Bates Motel Season 1 Episode 6 Review: The Truth

There is something very strange happening here...

Bates Motel Season 1 Episode 6

The truth can be a bitch, but whether it helps solve the identity crisis that is Bates Motel’s inaugural season is another story. 

After getting over the shock that the man she’s dating, Deputy Shelby, is a sex slave fiend, Norma doesn’t take it well. She sits, semi-comatose on the porch while Norman and Emma discuss a solution. Emma thinks she needs water. Norman doesn’t know what to do, other than giving her water won’t help. Way to be useful, Norman. Norma runs away, grabs the car keys and drives off to confront Shelby. Well, she tries. Norman jumps in and tries to grab the wheel from her. Literally. He jumps in through the car window. Good thing you’re skinny as a rail, Freddie Highmore, or that could’ve been bad. They drive in circles around the motel parking lot for a bit while Emma watches on, probably doubting whether or not she wants to be involved with a boy in a family this crazy.

Meanwhile, Dylan goes to her drug lord boss guy and reports on the shooting and death of his former partner, Ethan. Drug lord guy looks thoughtful and then when Dylan confesses he ran over the shooter, drug lord guy looks even more thoughtful.  Drug lord boss praises Dylan, then tells him how to dump the truck with all the guts and blood evidence and how to explode it. Dylan follows instructions and the truck goes ka-boom in a very satisfactory manner. Welcome to a life of crime, Dylan. Way to go, doing it in the fracked up town you and the rest of the Bates family have settled. 

As Dylan gazes into the flames, a dude named Remo comes out of the woods and tells him Gil (drug lord boss) sent him to check on him and “work for him”. Uh, what? I guess running over a guy with a truck gets you instant promotion.

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Back at the motel, Norma tucks the former sex slave in and stares some more at her in a creepy manner. When she returns to the house, Emma is all gung-ho about dragging the girl to the police to prove the Asian sex-slave ring. She literally says Asian sex-slave ring.

Norma then (with Norman’s backing) convinces Emma to let the girl “sleep” and “recover” and delay their first contact with the police. Umm…does anyone smell an ulterior motive?

Walking Emma back to her car, it’s revealed that Emma’s mother has been MIA for a number of years, cuz looking after kids with terminal diseases is hard for grown-ups. Aw, it’s sad, and who will Emma look to for a mother figure now? By her hug goodbye, I’m guessing Norma. Norma looks touched, discomforted, and also clearly calculates how to use it to her advantage. Damn, Vera Farmiga, I don’t know how you got all that into one reaction shot, but I give you mad actress props.

Norma clutches her son’s arms as Emma drives away in her clunky orange Beetle. Norma tells her son, as soon as Emma’s gone, that there’s “no way in hell they’re going to the police…until they get that belt”.

Cue the seduction phase, with Norma putting on her battle gear (well, makeup) and Norman upset his mother is gonna have sex. Norma then apologizes for not believing her son, and then Norman asks her if it’s true that he sees things that aren’t there. Norma, clearly lying through her teeth, says no, of course not honey.

Dylan then comes in, sizes up the situation and (still feeling ballsy because of his recent murder, his drug lord boss praising him and having an underling) he takes control of everything. He and Norman go off to look for the belt, and then they swagger out, with Dylan telling his mother to “wipe that lipstick off” (subtext: you don’t gotta whore yourself out, Ma. We’ll take care of it).

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Once at the boat, they climb aboard and start searching for the belt in a very noisy, conspicuous manner. Norman even has an LED flashlight. Seriously, Norman? Those suckers are brightDylan, show him how to perform a stealthy search… oh, no never mind. You have an LED flashlight, too. Way to go.

They find a secret ceiling hatch. As he’s breaking into the hatch, Dylan flat out tells Norman he thinks Norma killed her husband. Norman freaks out. Dylan tells him, “he was a bastard, but she’s insane. Dangerous even.” Yeah, and you, criminal mastermind, are clearly a role model…and then the toolbelt drops out of the hatch to his feet.

Okay, show. Way to not back me up in my point Dylan is not someone to emulate.

Waiting for the boys back at the house, Norma is surprised by Shelby who unexpectedly drops by for a hot lovin’ session.  He makes out with her neck and steers towards the motel so they can do it there. The Motel. Where the Asian sex slave is currently sleeping. Why? Does Shelby know? Does he suspect something? Or does he get strangely aroused by doing it in a two and a half star motel?

It’s not a harsh rating, people, just truth. I mean, just look at the way it’s decorated. Anthony Melchiorri would have a field day.

Back at the boat, Dylan throws the toolbelt into the harbor, because there it won’t be found, which I know because he tells Norman, “I promise it won’t be found.” Lame. He then tells Norman they’re going home so he can pack his stuff and move out.

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We jump back to Norma being decidedly unenthusiastic in bed with Shelby. Just as Norma pulls it together and tries to get into the mood, Shelby hears water running through the plumbing. He walks outside, gun in hand, to track down this nefarious bathroom user. 

Asian girl is taking a shower. The shot of her under the showerhead is a direct replication of one of the shots Hitchcock used in Psycho. Awesome Points for show, uh-oh for Asian girl.

Shelby knocks on the door. Asian girl opens the door, screams, runs out, and Shelby chases her (after calling Norma a bitch).

Of course right then Dylan and Norman pull up into another problem. Dylan drops the bombshell that Norman is leaving to live with him. Too shocked to process much, Norma tells about Shelby chasing the Asian girl into the woods, and follows it by interrogating Norman on why he’s leaving her.

“Please mother,” says Norman. Ah, echoes of Hitchcock. Then, Norman comes straight out and asks Norma if she killed his father. No, she says, she didn’t.

Shelby returns into this little family drama and points his gun at everyone. He lines them all up in a row, and then HE SHOOTS THEM ALL!

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Nah, he doesn’t, just playin’ with ya.

Instead, he disarms Dylan (who has still been carrying around a gun stuffed down the waistband of his paints—seriously, why do TV people do that? It seems dangerous to have a fully loaded weapon pointing at your junk all the time).  After that, he talks about how they all have to go up into the house and have a little chat. Oh, little chats. Universal bad guy speak for I’m going to beat the crap out of you and then probably kill you all. Painfully.

In the kitchen, the three Bates sit the kitchen table while Shelby paces and fumes. Shelby decides Norman is all to blame and points the gun at him. Norma tries to pull them out of the situation, by saying they won’t tell anyone, Dylan agrees, then Shelby hits Norma.

Norman then clearly has a psychotic break triggered his mother being hit (made perfectly clear by the soft focus) and tackles Shelby. Dylan recovers a gun in the chaos and has a gunfight with the deputy.

Norman passes out due to the head injury incurred during his tackle. Norma tries to wake him. Dylan shoots Shelby’s leg, corners him, points the gun for the kill shot, and then…click… runs out of ammo.

Dylan runs away. He hides in a bedroom. Shelby races after him and searches the rooms upstairs one…by one…by one.

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Norma drags an unconscious Norman out, calls 911, wakes Norman up and leads him to the car. Dylan reloads and waits for Shelby in the bedroom. There’s gonna be a showdown at the OK Corral! Norma tries to find the car keys, and then realizes that a) she doesn’t have them and b) they’re in the house. 


Norman and Norma freeze. Well, Norma freezes, Norman just remains creepily out of it, blood dripping from his forehead. Silence, then out of the shadows, down from the house walks Shelby, shot a bunch of times in the torso and also in the eye. He points the gun at Norma and then falls down. Dead.

Okay, I’m gonna argue that when you’re shot three times in the chest and once in the head, there’s no way you’re walking out of the house to point your gun dramatically. There’s only so much I’m willing to tolerate in this show’s weirdness, and biological impossibilities just ain’t one of them.

Norma rushes out and hugs Dylan. Clearly, their relationship is better. Well, when you kill an Asian sex slave ringleader to protect your mom and little brother, your family standing tends to improve.

After taking Shelby’s pulse to make sure he’s dead (because you gotta make sure, after the four gun shots. They’ve seen horror movies), Norma says she called the cops and is all like, what are we gonna tell them? Dylan says, uh, the truth? Norma tells him he doesn’t know the whole truth. Norman continues to sit in the car, being creepy. Norma tells Dylan what really happened the night Sam died, which is that Norman killed his father by whacking him on the head with a blender to protect Norma. She made it look like an accident. (Ok, it’s a terrible accident set up, but hey, this is the show that has a guy shot four times, walk down the stairs and out of the house).

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Cue a flashback to the opening of the pilot, where Norman finds his father’s body in the garage. Clearly, he doesn’t remember killing his father at all.

Ahhhhhh. So there we go with all the blackouts. Ok, not so much Ahhhh as Duuuhhh

We jump back to Norma and Dylan sitting on the stairs that lead from the motel to the house, all cosy in their staring at messed up Norman. Who’s still in the car. Just sitting there. 


Yep. There’s definitely something wrong with Norman.

Norma tells Dylan Norman needs to be protected, so either “get out my way or help me,” Dylan holds his mother’s gaze. The Sheriff’s car drives up, lights flashing, siren going.

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End. Of. Episode. BAM!