Bates Motel 2.09 Review: “The Box”

the box

by Autume Montague

This week’s episode of Bates Motel is entitled “The Box” and I think that can refer to more than the obvious. Norman is being held in a literal box underground after being snatched by Nick Ford’s crew. Ford contacts Norma to let her know he has Norman and will only let him go alive if Dylan does what he asks of him. Of course Norma goes straight to Dylan ranting and raving and demanding that he do whatever it is that Ford wants. She barely flinches when Dylan tells her that Ford wants him to kill someone.  Here’s Dylan’s box: he’s caught in the middle of a drug turf war and a family dilemma. In order to keep his brother safe he has to kill Zane. Dylan finds out where Zane is holed up and gives that information to Ford, telling him that he didn’t have the opportunity to do the job himself, that Zane was too well guarded and armed. Ford makes like he’s about to give the go ahead to kill Norman and that’s when Dylan attacks and kills him.

Being locked in a tight, confined, coffin-like space cannot be good or anyone’s psyche and Norman starts to go into one of his blackout states. He starts reciting a speech from the 1941 movie “Meet John Doe” and having visions of sleeping with and then killing Miss Watson.

Romero is obsessed with getting in touch with Norman to get him to take a lie detector test about what happened the night Miss Watson was killed. Norma staves him off for as long as she can but finally breaks down and tells him that Nick Ford has kidnapped him.

Emma is more expressive this episode. She shares with Norma how excluded she feels from the family and whatever is going on. She feels that she has grown close to the Bates’ family and doesn’t understand why she is constantly being left out.

I really admired Emma this episode. She has an excellent point. She has been there with Norman and even Norma yet she is still seen as an outsider, in a sense she’s been boxed out.  I don’t think Emma understands yet that everyone is an outsider when it comes to the relationship between Norman and his mother.

The choice to quote from “Meet John Doe” is curious. The film is about a man who pretends to be someone else. Norman himself becomes almost like another person when he has his blackouts. Norman sees things from different perspectives in those trance-like states; he sees his mother when she’d not there encouraging to do things, he sometimes sees himself as his mother like he did when he attacked Norma’s brother Caleb.

Norma shows her crazy yet again when George drops by the motel to give her flowers. I understand that she’s preoccupied with the Norman situation but she needlessly goes off on George and kicks him out. Of course, less than 5 seconds later she’s outside chasing his car down apologizing.  Her antics are exhausting to watch.

Next week’s episode is the season finale and I would like to see Norman confront his issues, rather than continue to allow his mother to take care of things for him. Norma has to realize that what she’s doing is doing more harm to Norman than what I think she intends. I believe that she truly thinks that she is protecting Norman from himself but he’s crossed the line too many times into dangerous territory. He needs to know and I hope that his realization that he may have done something to Miss Watson spurs him into some kind of action.

[Photo via A&E]

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