In this episode of Bates Motel, everyone deals with their problems in healthy, grown-up ways and there is (mostly) open and honest communication happening between all of our main characters. This can only mean one thing: everything is about to go straight down the crapper. If that wasn’t your first sign, then the re-appearance of Caleb (even from far away in Costa Rica) would be your second sign. So let’s find out what happened in “The Vault.”
Norma decides to try and call Caleb, but his old number is disconnected. Upstairs, Romero is getting ready for work when she comes upstairs, saying she couldn’t sleep but playing it off like it’s no big deal. He goes to leave but she stops him for a moment, saying how it’s funny that they’re so happy after everything that’s happened and that it’s like watching a movie. He comes back to kiss her, joking that it’s not a movie so don’t screw it up.
Norman is having a nightmare-flashback of his childhood, being underneath a bed while everything is breaking around him. He goes to Edwards’ office and Edwards asks if he knows what happens to him when he blacks out. Edwards explains what Dissociative Identity Disorder is and how when someone experiences trauma, they sometimes create over personas to deal with. He also tells him that he spoke to someone who wasn’t Norman, but was Mother or at least a version of her that he’s created. Norman admits there are a few times that he thought he spoke to Norma but hadn’t, and he asks why Mother would want to protect him from Edwards. Edwards doesn’t know yet, but brings up Norman’s childhood again and Norman tells a glossy version of the truth about his father’s drinking problems. His head starts hurting and he wants to leave, but before he does he asks what Mother was like and Edwards answers that she was charming.
Norma meets up with Chick at a diner and she tells him she’s not entirely sure what he’s asking of her, and he asks if he’s lonely since she can’t share with the people she loves that she’s had sex with her brother. He asks her why she’s trying to protect someone who has hurt her, and tells her he’s not a nice person, after what he’s done to her and how he treated Dylan. He ends the conversation, telling her to do the right thing, because if the truth came out about her and Caleb, it could hurt her husband who is a public official.
Dylan goes to visit Norman at Pineview and they play croquet together (no, really, they do). Norman asks about Emma and Dylan tells him she’s doing great and then says he has something to tell him. Norman guess that something has happened with Dylan and Emma, and assures Dylan that he’s glad and he gets it. He asks how much Dylan remembers about Sam, and Dylan says he was a very unhappy man, very angry and drunk. He also says Sam was never nice to them or Norma and Dylan made a career out of not being home because of him. Norman tells Dylan not to think about it anymore and promises that things are good now and he’s getting better.
Dylan goes back to Norma and reports that Norman is doing really well, that he seems calmer and more open. She’s very happy to hear it and asks if he told Norman about her and Romero, but Dylan says he didn’t. He wonders why she thinks it would bother him that she’s with someone, and Norma just says he’s very fragile. Dylan advises that if you keep treating someone like they’re fragile, they’ll never have a chance to get stronger and he learned that from being around Emma. He finally tells her that he’s going to Seattle, probably in a few days, but promises that he won’t just suddenly disappear. As she walks him out, she asks if he’s spoken to Caleb recently and he says he hasn’t, so Norma asks the name of the place in Costa Rica where he worked. Dylan warns her to leave Caleb alone, things are too good and she shouldn’t do something destructive.
Norma does not listen to him at all and goes to the office to call the hotel in Costa Rica. She reaches Caleb, who is at the bar and not just for the snacks. He apologizes for leaving, saying he got himself into a bad situation and didn’t want the fallout to be on her and Dylan. They talk about Dylan and Emma for a bit, and he says he misses her and Dylan both and that he thinks of them every day. She tells him he should call Dylan and he ends the phone call with a declaration of love that Norma does not return.
Norman is in therapy, regressing back to a memory from when he was seven, telling Edwards a story about waking up in the middle of the night and finding his dad drunk and passed out in the kitchen. His dad wakes up and pulls him for a hug, telling him sorry and that he loves him. Norman comes out of the memory and Edwards reminds him that he’s only watching the memory and that he can get up and leave anytime.
Romero sits down next to Rebecca at the same café from last week as she mentions that he said he didn’t want to be seen with her. He passes her the container of sweeteners and tells her to pick it up, she does and they key is underneath. Rebecca asks him how much money he wants and he tells her he doesn’t want anything.
Dylan is driving and gets a call from Caleb, who wants to explain that he left because he wanted to do the right thing for everyone. He tells Dylan that he thinks of him every day and misses him, and Dylan says he misses him too. Caleb promises to come see him as soon as it’s safe and maybe he’ll even move up there for good. Dylan hesitates, but says that would be good and then tells him to take care before ending the call.
Norma meets Chick out on the bridge in the middle of the night and grabs her gun from underneath the seat of her car. He asks if she has something for him and she points her gun at him, but her hand shakes and eventually she puts her gun down. Norma tells him that she can’t get Caleb killed but she also can’t kill Chick, so she’s screwed either way. She screams at him to go ahead and screw up her life before getting back in her car.
Dylan shows up at home with a box to pick up some stuff while Norma is furiously chopping vegetables. She tells him to have fun leaving her, and then tries to excuse it as a bad mood that she doesn’t want to talk about. Dylan goes upstairs to pack and takes the framed picture of him and Norman to Norman’s room to put on his nightstand. He finds Norman’s stuffed bunny, and hiding behind it is Audrey’s letter to Emma. He heads down to the motel office to check on old reservations and finds Audrey’s name on it, immediately writing down her address in Sacramento.
Norman is back in therapy and Edwards wants him to talk more about his father, but Mother shows up next to him and tells him not to talk. Edwards ask if she’s here and can he talk to her, and Norman becomes Mother. She asks Edwards to leave Norman alone, and to talk to her not him because there are things that Norman doesn’t need to remember and she’s worked too hard for him to undo it. She tells him a story about a time she tried to leave Sam, and even packed the car, taking Norman around the neighborhood to search for Dylan. We see in flashback as Sam finds them and puts a gun to Norman’s head, forcing Norma to apologize and claim that she would never really leave him. They go inside and Sam rapes her while Norman hides under the bed, reaching out his hand to Norma who holds on to it. Mother tells Edwards that she doesn’t want Norman to know these things because it will kill both of them, begging him not to make him remember. She’s crying at this point and threatens Edwards to “do something about it” if he makes Norman remember.
Norma is putting dinner on the table when Romero comes home, telling her that Chick is there with the window. She asks what he said, and Romero said nothing, just that he needed help unloading it. She tells him she loves him, and he’s taken aback at her timing, but says that he loves her too. He leaves and then returns with Chick and the new window. Romero calls it beautiful and Chick says you never know what you’re capable of until you’re tested. Norma asks if means that we all have things hidden inside, things that people might hold over your head even though you’ve done nothing wrong. She tells him to go ahead and do what he came here to do, because she’s not broken and is still standing. He comes over to her, gives her a kiss on the cheek and tells her he hopes he enjoys her new window, then hands the bill to Romero and tells him to mail him a check.
After Chick leaves, Romero asks her what the hell was that and she begins to spill it all, everything about her and Caleb sleeping together, how she did love him, but that their home life was horrible and they were all they had. He tells her when she tried to stop it, he raped her and also that Caleb is Dylan’s father. She asks if he understands how horrible it is to be raped by someone you love and to hate him, but not enough to hurt him. She tells him that she never loved anyone enough to be honest with them, and she wanted to hide, but Chick found out. Norma ends her speech by telling him to go pack his bag, and Romero responds by asking where’ they’re going. She begins to cry harder and we end the episode with them holding tightly to each other.
- This season, so far, is definitely shaping up to be the best of the series, right? It’s focused in on the characters and storylines that really matter, and upped the stakes emotionally. Not to mention, Freddie Highmore is doing his best work fluctuating between the many facets of Norman and Mother.
- I’m so worried for Dylan. I don’t think this show will kill off Emma, just ship her off to Seattle. But Dylan. Poor Dylan. And now that Caleb might be back in the picture. Poor Dylan.
- Chick just looks like he smells bad, doesn’t he?
- Norma furiously chopping vegetables is exactly the kind of humor this show does so well. Also, her calling Chick a “giant lame asshole” in the midst of her anger was so perfectly Norma and hilarious.
Photo Courtesy of A&E