There couldn't have been a more appropriate title for the hour we just witnessed than "The Last Supper."
On Bates Motel Season 3 Episode 7 Dylan finally talked to Norma about Norman's curious behavior, and when community college psychologist James came a knockin', Norma unwittingly set the family on a course there is likely absolutely no pulling away from.
Did you ever imagine you would be so damned invested in the characters from the life of Norman Bates or that you would want to SQUEEEEEE at the thought of him sinking into psychosis, even as the lives of those now beloved characters were in jeopardy?
Yeah, me neither, but caring about Norma, Dylan, Caleb, Emma and Romero feels so bloody natural, as if they were a part of Robert Bloch's plan all along.
Norma's life is going pretty well. Despite the little hiccup with Bob Parris, she's friends with everyone. She has a little thing blossoming with Romero, she has reconnected with her brother and she has a relationship with her son. Every single one of them (and others) are in jeopardy.
Dylan: I found him in here in the middle of the night cooking breakfast.
Norma: Who doesn't want breakfast at some point in the middle of the night?!
Dylan: He was wearing your robe! And then he told me I needed to go wake up my brother, Norman, for breakfast. He thinks he's you, Norma.
I was surprised Norma was still trying to hide behind Norman's clear polygraph test in the case of Blair Watson. I don't think she really believes it meant he was innocent, but when she was talking to Dylan, she dragged it out like a security blanket to protect her from having to face the truth about Norman.
She knows, really, what Norman is all about. But dammit, it's easier to see the softer side of her son and to give him a pass. Dealing with it is troubling on so many fronts and it also brings out the anger in him. Norma isn't stupid. If she's ducking from and tucking his behavior behind the drapes it's because it could hurt her (or someone she loves).
When James came, it was very obvious he was going to get into trouble. Norman was already in a mood. He was hilarious at the phone store with Norma, following her and being very masculine and attractive and snarky as all get out, so tossing James into the basement with that attitude was a hail Mary pass at best.
James: Norman, why do you care so much who your mother might be sleeping with? What does it mean that she could be attracted to someone? Does that take her away from you? Norman, do you want to sleep with her?
Norman: [straddles James and strangles him] How DARE you come into my house and say such an ugly thing to me!
Norman was about as Normany as he could be during that entire conversation. James made it out alive, but does anybody think he's going to survive the next three episodes? I don't. Norman wants to kill someone and James is the easiest and least traceable target at the moment.
Dylan is on the chopping block for three reasons. First, because he's talking out of turn about Norman to Norma, and if he's caught that won't go over well. Second, because he keeps bringing Caleb around (even though he didn't) and third, because of Emma. When did Emma and Norman break up? Did they just naturally separate when she got angry at him in the cabin?
Is the thing between Emma and Dylan mutually exclusive of what Emma is doing with Norman? No matter what happened, Norman doesn't play well with others and once he has his hands on something, he tends to claim ownership. Why would Emma be any different?
That puts both Dylan and Emma at risk, and Emma's already at risk because of her health. How sweet was it that Dylan wanted to run guns to get her a set of lungs? I hope her dad doesn't know Chick and is playing the father and son to get one of them to run the guns, because that would suck.
Caleb loitering with tears welling in his eyes with flowers and a thank you note was ridiculously sweet. Having him over for the dinner was like the icing on the last supper cake. He would only get one chance at a perfect evening with the sister he loves so wrong and so much, the two of them singing their favorite song from childhood together and making Norman's head practically pop off of his shoulders in torment.
There is only so much of Norma go to around in Norman's mind, and there's just enough for him. Eventually, to ensure he has her all to himself, he will kill and stuff her. He'll have mastered her actions and will be able to wear her so well that he'll not know the difference between him and her in his mind. He'll switch in and out of the identities and her body will be stuffed in the window like one of his animals.
I suppose it was her leaving that set that into motion. Then the happiness she finds with others, slowly pushing him out of her life (in his mind), with promises that their relationship will never change and she will never leave. There is only one way to ensure his future and that's the way we know it happens.
When Norman goes into Norma's room at the end and begins caressing her leg, it's not only an invasion of privacy, but an assertion of his ownership of her. She is his. By continually placating him, she's done nothing to disprove his theory, either.
I think we still have another year, easy (A&E willing) of Norman dominating and crushing Norma's will before he dares to kill her. What do you think? I can't stand to think about who is going to die before the finale, but it's so deliciously wicked that I can't turn away.
Don't forget, you can watch Bates Motel online right here on TV Fanatic if you missed a minute of the show.
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.