Monthly Archives: March 2015

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S3ep2 “The Arcanum Club”

Original air date: March 16, 2015

We were left hanging with the possibility Norman might have murdered Annika in “A Death in the Family.” Norma finds her gone the next day, with only that black car parked in front of an empty motel room. I was wondering which room Annika was in; now we see it’s Room #4, the same one of Summers’ infamous murder in Season 1. Interesting how that room seems to get more excitement, so to speak, than others at the Bates Motel. Along with bringing fresh towels, Norma wants to see if that window shade in Room #4 is working right. Well played.

“She doesn’t strike me as a hiker.”

The song on the radio in the motel office is “My Hell” by Caleb Hawley. I love seeing these little references come up in my Soundhound app. It’s time for a third playlist on The Music of Bates Motel.

We get our first look at Norman down in the basement, hard at work on his taxidermy as Norma tries to get him back into the outside world. Putting a dead baby goat in the kitchen freezer? Okay, that’s just gross. I’d probably be going at that freezer with bleach and hot water after that. Yes, he does need another freezer down in the basement. Anyway, Norman lies that he hadn’t seen Annika at all last night, and not very convincingly. Great. If Norman and Norma start lying and keeping secrets from each other again, it’s going to become a bomb waiting to go off.

Dylan and Gunner have gained a guard dog and irrigation system for their farm up at the cabin, and Caleb’s still staying there too. Dylan so far seems resigned to that.

Norma finds out the truth from Emma that Norman lied to her about Annika. Yeah, I saw that coming. He uses the excuse that Norma doesn’t like him driving without a license. Norma does have a point; it isn’t smart that Norman repeated the same pattern of getting in cars with questionable, slutty, oversexed women. He ought to remember that it set him off to kill Blair Watson. If he and Norma are trying to manage the black-outs, I’d think staying away from triggering situations would be the first step. But unfortunately most of us have those patterns of behavior that are difficult to break, and Norman’s no exception.image

Just one little word: “was.” That’s what Norma picks up on–past tense. Shit. Norman very well could have killed Annika. It gets planted in her mind as well as ours.

The look Norman has while he sits in the car is downright chilling and frightening, the look of things to come as he descends further into dangerous madness. imageimage

Back at home that night, he tells Norma he’s going out with Emma, and his mother gets an odd look of happiness..and something else that’s not quite readable. What all is going through your head about that, Norma?

The chemistry so far between Emma and Norman still looks way more like friendship than romance to me. He can’t pull away fast enough when she tries to lace her fingers through his, and they’re not having any of the physical affection of a dating couple. They’re still friends who happened to say “I think we should date.” because they’re in the same time, space and situation. Then there are the lies and secrets Norman’s always going to have to keep from her–Annika being only the latest one.

Dylan gets a visit from a neighbor he didn’t know he had, Chick Hogan, and it looks like trouble’s going to start from the dog fight Caleb had to break up the previous night. Caleb introduces Dylan as his son!

Norma’s still looking for any clue about what might’ve happened to Annika, and I notice how she essentially says “No way!” to calling the sheriff, not wanting to seem crazy. A far cry from previous seasons and all the trouble they contained. So far the Bates have had no entanglements with Romero this season, which makes me smile. It’s much better this way, missing call girl or not. Speaking of the devil, Romero’s moving out of the motel. Just take the damn money, Norma!

And when they fumble around whether to shake hands or hug or what… All kinds of AWKWARD!!! I had less awkward clinches with a guy friend I tried dating way back in the day, and I’m not even on the same team–so to speak! Yeah, they end up having a nice hug, but look what Norma does with her arms and fists in front of her for a second. To me, that’s more telling–a more of a self-protective move than anything. *Sigh. I may well write that page I mentioned at the beginning of my previous post.

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Sheriff Romero, I do like you and therefore want both you and Norma to stay alive. So finish packing up your bags and hit the road. For everyone’s sake. It may well be signing Norma’s death warrant otherwise.

Emma and Norma dig through Annika’s room, uncovering the tools of the trade as well as Annika’s invitation to the exclusive Arcanum Club gala. Somewhere else to investigate. Allowing myself to indulge in a cross-over for a second, someone else in the Bates family would be pleased with her little sister’s investigative determination, amateur or not.

Anyway, something had put Emma’s dad off about the Arcanum Club, gave him a bad vibe. Emma promises not to tell Norman about what they found in the motel room. There we go again. I have a feeling it’s going to become tough for Emma to keep track of all the secrets she’s supposed to keep for Norma from Norman, and vice versa. I almost hate to say it, but I think Norman and Emma’s relationship is eventually going to crack under that weight. It’s just a matter of when.

“A lot of things don’t make sense…but we kind of do..”

Emma and Norman’s date starts of kind of sweet, but it soon moves into some awkward territory as well. She lets him know about her and Gunner, and the idea of feeling bad after sex comes up. IMO feeling bad’s never supposed to be any part of that equation! At least not in any kind of healthy relationship. Emma also seems to hit a nerve in Norman with the “Peter Pan” comment, about his never wanting to grow up because of Norma. Emma is still so sweetly naive in some ways.

Meanwhile, Norma herself goes to investigate the Arcanum Club, posing as Annika Johnson. Not the safest idea, in my opinion. Thankfully, she gets blocked at the gate because of not knowing the password. She’s also not the only one digging around in dangerous territory, as Caleb and Dylan might be getting into a neighborly feud with Hogan. Even though rude, Hogan’s veiled “George and Lenny from Of Mice And Men” insult at Dylan and Caleb is kind of funny.

Norma manages to scale the wall at the Arcanum Club, wearing a very nice evening dress, I must say! She watches as two male guests go into a smaller cabin on the property, and I have a feeling there’s some variation on an orgy-for-hire going on in there. It’s done over and over, on the screen as well as in real life. I was right. I find it a tad bit predictable, to be honest. And it’s also the last place on this green earth Norma needs to be! So PLEASE, darlin’ get the hell out of there! As fast as you can!

She fills Romero in on the story of Annika’s disappearance, and possibly he’ll do something about it, possibly not. On the way home, Norma learns the bypass will be named after that dick Lee Berman. I don’t blame her at all for the rampage on the bypass construction zone.
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I wanted to rate this episode higher, and it does have some great things about it: Norma’s concern for Annika’s fate chief among them–even to the point of putting herself in harm’s way. But you ought to know if you’ve spent much time at all reading this blog: I have a bias slanted steeply towards Norma and Norman. When they start getting mixed up with other people in a way that might damage their relationship, I tend to rate it lower. It’s just who I am.

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“It’s all gonna be good, Mother. You’ll see.” I do love how that comes full circle, though.

3 out of 5 hearts:

3hearts