Oh dear. Well, it starts off innocently enough, with Norma explaining to Sherriff Romero once again that she is a magnet for bullshit and that 100 percent of his police persons should be watching her every move... Even as she is (delightfully) getting a gun and then gun-shooting lessons from poor desperate motherless Dylan. In the end it all goes to shit, because her titular meeting with Jake Abernathy (aka Joe Fioretti, which we'll talk about that name in the recap) at midnight is only hours away.
While Romero questions various meth-looking people about how the whole sex slave situation works, Norma chases her own ass down a rabbit hole of crazy, ending with a pre-Prom speech to Norman about how her own brother molested her fairly regularly and that's how her scar happened on her leg and hey! doesn't Emma look lovely. So he's primed for crazy before they even get there.
Emma and Norman ask each other out to the winter dance in a lovely, adorable way, but the second they show up it's all "Bradley's boyfriend finally shows up to get violent" and "Emma runs around yanking her oxygen tubes out of her face" so when Miss Watson -- who is clearly setting Norman up for a no-joking murder of her boyfriend or husband or whatever tawdry bullshit -- picks him up on the lonely road he's always walkin'... Norman can't help but say okay.
So while Norma is watching Romero gun down Abernathy -- in a not-even-very corrupt, more like totally-valid way -- Norman is getting a ride home from the one lady in the WPB that isn't Bradley, Emma, Norma... but somehow all of them, and looking for more. Mother appears, just as Miss Watson is undressing in her house for nefarious but very molesty reasons... And then sweet little Norman shows up back at home, everything fine for the whole family except for how we'll soon be hearing that Miss Watson's throat will be slashed.
For a show whose genius must have little to do with the ratings its buzz generates -- enough that we got a second season -- it makes the right amount of sense: This is where we leave it, with a dead molesty teacher and Norma sucked/tied in more and more to the corruption of the town that has driven them both insane.
But looking at this as a beginning, rather than an end, "Norman's First (eh?) Murder" is only the most logical pause for the story: Of course Miss Watson of the million red flags was up to no good, and of course "Mother" could call her out in one second. Especially after Norma's very realistic -- but oddly timed -- explanation of her own sexual bullshit, brought on by her assumption she was about to get murdered and a stray psych appointment she randomly commandeered.
We're left wanting more, which I guess is the point, but for a show that has staked its claim on the fucked up things happening in spite of or alongside or around the beautiful, soulful emotions of its principals, it's a funny little finale. In some ways very big -- Mother has just killed her first giant slut -- but in other ways, very small. It's discomfiting to leave an episode with Norma content, much less a season... But then, that's the scariest thing of all, right?
From what I've tasted of desire, I'm looking to dwelling in this episode a little longer -- especially knowing there's a whole 'nother season of fire and ice to look forward to, and none of the three female leads down at that!
Bradley took Norman's v-card and then got his brother to sneak her into her dad's drug-dealer office, where she learned a mysterious "B" was having an affair with her burned-up dead dad. This is in the previouslies for some reason. More relevant, though, is how Norman very nearly serial killed her for Friendzoning him, which was scary! Over on the mom side, Norma made the acquaintance of the so-called Jake Abernathy, a supercreepy sex-slaving resurrectionist who sent her flowers -- flowers of murder -- and will now be extorting from her one hundred and fifty-thousand imaginary dollars.
Norma: "I need to speak to Sheriff Romero right away! It is a matter of life and death!"
Distractingly Beautiful Receptionist: "And what is your name?"
Norma: "Bitch I know you know who I am."
DBR: "Yeah, sorry. I get bored because the cops in this town do not work. You're basically the only person I ever talk to, now that Shelby is dead many times over."
Romero: "Her name is Norma Louise Bates! And she is a pain in my keester!"
Norma: "We need to talk!"
Romero: "Yeah I'm sure. It's been five seconds, so."
Romero: "He wants a hundred-fitty? Where are you going to get it?"
Norma: "Obviously I don't have any money to give him. Even beating the shit out of that real estate bro last week only netted me a couple dozen Dave & Busters tokens."
Romero: "Then I guess we're gonna have to care. Ugh, Norma..."
Norma: "I know! I'm very inconvenient!"
Romero: "Okay, just let me handle it."
Norma: "What? Why would I do that?"
Romero: "Because you came here specifically to ask me to do that?"
Norma: "Yeah, when you say it like that it just seems weirdly trusting. Like, do either of us really believe I'm not gonna fuck this up and get us all killed?"
Romero: "Just don't do anything dumb like buy a black-market gun, and we'll be fine."
Norma: "Dylan, could you call me back? I need to acquire a gun immediately."
Norman: "Staring up at this school dance banner makes you look like a real loser."
Emma: "Yeah, I was just thinking it's good you're a sociopath that won't ask me. I'd hate to get all gussied up. My oxygen tank is already so glam."