Bates Motel “Unbreak-Able” Review (Season 3 Episode 4)

Bates Motel Unbreakable Season 3 Episode 4 04

We’re used to Norman and/or Norman covering up some kind of wrongdoing or criminal activity on Bates Motel, so tonight kicked things off with an fun change of pace: Norman and Norma are actually not responsible for what happened to Annika! As “Unbreak-Able” kicks off, we see the aftermath of Annika coming back to the motel and dying in Norma’s arms. Sheriff Romero has some understandable concerns about Norman possibly being involved, but for once we know he wasn’t! I mean, he may have dropped her off somewhere bad, but he obviously didn’t shoot her and hurry back to his bed. Especially not in that weird fever state he was in.

Speaking of that, what are we supposed to learn about Norman from that whole zombie state he was in, anyway? Was that just his body reacting to a near-drowning, or was it tied to him having recently accessed his repressed memories underwater? Maybe going into those memories has some kind of lasting effect on him that takes him a while to recover from.

Thankfully the investigation into Annika is shifted quickly away from the Bates’, so we don’t have to have more of Norma trying to convince Romero of their innocence. We’ve seen enough of that over the first two seasons, so I’m glad that all got figured out and that Romero was able to move onto that creepy Arcanum Club. We still don’t know exactly what’s on that flash drive, but it’s definitely tied to that freaky club since Bob clearly knew about it. You’ve got to assume it contains something incriminating about the Arcanum Club, like maybe secrets about the members or something, but then why would Annika think that could be helpful for Norma and her son? Those were her words, right? “Use it”? Maybe it has some kind of financial information that could be wired to Norma? But how would that work? Also, what a dumb question for Bob to ask Romero. What did he think he was going to say? If Romero did find something on her, did he think he would just hand it over to him? If Romero hadn’t found anything, then you just asked a really incriminating question. Man, I really hope this guy goes down hard.

On the more personal side of the episode, we got a lot of movement on the twisted Bates family dynamic tonight. Norman has gone back to feeling jealous of Dylan, which really hasn’t been much of a conflict since Dylan showed up back in season one. They quickly moved Dylan away from the household and into this whole drug business, and I think that was for the best so that we could keep Dylan busy doing his own thing. Now they’ve moved him back and we’re back to the irritating and bratty Norman, but now he’s even worse, and it’s for one big reason: Emma. He’s using Emma as a weapon to get back at Norma and make her jealous right back. The whole thing is so twisted and gross, and we’re definitely seeing the villainous side of Norman come out a lot more in this season. The Bates Motel writers need to be very careful about Norman, though, because they need to make him a killer that we can still root for. There’s tons of great examples for them to follow of TV killers that the audience still rooted for, from Dexter to Walter White and Tony Soprano, but they’re definitely toeing the line of making Norman unlikable. I don’t have to like what he’s doing, but I have to like watching him do things. Tonight he came off more as a brat than anything else.

I was hoping the nice picnic and makeout sesh in the cabin would have lifted his spirits, but that was a huge bust as well. I mean, his motivation for going on the picnic was suspect, but once he was out of the house surely he could have forgotten about Norma and enjoyed his time with Emma, right? Wrong! Instead he brought up Norma right when things were about to get heated with Emma, which is a surefire way to kill the mood. Although, I will say that I’m not quite sure who’s in the right here. Definitely namedropping Norma wasn’t a good call, but Emma saying she thinks she knows her limitations is a bit rich considering she jumped off a cliff into freezing water last season and almost died. Norman does seem to have a valid reason for concern here.

Dylan meanwhile has finally reached a good place with his dad, and Kenny Johnson delivered an incredible performance as Caleb finally came to a place of reconciliation for what he’d done. Unfortunately, you just knew that right when things were getting so good, they had to get all blown up. Norman’s off to go tattle on Dylan, so I guess we’ll see how that goes down next week.

What did you guys think of the episode? Are you still enjoying Norman as a character? Sound off in the comments section below!

Random Thoughts:

– I love that the prostitute’s reasoning for why she couldn’t have a three way was because her sister had a wedding that weekend. That’s always my excuse, too. I’d definitely get around to doing more three ways, but my weekends are just too busy!

– Has Caleb ever told Dylan that Norman tried to kill him in his hotel room?

– Overall he does a pretty good job with his American accent, but every once in a while you can really hear the British poking through in Freddie Highmore’s speech. There’s some words and sounds he just hasn’t got down yet, and I don’t know that he ever will.