Despite the fact that it didn't work out well for either of them, Norma and Norman both stood tall and showed strength they don't normally possess and it was rather beautiful.
Unfortunately, on Bates Motel Season 3 Episode 5 the forward progress they made probably felt short lived after they were blown backward by the fallout of Dylan's reveal about Caleb.
I'm hoping the strength they showed will power through in the long run.
A couple things worked out really well. First, despite his earlier misgivings about having Gunner on the farm, he cracked the code on the flash drive, giving Norma the ammunition she needed to battle Bob Paris. That was pretty handy.
Second, Norma's decision to keep the drive and not let it go, betting on the contents and Annika's promise it would be of benefit to Normally and her family really did pay off.
Thankfully, those two things happened independently of Norma learning about Caleb, news Norman thought he delivered when he was, instead, experiencing a blackout. He's just frightened enough to try being a good brother (we'll get to that in a moment) and Norma is scared enough that she took her foot off the breaks and plunged ahead as soon as Dylan shared the news about the contents of the drive.
Romero urged her to hold back, but Norma was right. Nobody in that crummy town was going to take one more pound of her flesh without her getting a little something in return.
This is the first time since I moved to this crummy town that I have anybody by the short hairs. I'm gettin' something out of it.Norma
I think the reason her plan worked so well was because she didn't ask for the world. Her demands were well within reasonable guidelines when making such a deal.
Instead of asking for an enormous amount of cash or making undue threats, she merely wanted an exit off the expressway toward Main Street and her establishment, two billboards touting Bates Motel in either direction and a pool, complete with a Jacuzzi and safety fence.
In return, she promised never to make another demand and to never release the flash drive unless they dared harm her or her family. As surprising as it was, Bob Paris went for it.
When Dylan realized how close he came to not having the opportunity to properly tell Norma about Caleb, he decided he would do it himself. Then Norman Bates made me cry. Who saw that coming?!
Norman: Dylan, none of this is your fault. I'll go with you to talk with her if you want me to. I'll try and help if I can.
Dylan: I can't ask you to do that. I mean, if I get thrown out of the house, that's on me, but I can't drag you into it.
Norman: I feel like this is partly my fault. There's something wrong with me. I wanted to destroy you because you were getting close to her and I hate that person. I'm a man now, not her little boy and I want to be a good man. I trust your judgment if you think this is the right thing to do.
Inside that little whacko is a sweet boy who wants his family to be happy. But they should have thought their presentation through a little better. Norma arriving to them together at the table, as a team no less, was pretty unsettling. She had to be expecting something horrible.
Dylan started telling her about Caleb and he really poured it on thick, with Norman cutting in to make sure she understood how much it hurt Dylan, given that Caleb is his father, after all. Norma had to feel ganged up on and her reaction to beat a hasty retreat, even packing a suitcase made perfect sense.
It's too bad, really, because for a minute there it almost looked like she was getting it. She has come to trust Dylan, but that might be why it hit her so hard. As she was putting so much faith into him, he didn't have that same faith in her.
What will this do to Norman? Realistically, Norma just needs a freakin' break. She's been through the ringer and has had about enough stress. Getting away isn't such a bad idea. It's just bad timing, with Norman's blackouts accelerating. Heck, that's why she wanted to ensure the business wouldn't collapse. Dylan will take care of him, of course, but he's not entirely sure what to look for, either.
It really ups the ante for the next chapter, that's for sure.
Meanwhile, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Caleb at all because you do know how I love the character. He was sitting there looking at old photos of himself and Norma before taking out his own frustrations on a poor tree in the woods. I loved the entire exchange with Chick.
Chick: Caleb!! Look. At. Me. Life is shit. There is only one thing that makes it better. Boar jerky.
Caleb: [chuckles] What the hell is wrong with you, man?
It's so funny that he was introduced as a scary dude and he's suddenly the funny guy next door, lifting Caleb up when he's down with the promise of boar jerky, the cure of all ills. I've had antelope jerky and if it's anywhere near as good, sign me the hell up. Holy moly it was good stuff. It's all in the curing, or whatever it's called, really.
There wasn't a lot that I wanted to analyze this week, but damn it was fun to watch. Bates Motel Season 3 is just about my favorite to date as they've taken the emphasis off of Norman's school antics and focused on the family. That's far more fascinating than any teenage angst could ever be.
Are you loving it? Was "The Deal" a winner for you? What do you think is next? Make sure you watch Bates Motel online if you need to catch up and drop me a comment if you're lurking. It gets lonely here. That's no way to run a motel!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.