Bates Motel Season 3

Bates Motel: The Arcanum Club (S3, ep2)

Less action-packed than the season opener, episode 2 relied on building an atmosphere of threat and suspense. Already wondering if she has another body to dispose of, Norma quizzes Norman about when he last saw Annika. Her car is still sat outside the motel, but her bed hasn’t been slept in. Norman shrugs her off. But when Emma lets slip that he’d accompanied her into town, Norma demands that he show her which bar he dropped her off at.

Of course, the staff at the bar don’t remember seeing her there, and with her rising suspicion, a thought occurs to Norma. She asks her son why he had referred to Annika in the past tense. “Stop it, Mother,” is his sulky reply.

Dylan’s back in the marijuana business, and far from finding that his father/uncle, Caleb, has left town, he discovers that they’re now work colleagues. While they’re sat at their head office—a shack out in the woods—a strange dog appears, growling, drooling, vicious, and Caleb puts a bullet in it.

The following morning, a stranger appears, looking for his dog. He introduces himself as their neighbour, Chick, and he makes it pretty obvious that they’re in the same business. Caleb sends him packing, but that night, the two of them head over to Chick’s place to see what’s what. Chick is creepy, sinister, dishing out threats in metaphors and parables. He’s one of those so-calm-he’s-scary types; laid back, tree hugging, at-on-with-himself, with a psychotic volcano buried inside. While Dylan plays the good neighbour, Caleb lays down the law.

Emma suggests that she and Norma search Annika’s room. Norma finds an invitation to a party that evening at The Arcanum Club; a very exclusive hunting club. Norma asks Emma not to tell Norman.

After an extended stay at the motel while his house underwent repair, Sheriff Romero is ready to leave. He gives Norma a cheque, which she tries to refuse, but he insists. He points out that the bypass, which will lead cars away from the motel, is about to open, and she’ll need all the money she can get. They share the world’s most awkward hug and a quick kiss, neither knowing whether they’re parting as friends, or as more.

While Emma and Norman go on their first date, having a deep and meaningful about his unsettling attitude towards sex, and his even more unsettling relationship with Norma, Norma is getting gussied up to go to The Arcanum Club. Her plan is scuppered when she’s asked for a password which, of course, she doesn’t know, but somehow she manages to climb a tree and scale a wall despite wearing a strapless dress with a very tight hobble skirt. What she finds there is a bunch of rich playboys talking business and having fun with hookers. She also finds Sheriff Romero who tells her to leave for her own safety. She tells him about Annika, and begs him to ask around about her.

On her drive home, Norma stops by the bypass and smashes her car into its sign. She arrives home with a busted front bumper, and falls into Norman’s arms in tears.

The episode closes with a dog, out for a walk with its owners, discovering a body floating in water. It’s face-down and bloated, but I don’t think we need too many guesses on who it might be.