#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?

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