Bates Motel 2.05 Review: “Plunge”


by Autumne Montague

Norma Bates is getting nervous. Last week on Bates Motel, she was so eager to establish a connection with known drug dealer Nick Ford to fight the building of the bypass; now not so much. Norma’s ready to break off the arrangement because of the sudden death of Berman.  Ford tells her that sometimes death is convenient and what do you know? Berman’s seat is now left conveniently vacant. And, conveniently, Christine convinces Norma to run for it, even arranging a meeting with the mayor for Norma to personally plead her case. She also sets Norma up with her brother George, the former lawyer, for a strategy session before her meeting. Norma meets with the mayor who has obviously been given a talking to by Ford. He tells Norma she comes highly recommended from Ford and that she is in with all the right people in town. Not surprisingly, Norma gets the council seat.

Norma has been so desperate to be accepted in White Pine Bay but I don’t think she wanted it by intimidation. Norma really believes that her hard work and determination should have been her ticket but like she always says, nothing comes easy for her. I think she truly in her own way tries to do the right thing, but her way of thinking is just too skewered.

Dylan gets picked up- from hospital by Zane’s sister Jodi. Jodi takes him to her home to recover and asks Dylan to watch over Zane-to basically run things without Zane knowing. They end up sleeping together. It seems like Dylan’s quickly moving up the ranks of White Pine Bay’s drug business.

We don’t get to spend much time with Dylan this episode. We’re afforded only glimpses of his time with Jodi.

Norman Bates rebels. He spends more time with Cody, despite being warned about her again by his mother. They ditch tech rehearsal in favor of drinking. Cody’s father comes home suddenly and they hide in the closet to avoid him; Norman proceeds to have a flashback of himself as a child holed up in a closet with Norma which triggers another one of his trances.

At the lake Norman and Cody unexpectedly meet up with Emma and Gunner. They take the literal “plunges” of the episode jumping into the freezing cold lake. Emma is encouraged by Cody to shed her oxygen and go for it, which turns out to be a big mistake. Emma immediately needs her tank and Norman gets extremely upset yelling at and blaming Cody while comforting Emma.

I was delighted to glimpse the bond between Norman and Emma again; I was beginning to doubt it a bit. I keep thinking that we’re meant to think that each is jealous of the other’s new relationships but it never seems to come to fruition. Instead we see more concern and a unique comfort level with each other.

Norman is suddenly beginning to have moments of self-examination; he later asks Emma if he overreacted. Emma, echoing something Norma would say, tells him that he’s just sensitive.

Cody, seeing how close Emma and Norman are, tells Emma about Norman’s blackouts. Emma in turn tells Norma. Norma puts a stop Norman’s driving test enraging Norman who tells her that she can’t keep him locked up in the house for the rest of his life. I love these little moments that hint at what we know is to come. Norman’s words are made more poignant with the audience knowing that it is he will be figuratively locked in that house with his mother for the rest of his life and that he will lock his mother up after her death.  The episode ends with Norman storming over to Cody’s house to confront her about spilling his blackout secret. He gets into a physical altercation with her father and ends up throwing him down the basement stairs.

I’m starting to believe that Norma was so anxious to move not just to cover for what Norman did to his father but to put an end to Norman’s violently destructive behavior. She may have even thought it was caused by the abuse he witnessed and perhaps suffered and that the blackouts would end once he was away from that life. With his blackouts continuing and increasing in frequency, Norma has to admit that there is something fundamentally wrong with Norman and her behavior with him isn’t doing him any favors. There was a moment when they celebrated her victory in attaining the council seat where they hugged and fell onto his bed still in an embrace. I still can’t decide if Norma is truly oblivious to how she interacts with her son or if she is fully aware of her actions, perhaps enjoying the sway she holds over him.

[Photo via A&E]



Paul Tassi In addition to writing for TVOvermind, Paul has contributed to major publications such as Forbes. He's a video game expert as well as TV and Movie guy.
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