"...We knew, finally, that the girls were really women in disguise, that they understood love and even death, and that our job was merely to create the noise that seemed to fascinate them."
His hands on her body could belong to a man.
It's two AM when Norma wakes up on her bed, still in the clothes she was wearing when she lost it, tearing down the walls. She goes looking for her son, of course; she finds someone else entirely.
Dylan: "Am I my brother's keeper? He's out. With a girl."
Norma: "The fuck you say?"
Dylan: "He's a seventeen-year-old boy who is out of the house, with a girl he likes. And I hope to God he's getting laid, because he deserves it. For putting up with your crazy ass..."
Norma: "My ass? For putting up with my ass?"
("In the end, the tortures tearing the Lisbon girls pointed to a simple reasoned refusal to accept the world as it was handed down to them, so full of flaws...")
She attacks him, but I wonder who her hands are really hitting. Bradley never registered, she's exactly the kind of vague, dangerous beauty Norma's been warning him about. Another fence too high to climb and too steely to pull down. Which leaves Emma, the dying girl. Is he out with a dying girl, getting laid?
Norma: "How dare, you don't know anything about me and Norman, you're a foreign element. We two are defined by excluding you, you can't..."
Dylan: "And yet. Yet, maybe I've gotten to him. But I know he sees the cracks."
Norma: "Norman would never say anything bad about me."
Dylan: "Not if he knew he was, no. But he said fuckin' plenty. Enough to get him out of this house, if need be..."
Norma: "Nobody is taking him away from me."
Dylan: "Uh, that girl is! As we speak!"
He holds so still, against her onslaught. Eventually, to stop her from hurting either of them Dylan backs her up against the wall, hands on her wrists, up above her head. The scariest possible physical position, when they're stronger than you. And she howls, and she resists, but then suddenly, instead of panicking, she goes limp. They just fall into each other, exhausted. It's not sexual but it is very intimate, it is bodies that have known each other for a very long time.
This -- with the violence, the consent to control of her own body, the arms above the head -- is maybe the most striking image yet, of the whole thing. It fires so many synapses, so many wrong associations, that it just kind of shuts the whole thing down and you see what you are looking at: Two wild animals, two worn-out boxers after an epic bout, wavering in a mutual TKO, holding onto each other so they don't fall down. She rests her head on his neck; they aren't embracing, but this is the same thing. It is very sad and it is very weird and very violent, and it is very, very tender. She went to sleep screaming, she woke up the same way. With a monster in the house.