In the latest Bates Motel recap, Norman comes home but finds that life with his mother is much different than the last time he left…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
One of the most brilliant aspects about Bates Motel has been the gradual ascension of Norman Bates going from sympathetic to psychopathic and that transformation is now nearly complete.
After spending weeks under the watchful eye of a psychiatrist, Norman finally returned home but no one truly believed he was all better. Norman is a master manipulator and he’s gotten so good that he was even able to convince his doctor that he would be best served by continuing his treatment outside the care facility.
What his doctor didn’t know was Norman was calm and cool on the outside but a simmering volcano inside after finding out that his mother got married to Sheriff Alex Romero while he was being treated.
Now Norman is home to make sure that he takes care of his mother and he’ll be damned if anybody is going to get between them — and anybody who dares will have a serious axe to grind with him.
With that said let’s recap the latest episode of Bates Motel titled ‘Unfaithful’….
It’s a strange feeling for Norma to have Norman back in the house after he’s been gone for so long seeking treatment. In many ways, Norma learned to move on with her life without Norman but he never let go of her.
So on his first night back with the heat in the house broken, Norman ends up crawling into bed with his mother. It’s an act they shared many times before, but Norma is no longer really comfortable snuggled up to her 18-year old son. Norman on the other hand knows this is the best way possible to keep an even closer eye on his mother than before.
The next morning, the two of them share a rather awkward breakfast while Norman pries for answers about his mother’s marriage that was supposedly to help pay for his treatment at the Pineview Institute. Of course, Norman already knows deep down that his mother’s relationship with Romero goes much deeper than insurance, but she’s continuing to paint this picture as a marriage of convenience.
That day, Norma goes off to buy space heaters for the house with the heat still broken and she runs into Dylan, who she convinces to come over for one last family activity before he leaves with Emma for Seattle. Dylan begrudgingly agrees but it’s clear he’s not sure what to expect from Norman — especially considering he now has suspicions that his own brother may have killed Emma’s mother when she checked into the Bates Motel but never checked out again.
Meanwhile, Norman decides to go see Romero at work where he lays down the law of the land. He instructs Romero to draw up the divorce papers because he intends to get insurance on his own to pay for treatment and this farce of a marriage can come to an end. Norman knows there’s more between Romero and Norma than just insurance, but he’s trying to convince himself that he can put a stop to this before it goes any further. Romero does his best to placate Norman, but it’s clear he’s perturbed by this visit.
When Norma swings by Romero’s place for an afternoon delight, he’s not in the mood for sex, but he’s definitely in the mood to tell his wife about her psychopathic son paying him a visit at work that day. Romero tells Norma that she needs to make a decision quickly whether she wants him in her life or not because the longer she waits to tell her son about them, the worse this situation is going to get.
On her way out of town to go visit her “sick mother”, Rebecca is stopped at the airport by DEA agents, who detain her and accuse the former bank manager of laundering funds for Bob Paris. Now that he’s disappeared, she’s suddenly cashing out of White Pine Bay, quit her job and leaving to go home to Indiana.
It all looks rather suspect.
The DEA agents lay it out on the line for Rebecca — she can go down for money laundering or she can help them get the real big fish they are going after in this corrupt town in Oregon. The person who keeps letting the bad guys get away with murder.
They want to take down Sheriff Alex Romero.
From an awkward breakfast to an awkward family reunion, Dylan and Emma arrive at the house to go hunting for a Christmas tree. Emma spends some time with Norman alone to ease him into the idea that she’s now dating his brother.
The relationship shared with Emma might be one of the most normal, functioning friendships Norman has ever established. She seems to have a really calming effect on him and the two end up sharing a few tears after such a long and tumultuous road to get here.
Once it’s time to go tree hunting, things take a turn for the worse because now it’s Norma’s turn to contort into a passive aggressive anger fest as she takes out her frustration about Norman visiting Romero on everybody else around her.
Emma and Dylan are spectators to this family fun night as Norman and Norma chirp at each other and eventually disappear into a forest full of trees where they continue to argue. Eventually, Norma snaps and finally admits that she’s not just with Romero as a marriage of convenience but in fact has fallen for him. There’s no coercion or suspect arrangements going on — Norma wants Romero and he wants her right back.
Norman ends the night with a vomit in the middle of the yard and nothing says Christmas like a mental patient doing the Technicolor yawn on all of the surrounding trees.
Norma suggests this horrific night come to an end and they all head home. Norman goes to bed while Dylan and Emma excuse themselves one last time before their trip to Seattle begins in the morning.
Back at Emma’s house, Dylan is saying goodnight before sleeping on the couch because that’s what makes her dad feel better about this entire living arrangement. But Emma doesn’t want him on the couch — she wants him in her bed. The two of them spend the night together for the first time since her surgery and these two might end up being the only happy ending this show can muster in the end.
Since the house still has no heat, Norma decides it’s best to move to the hotel for the night. Norman picks his own room — on the complete opposite end of the hotel away from his mother. Later that night, Norma hears a car pull up outside the hotel and when he peaks through the window, he sees Sheriff Romero has shown up for a visit with his mother.
After the sheriff goes inside, Norman sneaks out of his own room and back into the office, next to the room where his mother is staying. At first, Norman listens at the wall as his mother and Romero share a few words, but he wants to see more.
So Norman pulls a picture off the wall and proceeds to drill a hole through to the other side — the exact same one he eventually uses on the night when Marion Crane meets her demise — as he peeks at his mother and Romero removing clothes and eventually having sex right in front of him. This is an eerily familiar scene for anyone who has seen Psycho but instead of Norman pleasuring himself like he will years from now, a single tear rolls down his cheek as he realizes that he’s finally lost his mother and she may never come back to him.
An Axe To Grind
The next day, Norma tells Romero to come over to the house for dinner where they will sit down as a family and enjoy a meal together. Before Romero arrives, the repairman shows up to fix the furnace where he discovers that there’s a crack in the foundation — a fracture that could eventually lead to the entire house being flooded with deadly gas if it’s not fixed. A harbinger for the future perhaps?
That night, dinner goes from cordial to creepy in a hurry as Norman descends back into defense mode as he sees the sparks fly between his mother and her new husband. Finally, Norman snaps and informs Romero that no matter how close he gets to Norma, he’ll never come between the relationship he shares with his mother. Norman also lashes out as his mother when she tries to explain that loving Romero doesn’t make her love him any less.
Norman shouts at his mother that for his entire life she’s held him so close to her that he nearly suffocated and now it’s almost impossible for him to breathe on his own. She did that and he’s not exactly wrong.
Norman ends up storming out of the house and Romero takes it upon himself to pursue his stepson to talk things out with him.
When he gets outside, Norman is chopping wood with an axe and Romero goes from stern figure to fearful stepfather as he realizes that talking this kid down isn’t going to be possible. Norman even postures like he might stop swinging the axe at the wood and instead take a swipe at Romero.
Ultimately, Norman takes a few chops at the basement door while screaming how much he hates Romero. He finally drops the axe and disappears back into the house. Romero gives chase and when he finds Norma waiting inside he informs her that he’s staying there for the night and won’t be leaving her alone with Norman again.
What Romero doesn’t realize is he’s not protecting Norma — he’s just locking himself inside where Norman Bates is roaming the halls at night. And that means no one in that house will be safe again.
Only two episodes of Bates Motel remain this season so don’t miss the new episode next Monday night at 9p ET on A&E.