Congratulations to the show on getting a second season! I can't believe how long it's been since I felt this close to a show, so it's really gratifying to see that A&E agrees. Love it.
Turns out Dylan followed Norman to Shelby's house last week -- a gawky teen zombie-walking through town with a creepy smile on his face being an interesting thing to see in the middle of the night -- and was able to distract the Deputy long enough for Norman to escape Shelby's sex slave's furious grip. But after Dylan and Norman both separately warn Norma that Shelby might not be all he seems, Norma sneaks downstairs herself and sees: Nothing. Old boxes in the places where sex slaves might go, old boxes in the places where a sex couch and video camera might go.
After some creepster run-ins with Shelby that leave him confused and terrified, Norman is pressganged into joining Shelby for a fishing afternoon that he, of course, presumes will end in his death. Shelby gives him a stepfathery speech about trust, Norman looks like he's going to barf from rage every time the beautiful Deputy touches him, and in the end Shelby's called away: Seems they've found Keith Summers's hand in the lake, and are still looking to tie this to Norma. (Norma does the pen-clicking thing a lot, let's put it that way.)
On the girl front, Emma's mesmerizing father informs Norman straight up that she has a crush on him, which doesn't faze him much because it is obvious, but warns Norman of darkness should he do anything to harm poor old Emma. And then Bradley, whose father has finally passed on, leans on Norman harder and harder for support until, by episode's end, they are doing it. Doing it!
Also doing it: Shelby and Norma, much to Dylan's wry horror and Norman's pissy paranoia. They are pretty sweet -- and very hot -- together, if you don't think about how creepy they both separately are. Sherriff Romero pulls Norma in for questioning about the watch, and she stonewalls him, then immediately drags Norman all over town looking for the carpeting they tossed that night. Eventually girlfriend ends up climbing the actual chainlink fence at a dump, screaming like Donkey Kong, which is not something I ever thought I would see Vera Farmiga do -- but because she is Vera Farmiga, she commits to it like a motherfucker, making it 100 percent amazing.
The background we get: Norma clarifies for Norman that she has been getting this amount of hell her entire life, that she knows the difference between self-defense and quote "killing the crap out of" a person, and that Norman has a history of confabulating around his hallucinations and blackouts which is why he doesn't remember that he is crazy. Norman admits to Shelby that his father was abusive, but that goes nowhere as usual. Norma's still working on screwing up the highway thing... It's good stuff, but also still vague enough that you remember next week is the season's midpoint.
The last act in particular is taut and thrilling, as several things come to a head: Building on his determination to become a valuable part of the family, Dylan finally gets Norman to open up to him -- about everything from the rape and murder to Bradley's all-clear signals -- and sends him off to hook up with Bradley. It's great because they are both great, and Norman looks amazing in red, but also because when you hear him lay out everything that's happened since they moved here at once like that, you can really see why he's so stressed out all the time. It is a lot, a lot has happened.
Back home, once Dylan lets on about Norman's virginity and etc., Norma literally attacks him, leading to an exhausted moment of intimacy between those two sad individuals that you'd have to see to understand. I dunno, it brought tears to my eyes; it reminded me of Starbuck and Apollo in the boxing ring, just wobbling together with blood coming out of every part of their faces. And but then: Norma gets arrested for murder.
Next Week: Norma gets a lovely lawyer, turns on Norman for a little bit, hits some obstacles in her relationship with Shelby, and sadly but presumably does not try to destroy another chainlink fence with her bare hands. Well. We live in hope.
Mother told Norman to break into Norma's boyfriend's house and steal back the belt that she apparently hasn't had time to ask for, so he took off down the road and ended up finding a Chinese sex slave chained up in Shelby's basement.
Dylan saw all of this go down -- on his new motorcycle, which he rides around town dressed like Racer X -- and followed, so that by the time Shelby let his dog (Clementine, btw) out of the bedroom where Norman locked her and came back downstairs, he was able to ring the doorbell and distract Shelby long enough for Norman to get away, which we did not know.
Problem #1: Doped-up Chinese sex-slaves have some serious upper body.
Problem #2: Norman Bates... does not.
Norman: "I will come back and get you at a later date, but I have to leave right now because we are in the house of a cop so paranoid he keeps a baseball bat named ZEUS next to his bed, and so scary that he has a you in his basement."
Jiao: "I am pretty sure you should help me out."
Norman: "As I said, young lady, that is on the agenda but it is not an action item at this time. I will return, with tools and remedies. Of all kinds. Sundry aid."
Jiao: "I am just sort of going to pull on your leg while we scream at each other, okay? I get antsy."
Norman: "This is why you shouldn't break into people's houses, I suppose. In case of shit like this."
Dylan: "Hi, we don't know each other so I don't know how suspicious this is going to turn out to look, but could you help me with a motorcycling problem?"
Shelby: "No! I am off-duty and not required to help those in need."
Dylan: "Hypocrite lecteur, -- mon semblable, -- mon frère!"
Shelby: "Okay, because we look like differently nourished versions of the same person, I will tell you that a gas station exists. Somewhere."
Dylan: "Do but point in the direction, sirrah, and I will go."
Shelby, nastily pointing: "Ugh!"
Dylan: "Hey, welcome home. How come you broke into a cop's house?"
Norman: "Do what? I was just on a little jog."
Dylan: "In the middle of the night? In a sweater and dungarees?"
Norman: "Mere exertion is no excuse for being slovenly, Dylan. Think about that, the next time you're not shaving your face because you are too lazy."