We’ve seen the literal “two sides of Norman” many times, meaning Norman and Mother. But in this episode of Bates Motel, “There’s No Place Like Home,” we saw another facet of Norman’s personality, one that was surprisingly manipulative and even a bit cruel. Norman certainly has been manipulative before, but it wasn’t done with such direct intention. A lot happened this week to bring us into what will surely be three exciting episodes to end the season, so let’s get right to the recap.
Edwards is in Norman’s room talking about his last blackout and Edwards reminds him that sometimes things have to feel worse for them to get better. At the Bates home, Romero and Norma are enjoying some morning sex and later while they’re getting ready for the day, she looks in on Norman’s room where stuffed dead dog Juno is keeping watch. Back at Pineview, Norman is making a papier-mache version of Juno, while Julian jokes that he’s making a self-portrait. He gets up to leave, saying he needs air and that it’s a bad idea to let medicated psychos spend all day inhaling glue. Norman notices his mother’s picture in one of the newspaper strips he’s using and starts piecing it together with other strips to discover that Norma has married Romero.
Norma is in the basement pulling out her sewing machine when Romero comes down. She tells him she wants to make new curtains, and then talks about planting fruit trees and turning the basement into a fruit cellar. He offers to help her buy things, but Norma doesn’t want him spending his money on her saying she’s embarrassed that she’s broke. He goes to the old furnace and pulls out the bag of money, explaining that it was Bob Paris’ getaway cash. She refuses at first, but he says it doesn’t belong to anyone and he can’t think of a better use for it then helping her out. He says Norma has had nothing but bad breaks and deserves some good ones.
The phone upstairs begins ringing, so Romero heads up to answer it and its Norman. He hands the phone to Norma and he asks if everything is okay because if the Sheriff is there, there might be trouble. She lies to him about why he’s there and Norman say she’s coming home as soon as he can, since he signed himself in voluntarily he can leave whenever he wants. Norma wants him to give it more time, but Norman insists that it’s time to come home and says he’ll call her when it’s time to pick him up.
Norman goes to the woman from Admissions to ask about the procedure for checking himself out. She explains that he needs to write a letter formally requesting release and then they have seventy-two hours to assess if he meets the criteria. He asks her what happens if he just stops paying and she tells him he’s already approved through his stepfather’s insurance.
Dylan shows up at Emma’s just as she’s arguing with Will about reaching out to her mother, saying she will dictate the terms, not Audrey. Will tells her that Audrey is only reaching out now that she thinks she has a daughter that won’t die. Will asks Dylan to back him up about Audrey being a mess at the hospital and Emma is shocked that Dylan didn’t tell her he met her, but Dylan explains that he didn’t want to upset Emma. She goes to her room and Dylan follows, apologizing for not telling her but explaining that Will didn’t want him involved and it seemed complicated. Emma explains that she tried to call Audrey, but her phone number is no longer in service and Dylan says maybe she got a new number. Emma says maybe it’s that, or maybe she forgot to pay the bill but either way, she wants to reach out to her but doesn’t know where she is.
Romero is at his office when Rebecca shows up under the guise of bank business, giving him new checks for his joint account. She also tells him she’s here to say goodbye as she’s going home to Indiana to be with her sick mother. He mentions that the DEA might need her, and she explains that she needs to leave for her mother’s sake and if they view that as suspicious, that’s not her problem. They hug goodbye, and of course they do it in front of a window with no shades, so good job being stealthy!
Norman is on a computer in Pineview when Edwards shows up and says they’re supposed to be having a session. Norman tells him he’s writing his letter to be discharged and he knows he needs Edwards’ approval. Edwards wants to discuss it, but Norman has no plans to change his mind, promising to continue his work with Edwards on an outpatient basis. Edwards said his goal is to get Norman home, but he’s not ready yet. Norman insists he’ll take the medication immediately and asks what will happen if Edwards doesn’t sign his release. Edwards answers that he’d have to file an affidavit saying he’s a danger to himself and others, but tells him to go ahead and finish his letter but their discussion is not finished.
Dylan comes home and Norma is already canning fruit even though she doesn’t have the trees yet. He heads upstairs and she’s sewing while … LISTENING TO MY FAVORITE SONG OF ALL TIME. No. Seriously. She is. (It’s Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea”.) Dylan asks about all the sudden home improvements and she tells him that Alex is helping her fix up the place. She also asks if he and Emma want to join her in picking out the Christmas tree since they’ll be leaving soon. He asks about Norman and Norma tells him that he wants to come home, but she won’t let him and Dylan insists that she doesn’t let him come home. He pulls the letter out of his pocket and asks if she knew that Norman had it, explaining that it’s from Emma’s mom. She pretends she doesn’t know that Audrey stayed at the motel, but Dylan calls her on it and she explains that Audrey tried to give her the letter and she was such a mess that Norma didn’t want to get involved and refused. Norma thinks maybe she tried the same with Norman, and him being so empathetic took it from her. Dylan says that Audrey never officially checked out and mentions Norman’s violent side and how he does things without knowing that he’s done them. She balks at his accusation and tells him to let it go, but Dylan refuses to because he cares about Emma. As he leaves, he insists once again that she not let Norman come home.
Norman is in the cafeteria fully envisioning Norma having sex with Romero when Julian interrupts his thoughts by asking if he’s started his meds yet. They talk about not sleeping, and Norman says he’ll sleep better at home so Julian just assumes he’s homesick. Norman refutes it, saying he’s really going home. Julian tells him Dr. Edwards will never sign the release and even if he does, he’ll boomerang right back here, because he’s not normal and that’s why he’s here in the first place. Norman agrees that he’s not normal, but he also says he’s not like Julian, because he’s smart and can get out of here by making the world think he’s normal. He tells Julian he can’t do that and that’s why he’ll never get out. (That’s just straight up cold, Norman.)
Norma is in Edwards’ office and both are in agreement that Norman isn’t ready to come home. Edwards explains that he can check himself out, but if Edwards says he’s dangerous, he would be forced to stay. Norma says he’s not violent and Edwards tells her that if she has her own concerns, she can petition the court for custody of him and make him an involuntary admit. Norma says she could never go behind his back and asks if it would help if she spoke to him. Edwards responds that he’d be grateful if she tried.
Dylan calls the apartments that Audrey lived at and finds out the landlady is looking for her too. She tells Dylan that she owes her four months of back rent and moving costs since she left everything she owns in her apartment.
Norman meets his mother in the front room and she immediately tells him how proud she is of the work he’s done so far, and as much as she wants him home, she thinks it would be worth it to stay here longer. When she finishes her speech, he asks if this is her idea or her husband’s. She plays dumb (as Norma often does) and he tells her not to embarrass herself by lying, shoving the newspaper article in her face. Norma tells him she only did it for the insurance, swearing that everything she has ever done was for him, and that the marriage just had to look real. Norman cries and begs her to let him come home, promising to work hard and take the medication and eventually she relents (as Norma often does).
Emma is reading the letter with Dylan by her side and Dylan tells her about the call to the landlady. She asks if he read the letter and he says it seems like she wants to get to know her. Emma says it says she wants to tell her why she left, but really she just wants to tell her horrible things about her dad. She goes on to say that she’s probably broke and just needed them to bail her out, because she did the same thing a few times when Emma was little up until Will told her to go to hell. Emma calls herself an idiot and that she shouldn’t need someone who doesn’t want her. Dylan holds her and tells her that he wants her and that he loves her.
Norman is working on his papier-mache Juno when Edwards comes in and says he owes him an apology. He knows Norman is smart, capable and can understand more than his other patients and maybe he pushed him too hard. He thought they were on the same page and wants to know what changed for Norman. Norman says nothing changed, he just thinks he’ll be better served at home. Edwards tells him that he becomes a different person and that should scare him and Norman admits that he is, but he’s glad he has the meds and glad he has Edwards, but that he’ll make even more progress if he’s near the person who makes him feel whole and safe. He explains that he wants to have the best of both, to be near Norma and to keep working with Edwards. Edwards finally gives in (because Norman is a master manipulator) and agrees to sign his release. When Edwards leaves, Norman wipes his tears away and looks way too satisfied.
Norma comes home to discover that Romero has bought a huge new TV, thinking she’d like to watch her old movies on it. She explains that she went to see Norman and told him he could come home. Romero is a little annoyed that she didn’t discuss it with him, and she tells him that she lied to Norman and told him they only married each other for the insurance because she was afraid the truth would undo his progress. She promises she’ll tell him soon, just not right away, and worries that she’s screwed everything up. He tells her she did the right thing and he’s going to help her through this, maybe be the father figure for Norman that he’s never had.
The next day at Pineview, Norman proudly smirks at himself in the mirror as he takes his meds and then brings his bags down to the entry where Edwards and Norma are waiting for him. He arrives home and Norma welcomes him home as he looks up at the house on the hill.
- Between the Jaws scene a couple of weeks ago and the usage of “Beyond the Sea” this week, I really appreciate the writers catering specifically to me. And the fact that Executive Producer Kerry Ehrin favorited this tweet just proves that this is all about me.
- Nestor Carbonell, Alex Romero himself, directed this week’s episode, which means he had to direct himself in not one, but TWO, sex scenes.
- In this week’s installment of “Poor Dylan,” he’s going to be so disappointed when he finds out Norma gave in to Norman. STOP DISAPPOINTING DYLAN, EVERYONE.
- Freddie Highmore and the show itself has always done a good job of not forcing him to do an Anthony Perkins imitation. That said, his costuming as he returned home at the end of the episode was the most Perkins-y he has ever looked and I loved the subtle nod to what lies ahead of him.
Photo Courtesy of A&E