The fact that tonight’s Bates Motel (written by the brilliant Freddie Highmore) started off cold in more ways than one was almost a promotion for a hour filled with awkward confrontations and massive explosions leading to what will no doubt be two highly intense final episodes. Norma wakes up freezing and unable to sleep and finds the heater broken. Norman, also awake from the cold, comes downstairs as Norma’s trying to figure out if she can fix the issue. He comments on the things that have changed that he’s not very fond of: the large television and the DVDs, Romero’s most recent gifts. After he interrogates her about why she needs such items, Norma gets him to go back to bed…kind of. Norman shows up in her room and asks to sleep with her, and you can almost see the debate happening in Norma’s head as good angel and bad angel make their cases. In the end, of course, Norman ends up with Norma. There’s no creepy cuddling, though, just a sense of awkwardness as they lie awake, which leads Norman to ask what happened to them while he was gone. “I guess we got a little used to being apart,” says Norma. See, this should be something that you SHOULD get used to, but I digress.
In the morning, Romero calls to check in — he’s been staying away until Norman gets comfortable with being back home. She tells him that things have changed, which leads Romero to become even more suspicious of the real closeness of their relationship. I really, really feel for Romero. He loves Norma genuinely, and I believe they could make a really happy couple together if Norman wasn’t in the picture and if Norma let herself actually love someone without any strings attached. During breakfast, Norman takes more notice of things that are different, such as the new drapes. Aside from being pissy that his room was turned into a sewing room, he’s also pissy about Romero, especially when Norma lets on he spends a lot of time at the house. Norma tries to convince him of Romero’s goodness and urges him to be thankful for what he’s done for her — for them.
So Norman respects Norma’s request and pays Romero a visit. (“Can you please tell the sheriff his wife’s son is here to see him?” CLASSIC, Norman.) Romero meets him warily, and Norman politely thanks him for all he’s done for the family…and then promptly instructs him he can get a divorce. Because now that Norman is home to be with his mother, he can get a part-time job in addition to the motel and make money and get insurance and Romero is just not needed anymore. You know, Romero’s nice and all, but he doesn’t KNOW Norma like her precious son does. “Certain things can never change. Things that you know nothing about and never, ever will,” he tells him. Romero is taken aback by both Norman’s request and his insistence, and it’s perhaps the first time he’s realizing how insane Norman really is when it comes to this relationship.
While shopping for space heaters in town, Norma runs into Dylan and invites him and Emma along for tree shopping as a last chance to spend time with the family before he moves. Dylan realizes she hasn’t told Norman about Romero yet, but Norma insists it’s just not the right time — and that she will. It’s the same speech and excuse she gives Romero when she shows up at his house. She’s missed him, but Romero’s not in the mood for being cutesy. He tells Norma about her son’s visit, which Norma was, obviously, unaware of. She’s shocked to hear what Norman told him (because her precious, sweet son would never say those things!), but Romero just wants her to tell Norman the truth: They love each other, and he has to deal with it. So she needs to make a choice between her son and her lover. Romero loves Norma so much, you guys. And Norma loves him, too — she assures him she’s not giving him up.
Dylan and Emma arrive at the house, where Emma has a polite but awkward reunion with Norman. He tells her he’s happy for her and Dylan, but things are clearly off between the former BFFs, and Dylan is still more than a little suspicious of his brother after seeing Emma’s teddy bear in his room. His wariness intensifies on the way to buy their tree when he sees how Norman reacts with Norma (who is angry and moody thanks to Norman’s unauthorized visit to Romero) and especially after Norman apologizes profusely for his mom’s behavior in almost a psychotic way. Dylan later tells Emma that things feel different now that he’s kind of removed himself from Norma and Norman: He’s finally realizing how screwed up his family is and that he doesn’t want to be a part of it anymore. He wants something good. Could Emma and Dylan be the only people who get out of this show intact? Or would that be too good to be true?
NEXT: Norma Bates and Alex Romero request the pleasure of your company