Bates Motel “The Pit” Review (Season 3 Episode 8)

Bates Motel The Pit 4

There’s only three episodes left to this season of Bates Motel, so this week’s episode was pretty busy as we’re already ramping up towards the season finale. Dylan and Caleb are on a father/son road trip, Bob Paris put a hole in Norma’s front yard and her boyfriend’s foot, and Norman cranked up the creepy factor to 11 with his mom. There’s a lot of stuff going on here, you guys!

The biggest standout of the installment for me was Bob Paris, who really had his coming out party in this episode. We’ve only really seen him so far be passively threatening and smarmy, but tonight we got to see him being actually dangerous through his brutal torture of poor, beleaguered Professor Finnegan. Man, that guy got involved in the wrong family’s drama! Even though Paris isn’t the one actually driving the nail, I think that’s what makes him feel so much more dangerous. He doesn’t need to lift a finger, but he can make your life a living hell regardless. Kevin Rahm plays this character so well, and it’s really weird seeing him play such a different persona from the Mad Men character everybody knows him from. I also liked the reveal that he’s been watching Norma this whole time, keeping tabs on her in Portland and beyond. Also, bonus points for name dropping Deputy Shelby!

You just knew that this little road trip with Caleb and Dylan wasn’t going to end well, but it still had a few highlights as well. First of all, Chick is still an awesome character, so I hope he wasn’t purposefully screwing Caleb and Dylan here. I mean, if he wanted to kill these guys and send them to their death, surely there would have been an easier way to do it then to sacrifice a bunch of guns and one of his trucks, not to mention one of his precious pieces of artwork! Second, I loved how natural Dylan and Emma were on the phone. They really talk like normal young people talk when they’re awkward and have feelings for each other but don’t quite know how to put them. Great stuff, and it reminds me of the kind of work that Bates Motel showrunner Kerry Ehrin was so great at when she worked on Friday Night Lights. She clearly knows how teenagers act and talk, and that’s always been a highlight of this series. I’m also glad that Emma finally ended her relationship with Norman, and she even addressed her old fling with Gunner! She’s really clearing house to make room for Dylan, so I hope these two have some semblance of a happy ending! If Emma gets killed or dies from her disease, I will riot!

I’ve always dreaded having to write about the awkward moment when Norman finally addresses the elephant in the room regarding his attraction to his mom, but thankfully it was handled wonderfully! Norma did a great job at not making Norman feel bad or guilty for these feelings, but also not encouraging them or validating them in any real way. I was afraid that she would either overreact and drive him further away, or try to play along and lead to an even creepier scene, but she did everything perfectly!

However, despite this productive conversation and creepy snuggle session, we still had a big blowup at the end of the episode when Norma told Norman what she revealed to James. Every scene with Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga is dynamite, and this one was no different. I can’t say enough about how great these two are in these roles, and I especially loved Norma dropping the oddly prophetic line “You’re gonna kill me, Norman”.

The big reveal that Bradley is back was a bit anti-climactic considering that Nicola Peltz’ name was in the opening credits, but I’m still definitely interested to see what she’s doing back in White Pine Bay. Also, why and how did the ghost Juno lead Norman to her? What’s going on?! We only have two episodes left to find out!

Random Thoughts:

– Freddie Highmore’s little bit of physical comedy untangling that fencing cord was pretty great. This guy’s got a knack for comedic timing so I

– Was anybody else super concerned that Emma was standing right in front of a very deep pit while she was breaking up with Norman? Step away from the pit, Emma!

– It’s so weird having Kevin Rahm starring in two totally different shows airing in back to back nights. If only Bob Paris had the same killer mustache that Rahm is sporting on Mad Men.