Summers stands, handcuffed and grins at her. Even without the power, he knows what words will work. Words: "You liked it."
When Norman returns with bandages, his mother has stabbed Keith Summers about twelve times, with a large kitchen knife. Poetry. The blood is pooling. He calls her name, "Mother!" She's quiet. It is all quiet. She gave him a home and they took it away again. Every nook and cranny, but she won't call 911. It's not like she's pressing charges; it's not like it's the first death.
Norman: "It was self-defense!"
Norma: "This will become public, it'll be in all the papers. Everyone in town will know."
What she means is, the town did this. We are in a hostile place. Like any other place.
Norma: "Who's gonna book a room in the rape-slash-murder motel? We came here to start over, I'm fucking starting over."
And what about this? Where the hell was Norman? He lies for a second, but he can't lie to her for long. When he admits he was off at a party, it's without a lot of prelude; he sets his back straight and admits it with honor. He tells the truth: He honestly thought it was about studying. And then, seeing she's still pissed -- that the rape and the murder, he just witnessed are about to go on his permanent blame record -- he pulls the most manipulative move of the night: He flips out.
"I didn't know -- it hardly matters right now, there's a dead man on the floor, there's a lake of blood, what are we supposed to do, clean this up with paper towels and spray cleaner? I don't think so, holy hell! Mother! We're totally screwed, what are we doing? We don't know what we're doing!"
She reels him in, saying his name again and again. He lets her calm him. It stops being about him and starts being about them again. She goes quiet and cold and looks around and starts to plan.
I'll tell you this -- and it goes for both of them, already Norman is there -- the majority of shit that is wrong with you started out as a solution to something. The human mind is expertly functional and extremely efficient when it needs to be: Most non-chemical crazy is just solutions that stayed too long -- scaffold for a building that's since been built, that's now made weaker by it -- which is by the way why it's dumb to be ashamed of them. In this case, that little histrionic breakdown did exactly what it was programmed to do: Force her to compensate, to assume the shape he needs her to assume, so she won't flip this energy and attack him.