Although titled, “A Boy and His Dog”, it is Norman’s mother who goes through the ringer in this week’s episode of Bates Motel. After beginning with a nice bit of foreshadowing following the tragic events at the end of the last episode, it’s all about Norma, and she’s nearly pushed to a breaking point. Well, it’s not like she hasn’t been there before…
First, she has a creepy encounter with the mysterious man in Room 9 while she’s trying to clean it for him. When someone disturbs Norma, you know there must be something wrong with him; don’t let his soft spoken demeanor fool you. He believes that she has something he wants, but we are not yet privy to what that might be.
Next, her plea to Sheriff Romero to help her run for city office (so she can derail plans to move the highway) is met not only with deaf ears, but a stern scolding. Regardless of how he saved the Bates family last week by altering facts about the murders of Keith Summers and Deputy Shelby, he has no intention of developing a friendly relationship with Norma.
Next, she is called to the principal’s office because of Norman’s near-violent behavior at school. During their discussion, it’s suggested that Norman find an interest that’s “healthier” than taxidermy. This results in the best line of the episode when Norma responds, “What’s wrong with letting a young boy follow his passion? What could go wrong with that?”
Next, she is ambushed by the doctor when she takes Norman to see a psychiatrist. After answering most of the questions for Norman herself, the doctor asks her if she has ever thought about seeing a psychiatrist. He tells her that she obviously has a strong influence on her son, as if she needs to control him. And that could mean that she’s out of control on the inside.
As you can imagine, Norma is a little offended by the notion, emotionally responding, “I do not feel powerless. Ever!” Really? I wonder how she feels after the surprise waiting in her bed at the end of the episode? I’ve revealed more than usual about the episode this week, so I’ll leave that little treat for you.
After last week’s less than stellar episode, Bates Motel is back with one of its best. I count it as one of the top three of the season. There are only two episodes left. It’s unclear to me what exactly may be building for the finale, but that’s fitting for a series that has provided only a couple of peaks and valleys, but plenty of consistent thrills.