Linked so I don't have to say the whole thing over again, but yeah: Married Dylan's dad out of high school, fell in love with a monster seventeen years ago. For somebody who has been beaten into this sort of feral paranoia thing she's got going on, she does at least have a rational approach to the possibility of people. And of all the denizens in man's world, in WPB specifically, he's certainly the least blockheaded, the least aggressive, the least oppressive, the most protective. Young enough to be a softer man, born of a better generation; beautiful as an old woman, and just as strong.
Norma: "It is new. He is not a bad man. I want you to like him. He cares about us."
Norman: "It is a trap, he is a bad man, I do not like him, he keeps girls in his basement. I do not want to fish with him..."
So maybe the reason she believed him, when he started that romance-novel talk in the first hot minute, is because she wanted to. Or needed to.
Norma, verbatim: "That's just because of your father. You can't actually believe that any man is actually kind."
Or else that's just how he knew he'd get away with it. If he's a bad man, he can smell that on her. And every man's hand before him.
After Norma got mad, after Norman nearly showed her -- but then oddly didn't -- the bruises on his ankle that prove nothing, she shouted him into obeying. Now they're on a high cliff in a secret spot, fly-fishing down into the deeps. It is a beautiful place and a beautiful day, and Shelby's trying his damnedest.
Shelby: "Sooo... You're like this huge asexual mess, huh. What was your relationship with your father actually like? My understanding is that he was pretty abusive, before you and/or your mother murdered him."
Norman, verbatim: "He had his moments."
Shelby: "Did he ever hurt you, Norman?"
Norman: "No? Which is almost certainly a lie, but you don't get to have that. What's your game, what's the scheme, what's the flimflam?"
Shelby: "Or maybe I'm a good man?"
Norman: "Yeah right. You and Dylan both, just good-manning it up, contra every piece of evidence I have ever experienced in my entire life. Good one."
I love this show, obviously. But especially I love this episode because of this: The one repeated thing where the guy -- Shelby, then Dylan, even Romero -- keeps doing this one trick of the light, it's even the title of the episode, and you've just spent three hours seeing what the world of men can do and how far you have to go to stay safe, and then these men just go ahead and remind you that they're people. But you can't ever know.