This season of Bates Motel continues to move along at full speed, showing us exactly how Norman sees his relationship with Norma, and what he will do to protect it. The episode title “Unfaithful” pretty much says it all, so let’s dive right in.
Norma wakes up in the middle of the night with the house freezing and goes to check on Norman who complains about the cold. They go downstairs and she checks the heater to see if it’s working. Norman makes some pointed remarks about the gigantic new TV and the spaghetti Western movies that have suddenly shown up in their house. Norma declares the heater broken and say she’ll have to call someone to fix it in the morning. Norman suggests they’ll be warmer sleeping in the same bed, and though she hesitates, she allows it. As they lie side by side, Norman asks what’s going on and Norma tells him it’s just that they got used to being apart so being together feels different. He asks if she’s happy that he’s back and she assures him that she is as they both awkwardly stare at the ceiling.
The next morning, Norma is getting ready in the bathroom when Romero calls. He asks how Norman is, and she says he’s happy to be home but things are awkward because so much has changed and he feels it. He asks when Norma is going to tell him about their relationship, and she promises it won’t take forever and that she’ll do it when it makes sense.
At the breakfast table, Norman brings up the new curtains and comments that Norma made his room into a sewing room. She assures him it’s still his room and says she will move her sewing stuff into Dylan’s room. Norman comments about Dylan moving and how so much has changed while he was gone. He thanks her for everything she did to get him help and asks if Romero actually had to live here. She admits that he was, and tells Norman that they became good friends and since he did all of this to help Norman, he should thank him. Norman says he will and that he’s very appreciative. She gives him a pillbox and he takes his meds, sarcastically saying it’s all fixed now and making her laugh.
Norman goes to Romero’s office and says he’s there to say thank you for everything he’s done for him and Norma. He says that he knows it was difficult and it meant a great deal that Norma was able to have a friend. More importantly, he wants Romero to know he can be done now, that Norman is going to get another job besides the motel and get his own insurance. He flat-out tells Romero that in a few weeks, they’ll be able to get a divorce. Romero is taken aback and tells Norman to be careful about how far he wants to push this.
Norma is loading new space heaters into her car when Dylan happens to show up. She tells him that Dylan got home last night and he immediately makes a face. She tells him she just couldn’t say no and that he’ll be going to therapy and taking meds. Dylan is clearly not happy, but tells her she has to do what she has to do. He asks if Romero is still there, and Norma says he moved out for now, but she will eventually tell Norman. She asks when they’re leaving for Seattle and he answers the day after tomorrow, so she invites him to come over tonight to see Norman and maybe pick out the Christmas tree.
Rebecca is at the airport and when the woman at the counter checks her idea, she tells her she’ll be right back as two DEA agents come up behind Rebecca and ask her to follow them. They take her to a meeting room and tell her they have reason to believe she’s been abetting Bob Paris and laundering money. They mention how convenient it is that she just quit her job and is leaving for Indiana, but Rebecca swears it’s only because her mother is sick and White Pine Bay hasn’t been a good place for her. The female agent says it’s not a good place for a reason, someone in charge there has been looking the other way on too many things. She hints that Rebecca should rat out Romero, because it would be a shame for her to go to jail while he’s still free.
Norma goes to Romero’s house and they kiss, but he stops her to tell her about Norman’s visit. He explains that Norman thinks Romero manipulated Norma and Norma is surprised that Norman has probably figured out they’ve been sleeping together. He tells her that waiting to tell him the truth will only make it worse, but Norma doesn’t want to be pushed into making a decision by either of them. Before he leaves, she tells him she’s not giving him up and Romero counters that means she has to tell Norman.
Dylan and Emma arrive at the Bates house, and Emma is the fifteenth person this week to note how much has changed. She’s nervous to see Norman and hopes things aren’t weird, and Dylan jokes that it’s his family, how could it be weird. He gives her a few minutes to go say hello to Norman alone and she heads up to his room, where they immediately hug. He asks how she’s feeling, and she says she’s better every day, but also that she’s really proud of him and how far he’s come too. He tells her he’s really happy for her, and that her and Dylan seem so perfect that he’s not sure why it didn’t happen sooner. Norman also tells her that he will always be grateful for her friendship and he counts her as the first real friend he ever had. Dylan joins them and Norman hugs him, pleased that they’re all together and Dylan jokes that it’s a Christmas miracle. Norma calls up to them from downstairs and as Norman and Emma head out, Dylan hangs back for a moment staring at the spot in Norman’s nightstand where he found Audrey’s letter.
The Bates family and Emma are in the car on the way to the tree lot. Norman asks his mother if something is wrong and when they arrive at the tree lot, he calls her moody and says he forgot how she can be sometimes. He hands Dylan and Emma some hot chocolate and Emma remarks that she can smell the trees for the first time. Norman goes to find Norma and she says people don’t tell her things, referring to Norman’s visit with Romero. He’s surprised Romero told her, and Norma says it’s because he respects her and Norman replies with a literal “Pfft” noise. She tells him she was going to talk to him at the house, but Dylan and Emma were there and she just wants him to stop provoking her.
Emma and Dylan are being cute and she states that she can’t believe they’re moving so soon and will be buying a tree for their house in Seattle. He tells her it feels different being with his family now than it used to, like he’s outside looking in. He also says they’re so messed up and never going to change and he’s tired of living like that. Emma hugs him and says she understands (which, she thinks she does but nope).
Norman runs after Norma and tells her she’s ruining everything and that he knows she’s sleeping with Romero. He accuses her of having sex with him for the insurance and that she shouldn’t have to live like that. Norma tells him that’s not what happened and that he’s a good man; that she really likes him. Norman laughs and then throws up, so Norma says its time to go home.
Dylan brings the tree into the house, and then tells Norma they have to go help Will with the packing. Emma asks if they should go say goodbye to Norman, but Norma says he’s still upset and asks Dylan to stop by before he leaves. Norma heads upstairs and tells him it’s too cold to sleep in the house, so they should go down to the hotel. They head to the office and Norman takes the key for the room farthest from Norma’s. She asks if he wants to talk and he only tells her good night before walking out.
Dylan goes to Emma’s room, and she comments that he’s been so nice because he’s been sleeping on the couch every night. He says he didn’t want to freak Will out too quickly and that he wanted to wait until she was healed. Emma kisses him and promises they can be careful as she pulls Dylan down to the bed with her.
Norman is in his room at the motel when he hears a car pull up so he goes to look out the window and its Romero’s car. In Norma’s room, she says she told Norman the truth and starts crying. Romero wipes her tears and Norma tells him he makes her feel calm and she doesn’t know how he does it, so he jokes that he’s a magical unicorn which makes her laugh. Norman goes to the office and listens in through the wall while Norma thanks Romero. Norman finds a hole in the drywall and pokes a letter opener through it until he can see in to the room, watching and crying as Norma and Romero get intimate.
The following day, Norman lurks on the basement stairs as Norma talks to the guy repairing their heater. She tells him she just got married, so she’s going to get rid of the junk down there soon and Norman comes in, trying to act like the man of the house and dismissing the repairman. He mentions how Norma and her husband are going to clean up his basement, and she says he could have a functioning workshop, but Norman isn’t interested. Norma rightly tells him he’s just finding any excuse to be mad at her, and that he needs to open himself up to change because things can be good. She tells him she invited Romero for dinner, and pleads with him to make an effort.
That night, Romero shows up for dinner and of course things are super awkward, including Norman referring to him as “Sheriff”, to which he responds to call him Alex. (I still call you Romero, I can’t help myself.) Romero tries to make conversation by asking Norman how the hotel runs, and Norman gives him a curt reply, then gets into the conversation about getting his own insurance since he doesn’t want to be on his stepdaddy’s insurance. Romero tries to smooth it over by saying that it shows character that Norman wants to be independent. Norma tells Norman not to be rude as this isn’t easy for any of them. She uses “we” and that upsets Norman further, telling Romero that he’s never going to get in between him and his mother. Norma assures him that there is room in the human heart for more than one person. Norman asks if her they were on a sinking ship with only room for two on the lifeboat, who does she save while Romero jokes that maybe they’d just leave Norma on the boat. (Oh, Alex, you’re really trying so hard and it’s sweet.) Norman calls her a hypocrite, because his whole life she kept him so close to her that he couldn’t breathe without her and kept him from every having a girlfriend or a good time. He says he was glad to do it, because he understands their bond is sacred and unique, but now all of a sudden there’s room for someone else. He says what they have is real love, even though Romero is making her believe otherwise. Norma yells at him that no one is making her do anything, that she’s a grown woman who loves Romero and he loves her, and Norman just needs to deal with it, which causes him to angrily storm out of the house.
Romero tells Norma that he’ll go talk to him (horrible idea, but okay) and heads outside where Norman is chopping wood angrily. Norman has an axe, everyone. Red alert! Romero asks him to put the axe down (that’s smart), but he doesn’t and Romero tells him to grow up and think of his mother. Norman responds that he’s spent every day of his life thinking of her and Romero promises that Norma will always be her mother, but she wants to share her life with someone and that she deserves to have a man in her life. Norman holds the axe up like he’s about to strike at Romero, but eventually takes it out on the woodshed, screaming that he hates Romero before running back in the house and upstairs. Romero comes back in and tells Norma he’s moving back in and he’s not leaving this house tonight.
- This week’s episode was written by Freddie Highmore, and kudos to him for some really great and insightful work. He’s already a great actor, and if this is an indication of his writing talent, then I look forward to seeing what else he’s going to do once the show is over.
- The scene between Norman and Emma was so lovely, until you remember that we know Norman killed her mother and Emma doesn’t.
- This week’s episode of “Poor Dylan” — oh wait, things are pretty good for Dylan this week which means things will probably be extra terrible for him very soon. Poor Dylan.
- That scene at dinner with Norma and Norman really laid bare the co-dependent nature of their relationship that we’ve all seen for years, but they’ve barely acknowledged out loud. And both Freddie and Vera were brilliant in it.
Photo Courtesy of A&E