Last night was Bradley's beach memorial: Emma went home drunk with Cupcake Boy and Norman narrowly escaped kissing a dude, only to walk into what he thought was domestic violence but was actually an existential crisis in the offing as Norma revealed that the boys' uncle Caleb is also Dylan's, um, father.
Next morning, Emma wakes up in Cupcake's motel room -- minutes from work! -- and discovers on her very short walk of shame that Dylan's gone on quite the bender, passing out hardcore in his truck and covered in puke. The team rallies, getting him into bed and trying to defend the gruesome truth from Emma's unerring nose for nonsense, but presently Dylan has rewritten his entire history fairly accurately, explaining his outsider status in the family, Norma's pushmi-pullyu parenting style, and even the weirdness of Norma and Norman's little army of two.
Norman's characteristic sweetness in the face of this breakdown leads Dylan to suggest vaguely but shittily that Norman has secrets of his own he doesn't know about, but at this point Norman is almost used to hearing about the shit he gets up to when he's in a fugue state; and besides, Norma says it's nothing. They curl up in bed together, creepy as ever, and Norman decides he should do something dreadful. (Between all the physicality crossfire going on with Norma's body this week -- and the shocking Norman scene at the end of the episode -- it's interesting how much they lean on that weird, satiated, polymorphous-perverse smile he gets whenever Norma's in his arms.)
Anyway, before Norman can commit to doing anything more violent than neverending hugs and snuggles, Christine forces another group date with George on Norma, railroading her into a lovely dinner that puts George on Norman's radar in a hilariously terrifying way. While Christine's husband is pretty blasé about Norma's soon-to-fail business, George is sweet about it and, in some ways, it seems to stiffen her resolve about protecting her stake.
After a series of spats between Dylan and Norma officially cements her sexual assault narrative into Norman's graphic imagination, Dylan's still pretty ambiguous about which version of history he's going to end up believing -- especially as Caleb immediately gives back the money he borrowed and offers to leave town because of how weird things are getting -- but he moves out nonetheless, the better to spiral into darkness all alone.
The most interesting part of this probably is the insightful way Dylan rewrites his biography, in light of all the vagueness and sudden horror that's come his way: Given the timing, Norma used his infant existence to lock down her high school boyfriend, meaning that whether or not he's the abomination he thinks he is, she still used him as exactly the pawn he's always felt like, to escape her awful home. She swears that's not how it went down, but honestly that sounds like a very Norma plan. I mean as long as you're pregnant anyway, you might as well get a ticket out of hell for it.
Sheriff Romero visits Zane, the new head of Dylan's drug crew, to remind him that nobody likes a tall poppy and maybe he should just be happy to be a part of the status quo. Zane responds by burning his fucking house down, so now we have three fronts in this drug war -- and thanks to Christine's husband and this highway bypass, Norma seems poised to ally with precisely the wrong one: Nick Ford, Zane's opposing general and the father of poor slutty dead Miss Watson.
After Norma's first try at threatening Caleb falls apart in panic attacks before it starts, Norman and Cody decide to visit and scare him out instead. (That would be Norman and Cody, the pair of pale teenagers who probably top out at a buck ninety combined.) Norman freaks out before they do anything -- giving Cody a nice preview of his violence in the process -- but by nightfall, after one recitation of the rape story too many, Mother heads over there under her own steam.
What follows is super effed! You know Norman is in some kind of altered state but it's only after a few weird lines of dialogue that you realize he is well and truly in Mother mode at this time -- talking this shit like how he's Caleb's little sister and loved him and needed protecting, all the Norma stuff verbatim -- before the giant knife comes out. All of this proves way too much for Uncle Caleb, who beats the kid soundly and leaves him bleeding in the moodily lit motel room to be saved later, still catatonic, by Cody Brennan.
So everybody continues to make new friends, which is nice. Cody's probably not a great bet, Dylan's headed for a major disaster, even George seems to think there's something off about Christine's obsession with Norma, and Romero's probably going to have to set some people on fire sometime soon, but at least Emma's gonna lose her virginity to Cupcake Boy before she dies. So we got that going on.
Christine Heldens wants to make Norma a permanent fixture via her brother George, regardless of what Norman thinks about all that. Norman and Emma made new friends at Bradley's memorial service. Dylan made a new friend who turned out to be his uncle, who turned out to also be his dad -- which Norma only admitted so Norman would stop beating up his brother like some kind of psycho -- and which has now obviously sent all three of the Massett/Bateses into total meltdown.
Emma wakes up looking even more beautiful than she always does, in a room of the motel where she works, next to a tuckered-out Cupcake Boy. Fearing the worst, she gets hers shit together and drags her O2 tank outside, where a curious child and a worried mom draw near.
Emma: "This is just my tank, I am fine, don't pester me about my congenital situation."
Mom: "Okay but like is there a manager here? I wasn't actually concerned about you."
Emma: "I am basically the manager. Which makes it all the more convenient that I woke up on the premises."
Mom: "Okay because there is a very sympathetic boy passed out in that truck over there, covered in puke. Seems like something you should be aware of."
Emma is worried immediately to see Dylan's dire state, can't rouse him, and is immediately faced with a thickness and a pukiness when she opens the truck door and -- "Oops, whup, nope, back in, back in" -- he comes spilling out on top of her, still out of it. She always makes the best faces!
UP THE HILL
She has to poke Norman about five times before he wakes up, wild-eyed, and the relief that Dylan's nearby and not wrapped around a telephone pole, or worse, doesn't quite get in the way of covering for Norma: "She had a tough night," he says. "I can help."
After an awkward "I'm in my boxers" moment, he's dressed and downstairs. Those two kids are becoming old hands at carrying half-dead people around that motel! They get him into a bed and start tugging at his shoes; Emma is, of course, curious.
Emma: "What on Earth is this? Do you think he has alcohol poisoning? Did he get fired from being a drug mercenary? Did he get into a fight with somebody?"
Norman: "I don't know, Emma. Stop asking me questions, Emma. It is too weird to talk about so stop talking."
They used to be really good friends. Maybe they still can be. Norma shows up, looking pretty ratchet in her own right, and just kind of stares around at everybody.