Last week, Bates Motel ended on a note of game changing character development for Dylan. This week, the show didn’t capitalize on the twist in “Caleb” in an opportunistic way. Instead, the writers used the development to deliver a strong, emotional journey for Max Thieriot‘s character and a dark view of Norman’s psychosis.
Read on for my review of “Check-Out.” Beware there are SPOILERS for the episode and past episodes. Read at your own discretion.
I’ll start this review with the smallest thing that happened this week. Emma woke up in bed with weed guy after getting drunk with him at Bradley’s memorial. In my review last week, I lamented that Emma has been relegated to comic relief on the show. It seems like her character doesn’t like it either.
Throughout the episode, Emma was slightly upset that she wasn’t involved with the Bates’ disturbing family issues. She offered her help to Norman but he, albeit delicately, told her it wasn’t her concern. I’m glad that the writers gave her something to work with. I like Olivia Cooke and the character is an interesting counterpoint to Norman’s quiet, adolescent intensity.
I shouldn’t be worried, though. I feel like they are building Emma toward something interesting. I love how open the character is with the weed guy. They have an interesting chemistry that I’m eager to see explored. The guy is kind of cocky and Emma is upfront and honest, perhaps a bit naively so. She was left this week feeling happy and I’m rooting for her. But given the guy’s involvement with the criminal element of White Pine Bay, I’m nervous for her moving forward.
Moving on to the meat of the episode. Dylan spent this episode in an existential funk as he dealt with the aftermath of learning his uncle is his dad. I loved his skepticism after he talked to Caleb. It felt real; like he wanted it not to be true so he welcomed a shaky explanation.
It wasn’t Dylan’s scene with Caleb that stood out, though. It was his scenes with Norma. In particular, the end of the episode featured Dylan accepting the truth and explaining his perception of the situation to his mother. He tells her, point blank, that she kept him as a means to dupe a guy into marrying her. His life was her ticket away from home and away from her abusive brother.
Max Thieriot’s acting was really great in this scene. Throughout the run of the series he’s been somewhat of a loner and a renegade. This was the first time we truly saw him vulnerable and displaying a need for family that seems to be what he’s always wanted.
The Caleb development last week also reverberated into Norman’s character development this week. We were offered some Cody backstory as Norman spent a little more time with her. She’s a bad influence and she doesn’t realize she’s enabling the monster residing in Norman Bates. I’m excited to see how this thread plays out.
I just brushed past a pretty big moment. Cody handed Norman a tire iron and drove him to Caleb’s hotel with the intention of “scaring” him. Hell, maybe Cody and Norman are perfect for each other. The scene where Norman is in the car as violent images of his brain interpreting Caleb raping Norma was disturbing.
At the end of the episode, Norman goes back and confronts Caleb. The scene really developed Norman’s psychosis substantially further than last season. He’s had visions of his mother guiding him but this was the first time we saw him fully manifest his split personality disorder. It was eerie and makes me wonder how long the writers plan on taking the show.
Caleb got away from Norman, though. I imagine he’ll be killed off next week. The character is living on borrowed time but I want Kenny Johnson to have as much screen time as possible. Dylan stormed out of the house at the end of the episode. Maybe he is going to kill him? That would be interesting, though a little far I think.
The episode ended with Cody helping a catatonic Norman. I hope he doesn’t kill her. I don’t think he will yet. There’s too much story there. And if they did, they would have ended the episode on that instead. One thing’s for sure though, two guest stars have been witness to Norman’s peculiar, psychopathic behavior. I’m expecting a little bit of bloodshed next week.
Aside from the problems with the family Bates, things heated up with the new boss of the crime syndicate, Zane. The scene between Zane and Sheriff Romero (a character the show has been lacking the last couple weeks) was intense. Zane is a loose cannon to the point of stretching my patience. I’m hoping Romero kills him. Though that might cut off a plot thread prematurely.
Then again, now that Zane has torched Romero’s house, I think things will get pretty interesting.
What did you think of this episode? Let me know in the comments and make sure you check out all my other Bates Motel related posts. Also, follow me around the internet with the links below.
CHECK OUT MY EPISODE REVIEWS OF HOUSE OF CARDS AND UNDER THE DOME.
LATE CHECK OUT (PARTING THOUGHTS ON THE EPISODE)
- Dylan almost telling Norman about his dad was crazy.
- Norman and Norma in bed really amplified the weirdness of their relationship. The casual way the scene played out made it feel even more gross and inappropriate than last season when Norman slept with his mom.
- Katy Perry’s Roar is used in this episode. It bugs me. Does she really rhyme the word “Fire” with “Fire”?