Bates Motel: Refraction

Bates Motel

If you went into Bates Motel without any knowledge of how Norman’s story turns out, you might retain a glimmer of hope for his future. Not necessarily that he’ll ever live a life without mental illness, but the hope that he might someday find a way to manage it and you know, not kill people. But we do know how it turns out for both Norma and Norman (and presumably Romero), and that turns this story from sad to tragic. In “Refraction,” we see Norman finally getting the help he needs, but we know its only a matter of time before it all goes to hell again.

We pick up from last week with Norma and Romero cleaning up the mess from the break-in. Norma is mostly upset that they broke her favorite stained glass window. She also can’t figure out who would have done it, because she hasn’t had any time to piss someone off lately and Romero assures her that it’s about him. She brings up Bob Paris, and he says it’s not Bob, but some people in the drug trade got rolled by the DEA and this is all a hazard of being married to a sheriff. The following day, Norma heads into town to ask around at the hardware store if anyone can fix her window. Chick follows her all the way there and lurks as he hears her talk about her window.

Over at Pineview, Norman is discussing his blackouts with Edwards while also agreeing that he should probably be on medication and is willing to try. He also admits that it was a mistake saying his mother kills people, and when Edwards asks about his relationship with his mother, he calls it “typical.” Edwards questions him further and Norman slips up and says he wasn’t close with his father, and that after Sam died, Norma leaned on him for a lot of things and he’s sad that he’s made her suffer.

Dylan brings Emma home, right past the “For Sale” sign in her yard and Will greets them inside. She says she’s happy to be home, even though she supposes it won’t be for much longer. Will tells her it’s not sold yet, though they have an interested renter.

Norman leaves Edwards’ office and asks if he can make a phone call to Emma, since she just had a lung transplant. Edwards says he’ll add his name to the list. Instead of calling Emma, he calls Norma and leaves a tearful message on her voicemail apologizing and telling her that he’s working hard to get better and thinks he can do it.

Emma and Dylan are in her room looking at old sketch of her with her cannula and Emma says she doesn’t feel like that girl anymore. They kiss, but she backs away when his hands get near her incision. She spies her pajamas laid out for her and Dylan offers to help her change so she jokes if he’s really that desperate to see her naked. Emma tells him the doctor told her four to six weeks before they can have sex and while he’s a little surprised she asked her doctor that, he jokes that he’ll put the date in his phone.

Edwards gets a call from the Pineview police station as a follow-up to Norman’s report about the murders. The officer tells him he looked in to it but there’s no evidence to suggest that Norma is involved in any murders. He mentions that they haven’t reached Audrey yet, but as there’s no evidence of wrongdoing, it’s just a false alarm.

While Emma rests, Will asks if Dylan is staying for dinner, but he has a job interview in Seattle early in the morning so he can’t. He tells Will the interview is at a hops distributor, so it’s the same kind of work he was doing with marijuana, but he can’t exactly put that on a resume. Will tells him to lie and say he worked for Will’s business and that sometimes to go straight, you have to lie.

Chick shows up at Norma’s door, claiming he’s there to help her with her stained glass. He asks to see the window so she lets him and shows him a picture of what it looked like before the break-in. She asks why he’s beat-up and he lies, telling her he was in a car accident.

Dylan goes to his interview and his interviewer asks if he managed a lot of employees at his old job. Dylan breaks down and tells the truth about what he really did saying that he knows he’s a questionable candidate, but he is qualified. He also promises the interview that he won’t be disappointed if he takes a chance on him.

Alex sits down next to Rebecca at a coffee shop and tells her she crossed a line by trashing his house. She claims innocent and he tells her he doesn’t have the key and that the DEA has asked about her. She asks if he’s sure he doesn’t have the key and she tells him to leave him and Norma alone.

Norman spots a returned (and very beat up) Julian in the common area, but he’s completely out of it when Norman tries to talk to him. He tells him he’s sorry they did this to him, then leaves for a walk on the grounds. Norma shows up and together they walk, and Norman tells her about his therapy, saying that he’s afraid to betray her confidences and that he accidentally told Edwards about his dad. Norma tells him not to worry about his father anymore, and that he just needs to show the doctor he’s feeling better so they can get him out of there.

Norma is fixing a light bulb at the motel when Chick shows up to talk about the window. He said he had a moment of clarity and that the best version of the window isn’t to recreate, but to be inspired. He shows her a sketch and Norma is impressed, especially since she’s never had someone create something for her before. Chick tells her he saw the photos in her house and that he and Dylan are neighbors. He mentions Caleb and Norma refers to him as her brother, and Chick has a silent realization about their incestuous past. She’s clearly uncomfortable with the subject of Caleb and makes an excuse to leave.

Norman is back in Edwards office telling him he feels really positive, especially since seeing his mother yesterday. Edwards asks if it’s possible his mother wasn’t here at all because he gets a ist of all the visitors and Norma wasn’t on it. Norman gets upset and insists it was real, and when Edwards ask what they talked about, Norman starts to get angry and tries to leave but Edwards calms him down and meets Mother. She’s a bit flirty with Edwards and eventually tells him if he wants to know what’s wrong with Norman, he should ask the person who knows him best. Edwards asks if that’s her and Mother answers of course, because she’s Norman’s mother.

Romero is leaving work and discovers Rebecca waiting by his car. She tells him she can’t believe he got married since he said he never would but she realizes he just meant he would never marry her. He seems like he wants to apologize, but Rebecca dismisses him and tells him to go home to his wife.

Dylan and Emma are in her room talking about the job interview and she tells him she’s proud of him and glad he told the truth. She admits that it wasn’t her scar hurting the day before, it was that she was embarrassed she has one because it’s hideous. Dylan says he doesn’t care, and Emma say she doesn’t want it to have power over her or how she feels when she’s with him so she lifts her shirt to show him. Dylan responds by taking off his own shirt and showing her the scar from where Shelby shot him and then another scar from being hit by a car.

And then …

This is when I realize they’re referencing the scar scene from Jaws.

And then …

This is when Dylan does a full on Robert Shaw impression.

And then …

This is where yours truly died and you are now reading a recap written by a ghost. This is the television equivalent of getting peanut butter in my chocolate, because it’s combining two of my top three favorite movies of ALL TIME. (That’s Psycho and Jaws, obviously.)

And then … there was apparently more of the episode after they laughed and kissed and were the cutest? Oh right, back to that.

Romero arrives home while Norma is playing the piano and singing. She stops when she realizes he’s there and tells him she found a guy to fix the window. Then, just casually drops the question of whether Romero killed Bob Paris. His silence gives her the answer she was looking for and when she asks why, he explains that he had no choice.

Norman sees Edwards in the hallway who is there to check on him since he knows it was a big day. Norman apologizes for getting emotional and Edwards tells him he never wants him to feel alone here and promises they’ll figure this out together. (Dr. Edwards sure seems like a decent fella, which does not bode well for his continuing existence on this show.)

Norma is looking at pictures in the newspaper from the festival when Chick arrives at her door. He tells her he has a mantra about never wanting to be out of integrity, so he admits that the car accident story was a lie. He also tells her he knows about Caleb and her and when she tries to deny it, he asks if it’s because she’s ashamed that she slept with her brother, ashamed he raped her or ashamed because she loved him. He tells her that Caleb beat him, stole his money and drove off his family and he wants to know where he is. Norma tells him she doesn’t know where Caleb is and he tells her to think about it with the hint of a threat and leaves.

  • I’m still reeling from the Jaws scene because it felt like it was written to be specifically tailored to my interests alone. So thanks for that, Bates Motel!

Photo Courtesy of A&E

About Lisa Eastham

Lisa is probably a marine biologist in an alternate universe, but in this universe, she decided job stability isn’t that important and became a writer instead. She tweets @itslisae and her other writing can be found at her blog.