Bates Motel Recap ‘Norma Louise’: A Day in the Life

In the latest Bates Motel recap, Norma escapes her life for a night and Dylan gets a peak into Norman’s fractured psyche…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

Anyone who isn’t watching ‘Bates Motel’ right now is really missing out on some of the best acting and story telling on TV and the latest episode titled ‘Norma Louise’ was just another example. From Vera Farmiga just stealing scene after scene to Freddie Highmore slipping from scary to sad in a matter of seconds, ‘Bates Motel’ should be on your watch list every Monday night because from season 2 into season 3, this has quickly become one of the top shows to catch every week.

The latest episode picks up just seconds after last week ended when Dylan and Norman teamed up to tell Norma that her brother Caleb was in town and wanted to meet with her so he could apologize. Norma’s feelings on Caleb have been well known since he first arrived into town last season and she explained to her children that he raped her when they were teenagers. What complicated things was the fact that Caleb was actually Dylan’s biological father so he was trapped in a situation where he either ignored getting to know his parent for the first time or just abiding by his mother’s wishes.

Dylan obviously chose the former, but his revelation sent Norma into a panic as she grabbed her clothes, tore down the stairs and jumped into her car bound for parts unknown. Norman freaked and he was left with Dylan while feeling the immediate loss of not having his mother around.

The next few hours focused on Norma’s getaway and Dylan finding out what it’s like to take care of his little brother not to mention a cop shooting and more.

With that, let’s recap ‘Bates Motel’ for this week’s episode ‘Norma Louise’:

A Place to Call My Own.

Norma heads out on the road bound for nowhere but first she has to toss her phone out before shooting it with the gun she also packed. When she finally stops driving, Norma has arrived in Portland, Oregon but one look in the mirror tells her exactly what she doesn’t want to see — Norma Bates staring back at her. So she goes into a store and buys an entirely new outfit, but the makeover isn’t done just yet.

She drives to a car dealership and insists that she needs to trade in her tired old Mercedes for something new. Moments later she tears out of there in a new Mustang before holding up at a local motel. The scenes — especially the one at the dealership — were almost spot on replicas of the original ‘Psycho’ film when a girl steals a large sum of money from her boss and goes on the run, trades in her car before making the unfortunate mistake of staying at the Bates Motel one rainy night.

Norma’s travels don’t end with her in a shower, but actually back at a bar where she slow dances with a patron before revealing to him that her name was Normal Louise Calhoun and she just ran out on her wedding day. When the man asks if she’s ever been married, she replies that she was once but it didn’t work out so she killed her husband. All this crazy talk doesn’t get the guy to walk away. Instead it clearly turns him on because a few moments later they are in his truck making out and it seems like they are going to leave any second for the nearest bed.

Instead, the guy unzips his pants and decides road head is a much better option! Norma (thankfully) spits in the guys face and gets out of the truck and back to her car. Finally, Norma decides her best plan of action is to call somebody she can actually count on in a moment of need so she rings Professor Finnegan and goes over to his place, half sauced and full of confession. She tells Finnegan about everything she’s been dealing with before actually revealing the truth about the death of her husband and Norman’s role in the murder.

She’s been living with this secret for far too long and to make things even harder, Norman is just getting worse it seems everyday. Finnegan calms her down and refuses to allow her to leave when she tries because clearly she’s had one too many.

Eventually, they get caught up in bed and to Finnegan’s credit, he tries to put a stop to it because Norman needs him more as a therapist right now than a lover, but she’s not taking no for an answer. The next morning, Norma Louise wakes up in the light of a new day and realizes the last few hours have been nothing more than a fantasy and Norma Bates needs to get home.

You see Norma is a mother and her children need her just like they always have and always will.

“You ever read the book ‘The Giving Tree’? It’s about this tree and this kid keeps coming and taking stuff from it his whole life until there’s nothing left but a stump. And then the kid sits on the stump. That’s being a parent”

~ Norma Bates

Driving By

Sheriff Romero is out shopping for the bachelor staples of the world i.e. frozen dinners, when he walks out to his truck and doesn’t notice a car trailing close behind him. A moment later shots ring out and Romero gets tagged in the shoulder.

Romero wakes up in a hospital bed and after demanding to have his phone he immediately calls Norma to tell her she’s in danger. The entire time she was traipsing around Portland she never noticed a man following her every move although he never actually engaged her. Not long after his call fails, Romero gets a visit from Marcus Young, the ambitious young cop who plans to take his job during the next election cycle.

Marcus also comes with a very forceful warning — give up now while you still can or the next bullet won’t miss. Marcus tells Romero he’s not going to be sheriff anymore, that’s already been decided, but if he plays ball and helps the new cop in town adjust to the ins and outs of White Pine Bay, he might just stay alive.

Marcus leaves but doesn’t notice Romero is right behind him. The sheriff blasts through his car window with an IV stand (so awesome) and then grabs his gun and shoots him dead on the spot. Romero ain’t playing! He wipes Marcus’ blood from the windshield, starts the car and heads for where we can only assume is the Arcanum Club to leave the dead dog on the front doorstep of his boss, Bob Paris with a note attached to his leash that says ‘not today’.

A Break from Reality


Back at Casa de Bates, Norman is officially wigging out. Norman is convinced that his mother is never coming back because leaving is what she does best. Just like Arizona and just like his brother Dylan.

When the going gets tough, Norma gets going.

After breaking every plate in the kitchen, Norman goes almost catatonic in a dream state that ends with him standing in his mother’s bedroom as the house shatters apart like an earthquake just happened as thousands of moths descend upon him. He then decides to work on some of his taxidermy because that’s always relaxing. When he starts having visions of the dead animals coming back to life and his long since run over dog barking to him like he’s been there as a pet for years only pushes Norman further past the breaking point of normal and bat shit crazy.

Emma volunteers to stay because she believes the Bates family is her family as well or at least she wants them to be (why?!?). Her sleepover results in getting even closer to Dylan and once again just pushes the agenda that these two are going to end up together. Maybe that’s another moment that pushes Norman even further over the edge?

Well, Norman does a pretty good job of that later in the episode when Dylan finds him in the kitchen with a bathrobe on cooking French toast. Norman seems as clear as day until Dylan addresses him and he realizes the person standing there cooking breakfast at 2:00am is somebody he knows but it’s not his brother.

Norman has finally adopted his mother’s personality and he speaks to Dylan just like mother would. Dylan plays along but he knows that something is seriously wrong with his brother. Whatever it is Norma has been hiding from him to try and keep Norman’s condition a secret is starting to seep out and Dylan is absolutely frightened by what he’s witnessing as his brother slips into full blown madness.

I’m Sorry, So Sorry

Dylan has already told his father/uncle that he has to go because Norma doesn’t want to see him so before he leaves he manages to land the driving job with his new pal Chick, who is still looming ever present in the shadows. Caleb isn’t sure what he’s driving or delivering, but it will take him out of White Pine Bay and that’s all he wants right now.

The next morning, Norma arrives at home much to Norman’s elation but there’s no long reunion because she’s on a mission to see Caleb and put this entire family drama to rest once and for all. They all pile into her Mustang while Dylan and Norman both wonder where the fuck she got a Mustang?

When they arrive at the van down by the pot fields, Caleb emerges and locks eyes with Norma. His are filled with regret. She’s got nothing but rage. But just as she turns to walk away, Caleb grabs her and falls down on his knees apologizing over and over and over again. Finally, Norma embraces her brother as they both share a moment together as the past slips away.

At least for today.

And in the distance stands Norman leering at his mother as she has found yet another person to turn to in a moment of crisis. Dylan was bad enough but now she’s hugging the man who tormented and raped her as a teenager. Norman is teetering on a fine line and there’s no telling what might push him off the ledge. As it stands, he’s already hopping on a rocky cliff just one bad step from going over.

Make sure to tune into next week’s episode of ‘Bates Motel’ airing on Monday night at 9pm ET on A&E

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