Bates Motel Review: 3.8: The Pit


Bates Motel season 3 continued last night with a new episode. Perhaps the most notable thing about “The Pit” is that it gave us the most frank discussion Norman and Norma have ever had about his feelings for her. She started off trying to assure him that he’s not attracted to her, but also somewhat encouraged the behavior by saying that of course he’s growing up and is going to notice her body. She tells him, “You’re a man. I’m a woman. So maybe you notice my breasts every once in a while. Big deal. It’s freaking normal.”

The rest of Norma’s advice is really interesting. She tells him, “You can’t help what you think, what your impulses are. We all have crazy ones. I do. It’s…I guarantee you people are dreaming about sleeping with their parents, their teachers, their dogs. It’s just how we’re wired. Sex is confusing, so you need to stare it in the face and you need to say ‘that is stupid.'” He laughs and says, “It is stupid!” In a way, her advice is sound. I think the most interesting tension in this show has always been feeling for Norma and Norman, wishing they didn’t feel so deeply that something is wrong with them. You connect with them and think that they deserve to feel like they’re not crazy. At the same time, this basic need to feel like they’re normal results, over and over again, in sweeping things under the rug. The show gets at a fundamental struggle to find something in between self-hatred and denial.

The titular pit is the whole where Norma is having her pool built, after committing blackmail in order to get it. Norman is suspicious about the pool since she recently told him they don’t have enough money for simple supplies. Because of the tension that’s been mounting, he definitely overreacts and hates the fact that Norma is keeping things from him.

Tensions really heat up when Norman finds out that Norma told someone else about him murdering his father. It was an exciting episode that has me anxious to find out what will happen in the last couple episodes of the season.


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Pop Culture Spin Managing Editor Lenny Burnham is a writer/comedian in New York City. He hosts the podcast The Filmographers.

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