Nice Town You Picked, Norma – Episode 2 – Original Airdate 3/25/2013

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Episode One ended with Bates mother and son bound together in the cover-up of a crime.  All-in-all the episode was quite good, but I was already asking the question, how will the mother/son dynamic sustain itself for an entire season, let alone multiple seasons?    To borrow a cliche, for this show to succeed it will have to be about the journey not the destination, because we more-or-less know the destination, and it ain’t pretty.

Welcome to episode two, where this show takes a sudden left turn into Twin Peaks territory, and now seems to have enough material to last quite awhile.   This episode introduces us to Dylan Massett, Norma Bates oldest son from a previous relationship.  Dylan, played by Max Thieriot, arrives on the doorstep of the Bates new home, unannounced and unwelcome.  He is introduced as the typical bitter, brooding young man desperately waiting for someone to notice how angry he is.

Meanwhile Norman has become friendly with not one, but two attractive girls from school.  There is Bradley (played by Nicola Peltz), who met Norman at the bus stop in the first episode.   In this episode, while waiting at the bus stop a car crashes nearby!  It is Bradley’s father’s car!   He was driving the car after being set on fire!  He is burned to a crisp!  (Sorry for the unnecessary exclamation points, I just couldn’t help it.)  If you’re saying WTF, don’t worry, it gets weirder.   Norman has also met Emma, played by Olivia Cooke.  Emma has cystic fybrosis,  and totes an oxygen tank in every scene to remind us of her condition, even though she never appears to be out of breath.   Remember that twisted notebook that Norman found in episode one?   Emma discovers it while studying with Norman, and suggests the images may be real, and they should investigate.

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Their investigation turns up more than they bargained for,  namely a gigantic pot field.  Could Bradley’s extra-crispy father have had something to do with this field, is that why he was burned?  This town gets stranger by the minute.  Meanwhile the sheriff is beginning to suspect Norma’s involvement in the disappearance of the dude she wasted in the first episode.  And Dylan finds a new job, through a contact he meets at a strip club.  Yup, a strip club.  All you job hunters out there,  I’ll bet you never even considered the employment networking possibilities at your local strip club.  Give it a try!   Dylan was only asked one question at his job interview:  “Do you know how to use a gun?”   OK, so it’s that kind of job, but the pay is good I’m sure.

Meanwhile, there is a body hanging upside down, in the middle of town!  On fire!  In broad daylight!  Surrounded by onlookers!  On second thought, this town is starting to make Twin Peaks look like Mayberry.  Stay tuned…

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