#BatesMotel–Persuasion

Norma arrives at the morgue to identify a body

The Details

  • The dead girl is a DIFFERENT dead girl.
  • Romero questions Norman, who denies any knowledge of what happened.
  • Norman yells at his mother for telling Romero, then locks himself in the bathroom, where a vision of his mother tells him to drown himself in the bath to remember what happened to Annika.
  • Emma delivers Dylan’s weed to his house, where she discovers he’s been hanging out with her ex-boyfriend and Caleb. Dylan asks her to keep Caleb a secret.
  • Annika returns, giving Norma a flash drive before dying of a gunshot wound.

The Big Q

Who can you trust?

The Impact

We only know of people what they reveal to us through their actions and words, and the same is true on Bates Motel. Emma is trusted–everyone spills their secrets to her–but how much trust can she take before the burden is too much? Romero is trusted because of his relentless pursuit of the truth, but the people of White Pine Bay are beginning to mistrust him, that his leadership does not have their best interests in mind, especially if their interests are illegal. Norman’s narrative is completely untrustworthy, as is Norma’s to some extent. This brings us to Caleb. Dylan may not be ready to admit it, but he’s beginning to trust Caleb. So far, everything we’ve seen on screen about Caleb indicates that he’s a good guy, but Norma’s narrative (and something about his face…) leave us waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Who do you trust most on the show? Can we ever trust Norman?

#TheWalkingDead–Try

Rick

 

The Details

  • Daryl and Aaron continue tracking the Wolves, a group the community has not yet encountered, but promises to be wicked.
  • Deanna grieves her son’s death, and Nicholas says that Glenn was the one that was cowardly.
  • Glenn confronts Nicholas, telling him not to go outside the walls ever again, for everyone’s safety. Nicholas goes outside to shoot some walkers.
  • Carl almost gets his first kiss (!).
  • Sasha goes on the offense, shooting walkers in the woods around the community. When Michonne tries to bring her back, Sasha claims not to belong. In addition to the loss of her boyfriend and then her brother, Sasha regrets telling Noah that he wouldn’t make it.
  • Rick brawls with Pete for abusing Jessie. When the others arrive to stop it, Rick goes a little crazy, giving a speech about fighting or dying…until Michonne knocks him out cold.

The Big Q

Is life just fight or die?

The Impact

This is Rick’s obvious thesis, but the only character that seems to agree is Sasha, whose actions aren’t bringing her any closer to healing. These indicate a negative answer to the Big Q, although we can’t deny the role that “fight” plays in our world. Life is hard, and you can either “fight” to engage with it or give up (a kind of death). This episode also contains healthy examples of life: taking time to grieve, confronting someone to move past conflict, following a lead to protect the ones we love, and my personal favorite, hanging out in the hollow of a tree with someone beloved to you. As Enid says in the tree, “We’re living in their [the Walkers’] world,” meaning life operates according to the rule of the Walkers: consume others to survive, a.k.a. fight. Enid, by indicating that this is how the Walkers “live,” suggests that humans are wired not to fight, but rather, to love and to live through love.

Doesn’t life feel like a fight sometimes? How is it like and unlike a fight?

#BatesMotel–“The Arcanum Club”

Norma is worried about Annika

The Details

  • Norma and Alex have an awkward hug/kiss moment when he moves out of the motel.
  • Norma searches for the missing Annika, and it leads her to the Arcanum Club, a creepy secret society where rich men mingle, among other things. Alex finds her there and urges her to go, because it’s dangerous.
  • Norma kills a sign for the bypass with her car (after a few other attempts).
  • Norman and Emma go on their first date and discuss how Norman must be allowed to mature into a man whether or not Norma wishes to let him.
  • Tension brews with Dylan’s and Caleb’s neighbor, Chick.

The Big Q

Is power synonymous with control?

The Impact

We see the makings of several power struggles in this episode. Chick attempts to control Dylan and Caleb through intimidation. Dylan responds with a call for peace, and Caleb rejects the intimidation with threats of force. When Chick alludes to them as George and Lennie from Of Mice and Men, he digs at the issues of control between the pair. It’s Dylan’s home, but Caleb is taking charge. Does that make Caleb George, meaning he will decide Dylan’s fate as George does Lennie’s? Or is Caleb Lennie, the man who knows not the bluntness of his own force, who Dylan will eventually have to put to rest? Either way, Chick indicates that one will eventually have to control the other.

The Arcanum Club represents the use of money to control the town. Had Annika arrived, that money would have been used to control her body. The bypass represents another town economic power–controlling the flow of traffic which will financially ruin the Bates Motel. We know how well Norma handles power plays. She claimed to her therapist to always feel in total control of her life, but with the imminent failure of her business and the loss of her son’s innocence (in addition to the typical coming-of-age, his development as a murderer), she’ll be fighting for scraps of control.

I want to answer this Big Q with a big no, but can we do that? Can there be power without control?

The Walking Dead–“Spend”

Glenn

The Details

  • Carol discovers that Jessie’s husband is abusing her and tells Rick to kill him.
  • Abraham joins a construction crew that wants to leave a crew member behind when walkers arrive. Abraham saves her life. The crew chief resigns so that Abraham can take his place.
  • Father Gabriel tells Deanna that the group is not to be trusted.
  • On a supply run, things go south. Aidan’s friend abandons him, then he abandons Noah and Glenn, leading to Noah’s death.

The Big Q

Is cowardice criminal?

The Impact

In each one of these, we see examples of cowardice: abusive partners and people willing to let others die if saving them may be difficult. Father Gabriel shows us what ultimately happens to cowards. He, who let his entire congregation die because of his cowardice, becomes a traitor to the people who have made him part of his family. This forecasts that the locals will turn on our group if cowardice defeats courage.

#BatesMotel–“A Death in the Family”

Norma and Norman head to school

The Details

  • Norma receives word that her mother has died and grieves the loss of the mother she never had.
  • Caleb keeps hanging around, no matter how much Dylan tries to get rid of him.
  • Norman and Emma begin dating…and being home-schooled together.
  • A guest named Annika that “entertains at parties” shows up. Norman spies on her through her window. He also offers to help her find a place where she must go for a dinner, but he shows up back at the motel with her car instead of walking back like he said he would, implying that he killed her.

The Big Q

How much of our lives are determined by the lives of our ancestors?

The Impact

This episode emphasizes the violence of Norman’s grandfather and the bipolar of his grandmother. This combination, plus a generation of incest, are suggested as the cause for Norman’s mental instability. As much as we want to make our own way in the world, all of this can’t be without effect. Or perhaps it’s his nurturing that made him this way. Or perhaps he’s just evil.

What do you think?