S2ep1 “Gone But Not Forgotten”

Original air date: March 3, 2014

No, I don’t think anyone can easily forget the ending image of “Midnight”: Ms. Watson lying with her throat cut. I think it’s the lighting and the black lingerie, but that shot looks weirdly beautiful to me, even though it’s terrible at the same time. It wouldn’t surprise me if whoever set it up meant for it to be that way, and it works.

No one’s more affected by her death than Norman, and his sobbing at the funeral makes me feel a little embarrassed for Norma as she tries to comfort him. We remember how much people talk and gossip in White Pine Bay, after all. The night Blair Watson was killed, Norman’s having some restless sleep. Could he be remembering what happened on an unconscious level? I’m willing to go with that theory. Norman’s unconscious mind is a dark, twisting labyrinth with a lot of deadly things hidden in the corners.

“We only see the tip of the iceberg with anyone. We see what people want us to see, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t something else underneath.”

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Norma speaks the truth here. When you think about it, we all do this with other people. Except for maybe long-time spouses and significant others, does anyone truly see every side of any of us? And even then, is there still a side we keep hidden from them as well? I think in a lot of cases there is.

There’s definitely something underneath the surface with Norman, something Norma’s trying to protect him from. She knows it’s there and what it’s capable of making him do, but he isn’t fully aware of it just yet. This is going to change in this season, and it’s going to be explosive.

Norman’s not the only one dealing with grief over a loss. Bradley has gone into a tailspin over the truth that her murdered father was having an affair with some woman with the initial “B.” She still has the love letters on the seat of her car when she speeds to the bridge and then tries to kill herself by jumping in. She doesn’t succeed though.

That song playing on Bradley’s car stereo is “Lies” by Deep Vally. Fitting.

I’ve always though Bradley’s far from perfect (for what she did to Norman), but still no one deserves this kind of mental agony brought on by a person who’s not even around anymore to explain himself to her. It would play havoc with anyone’s head, sometimes even driving them to seek a permanent solution to the pain, as Bradley does.

The dark and gloomy mood of the episode’s beginning quickly gives way to bright, optimistic summer after four mouths pass. Side note: I liked Norma’s hairstyle a little bit better in Season 1–it seemed a little more natural-though the new one is still very pretty. On the other hand, in Season 2, it’s now as blonde as mine-which I’ve gotta admit is damn cool.

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The song in this scene as she goes down to the motel office is “The Wire” by HAIM

The Bates Motel is fully sold out and busy for the summer season, which really makes me smile. I so much want things to work out and be good for Norma and Norman! This is the first real visible sign that they could be. But Norman’s MIA from the motel office when he needs to be helping out.

The music he’s playing in his basement taxidermy studio is “Partita for Violin Solo No.3 in E” by J.S. Bach

I’ve built up a classical piano music playlist myself thanks to Bates Motel. I listen to such a big variety of music, including plenty of instrumental, and it’s been one more welcome addition.

Anyway, even Norman’s reluctance to get out of the basement doesn’t do much to spoil Norma’s good mood despite her scolding him about spending too much time down there. She thinks it isn’t healthy, understandably so, but she immediately brightens when Norman brings up driving practice.

The song playing in the motel office when Norman gets there is “Hollywood” by RAC. Wow, there is a lot of music in “Gone But Not Forgotten”, more than I remember; I love it! I think a second Bates Motel playlist is in order.

I think Norman does act like a jerk to Emma with “Why would she tell you about it?” Come on Norman, I get you’re upset that Bradley returned all your letters unopened, but that’s not Emma’s fault.

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I like the imagery of the mental hospital where Bradley’s been for four months, The white-clad orderly, the keys, the heavy doors and the gloomy hallways. If you’re like me and have seen 10,001 horror movies, you know nothing good happens in mental institutions, and these short scenes capture that depressing creepiness perfectly.

Isn’t it odd how Bradley wears a bright floral summer dress for the trip home, similar to one Norma would wear. The dress makes a stark contrast to her demeanor, that’s for sure. That is not the Bradley we saw in season 1 either. The light’s gone out behind her eyes, and it’s sad; something tells me four months at Pinecrest isn’t going to fix her.

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Dylan still hasn’t moved out yet, I guess because he’s waiting for more trouble to find Norman and Norma. As much as they shove him aside, he apparently still wants to be there for them when it does. Which I think is a good thing; the initial chill I felt towards Dylan really starts to thaw and eventually melt in season.

Norma just looks so extra pretty in this season premiere too–makes me want to fix myself up up more than I usually do! Anyway, she doesn’t want to take rent money from Dylan because of where he earns it. I do agree with Dylan here; it is kind of ridiculous not to acknowledge that the whole town exists due to the weed industry. Even though, yes, the motel doesn’t.

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Norman learning to drive with Norma: Oh my god, this is a flashback right to when I learned to drive!! It’s so similar it’s almost scary. My mother taught me to drive because there was no drivers’ ed at my high school, and she didn’t want to pay for one of those shopping center drivers’ ed places. And she was just as high-strung as Norma here, maybe even worse! There was plenty of yelling, stomping the passenger side floor, fighting, swearing and door-slamming. Thankfully I’ve never been in a serious accident (got rear-ended once, but not my fault), but to this day I have some screwy driving habits I need to mind, along with an abject terror of passing large vehicles on two-lane roads like in this scene. Norman, I feel for you darlin’!! Just try to keep calm and concentrate on the road. Damn, this scene makes me laugh and cringe in equal degrees. On the flip side, they are definitely acting like a normal mother and teenager here.

They soon move onto fighting about Norman’s grieving over the loss of Ms. Watson. It’s rather rich of Norma to say that Norman’s two main pastimes this summer are weird. Let’s be honest, their relationship isn’t always the epitome of normalcy either. But he does assure her she’s not a bad mother. This issue gets quickly forgotten as they run into the bypass construction starting up, unexpectedly early. Norma’s got a lot less time to fight it than she thought.

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“We did that.”

Norman’s got his doubts about how effective it’ll be for Norma to speak at the city council meeting, but of course she’s going head-long into it all the same. She is right that in general you can’t just let people run over you. They have built a successful business, judging from how busy the motel is–against all the odds too. It sucks that the stupid bypass is threatening to take it all away, just when things are going good for Norman and Norma. So I don’t want it to be built either.

“I want to know who killed my dad.”

Bradley confronts Gil Turner about her dad’s death, which is not a good idea. That guy is a whole lot of bad news, and he’s apparently a shitheel himself for trying to get Bradley to come inside his house with him. It doesn’ take a genius to figure out what he had in mind. But Bradley then finds something unexpected in the box of her dad’s stuff: a gun. Maybe now she has something more to bargain with for the truth, but I can tell this is going to be that much more dangerous.

Norman comes to see Bradley, and to her credit she doesn’t make her mom send him away. It’s very sweet how Norman tells her she doesn’t ever have to feel that alone with no way out, driven to the brink of suicide. These words of his will come back to haunt all of us later.

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Another piece of bad news: Norman hasn’t gotten past his habit of keeping souvenirs, since he’s kept a pearl necklace that belonged to Ms. Watson. Granted, he had his dark side in control when he took it. But now he might be starting to have brief flashbacks of what really happened that night. We get to meet Nick Ford when Norman runs into him at Ms. Watson’s grave, and Ford gives chase when Norman starts taking pictures of him. That alone tells me this guy isn’t one to mess with, either.

Dylan turns out to be the one who gets the truth about why Gil hated Jerry Martin so much; Jerry was messing around with Gil’s girlfriend–Blair Watson. He gets this information from Remo. Really? Why didn’t Remo just tell him that back in season 1? But I guess there was a reason for keeping quiet about it until now. There always is a reason for that in this business.

Now it’s Norman’s turn to get the brush-off from Sheriff Romero, and he doesn’t fare much better than Norma did in season 1. But at least Romero isn’t as rude to him. That is, once he gets pass Romero’s same secretary who needs everyone’s name even when she knows damn well who it is. Not sure why, but that chick irritates me. Romero recognizes Nick Ford in the photos, and he then pushes the suspicion onto Norman because of how often Norman visits the gravesite. Norman also fumbles through the questioning about his being at Ms. Watson’s house to work on school projects. It looks to me like Sheriff Bulldog might be finding another bone to refuse to let go of.

Norma at the city council: Epic! I love it! I didn’t think I could be any more “Team-Norma” than I already am, but this just makes it even stronger. The PTA mothers are whiny and annoying about “Crime and Punishment”, and Lee Berman is an asshole who does deserve to take a dirt nap after the way he treats Norma. Yes, he’s a dick as well. Norma is so awesome here because she says what the rest of us wish we had the balls to say when we’re treated like this and put in situations like this. And she’s got some swinging steel ones here. This alone pushes this episode into very-high-rating territory from me.

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Underneath letting them all have it, I understand Norma’s frustration and feel for her. That didn’t go as expected, and now she’s going to have to face Norman about it. But Norma still isn’t going down without a big fight either. Great timing as always: she runs into Romero outside the council building and gets the news about Norman’s going to see him about Blair Watson’s murder.

Bradley gets the “more-than-likely” truth from Dylan. Turns out her emails to Dylan went unanswered, so she got an idea of how that feels.

Norman’s relaxing in front of one of their old movies when Norma bursts in and starts in on him about going to see Romero with what he thought was a “clue” to the murder. He argues he didn’t do anything wrong, but Norma has a point: he is obsessed with that particular death. Unfortunately, Norma’s going to get a seed of an idea planted that she’s absolutely going to hate: the idea Norman might have slept with Blair Watson. I talked about it in “Midnight“, but now Ms. Watson is longer around to take the wrath from Norma if in fact she seduced Norman. That leaves only Norman to take the wrath of Norma for that one, and it makes me nervous–that’s going to be all hell breaking lose!

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“Did you sleep with her?” *not yelling, fairly quiet and even. Oh shit. In some ways, that’s even worse.

“Something happened in the middle.”

Norman goes on that he got freaked out and ran away when Blair tried to seduce him. He honestly doesn’t remember and blames himself because he thinks he could’ve saved her if he’d been there, still thinking someone else came in and killed her. At this point, we’re still really fuzzy on the details and dealing with memory gaps just like Norman is. We still don’t have the whole truth about what happened, either. Any of a few possible scenarios could’ve played out, and now it’s up to us the audience to play them through in our heads. Just like Norman does as well.

“You’re a good boy.”

Norma’s now convinced (or has convinced herself) that Norman never would’ve slept with his teacher; he would’ve said “No” and taken off.

The final scene of the season 2 premiere is a bang. Literally. Bradley starts to seduce Gil Turner and moves to go down on him on the sofa. Then she pulls that gun on him. With the way she was talking, she sounded drunk or stoned–maybe both. But she still didn’t miss. I was rather shocked when I first saw this scene; I thought she was just going to get more truth out of Gil at gunpoint. But no. Now Bradley really does need Norman’s help in “Shadow of a Doubt”

Like the pilot, the season 2 premiere doesn’t hold back in the slightest. I’m murderously hooked all over again!

5 out of 5 blue hearts:



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