Bates Motel season 3 continued last night with a new episode titled “The Deal.” This latest episode was a real mixed bag. It had way too many scenes of Caleb and Chick Hogan. Do they think people are invested in that character? I don’t care about Chick at all. And, as for Caleb, I know he’s an important character as far as adding to the tension between Norma and Dylan, but that doesn’t mean I want to see scenes of him on his own.
The amount of scenes that didn’t feature any of the principal characters made stretches of this episode dull at best and uncomfortable at worst. But, when they did bring the focus back to Norma, Norman and Dylan there were some great stand out scenes. In particular, Norma attempting to bargain for her bypass was great, played perfectly by Vera Farmiga. Seeing Norma get a win was a nice feeling, while also putting the audience on edge as we wait for the other foot to drop.
But, the biggest stand out scene of the episode was, of course, that ending. All the frustration I’ve been feeling all season with Dylan being too forgiving of Caleb paid off, as it allowed me to completely understand Norma’s extreme reaction. After all, how could Norma not be pushed over the edge? Not only did Dylan insist that Caleb is tormented and just wants to talk to her, but Norman completely agreed with him and even said “You have to try to and understand.” Have to.
The fact that her breaking point was so well-executed added a nice feeling of empathy for Norma, even as you watched Norman scream after her as she drove off. It was one of the best episode endings of the show so far: an extreme action that I didn’t see coming, but that felt totally justified by everything that had happened up to that point.