Bates Motel, Season 2 – “Meltdown”

bates motel - metldown - norma stares at bird

Jody’s Meltdown

Zane is a wild card, a fact that he made clear in Jody’s kitchen. She knows this and feels helpless. Dylan tells Jody that there will be consequences if Zane is left to his devices, and that something needs to be done about him, yet Jody, who appears surprisingly weak, has a breakdown and expresses that she doesn’t know what to do. In the end, she tells Dylan to do whatever needs to be done about Zane.

You’d think the boss of Ford’s rival would have more balls or be better equipped to deal with an illegal drug business. Maybe Dylan will end up leading the Wilson gang, but I don’t think he’ll kill Zane. I’m sure Zane will die, but the show won’t turn Dylan into a killer.

Norma’s Meltdown

bates motel - metldown - norma wakes up
Norma was all over the place emotionally in this episode, but mostly she was just a mess. From the opening scene with her staring at an old picture of Norman, trying to find the energy to face the day, to her final scene with Norman, in which she goes from anger to sadness in a manipulative blink of an eye, to her strong-minded opposition to Ford to her nurturing and caring for Dylan, Norma slipped in and out of just about every human emotion. Of course, being so many things to so many people will take its toll.

As emotionally charged as this episode was, it had some really funny moments, most of which Norma delivered, in spite of her fueled emotions… and they weren’t one-liners like the cheesy Star Wars-related one Jody spouted off at Zane. Norma’s were more situationally organic, such as when she went to visit Dylan at his office and, while impressed with her son and the fact that he had such a nice office, was concerned about his workplace safety and exposure to cannabinoids and maternally stating, “I’m still your mother.”

Some of what happened between Norma and Norman was humorous as well, but it was mostly inscestuously disturbing. The taxidermy stuff, that was funny. The goading of Norman’s jealousy bone, that was disturbing. What mother, seeing her son asserting himself and pulling away her apron strings, tries to solicit jealousy by telling him she’s going on a date… and that she might be late? Even if it stems from the secret she bears: “Who am I and what do I do?”

The worst part, after she fails with Norman on the stairs, is she returns to her abandoned date with George (the first part of which was a disaster and Norma was a nervous wreck), which wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t presented as a revenge fuck. I did, however, love how Norma was so disconnected and distant as she quickly drops her panties and tells George, “then do it,” just after he expresses how long he’s wanted to do this. You can’t help but imagine that in her distance Norma is thinking about Norman as she engages sexually with George.

Norman’s Meltdown?

The most important thing to note from this episode is Norman’s obstinence, especially on the stairs. He seems to have finally awakened to who and what his mother is, even if he doesn’t know himself. He’s now aware, just as Dylan is, that Norma is manipulative with a big drawer of tools. To paraphrase, he says “when the anger doesn’t work, then come the tears.” He doesn’t trust her anymore, which “changes everything” in his world.

Not long afterward we see that Norman is still in need of his mother. After Romero confronts Norman as he’s closing up the motel, pressing him to know if he slept with Watson, Norman runs to his home, up to his room and holds onto Wilson’s necklace and newspaper clipping as if it’s keeping him grounded and sane. But then he gets scared when he hears a noise downstairs, and as he investigates he calls “mother” repeatedly as if he’s looking for comfort and security from her.

Security doesn’t come and Norman gets a facefull of chloroform. If it is Ford’s people who have taken him, and I’m confident that it is, won’t he have a big surprise by the necklace and newspaper clipping they will find in his pocket.

For all the cheap shots I take at Freddy Highmore, I have to say that his performance in this episode was beyond spectacular. The insanity in his eyes was truly palpable. But I’m not so sure that Norman has had a total meltdown. Yes, his innocence is shedding, and things are changing inside him, but it’s more of an awakening than a meltdown.

With only two episodes left, where do you see things going?

Rock Hard \m/

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