norma Bates has cracked.

And Norma Bates has been through a lot, as she explains in this episode. She’s had her son stuffed in a box and left to die underground. She’s had her family compromised. She’s had her motel business jeopardized. Basically, she’s had terrible overall luck since arriving in White Pine Bay. Still, there’s only so much you can take before you crumble, and Norma’s definitely there. I’m just surprised it took her this long.

Remember last week when I mentioned Dylan had a pretty horrible, no good, terrible, very bad day? Norma seems to be the recipient of that mantle in this hour, which begins with her being driven off the road rather brutally. (Well, really, it begins with Dylan having passed out in his truck, in the parking lot of a beer store, but we’ll go back to that in a bit.) Norma’s car is ruined, she’s sore, and even the cows aren’t sympathetic. If that’s not depressing, I don’t know what is.

The car that caused her accident backtracks, and Norma yells at its driver—an ominous looking man in a long black coat. (Because long black coats always help your case.) While she threatens to call 911, the man tells her she should call Bob Paris, because she has something that belongs to him. Norma, at this point, is still clueless about the fact Bob wants the flash drive… not that the man believes her. Meanwhile, Emma—who seems to have calmed down from her anger at Norman’s refusal to sleep with her—is waiting when Norman wakes up confused and angry. He immediately tells Emma about Caleb and to her credit, Emma doesn’t add that she already knows about his presence. Instead, she asks very logically (and a little bluntly) if he had to tell Norma about him. Of course, Norman responds. Because he raped her. Emma’s not really buying Norman’s anger-revenge binge, but then again, Emma slowly might be realizing Norman isn’t exactly as sane as he should be when it comes to things concerning his mother. Dylan shows up and Norman actually apologizes for spilling the beans, right before Dylan is called to pick up Norma at the ER. And as Dylan tries to apologize, he realizes that Norma actually has no idea about Caleb. Which means something isn’t adding up.

Norma tells Dylan about being run off the road, about Bob Paris, and tells him that they wanted her to give up what she’s been hiding. Dylan insists again they need to get the flash drive to Romero, but Norma still won’t agree to that, and starts to break down. Norman’s getting worse, she doesn’t know how to handle him, she has no financial support, the motel’s in danger of going under.. .basically, the flash drive is the only thing she has that provides her with some sense of impending help. Vera Farmiga is just golden in this role, so much so that when she loses it, you can absolutely feel the intensity.

Dylan confronts Norman about the fact that he didn’t tell Norma, but just like Annika, Norman is convinced he’s told her. Dylan decides that at this point, he’s just going to man up and just tell Norma about Caleb himself. And points for Dylan for taking one more step in coming clean, turning over a new leaf in his attempt to find a family he’s realized he needs. But Norman is still feeling confused about what’s happened the previous night, and so he asks Norma about her clothes. Because Norma was definitely wearing a blue and white dress, the one that Norman likes so much, when she left the house that morning. (A blue and white dress, everyone. Not a blue and gold dress. Sorry, I couldn’t help it.) Norma tells him that he had another black out, but Norman admits he doesn’t remember anything.

It’s okay, though. Because Norma will always be there. Nothing bad can ever happen while Norma’s around, right? (Remember this statement.) After retreating upstairs, Norman finds himself in Norma’s closet, looking through her clothes. He finds the dress he was talking about earlier and has an uncomfortably creepy moment with it, before shoving it under his bed when Norma calls him for dinner (fastest cook time ever, by the way.)

NEXT: What happens in White Pine Bay stays in White Pine Bay