Bates Motel “The Arcanum Club” Review (Season 3 Episode 2)

Bates Motel The Arcanum Club Season 3 Episode 2  04

Bates Motel returned tonight with “The Arcanum Club,” as Norman’s evolution into a full-blown psychotic killer takes a few massive leaps forward, Norma sneaks into a creepy party, and Dylan keeps dealing with his daddy issues.

The main plot of the episode of course deals with the aftermath of Annika’s demise, and how Norman is trying to cover it up from his mom. It appears that Norman has had a bit of a breakthrough on his way to becoming a serial killer, and he doesn’t seem to have a “zone” that he falls into anymore where he blacks out and doesn’t know what he did. He seems fully aware of his murderous actions, and is actively trying to cover them up while in his “normal” mode.

There also seems to be some kind of sexual trigger to his killings now. He’s become much more affectionate to not only his taxidermy subjects, but he even seems more touchy feely with his mom. He’s also dating Emma for real now, which means that his affection is flowing a lot more than it used to. He seems barely able to contain himself, resulting in that awkward moan at the dinner table when Emma was very forward about wanting to have sex with him. He seems like he’s controlling his urges around her for now, so he hasn’t quite flipped the switch into a total psycho killer yet. I still have the sneaking suspicion that this season will culminate in Norman killing Emma so that Olivia Cooke can focus on her burgeoning film career. I’m already getting sad just thinking about it.

I was a real big fan of this show in the first two seasons, and one of the things that I really loved about it was that it wasn’t rushing through anything. Over two seasons, Norman barely killed anyone and there was a fun “will they/won’t they” going on with Emma. Now in the first episode of the season Norman kills somebody and he’s dating Emma. It feels like things are progressing pretty darn fast, and I hope they don’t rush things too much. Norman seems to be progressing very fast on his way to becoming the Norman Bates we all know and love, so I’m betting that he eventually becomes a serial killer that Norma is totally aware of and she simply tries to control him. Maybe this becomes a Dexter-like arrangement where Norma just tries to get Norman to kill the right people.

As exciting and creepy as Norman and Norma’s storyline is, Dylan’s complicated relationship with his dad is not very interesting. This guy was just a deadbeat douchebag last season, so I don’t believe that he would suddenly turn into such a great dad overnight. There must be something in it for him that we don’t know yet. Maybe he’ll try to cheat Dylan out of his new weed business or something. This new Chick character is pretty cool, though. Sons of Anarchy‘s Ryan Hurst is chewing up a lot of scenery as an illegal arms dealer, and I’m excited to have a character in Dylan’s storyline that I actually care about.

It was a little odd that the episode was named after The Arcanum Club, and that Norma’s goofy break-in to said club ended up accounting for a very small part of the episode. Plus, now that Annika’s body has been found, there’s not going to be any reason for Norma to be interacting any more with this shady club and their creepy sex room. I guess they just needed a cool sounding title for the episode.

What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments section below!

Random Thoughts:

– I had totally forgotten that Sheriff Romero was still staying at the motel! All this shady stuff goes on there and he’s been living right there!

– Did we know before tonight that the bypass was being called the “Lee Berman Memorial Bypass?” That was a nice little callback to season 2.

– Man, it seems like it’s always raining on this show! We’re going through the worst drought in our history here in Southern California, and it seemingly never stops raining in Vancouver.