On the surface, “The Deal” doesn’t seem like much of an episode. It was mostly driven by drama, it had very little action, and Norman didn’t really have a break with reality. But if that’s all you saw in this episode, oh how you haven’t been paying attention.
But a lot was done to drive Norman’s character forward. First, in his mind he had a conversation with Norma about Dylan’s harboring of Caleb, however, that talk never happened in reality. Through Dylan and then Norma, Norman figures out that said conversation only took place in his head and that he had passed out during a blackout, and this is a fact that actually scares him. It also leads him to find the dress imaginary Norma was wearing, sniff it, and hide it. I don’t mean to sound like a teenage girl, but gross!
By the end of the episode, it becomes a possibility that imaginary Norma will be the only mother Norman finds himself with.
That’s right, Norma walks out, which is more like a hysterical rampage out the door, on her boys. As she goes she tells Norman to stay with Dylan because he’ll take care of him.
The cause of her dramatic exit was the fact that both Dylan and Norman, after some sort of inexplicable reconciliation, sit her down to tell her that Caleb is back and has been staying at the farm helping Dylan. That, in and of itself, isn’t that big of a deal, but Norma’s sons also asked her to more or less accept Caleb and to hear him out as he explains his remorse. Yeah, I guess asking your mom to listen to her brother as he apologizes for raping her is a bit much to ask.
Who wants to bet that she drives straight to her professor friend, James Finnigan, whom she bonded with further in this episode? Or maybe she’ll go to Bob Paris to ask him for one more favor, which would be to off Caleb.
Going to Bob is unlikely, but not totally out of character for Norma. It’s unlikely because after being run off the road by one of his goons, and then learning the contents of his flashdrive, she uses the information as leverage to get some things she wants to help out her business. It wasn’t much to ask for, and it was so funny to watch her negotiate the deal. But, according to the deal, she won’t be able to ask for any additional favors, and she keeps the flashdrive. Did anyone believe Bob when he said, “You got me… we have a deal”? Yeah, me neither.
Speaking of the flashdrive, how the contents got unlocked was the worst piece of writing ever witnessed on. Insignificant character working at Dylan’s farm fiddles with the light switch, flashdrive drops out, “I plugged it into my laptop… I used to be a movie pirate” — or something to that effect.
And I guess speaking of technology in general, did anyone pick up on the motel’s Wi-Fi password? “Mother, all caps.” That is golden. That’s part of the beauty of the writing on this show; among all the gloom and perverse actions, there’s room for jokes like this and the running gag on Norma’s car, her general disposition in dealing with people outside her family, Romero’s reactions to Norma, Chick’s quirkiness. There’s a real subtle, deadpan humor on this show, and it’s great!
Chick finally made another appearance, being as odd as can be, and altogether less threatening. Aside from trying to persuade Caleb to try his boar jerky, he also had a risky but well-paying job to offer. But, Caleb claims to have turned over a new leaf and politely declines, but he has until the end of the week to decide.
And in closing…
-What does all this set up for Norman? What will become of him if Norma is out of the picture? For me, Bates Motel often sends me off thinking one thing and comes back at me the following week like I was foolish for my predictions. So, I’m betting she’ll return to her sons next week.
-What will Bob’s next move be? He certainly can’t accept the deal he has with Norma stand as is.
-Will Norma and Caleb have a talk? Will Caleb accept Chick’s job offer?
-Norma’s nervous twitch before meeting Bob was hilarious and perfectly executed.
-Does anyone else want to punch Marcus in the face, or is it just me?
Yup, Season 3 is in full swing now.
Rock Hard \m/