What’s Worth Watching: Bates Motel’s Norma Gets Leverage

Bates Motel - Freddie Highmore
James Dittiger/A&E Network
Bates Motel Episode

Bates Motel, “The Deal” (Monday, April 6, 9/8c, A&E)

Listen closely in one of this week’s throwaway moments and you’ll discover that the wi-fi password at Bates Motel is “Mother.” Why are we not surprised? It’s a reminder that as creepy as this Psycho prequel series can be—and boy, does Norman (Freddie Highmore) deliver a moment of high heebie jeebies when he raids Mother’s closet—it also possesses a mightily macabre sense of humor, essential in this Hitchcock-inspired dark universe.

“I’m ready to play ball with the big boys,” crows Bates Motel‘s electrifying heroine Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) to crooked Sheriff Alex Romero (Nestor Carbonell, who directed the episode) as she prepares to use what she knows about this season’s MacGuffin, a flash drive containing damning intel about the town’s movers and shakers. “I’m not going down without a fight and no one’s going to stop me,” she declares. Only her jittery leg is a giveaway to her nervous tension. But that’s nothing compared to the meltdown her sons Norman and Dylan (Max Theriot) fear as they struggle to let her know that her brother/rapist Caleb (Kenny Johnson) is back in town. As always with Norma, any step forward is accompanied by a psychosexual sucker punch. Her hysterical reactions are among the best reasons to tune in.