Bates Motel: “What’s Wrong With Norman?”, Review

I know it seems like the obvious question but... Did they really need to ask?

The creep factor just keeps amping up in Bates Motel. In this latest episode, it seems the town is a center for drug running and sex slavery, Norman may or may not have a schizoid personality, and I now have a running bet with my husband about which of Norman’s love interests will be offed first. I put my money on CF girl. He thinks its blondie. Only time will tell.Maybe Norman’s not the only one who’s certifiable…Anyways, besides making poor taste bets about television characters, this week on Bates Motel, it’s clear that a day can start out with you waiting for a carpet delivery, but end up with you discovering a sex slave in a deputy’s basement. As Dylan says to Norman at one point, “our family is crazy.” True dat, son.Dylan, who’s model worthy eyelashes give Guyliner a run for his money (seriously, did the casting people on this series have a fetish for actors with weird eyefringes) starts out his new job guarding the pot field that Norman and CF girl stumbled upon last episode. Apparently, that kind of gig pays $300 an hour, you get to drink beer on the job, and you also have a lot of access to shotguns with which you can kill and roast pheasants over a campfire. Then, you bond with your fellow guard (who got you the job) over how you’re not close to your family.Man. Where’s that job posting on craigslist?Nonetheless, the end result is Dylan ends up feeling guilty about not being closer to Norman. He comes home to Norman watching an old movie, and fretting about Norma, who isn’t answering her phone because she’s well, on a date. It’s a date with an implied threat underneath it…I’m getting ahead of myself. Suffice to say, Dylan explains to Norman that the relationship the latter has with his mother is both weird and “smothering.”No shit Sherlock.Still, this endears them to each other to the point that Dylan forgives Norman for trying to kill him with a meat tenderizer last week. Norman doesn’t remember this, but apologizes anyways. We find this lapse in his memory disturbing, because earlier in the day, Norman had blacked out in school after a) an argument with CF girl about the sex slave diary he found b) he was having weird S&M flashes about his teacher before he passed out and c) when the doctor asks Norma if Norman has a history of blackouts, it’s clear she’s lying when she says, “no.”Oh Norma. After three episodes, we already know you’re tells. I’m not sure whether this is a good thing, acting and/or writing wise, or a bad one.Right, so the whole fainting thing also gives Norman the opportunity for some hospital time in which he gets to bond with his other love interest (blond girl) about how is sucks having dead/almost dead ‘cuz he’s in a coma fathers. She brings him a plant. They snuggle in Norman’s hospital bed and watch an old movie.Awwww. It’s like the best/worst date in the history of teenage love.Meanwhile, CF girl, looking much paler than last week (more people than I must have thought she looked awfully robust for a terminally ill adolescent in the previous episodes) pressures Norman into investigating about the girl in the diary. She confesses she’s feeling guilty, because she only wanted to initially look into it because she wanted to hang with Norman.Ok ladies. Freddie Highmore is adorable, but he ain’t no Josh Hutcherson. Just sayin’.Raging hormones aside, Emma now feels guilty because due to the shed, she now thinks the story is true. She and Norman investigate a little more, and find underneath the sink, a word written by the sex slave girl. Proof that she really exists! Also the word is “beautiful.” Um….why?Still, all this talk of sex slavery and bondage imagery send Norman on a weird trip. Plus, his mother has to deal with the police getting a warrant and searching the house. She thinks they won’t find anything. We and Norman know better, because he’s been hiding the toolbelt of the dead man under his bed (Norman, really? Be a better murder accomplice!). When she tells him about the search (after discharging him from the hospital against the doctor’s advice—still don’t know why, but I assume we’ll find out later), he panics and goes to look for the belt. Naturally, it’s gone.Naturally, this is also bad news. Norman tells his mother, who goes into spin control with the Deputy. They have dinner, he tells her he has the belt, didn’t tell his boss, and that he wants to protect Norma. They make out and, since we’re all adults, and we know what adults do, I presume they have sex.Norma returns home and tells Norman what happened (minus her making out and having sex). Norman is worried the deputy having the belt will make his mother “do things” she wouldn’t want to (like sex?), like his father used to make him and Norma do.What? Yet another hint Norman’s father was not the innocent victim we assume him to be in the pilot.Anyways, Norman then goes on a psychotic break where a delusion of his mother tells him to get the toolbelt back. Why did he keep it? Because there’s something wrong with him.Trance-state Norman goes to the deputy’s house, breaks in far too easily, and wanders around trying to find the belt. He doesn’t find it. He does, however, find an illegal porn den and a sex slave in the deputy’s basement.Dots connecting…Or are they?There are so many ways this storyline can go, and if it resolves itself well, I may have to take back everything I said about the show struggling to find its own identity between what it owes Hitchcock and what it wants to be. Maybe…and here’s a thought…if it’s a re-imagining, this Norman will not end up a psycho killer?Maybe?Hey. Sometimes, when you least expect it, I can be an optimist. Granted, it’s usually about people not turning into insane serial killers, and not about how plot and character arc may turn out in a television series.Hmmm…what does that say about me?This has been far too much soul searching for one review. Bernier OUT! [ insert mic drop here. Though you should never drop a mic. Do you know how much those things cost?!  ]