Norman's hiding Bradley after her phenomenal trip to Gil's house, which has sparked off a drug war across White Pine Bay. The man Norman thinks might have killed Miss Watson, it turns out, is her father: Nick Watson, the head of the opposing cartel. Romero, who previously pretended not to recognize him, has a pretty solid conversation with him about the tense peace of WPB to remind us all how it works there, which is that everything is horrible but that's the best they can do.
Convinced that her son is a murderer of English teachers, among others, Norma heads to the library for some books about the subject of crazy and ends up deciding that their new extracurricular activity will be community theatre. Specifically South Pacific. The director there is Rebecca Creskoff, by far the most mesmerizing part of Hung, so you know it's going to be good. Hear she's sticking around for a while, which couldn't make me happier.
What you probably were not expecting was the not one but two musical numbers: First an awkwardly lovely "Mister Sandman" duet at the Bates home, with a deteriorating Bradley listening from the basement and Norma tearing up the piano... Or a blistering "Maybe This Time" from Cabaret, which Norma sings the shit out of, as though she knows as well as we do that it's her theme song. The standing ovation after -- and Norman's impressed grin -- do for her what few things (besides fiscal solvency and/or a sense of fucking personal agency, in our world of whores and axe murderers) can. Heart-swelling, heartbreaking stuff.
But not as heartbreaking as the scene that precedes the performance, in which Norman's so fussy about getting Bradley out of town that he nearly wrecks this latest enthusiasm of his mother's... So she gets hysterical, plays the old "I think you killed your English teacher" card moms are always playing, and of course gets her way. Norman sends Dylan to help Bradley escape town, and it's bizarre how his disappointment -- this macabre wish to be the one to help his dream girl on the lam, like a murder ballad Seth Cohen -- comes across so viscerally. Obviously we should not be encouraging this sort of Nice Guy romanticism in him, and yet.
Dylan does his Dylan thing, making sure Bradley is aware of Norman's courtly honor before asking her to write a suicide note that will hopefully stop the drug war before it becomes a thing and then bringing back a sweet note for Norman as well. I was unable to properly dig into this scene because I don't really want to live in a world without Bradley Martin... But we do also meet a scintillating new girl, a quirky-dark grocery-store register kind of girl, who might accelerate Norman's growth in ways Bradley was too kind to do. So there's that.
Romero arrests a darling sleazebag (Brendan Fletcher!) for Miss Watson's murder, with some pretty convincing evidence and a monstrous rap sheet, but you know how these things go. I doubt he'll be the main suspect for long. Ditto the fabulously disgusting replacement they've sent in for Gil, Zane, about whom the less said the better. But of all the new faces in town and all the ways they creep you out, the show saves the best/worst for last, as Norma's brother Caleb finally comes calling.
Next week: Dylan tries to figure out what the deal is with Caleb, which seems like would be pretty much mashing all of Norma's buttons at once. The drug war escalates and bodies start piling up. And it seems like Grocery Girl's boyfriend maybe gets a little bi with Norman? Hope that doesn't send him into some weird psychosexual frenzy! Wouldn't that be so weird if some random normal quasi-sexual contact caused Norman Bates to flip the hell out? But then on the other hand it's like, who didn't see that one coming? Either way, I need to process all of this.
Because I dunno, you know how much I loved Zack Shelby, and that motherfucker kept Chinese sex slaves in his basement. So it's entirely possible that Caleb will have a valid viewpoint, or at least one sympathetic scene, before Norman inevitably kills the shit out of him. But it was a little weird to see Kenny Johnson's name in the credits and feel cornered, instead of happy like I normally would be. Mostly I'm just worried and sad that my girl Bradley's gone. But if she is, at least she went out like a fucking boss.
Maybe Miss Watson was going to molest him or maybe she just was being nice, but either way her ass is dead now and Norman Bates is on the case. Having solved her own little murder mystery -- or so she thinks -- the incandescent Bradley Martin has nowhere to run but Norman Bates's basement, so now he has two problems.*
*(Norman Bates has at least one million problems.)
The taxidermy animals down in the basement have been posed to look like they're having a party! Or else they were having a party last night and forgot to get their shit together before the humans woke up.
Bradley's asleep on a hasty pallet near the boiler, looking like an angel, when Norman finally shakes her awake. She moves fast, talks fast, but her eyes take a second to focus; her mouth hangs open, she is ragged.
Bradley: "Yeah so listen I need you to do the following eighty things..."
Norman: "No way. You need to tell me what's going on. Every time I keep a ratchet tore-up girl as a pet my mom yells at me. Also, we are in the middle of a love story and you don't know it yet, so I need the deets."
Bradley: "I am not interested in your mess. I am interested in a bus ticket to anywhere, some money, some food, some..."
Norman: "I don't think you realize how awkward this is for me! You have to explain the stakes so that I won't trip on the weirdness of keeping a girl under my mom's roof."
Bradley: "Okay you know what? Fine. I killed a man. I think he killed my dad, probably he did, but either way it was a squid-blessed mess with brains everywhere."
Norman: "Oh my God we have so much in common! This is crazy."
Staring down at Norma staring up at us, on a doctor's table. A clicking sound, which majorly tripped me out. I was like, "Wait, is that a speculum down there? Speculums also make a clicking sound? They literally do everything you don't want to happen." I don't know why, but the clicking noise just sent me over the edge.
Doc: "What kind of birth control are you using?"
Norma: "Ever since my sons murdered my sex slave-owning boyfriend? Mostly my personality."
Doc: "Do you have any unrelated questions to ask me while I do this?"
Norma: "Tell me about blackouts. Like, into trances, and with lost time."
Doc: "Oh, I didn't realize you were that kind of crazy."