Bates Motel 2.08 Review: “Meltdown”

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by Autumne Montague

Last week I complained that watching Bates Motel was like trying to figure out how two separate storylines connected; this week Dylan’s story integrated nicely and seamlessly with the rest of the show.  Dylan’s role seemed relegated to the sideline for a bit too long with his and his cohorts’ actions not having a tangible effect on the main storyline. Now his actions may very well have repercussions  through the whole town.

Nick Ford comes to see Norma to convince her to arrange a meeting between him and Dylan. Norma tells him that she and her son aren’t on speaking terms at the moment and Ford tells her to talk to her son while she can. He could be talking about Norman as well. Norma needs to be honest and open with Norman about his blackouts before something terrible happens again.  Ford drops by a second time to let Norma know that she is indebted to him because of Lee Berman. Norma protests that she doesn’t know what he’s talking about and wants nothing to do with him. Norma has to just be playing naïve at this point. She had to know full well how she got that city council seat and that she would have to do something in return eventually. Norma’s great at playing dumb, especially to herself.

Norma reluctantly goes to see Dylan to let him know about Ford and she tells him that they have more to talk about but Dylan’s not ready. Dylan at first refuses to meet with Ford but eventually acquiesces.  He meets up with Ford who tells him to take out Zane before a drug war ensues. Ironically, Jodi, Zane’s sister tells him basically the same thing; that if he needs to do something about Zane, then he should do it. This puts Dylan in a very dangerous yet powerful position. He has the opportunity to keep his family safe and avoid all the violence of warring drug families if he does one thing, kill Zane. Dylan’s role in White Pine Bay is becoming more prominent.

Norman and Norma get to have it out this episode. Norma is hurt and surprised when Norman doesn’t seem to care that she is going on a date with George. She can’t make it through the evening and comes home to Norman, but Norman is not interested in anything she has to say. He tells her that he doesn’t trust her and that what they had before was all a game; their loving each other more than any other person in the world (sorry Dylan I guess). Norman says that Norma’s upset because he’s being his own person with his own secrets. Norman is seeing Norma try to manipulate him as it happens, first with tears then anger. He is unfazed by it all. He locks himself in his room, locking Norma out in the process.

Romero gets Norman alone to ask about Miss Watson.  This scene takes place in the shower as Norman helps Romero repair his shower curtain rod. I can’t tell the significance of this; obviously anything having to do with showers is cause for notice in this series but I could be reading more into than the show intends.  Romero asks if Miss Watson seemed stable and Norman mentions that she sometimes seemed sad and lost. Later, Romero confronts Norman about finding his DNA on Miss Watson. Norman vehemently denies ever sleeping with her and runs away up to his house where someone comes up behind him and grabs him.

This episode’s title “Meltdown” could definitely refer to Norma’s screaming and crying as Norman physically and emotionally pushes her away. It could also relate to the breakdown of their relationship as Norman’s anger builds and Norma becomes more desperate to keep her favorite son close and under her thumb. She is losing control over the most important thing (not person, because she treats him as something she owns) in her life.  The dichotomy of her relationships with her two sons is evident in how she engages them when each holds her at a distance. When Dylan tells her that he doesn’t want to talk, she accepts it with just a the slightest hint of concern; yet when Norman resists her, she goes nuts screaming, crying, and demanding to be let in and heard. It’s so obvious how emotionally invested she is with Norman.

At the beginning of the episode, Norma wants to watch the 1944 movie “Double Indemnity” with Norman.  I can only see this choice as foreshadowing as in that movie (spoiler!) the two protagonists end up destroying each other, literally killing each other in the end.  Norma and Norman‘s relationship can have no other ending either. They will eventually end up destroying each other as well.

[Photo via A&E]

Paul Tassi is the Managing Editor of TVovermind and also manages the website Unrealitymag.com. He's contributed to major publications such as Forbes as well as BC Media Group properties.
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