Bates Motel: Season 4 – Episode 1 Recap

by Rob Caprilozzi

Recap by: Lady Bastard



“A Danger to Himself and Others”


Synopsis: Norman comes home to stay; Romero fights his inner demons; a DeCody family reunion


Summary (with SPOILERS):  Dylan and Norma are frantically looking for Norman who has not returned home after leaving with Bradley.  Norman is discovered by a passerby having a heated dialogue in the middle of a field with a mother who isn’t there. Norma rushes to the psychiatric ward where Norman has been admitted while Dylan heads up to Portland to see Emma through her lung transplant. She is not allowed to see Norman while he is under 48-hour observation. Dr. Palmer coldly scolds Norma for not having Norman treated for his known blackouts and calls her a negligent mother who missed her chance to help her son. Norma seeks help from Romero but he dismisses her amidst his own personal chaos.  Norma revisits the Pineview mental health facility and is once again turned away due to lack of insurance and medical diagnosis.  As Norman awaits discharge, Dr. Palmer warns Norma that Social Services will check in to ensure he has a doctor and plan for treatment. Once Norman is safely back home, Norma confirms his need for a real doctor.  Norman agrees and demands his mother never send him to a place like that again where he had horrible dreams of her killing Bradley. Norma breaks her morning snuggle with Norman to visit Romero, locking the bedroom door behind her. She casually requests that Romero marry her so she can have insurance for Norman’s psychiatric care.  He casually sends her on her way.


Romero intentionally sinks Bob Paris’ boat with his bound corpse stuffed inside. He buries stacks of cash under the bricks in his floor and is tormented by his murderous deeds. He has no time for Norma and her irrational demands.


Emma undergoes a successful lung transplant.  While Dylan & Mr. DeCody await her recovery, Emma’s estranged mother shows up and is kicked out by her ex.  Mrs. DeCody checks into the Bates Motel. Norma tells her that her lost relationship with her daughter is her own business and refuses to deliver a letter to Emma. She chastises Norma for not knowing what it’s like to have a sick child.  When Norma leaves to ask Romero for his hand in marriage, Mrs. DeCody goes to the house to ask Norman to be her messenger.  She finds him dressed in Mother’s robe – a logical reaction to his being locked up and left alone.  Norman/Norma pretends to sympathize but quickly attacks her for leaving a sick child. As he strangles her to death, he talks of Emma feeling the abandonment of her mother every day of her life.


Opinion: Norma wobbles to and fro, her actions and expressions in pure survival mode.  Her detachment from what is appropriate affects her ability to protect Norman.  As soon as Norma locked the bedroom door, the math showed that Norman was going to kill Emma’s mother. I would have preferred something less predictable from a season premiere. And I still don’t get Dylan’s puppy (love) eyes.  Still.


“Keeping the Creepy” Score: 3 – While under observation in the psychiatric ward, Norman drifts in and out of memories of his mother: sitting at the piano with him as a toddler; bashing Bradley’s head against the rocks; taking freshly baked cookies out of the oven…

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