We’ve just stepped over into the second half of the season, and we seem to have stepped over into something else too. In the oddest episode yet, we delve deeper into the bizarre fantasy world of Norman’s head, whether we want to or not. This episode didn’t move the overall plot forward in hugely significant ways, it served more to explore each character’s personal battles.
After Norma’s sudden departure, Norman’s inconsolable (until Dylan clouts him one and knocks him out). He’s convinced Norma won’t return—she has a history of running away and leaving people behind—but Dylan tells Norman that she would never walk out on him. Emma offers to stay over, willing to shoulder yet more Bates shit.
Norma’s driving off into the night, tears streaming down her face, her phone incessantly buzzing with messages from Dylan. She finally pulls over, throws her phone into the mud, and puts a couple of bullets into it for good measure. She ends up in Portland, where she goes shopping for some clothes that really aren’t her style, trades in her beautiful vintage car, and books herself into a motel. But she’s being followed.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Romero’s having a bad day too. He’s shot in a drive-buy shooting, and left bleeding in the rain.
Dylan tells Caleb that Norma refused to speak to him, and tells him to leave White Pine Bay. And while Norma’s enjoying some escapism picking up young men in bars, Norman is slipping completely off this plane of reality. In blackout mode, he searches for Norma, watches their house crack apart, and taxidermies live birds. To top it off, Dylan wakes in the night to find Norman making breakfast, dressed as Norma, completely convinced that he is her. Emma helps Dylan take Norman back to bed, but she has a coughing fit, and needs Dylan’s help to clear the mucus. He realises how ill she is, tells her she’s taking on too much with them, but she says “You have no idea how much this family means to me, how much I want to be a part of it, but never am.” “I understand,” Dylan replies.
Norma rings James, the psych tutor, from a payphone and asks to go around. She tells him about Norman’s blackouts, and that he killed his father. She instantly regrets it, has a bit of a freak out, and ends up kissing James. He stops it at first, but doesn’t put up too much of a fight.
Romero’s been trying to call Norma, to warn her that they shot him and are probably going to come after her, but she isn’t going to get the message when her phone’s shot up in a ditch. Marcus Young visits him in hospital, with a message: when Marcus is elected sheriff, Romero can either work for him (Marcus recognises the value of his local knowledge), or they’ll finish the job and kill him. But Romero, despite just having had a few bullets removed, follows Marcus down to the underground parking garage, they tussle, and Romero shoots him. He pushes the body over to the passenger seat, and drives off.
The following morning, Norma’s redressing in James’ bedroom, and announces that she’s going home. She wakes Dylan and Norman, and tells them to come with her to talk to Caleb. Not a lot of talking happens as both Norma and Caleb break down in tears and hug. The faces of the boys are telling: Dylan tears up like it’s a happy family reunion, and Norman looks like he has murder in mind. Again.