Bates Motel 2.05 Review: “The Escape Artist”

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Norma Bates is in default mode: her and Norman against the world.  Dylan has moved out and Norma reminds Norman that it’s “always been you and me and we have to move on.” For Norma this means continuing her crusade to stop the bypass from being built, on this week’s Bates Motel.

Norma meets with Nick Ford to discuss how to stop the bypass. He tells her to forget about the councilman Lee Berman and go see a friend of his. This friend gives Norma an environmental report on endangered animals to halt movement on the bypass. Norma, who can usually read people pretty well, is so obviously being used. In her desperate battle to stop the bypass, she can’t even see it.

Dylan has moved on by sleeping at his job and getting in deeper with Zane. They end up the targets of a drive by shooting with Dylan saving Zane’s life.

Norman moves on to the next girl. For someone so socially awkward, Norman has had quite a bit experience with girls his age lately.

Cody comes to pick up Norman for rehearsal and meets Norma. Norma is not impressed with the tattoos, the cigarette smoking, the rudeness. Norma warns Norman off of Cody telling him that she is “not the right people.”  I’m trying to figure out Norman’s interest in Cody. Is it to subconsciously make Emma jealous or has that ship sailed? Is it to defy his mother? Is it because she seems so strong but the glimpses of vulnerability he catches attract him?

Cody takes Norman to a treehouse in a field. Norman opens up and tells her that he feels safe with her and that he has had blackouts before. The scene ends alluding to them sleeping with each other.

Emma has a date of her own and she asks Norma, of all people, for advice about her love life. Unfortunately for Emma, she has no one else to turn to.  Fortunately for Emma, Norma doesn’t rage out and tell her that she’s going to hell for having dirty thoughts which is honestly the reaction I was expecting from Norma. Instead, she gives her simple yet sound advice. And the world falls off its axis because I have complimented Norma Bates.

Romero checks into Bate Motel and warns Norma about getting too close to Nick Ford. For a brief moment it seems like the show may be setting up a prelude to Romero and Norma but that seems too obvious and almost pedestrian for this show.  Although, I do have to admit that I am intrigued by the burgeoning yet begrudging friendship that appears to be developing between the two.

The episode ends with two shockers: Lee Berman, the meddlesome councilman, has been killed in a car crash; Dylan wakes up in a hospital with Zane’s sister standing over him telling him she’s his boss.

The title of this episode is “The Escape Artist” and I’m trying to figure out how it pertains to what happens in the plot. Who gets to escape or who has to escape? Dylan has to escape Norma’s home for his own sanity but he also gets to get away from her manipulations. Norman escapes with Cody to place no one else knows about, especially his mother. So both sons get to escape from their mother in a sense. Emma gets to escape from her illness for a short time as well. Lee Berman doesn’t so much as escape as he is killed.

Random things I noticed:

The room numbers featured were 11 and 7.

I forgot that Norma still uses a rotary phone.

Shout out to the creator of Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies-the biologist who writes Norma’s report is named Bryan Fuller.

[Photo via A&E]

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