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'Bates Motel' recap: Less passive, more aggressive

Season 2 | Episode 8 | “Meltdown” | Aired Apr 21, 2014

When we last checked in at Bates Motel, Deputy Overachiever gave Sheriff Romero the bad news that Norman Bates had deposited his man-juice into Blair Watson before she died. As a new day unfolds, Norma wakes to the sweetest photograph of Norman as a child and goes looking for him. Norman gazes pensively through the motel blinds, his face disturbingly blank; Romero’s expression, on the other hand, is taut as he bounces a ball in his temporary abode at the motel. On a coffee run, he sneaks glances at Norman in the motel office, very clearly trying to determine if this kid could be a killer. He leaves as Norma arrives. She wants to repair the new rift between her and Norman, but he makes it clear that if she won’t come clean about his psychological health, he’s not interested. He leaves and Nick Ford arrives. He’d like a meeting with Dylan, please thank you very much — talk to your son before I end him.

Dylan wakes in the brush outside of Nick’s warehouse as Romero arrives to investigate. Dylan beats a hasty but stealthy path away from the scene — chess pieces chasing each other across the board. At Jodi’s house, Zane tries to justify his insanity. Jodi thinks he’s just resentful that she’s running the family business. Dylan does not give a damn. Nick Ford’s people will come for them. He tells Zane, whose big solution is to press Nick further, that he needs to lay low instead. Jodi tells Zane that he knows where he can go.Having no luck reaching Dylan, Norma recruits Emma to lead her to him. At pot HQ, Dylan’s supervisory role and office impress Norma. She tells Dylan about her visitor. What the hell, Norma? Stay away from Nick Ford, he says. If I meet with him, he’ll put a bullet in me. In a touching and sincere expression of concern, Norma tries to get Dylan to talk to her about their estrangement. Dylan just can’t. He can’t!

Back at the motel, lawyer George shows up to give Norma the good news that the bypass is on pause. She gives him a big squeeze. He wants more: a dinner date.

Romero listens to Deputy Lin flap her gums about her search for Zane. Do the work, find him and let me know after you do, he says.

Someone follows Dylan. Sirens — better than gunshots. Thankfully — maybe — it’s Romero: “Where the hell’s Zane Morgan?” Dylan says he doesn’t know, inviting the ire of a lawman who’s surely sick to death of the Bates family dysfunction at this point. He slams Dylan against the truck and makes him promise to tell him where Zane is as soon as he finds out.

Norman enjoys his taxidermy work so much that he wants to share it with his mother, so he places dead animals throughout the house. Awesome. I wonder, Where’d you get all the dead animals? Fair question, I think.

Romero knocks at the Bates house on the pretense of a shower curtain rod emergency to get time alone with Norman. In the motel, he grills Norman about his relationship with Miss Watson and tells the teen that his teacher was promiscuous. He asks if Norman slept with her, which sends Norman into an emotional spiral. Norman flees.

The next morning, Nick Ford comes knocking. Norma’s in town, but Norman invites him to wait. Nick asks why Norman was taking photos of him at the grave of his daughter, Blair Watson. Norman explains that he’d overheard Miss Watson having an argument with someone named Eric and thought he might be him. No, explains Nick, Eric is his guy and he was breaking the news to Blair that she was being cut off from her father’s money. Norma returns. Nick wants to know about Dylan. Norma says she can’t get in touch with him. “I don’t like you, and I don’t trust you,” she says as she boots him out the front door. Nick tells her she has him to thank for all of her recent good fortune. She owes him. Norma balks. Norman eavesdrops.

Later, Norma tells Norman that she’s going on a date with George and will probably be very late, but is unsuccessful in getting Norman’s jealousy up. She then sabotages her date with George at the first sign of him trying to get to know her better.

Dylan makes arrangements to meet with Nick Ford at a pizza place outside of White Pine Bay. In the nicest way possible, Nick threatens to kill Dylan and his entire family unless Dylan disposes of Zane.

Deputy Lin wants to have private chat. The jury came back and convicted Kyle Miller of murdering Blair Watson. She directly challenges her boss: What are we going to do about the fact that Norman Bates had sex with Blair Watson the night she was killed? In the nicest way possible, Romero threatens to end her career if she reveals that information to anyone.

Norma confronts Norman about his distant behavior. He blows up at her, accusing her of killing the trust between them by withholding the truth about his condition. Doors slam. Norma runs out. In the most messed-up way, Norma gets back at her son by having spite sex with George. “I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time,” George says between lip-locking. “Then do it,” she commands, stepping out of her panties.

Holy crap. Jodi did not just give Dylan permission to kill her brother. OMG, I think she did.

Sheriff Romero corners Norman at the motel: You did have sex with Blair Watson, and I need details in a non-creepy sort of way. Scared and confused, Norman bolts for the house, where he fondles Blair’s pearl necklace while he reads her obituary. There’s a creaking from downstairs. “Mother?” It’s not Mother, Norman. It’s what we can only assume is one of Nick’s henchmen, who grabs Norman from behind.

In bed at George’s house, Norma’s eyes flash open.

The psycho we’re so familiar with is slowly emerging from teen Norman Bates. Why do you think Sheriff Romero is protecting him? Post your theories in the comments.

Bates Motel, rated TV-14, airs Mondays at 10/9 C on A&E.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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