Bates Motel season 3 continued last night with what might be their strongest episode since season 1. “Unbreak-Able” didn’t have a particularly interesting plot, as it mostly continued the threads from the previous episodes, but it was full of the signature weird, quirky character moments that make Bates Motel so enjoyable.
Whether Norma was guessing “sexcrazed” for Annika’s password or accusing Norman of dating Emma to get back at her because he thinks she likes Dylan better now, this episode was a great reminder of why she’s such a great character. But the best moment of the episode came from Norman, when he asked his mom, “Do you still like me?” I truly didn’t see that coming and it was an important reminder that sometimes the simplest, straightforward dialogue can have the biggest impact.
The plotline with Norman trying to have a normal date with Emma was a great showcase for all the characters. Norma assuming he was planning a picnic for her was a great touch. It was sad when she shamed him for his attempt to have a normal relationship with someone his own age, and sadder when we saw that Norma’s words sinked in despite Norman trying to ignore her. This all led to a triumphant moment with Emma standing up to him about how she knows her own body and her own limitations.
The tension between Norman and Norma this episode, along with Norma’s desire to protect Norman from what’s going on with Annika’s murder, brought Norma and Dylan closer. It’s always great when these two have scenes together, especially in episodes like this one where they dangle a glimmer of hope that their relationship will fully heal before the show is over. It was heartbreaking when Norman threatened to tell Norma about Caleb and Dylan cried out that this would ruin all the work he’d done repairing their relationship.
This was a great episode that has me looking forward to the rest of the season.