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Spoilers below for tonight’s Season 3 premiere of Bates Motel.
Now heading into its predictably over-the-top Season 3, Bates Motel is giving fans what we’ve all been waiting for: a Norman Bates that is clearly headed to full-on Psycho territory. Sure, watching Dylan’s father return in an attempt to build a relationship with his son was interesting, but sorely lacked abnormal Norman’s input. So you won’t find it in this list of the 5 most psycho-riffic moments from “A Death in the Family,” but you will find some other incredibly uncomfortable moments between a parent and child. Speaking of…
Norma and Norman’s SpooningWhat’s the best way to showcase Norman’s growing fascination with his mother? Kick off Season 3 with the two of them spooning in bed, and then have it be the topic of Dylan and Norma’s first conversation. Norma temporarily puts her foot down in making Norman sleep in his own bed – a declaration made while they were both lying in bed together – and then she lifts the rules once her mixed-up feelings about her own mother’s death get in the way. While Norman “I’ll be your motel manager” Bates is always in the spotlight for his creepo-sexual acts, Norma’s relaxed attitude to parental boundaries is just as interesting to me, as she’s just as unable to let go as Norman, but presumably without as much psychotic rage behind it all. Get a smaller bed, Norma.
The Miss Watson HallucinationNorman is not a boy meant to enter public places very often, and his high school years were as damaging as those of any TV character. After getting yanked out of his car by Norma in front of a bunch of people, Norman then spends a friend-free lunch period hallucinating Miss Watson, who goes from being a polite haunt to one who starts bleeding everywhere. Norman is visibly shaken and runs home to the safety of the motel, where Norma brings up the idea of homeschooling. (No more apples for teacher.) So now we’ll have the introverted motel manager truly becoming one with his workplace, and it looks like his past sins will regularly be coming back to mentally plague him. As the bodies begin to pile up, we can assume that his violent visions will also multiply.
Peeping NormanOne of Norman Bates’ most iconic forms of creepery is peeping in on the Bates Motel guests when they’re in their most private moments. As soon as the cleavage-friendly Annika (Tracy Spiridakos) arrived, stealing every one of Norman’s leery glances, she seemed destined for sexual depravity. (And considering she “entertained” wealthy men for “parties,” that’s saying something.) Things reached an uncomfortable apex when Norma catches Norman looking through Annika’s window and watching her take a shower, which was another good Psycho nod. It doesn’t bode well for Norman that his attention span was so hooked that he didn’t hear his mother loudly hauling trashbags nearby, but it bodes even worse for attractive women with a Bates Motel key in their possession. I’m so grateful for the lack of weird masturbatory subject matter in this scene.
Norman and EmmaNot one of the stronger “Will They/Won’t They” duos on TV, Norman and Emma are still an interesting pair of characters who rely on each other for mental solace. So when Emma announced her lung capacity was shrinking and that her prognosis wasn’t good, it was somewhat surprising when Norman declared that they should date, even though it was clearly going to happen at some point. Emma couldn’t be happier, and almost any other fictional male character would use this new relationship to make some behavioral changes. Norman, however, awkwardly leaves Emma behind to head out with Annika, and later looks oh-so-pleased to crawl back in bed with Norma. (“Move over, you silly woman.”) What’s his angle with Emma? To get friendly non-insane sex with someone he won’t kill? I really want her to survive Norman’s mania.
That Last SceneBates Motel, like many current dramas, is pretty good about dealing out WTF endings, and tonight’s was no different. I mean, it was no shock that Norman would end up ruining Annika’s life in some way, but I thought their odd kinship might last a little longer into the season. Instead, Annika’s admissions about her sex-filled professional life apparently set something off in Norman’s head, and the episode ends with him arriving back at the hotel in her car, instead of walking back as he’d planned. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that he killed her; he could have just dropped her off at her destination and then agreed to pick her up later, but there’s something too playful in his step as he’s walking back to the motel office that makes me think the worst happened to Annika. Well, I guess the “worst” would technically be hanging out with Norman for an extended period, but a bloody death is a close second.
Do You Think Annika Is Still Alive?