Bates Motel “Norma Louise” Review (Season 3 Episode 6)

Bates Motel Norma Louise Season 3 Episode 6 02

Well, that was freakin’ awesome!

Bates Motel returned tonight with what was definitely the best episode of the season thus far with “Norma Louise.” Tonight marks the first episode of the second half of the season, so it only made sense that the installment would be concluding a few storylines and starting a couple new ones. I just didn’t expect the halfway point of the third season to knock it out of the park like it did!

I’m not sure why they chose to put the time at the bottom left of the screen, as it was pretty clear that the episode began the moment after the last one ended and it lasted through to the next morning. The timestamp never really revealed any important information. Anyway, it was cool to see the show leave the idyllic small town of White Pine Bay for the big city of Portland, Oregon! Not much was really done in Portland, though, other than Norma scrapin’ rock bottom and picking up random creepy dudes in bars. On top of grabbing this new guy she also grabbed some new clothes and a new car! Not bad for a little two hour outing to Portland! I’m not sure how she was able to pull off trading in an old car with a bunch of damage and bullet holes into getting a relatively new Ford Mustang, but maybe the fancy new low-cut shirt had something to do with that.

She thankfully settled down a little and went back to White Pine Bay to go meet up with her psychology professor. Not only did they sleep together and quickly put an end to the “will they, won’t they” that’s been around for a couple episodes, but she also told professor Finnegan her secret! That’s a big deal! Very few people know that Norman killed his dad, so I was shocked that she went and blurted that out. I guess that’s the power of therapists, being able to extract information from people, but now I’m a little concerned that this is going to bite her in the butt down the road.

While Norma leaves the motel for a while to do her soul searching, there was some crazy stuff going on back at the homestead. They could have made Norman really annoying with his precious mother gone, but they did a great job with this. Thankfully his flailing and screaming tantrum didn’t last long, but he went from moping and whining to…wearing a dress and pretending to be Norma. Seeing Norman in that dress was definitely a holy crap moment, and Freddie Highmore did an incredible job doing an impression of Vera Farmiga’s Norma.

I also love that Dylan has become the emotional glue that’s keeping this crazy family together. His rebellious attitude and insistence on working in the drug game just made him seem like the stereotypical angry teenager in the first couple seasons, but I love that he’s somehow become the most stable presence in his family. I used to groan whenever he came back to the motel to fight with Norma and Norman, but now I love seeing him with his family.

With all of the heavy stuff going on tonight, there was still a bit of happiness to be found. The budding romance between Dylan and Emma took another step forward tonight, as Dylan is tasked to awkwardly pound on Emma’s chest. Seeing Dylan sheepishly trying to help Emma but also not hurt her or hit her boobs was bringing a smile to my face, but my smile quickly disappeared when Emma started hacking up phlegm onto the floor. If Emma is able to survive dating Norman for the rest of the season, I’m not sure how much longer she can stick around with her sickness progressing so quickly. Feel better, Emma!

There was so much great drama going on in the Bates family tonight that it would be easy to ignore anything else, but man was Romero’s storyline on point tonight. So far all of this business with Bob Paris and wannabe sheriff Marcus Young has all just been veiled threats and tough, growly voices, but tonight Romero showed Young how you deal with rivals in White Pine Bay! I totally thought that when he pulled that gun on him that he would just ask him to get out of the car, so I yelled out loud when he blew his brains out instead! I love that this Romero storyline took a huge step forward tonight, because it really needed it. This twist of Romero becoming persona non grata in White Pine Bay is a pretty cool change to what we’ve seen in the first few seasons. He’s nowhere near as untouchable as he used to be!

This great episode ended with yet another incredible scene involving the lovely Vera Farmiga. They definitely picked the right episode to name after her character, because Farmiga was on fire tonight. I was a bit disappointed that there was only two minutes left in the episode for Norma and Caleb’s reunion, but that’s all we needed. There was barely any dialog other than Caleb’s repeated “I’m so sorry”, but there really wasn’t any dialog needed. Just let your great actors act, and that’s all we need!

This was a great episode, and there was just incredible work tonight all around. There’s been certain episodes in the past where I’d single out certain performers more than others, but everybody was on point tonight. Of course the main family were all great, with Highmore, Farmiga, and Massett all killing it even more than usual, but then the supporting cast of Kenny Johnson and Olivia Cooke were superb as well. On top of the performances themselves, the storylines were all great as well. Everything is ramping up nicely with only four episodes left, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

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

Random Thoughts:

– I loved the little touch of the heart rate monitor next to Romero’s bed steadily climbing when he woke up and started freaking out.

– What did Norma think was gonna happen when she went in Taylor’s truck with him? I mean, he probably shouldn’t have whipped it out that quickly, but Norma should have anticipated what the dude wanted.

– The IMDb page for this episode listed Nicola Peltz’s character Bradley making a return, so I was waiting the whole time for her to show up. No dice. IMDb given and IMDb taketh away.