Mother knows best … right?
Things are spiraling out of control on Season 4 of “Bates Motel.” Norman (Freddie Highmore) took another life during the premiere of the A&E “Psycho” prequel series, and while he initially blacked it out, bits and pieces of the murder started coming back to him during episode 2. The only problem is that he thinks its Norma (Vera Farmiga) committing the crimes.
Episode 2, titled “Goodnight, Mother,” picks up the following morning with Norma leaving a message for Dr. Gregg Edwards (Damon Gupton). After discovering that Norman had another blackout, she desperately needs to get him into Pineview Mental Institution. What she doesn’t know is that Norman killed Emma’s (Olivia Cooke) mom, Audrey (Karina Logue), while she was out asking Romero (Nestor Carbonell) to marry her.
Norman’s just as oblivious. He claims that the only thing he remembers is waking up to find that Norma locked him in the room. However, memories of him dragging Audrey’s body into the basement starts to flash before him. It turns out that she was still alive after getting strangled by the scarf. Another flashback shows him struggling to close the door as Audrey fights to escape. But, of course, she didn’t manage to.
While Norman initially sees himself disposing Audrey’s body, the memory changes so that Norma’s the guilty party. He begins to get paranoid, believing that his mother murdered their motel guest.
Currently Norma believes that Audrey checked out of the motel. When she heads outside to clean her room, Norman sneaks into the basement to look in the freezer — but nothing’s inside.
At this point Norman’s convinced that his mother murdered Audrey. He begs her to let him help her, which makes Norma increasingly nervous about her son’s behavior. However, when Romero knocks on her door to apologize about turning down her marriage proposal, Norma doesn’t let him in on the latest development. Romero senses that something is wrong, but Norma insists that her son isn’t dangerous.
“If you’re scared you have to let me know,” he begs of Norma.
Despite Norma denying anything being wrong, Romero returns home and removes the money he hid under the floor. He takes a wad of bills and heads straight to Pineview Mental Institution, where his mother stayed on multiple occasions. The counselor there gives Romero the same wait list speech as Norma. But Romero has money on his side. He gives the woman enough money to pay for a two month stay, as well as a little extra as an incentive to let Norman in. As for what happens after those two months are up? Romero reveals that Norman will be on his insurance by then … because he’s marrying Norma.
As Romero gets Norman a room at Pineview, Norma heads outside to dig around in the hole where the pool was supposed to go. The rain caused the hole to fill with water, and Norma’s afraid that Norman dumped a body down there. She doesn’t find a body, but her actions make Norman even more suspicious of her.
Norma’s covered in mud when guests pull up, and Norman insists on sending his mother back to the house while he checks them in. She gets a call from Romero about Pineview and he reveals that he’ll marry her. Norma’s silent on the phone, and Romero continues to tell her that since Norman is 18 years old he must sign a form to give his consent. Unfortunately there is no other way to get him admitted quickly, unless he’s dangerous. Norma again insists that he’s not, but quickly hangs up the phone when she learns that Romero had Pineview fax the documents to the motel office.
Elsewhere, Dylan’s (Max Thieriot) still at the Portland hospital with Emma and her dad, Will (Andrew Howard). The doctors remove her breathing tube, and although she has difficulty at first, Emma’s able to breathe on her own for the first time. It’s a miracle for the teen as she’s always had to carry oxygen around.
Will is grateful for Dylan’s help in getting Emma the lung transplant, but he warns him that Emma has a future he needs to think about now. He encourages Dylan to stop selling pot because he’s “too good” to be doing that. Dylan doesn’t want to hold Emma back, but Emma doesn’t see him like that. She asks him to come back when he says he has to return to White Pine Bay to check on the farm.
Back at the motel, Norman hallucinates a visit from his dead father after finding the Pineview form. Although he initially has a flashback to striking his dad on the head, he has another vision of Norma committing the crime. Norman’s father tells him that Norma was the one that killed him, not him.
“You need to control her Norman, before she destroys you,” the hallucination warns.
Norma sneaks into the motel office to get the Pineview forms when Norman returns to the house. However, the papers are gone. When she gets to the house she finds her son waiting for her. He tells her that he can’t trust her and is afraid of her. Norma ignores him as she starts making dinner, but Norman doesn’t stop. He continues that he doesn’t think she’s in her right mind and that he thinks she’s trying to sabotage him.
“I know you killed that woman,” he finally yells. He also accuses her of killing Bradley (Nicola Peltz) and Miss Watson (Keegan Connor Tracy) out of jealousy.
Norma starts crying and runs up to her room. Norman chases after her and finds her searching under her mattress for something.
“Looking for this, were you?” he asks, holding up a gun.
Norma begs Norman to put the gun down, but Norman is too worked up to let it go. When she fails to get him to release it she runs off again and locks herself in another bedroom, leaving a frantic voicemail for Romero.
Some time passes and Norma eventually exits the bedroom. She tiptoes downstairs to find all the lights out and a movie playing on the computer. Grabbing a pair of shears from a drawer, Norma makes her way into the basement. Norman flips the light on, revealing that he’s been waiting for her.
“I’m not the one doing crazy things,” he tells her, adding that he’s not going to let her lock him up while she “runs amuck.”
Picking up the gun again, Norman continues that they “don’t belong” in this world because they’re broken.
“We want peace and happiness but the world just won’t allow it,” he says. “So, let’s take ourselves out of the equation.”
Fortunately for Norma, Romero arrives and busts into the house. Norma takes the gun away just as Romero makes his way into the basement with another police officer. He promises Norman that they’re going to get him some help, but Norman still never signed the papers for Pineview. Since they can’t admit him without his own consent, Romero tells Norma that he’s going to have to go back to the county hospital.
Norma chases after Norman and begs him to sign the papers before Romero takes him away. Norman takes the pen, but the question when episode 2 ends is if he signed his own name.