S3ep8 “The Pit”

Original air date: April 27, 2015.

And then there were three. Episodes left, that is. I’ve got mixed emotions about this season, and I won’t get into that much detail about them here. I’ve decided Season 3 warrants a recap post all its own. So do the first two seasons. Well, especially the first two; I just never got around to it, but I will at some point after this season ends.

The thing that stays with me the most from The Last Supper is Norman’s aloneness. He seems more alone than ever now. Alone with his growing detachment from reality. Alone without the closeness he used to have with Norma. The shot that captures it perfectly is when he’s left sitting alone at the dining room table right after a sweet-if-somewhat-pedestrian (for Bates Motel) family dinner. It seems to me almost everyone around him either doesn’t notice that isolation, or denies it, or ignores it, or tries to fix it with well-meaning-but-failing-miserably intentions. I’m thinking of James the psych prof with that last one. I wonder if he’s been scared off for good.image

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Dylan’s the one exception, bringing up the subject of Norman right before leaving for the farm. What to do to try to help Norman is not what Norma’s thinking of the morning after the dinner. Which gives me a vague urge to throw something, but never mind…I’m trying to give harping on that same old subject a rest…though I feel it won’t be easy.

“What the hell is going on?”

Norma and Norman only have a minute to talk about Emma’s deterioration and how terrible it will be to lose her. All of a sudden, there’s a backhoe digging up the front yard of the motel. So they’re getting a hole dig for the swimming pool that Bob Parris already signed off on. Here comes the big mess of a secret that Norma’s kept Norman totally in the dark about–the flash drive, the deal associated with it, that whole mess. I think she should have brought him in on it from the beginning, black-outs or not. It’s only going to further rip apart any trust they have in one another.

Romero goes to the Portland used car lot to get back Norma’s Mercedes. Annndd…I’m bored already with that, to be honest.

Oh, crap. James has gotten himself in a load of trouble with Bob Parris. Parris and his goons tie him up and catch him in a lie about how well he knows Norma. James thankfully doesn’t violate that “patient confidentiality” but gets a nail through the foot for that. No one deserves that-ouch! It probably won’t be the only bad thing that happens to him before Parris is done with him.

Yeah, I thought not. Norma calls him just as Parris throws him onto his own front lawn. Norma’s gotten the point that what James said to Norman was extremely upsetting, which is putting it mildly.

“Nobody gets past that.”

Caleb plans on leaving after the barn’s finished. He can’t ask that of Norma, if he stuck around in town. I’ve gone from disliking him to just feeling that whole situation is hopelessly sad. You can’t fix this–there’s even a song called that; it’s on one of my playlists. It reminds me in part of this Caleb-Norma tragedy.
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23 feet. Um, yeah. I’m not sure this is going to end up a swimming pool. Apparently Romero doesn’t think so either, because he goes to Bob Parris and gets an earful about Norma’s supposed “kinky” extracurricular activities. In the big picture, there are a ton of things that qualify as way more kinky than anything she did on that night she took off. But maybe the news of Norma sleeping with James will give Romero pause. Though that’s minor compared to what Romero learns next: that Norman blacked out and killed Sam. Shit. Now the sheriff’s really in on this buried secret; seems like James had it beaten out of him after all.

Okay, I like the phone call between Dylan and Emma; it’s very sweet–to the point of softening the heart of this cynical smartass lol

Norman’s trying to make do with plastic ribbon draped around tables and chairs as fencing for the pit. I think going online and ordering some cyclone fencing would be a whole lot more effective, but that’s just me. It’s also a mild version of Norman not always thinking clearly.
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“It always seemed like you were with someone else, even when you were with me.”

Emma really nails it with that. It seems she realized it about Norman even more than he realized it himself. He just looks so sad in that moment, not disturbed or dangerous or on the verge of blacking out. Just on the verge of tears. My heart’s cracking for him all over again, and this time is so much worse because he has no one to turn to. Not Norma; she’s wrapped up in this “he-said-he-said” gossip drama with Parris, James and Sheriff Bulldog. Not Dylan; Emma may be getting together with him, and that’ll make it even worse. All Norman has is his imaginary dog in his room. Yeah, the world is an extremely lonely place at this point.

Romero predictably confronts Norma about how Sam died. This is actually something I’ve been waiting for: How did Sam really die? The brief flashback/vision of HER swinging that blender is still stuck in my mind. Did Norman do it? Or was that just another story she made up and told Dylan (and everyone else) back in Season 1? What if Norman never actually did do it? Are these questions ever going to be revisited and given definitive answers?

Now we get to something this season that really makes my breath catch–for the first time in a while. I had to pause it, walk around and take a few deep breaths before I watched Norman admit he’s sexually attracted to Norma. But what really floored me was her reaction: “It’s completely normal. We’re like animals; it’s instinctual…It doesn’t mean you’re weird or there’s anything wrong with you.” I WAS NOT expecting that!! I was expecting her to fly off the handle again, in one way or another. And Norma’s completely, unequivocally right about this kind of attraction. It does happen. Way more often than most people think it does. She’s also right that Norman should stare it in the face instead of denying it. Saying it’s “stupid,” well..that’s another issue I won’t jump on a soapbox about. That’s the only thing that takes away from what she says. Aside from that, this is the best scene by far with the two of them all season. It’s long overdue.
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“We are solid…you’re my whole world…This is the only thing that’s real: you and me.” AWWW :)

But one more thing before I leave this: Norman’s not going to just “get it out of his head.” It doesn’t work that way, not for anyone.

Emma and Gunner reunite briefly when she drops off cupcakes and flowers for Dylan. “But there’s no pot in them, so don’t get excited.” lol

Dylan and Caleb meanwhile reach the rendezvous point for the delivery they’re making. It ends up being a shoot-out, which isn’t much of a surprise to me. Of course they thankfully get away unharmed.

Another awesome scene: James is packing up to skip town, as fast as he possibly can. Norma zooms up in her retrieved Mercedes and is prepared to let him have it. But she learns the horrible truth: he told Parris everything. She finally comes clean to Norman about it, which I also think is overdue.

“You’re going to kill me, Norman!”

The Norma that’s rather forward with him before he runs away is another hallucination. As is Juno the dog, who escapes the house. Norman really can’t tell what’s real and what’s not–not at any turn anymore. But someone else is real, as he runs down the road: Bradley’s back. Which I’d already heard, but it seems incidental compared to all this that he and Norma will be facing: both between them and with Parris knowing the truth about Norman’s dad.

4.5 out of 5:

4hearts

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