Bates Motel Recap, Episode 5: "Ocean View"


This week on Bates Motel: Norma storms off, repeatedly. Norman attempts to repress his happiness, repeatedly. Shelby acts creepy, repeatedly. There’s also a shooting and a shocking discovery (not repeatedly). Here we go!

Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200.

In case last week left you wondering about how far Bradley and Norman went in their grief-stricken make out session, I think we have our answer. In the lovely morning light, Norman pulls his clothes on and gazes at the still-snoozing Bradley, then leans over to almost-but-not-quite stroke her hair. (Sweet or mildly creepy?) Also, she appears to be wearing a belly chain. Do people really still wear those?

His walk home reminds me of the trance-like stroll he took for the late-night raid on Officer Shelby’s house a couple of weeks ago, but his expression could not be more different. Instead of barely-suppressed rage, Norman is now barely suppressing a grin. Scratch that, he’s not suppressing it at all. He tries to play it cool when he walks into the kitchen to find Dylan eating a bowl of Rainbow Crunchies, but he just can’t seem to help himself. He even breaks into a half-chuckle, but his mood is abruptly broken when Dylan informs him that Norma is in jail.

The brothers go to see her in the pokey. You know that super-cliche saying, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”? When it comes to Norma Bates, that’s not lip service—it’s truth.

“How do we help?” Norman asks her.

“I’m glad you wanna help, Norman, really, that’s big of you. Any mother would be broken in half by such devotion,” she spits.

Dylan starts to mention using the hotel as collateral for her $100,000 bail when Norma interrupts, saying that it's unnecessary. “This is just a big mistake. It’s all gonna clear itself up,” she insists.

“Given everything that happened, you don’t need any help?” Dylan raises his eyebrows, and Norman immediately looks guilty. Kid has no poker face. Norma shoots Norman a wounded look, then screams at them both to leave.

“Mom, I wanna help you. Please,” Norman repeats, but Norma refuses to look at him.

Nevertheless, Norman goes back to the motel and starts hunting for the deed. Emma walks in. She’s heard about the murder charges.

“How’d you hear already?” Norman wonders.

“Big news in a small town, Norman,” she says, and anyone who grew up in a small town is knowingly rolling their eyes right now. It doesn’t even have to be big news to make the gossip mill in a little town. I once said something private to a friend while we were out riding bikes and my mom knew about it by the time I got home. To be fair, I was probably talking too loud.

“Damn, that’s gotta suck,” Emma sympathizes, then hopefully adds, “You’re welcome to come stay with us.” Norman lets her down easy, saying thanks, but he’s got this brother, you know? Then, jackpot! He finds the deed.

Friends Don't Let Friends Bail Their Mothers Out Alone

While Dylan’s traipsing through the woods with Ethan, he casually asks if he thinks their bosses would give him an advance of, say, five grand?

Ethan laughs and shakes his head, adding, “I’ve seen what they do to people who owe them money.”

Dylan intends to use the cash on a place for himself and Norman, so this isn’t really the answer he’s hoping to hear. He shrugs it off and says he’ll figure something out on his own.

A&E/Joseph Lederer

While Dylan is trying to raise money to get out of his mother’s house, Norman is trying to raise money to get his mother back into her house. While he and Emma wait at “Jonn’s Bail Bonds” for Jonn to return, Norman decides it’s the perfect opportunity to mention that the sex slave girl is real. He mentions that he found her in a cop's basement, and Emma freaks out, immediately calling it a police conspiracy.

“You’re freaking out,” he says.

“I’m not freaking out,” she insists.

“You’re freaking out all over Italy,” is Norman's response. Is that a real phrase? I’m not familiar. He gets her to calm down by promising that they’ll help the girl, but they're not going to the authorities. His mother is in enough trouble without getting her mixed up in this as well.

His promise is enough to appease Emma. She kisses him, but he’s decidedly less enthused about her affection than he was a few episodes ago. Then Jonn shows up. Before Norman goes in to chat with the local friendly bondsman, Emma has one last question for him.

“Norman? Did she do it? I wouldn’t blame her. Keith Summers was a pig.”

Norman, of course, denies it.

Hell Hath No Fury Like Norma Bates

“It was great seeing u last nite,” Norman texts Bradley, and part of me dies a little. His weirdly proper grammar and vocabulary doesn’t transmit through his thumbs, I guess.

He immediately gets a response, but it’s not Bradley. It’s Jonn.

“Ur mom’s bail has been posted and she will be released at 9 am tomorrow morning.” Do bail bondsmen really text??

At 9 a.m., Norman is waiting at the jail with “please forgive me” flowers when Norma is released. “Brought you flowers,” he says, stating the obvious. “I got cab money.”

“You use it. I’m walking,” Norma pouts.

“Mom, c’mon.”

“Don’t you ‘mom c’mon’ me. I have nothing to say to you.”

Later, at attorney Rebecca Craig’s office, she’s still making good on that statement.

“Mother, when are you going to look at me?” Norman pleads.

She pointedly stares at him without saying a word.

Ms. Craig has barely started asking questions about the case when Norma purses her lips. Something is clearly not sitting right with her. “If you don’t mind me asking, how old are you, exactly?” Rebecca responds that she’s 33, which seems to further agitate Norma. As her lawyer tries to piece together what happened, Norma interrupts again. “It sounds like you’re trying to make up a story,” she says.

“You are charged with murder. I’m talking to you about your defense,” Rebecca responds, slightly disbelievingly.

“I don’t need a defense. I didn’t do it.”

Rebecca mentions the motel carpet fiber found under Keith Summers’ watch. “It’s hard to refute DNA evidence,” she explains.

“I don’t care. According to whom? Who’s running these tests? I wanna run my own tests,” she rants. “I’m not going to walk into a court of law and say that I did it in self defense just to make your job easier. I didn’t do it. I’m done here,” and she storms out. Vera Farmiga is very good at storming out.

“Guess we’re leaving,” Norman says sheepishly.

By the way, if I had to guess, I’d say the name “Rebecca” is a little nod to Hitchcock’s Oscar-winning film by the same name. There’s also an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents called “Craig’s Will,” starring Dick Van Dyke.

On the way home, Norman accuses his mother of being unreasonable.

“You do not care about me,” is her totally unreasonable response. “You went out and you got laid that night I was crying in my room worried sick about all of this, about what could happen, about me being taken away from you and put in jail. You went out and you got laid.”

Norman tears up and admits to the whole thing. Remember that poker face? Still non-existent. Norma demands to know who Norman was with, but he won’t incriminate Bradley. Stalled at that roadblock, Norma looks for somewhere else to aim her rage. She settles on berating Norman for giving Dylan details about her rape and the Summers murder. He explains that he needed someone to talk to.

“You do things that don’t make sense, mom. You scare me. I’m scared, OK? I think you might need help.”

Hell hath no fury like Norma Bates scorned by her own son. She unleashes the fury on Norman:

“I scare you? All I have ever done was try to give you a decent life. Get out of my car.”

“It’s like 10 miles to our house,” Norman protests.

“If I’m so damn scary, get the hell out of my car,” she screams.

When Norman refuses to move, she stomps over to his side of the car and physically removes him, then drives away. Resigned to the fact that he’s got a bit of a trek ahead of him, Norman starts plodding down the road. He’s at it for maybe 20 seconds when Dylan comes by on his motorcycle.

“Welcome to the doghouse,” Dylan says, and Norman hops on the back of the bike. In spite of himself, Norman really enjoys the ride. He even smiles and laughs as Dylan swerves the bike a little bit.

A&E/Joseph Lederer

Back at the house, Norman explains to Dylan that their mother is just going through a lot right now. “She’s always going through a lot,” Dylan says. “She’s like an addict. And when you have an addict in your life, the best thing you can do for them—and yourself—is to just walk away.”

Norman says he can’t just walk away; Dylan disagrees.

“Of course you do. We all do. I mean, isn’t that the point? You leave the nest.”

Norman looks skeptical, so Dylan tells him that he’s getting his own house, and he wants Norman to move in with him. We can hope, Motel guests, but you and I both know how this is going to eventually end.

Drug Trafficker With a Heart of Gold

A&E/Joseph Lederer

Ethan and Dylan are bro-ing around when Ethan tosses Dylan a bag.

“I got some food at that bagel store by Bayview. Thought you might be hungry.”

As he settles into the passenger side of Ethan’s truck, Dylan opens the bag. It’s dough, alright, but not in bagel form.

“Um... what’d you do, rob the bagel place?” Dylan asks.

“It’s my money, but I know you’re good for it,” Ethan says. It’s $5000, meant for Dylan to get that place by the ocean he’s been dreaming of.

Then one of Ethan’s “associates” stops by the truck, makes a bit of small talk through the open window, and abruptly shoots him in the neck.

After a moment of horrified shock, Dylan springs into action, giving Ethan something to keep pressure on the wound, then jumping into the driver’s seat. They get to the hospital, where the nurse asks the victim’s name as she’s loading him onto a gurney.

“Ethan,” Dylan says, but looks puzzled when they want a last name. He splits when Ethan is taken into surgery and doctors and nurses start to point at him with suspicious looks on their faces.

Evidence Tampering for Dummies

A&E/Joseph Lederer

Norma and Shelby are having one of their talks-in-the-truck. He apologizes that he had to be the one to arrest her, then says they shouldn’t see each other for a while.

“Just don’t. Stop,” she says. She’s getting ready to do one of her patented storm-offs when Shelby basically slams her against her car to stop her. He also tells her to shut up. “I love you, you idiot.” Rhett Butler, he’s not, but it must work for Norma, because she kisses him.

“I’m gonna think of something,” he promises, and he does: evidence tampering.

He goes back into the station and asks if the Sheriff is in. He’s not, so Shelby pretends to not know where some forms are. When the secretary obligingly goes to find them, Shelby unplugs the surveillance cameras, grabs keys from Romero’s desk and gets into evidence lockup. Wearing baggies over his hands, he finds the watch with the carpet fiber and takes it (we assume). Then he plugs the video monitors back in just in time to receive those forms he didn’t really need.

Meanwhile, Dylan’s driving Ethan’s bloody truck around town. For a guy who didn’t want to attract attention to himself at the hospital, driving a truck with a bloody hole blown through the window seems a little risky to me. He spots the lone gunman wandering around by the docks, and, without hesitation, runs over the guy. 

Shelby Slips

At a coffee shop, Emma is looking up “properties owned by Keith Summers” on the Internets. Through the magic of TV web browsing, she discovers that he owned a boat named “The SeaFairer.”

Also doing a little surfing? Norma. She’s checking out the Bates Motel website, which looks appropriately amateurish, when the phone rings. It’s Rebecca Craig, who tells Norma that her worries are over, because—surprise, surprise—the carpet fiber sample has gone missing. “Without that evidence, they have no case,” her lawyer says.

Inside, Norman's dialing Bradley on his phone.

“Hey, it’s Bradley,” Bradley says, and Norman says, “Oh hey!” before he finds out it’s her voicemail. Been there, done that. This is just the beginning of the babbling, though. Here’s what he leaves on her voicemail, in all of its awkward teenage glory:

“I, uh—I was just, yeah, just wondering how you were, I mean, with all of the stuff you’re going through, and I just haven’t heard. Not that I—not that I should, I mean, if you wanted to call me that’s totally fine, but it’s not like I expect to hear anything. So uh, yeah, I um, I’ve had a really good time seeing you lately. It’s been fun. Nice spending time with you. Um. I know you’re really busy and stuff, and you know, me too, I get that. You’ve got a lot of stuff going on in your life, I’m not an idiot. But yeah, call me, you know if, I hope you’re OK. Bye.”

Luckily, he has no time to overanalyze his horribly embarrassing voicemail because Norma rushes in, flush with the fact that they lost the evidence. She hugs Norman—apparently all is forgiven—but he’s confused about how evidence could just disappear.

“I’m pretty sure it was Zack,” she says.

“So Mr. Wonderful saves the day again. What’s he going to make you do for this one?” he asks, and her face falls.

Emma pulls up outside just as Norman is fleeing the house. “Just get me out of here,” he tells her. She obliges, taking him to the shore. After determining that Norman doesn’t want to talk about his home crisis, Emma launches into the latest on the sex slave situation.

“So I’m going, like, if I had an Asian sex slave, where would I hide her?” Emma says. She’s making some good points about lake houses and cabins, but Norman is distracted by his phone. Emma calls him out on it.

“Emma, I’m kind of with Bradley now,” Norman says. “With, like with, we’re together; we like each other.”

“What is this based on?” Emma asks.

“I slept with her. Two nights ago.”

Emma pauses. “That doesn’t really mean anything you know?”

“It means you hooked up.”


“It was a hookup.”

“It was more,” he insists.

“Did she change her relationship status?” she wisely asks.

Norman doesn’t respond.

“Hook up.” She wipes a tear from her cheek. Norman rolls his eyes.

“So, you were Googling something?” he says.

Emma cuts to the chase: She thinks Shelby and Keith Summers were in on the sex slave business together. “If you were in an illegal business with someone, and that person died, might you not use their property to hide something or someone? Keith Summers owned a boat.”

Our detectives head to the marina, of course. They find Keith’s slip—815, a Lost reference, Mr. Cuse?—and, perhaps using some residual Bradley anger, Emma uses her oxygen tank to break the padlock. They rummage around for a bit and come up empty-handed, until Norman opens what looks like a locker door, and a girl springs forth, screaming and kicking.

They manage to get her in Emma’s car, but by the time they get back to Bates Motel, she’s passed out in the backseat. Emma helps Norman get the girl into a room, and I have to think that the motel room where she was chained up and abused is probably one of the last places this girl wants to be, coming in only behind Shelby’s basement and a locker in a boatslip.

Norma is locking up the motel front office when she sees Emma’s car parked out front. Convinced the two of them are shacked up in a motel “getting laid,” as she would put it, Norma throws open the motel door and is stunned when she sees what’s happening.

“I want to know what the three of you are doing in the motel room, because right now it doesn’t look too good,” Norma says. Norman reminds his mom that he told her about this girl locked up in Shelby’s basement, and she accused him of lying, which she does again now. Luckily, the girl is coherent enough to back up Norman’s story.

“I’m sorry, dear, I’m sorry,” Norma shakes her head. “I’m just saying, there must be some mistake. It’s not the same man. It’s not Zack.” She runs back to the office and flips through a newspaper to find a picture of Shelby from a lumberjack competition. She takes it back to the motel room and shows the girl.

“He’s the man,” the girl confirms, twice, her eyes wide with fear.

“I’m sorry,” Norman says to his mother. “I’m sorry. I told you.”

Best Quote of the Episode:
“Well, if you can’t count on your friends to help bail your mother out of prison, then really, what good are they?” - Emma

Matthew Simmons/Getty Images
How Accurate are Hollywood Medical Dramas? A Doctor Breaks It Down
Matthew Simmons/Getty Images
Matthew Simmons/Getty Images

Medical dramas like Grey's Anatomy get a lot of things wrong when it comes to the procedures shown on the screen, but unless you're a doctor, you'd probably never notice.

For its latest installment, WIRED's Technique Critique video series—which previously blessed us with a dialect coach's critique of actors' onscreen accents—tackled the accuracy of medical scenes in movies and TV, bringing in Annie Onishi, a general surgery resident at Columbia University, to comment on emergency room and operating scenes from Pulp Fiction, House, Scrubs, and more.

While Onishi breaks down just how inaccurate these shows and movies can be, she makes it clear that Hollywood doesn't always get it wrong. Some shows, including Showtime's historical drama The Knick, garner praise from Onishi for being true-to-life with their medical jargon and operations. And when doctors discuss what music to play during surgery on Scrubs? That's "a tale as old as time in the O.R.," according to Onishi.

Other tropes are very obviously ridiculous, like slapping a patient during CPR and telling them to fight, which we see in a scene from The Abyss. "Rule number one of CPR is: never stop effective chest compressions in order to slap or yell words of encouragement at the patient," Onishi says. "Yelling at a patient or cheering them on has never brought them back to life." And obviously, taking selfies in the operating room in the middle of a grisly operation like the doctors on Grey's Anatomy do would get you fired in real life.

There are plenty of cliché words and phrases we hear over and over on doctor shows, and some are more accurate than others. Asking about a patient's vitals is authentic, according to Onishi, who says it's something doctors are always concerned with. However, yelling "We're losing him!" is simply for added TV drama. "I have never once heard that in my real life," Onishi says.

[h/t WIRED]

When The Day After Terrorized 100 Million Viewers With a Vision of Nuclear War

Before Nicholas Meyer's made-for-television film The Day After had its official airing on November 20, 1983, then-President Ronald Reagan and his Joint Chiefs of Staff were given screening copies. In his diary, Reagan recorded his reaction to seeing Meyer's graphic depiction of a nuclear holocaust that devastates a small Kansas town, writing:

"It's very effective and left me greatly depressed. So far they [ABC] haven't sold any of the 25 spot ads scheduled and I can see why. Whether it will be of help to the 'anti-nukes' or not, I can't say. My own reaction was one of our having to do all we can to have a deterrent and to see there is never a nuclear war."

Just a few days later, the rest of America would see what had shaken their president. Preempting Hardcastle and McCormick on ABC, the 8 p.m. telefilm drew a staggering 100 million viewers, an audience that at the time was second only in non-sports programming to the series finale of M*A*S*H. According to Nielsen, 62 percent of all televisions in use that night were tuned in.

What they watched didn't really qualify as entertainment; Meyer stated he had no desire to make a "good" movie with stirring performances or rousing music, but a deeply affecting public service announcement on the horrors of a nuclear fallout. He succeeded … perhaps a little too well.


The idea for The Day After came from ABC executive Brandon Stoddard, who had helped popularize the miniseries format with Roots. After seeing The China Syndrome, a film about a nuclear accident starring Jane Fonda, Stoddard began pursuing an "event" series about what would happen to a small town in middle America if tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States escalated to catastrophic levels. Films like Dr. Strangelove had depicted moments between politicians debating whether to use powerful weapons of mass destruction, but few had examined what the consequences would be for the everyday population.


Reagan had dubbed the Soviet Union "the evil empire" in 1982, so the time seemed right to bring such a project to TV viewers. Stoddard hired Barnaby Jones writer Edward Hume to craft a script: Hume drew from research conducted into the effects of nuclear war and radiation fallout, including a 1978 government report, The Effects of Nuclear War, that contained a fictionalized examination of how a strike would play out in a densely populated area. Stoddard also enlisted Meyer, who had proven his directorial chops with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, but considered the assignment a "civic responsibility" more than a creative endeavor.

Meyer and the film's producers selected Lawrence, Kansas (pop. 50,000) as the setting for the movie and got permission from city officials to turn their town into a post-apocalyptic landscape. Throughout the summer of 1982, tons of ash, dirt, and rubble were trucked in and spread over the ground; food coloring blackened farming crops. Thousands of locals were enlisted to portray victims of a nuclear attack, agreeing to roll in dirt and have their hair shaved off to simulate a miserable death via radiation poisoning.

Meyer believed that setting the film in a small town would make it more impactful and relatable to audiences. "Other movies that had attempted to deal with the subject of nuclear holocaust had always been set in big cities," he recalled in 2003. "But a great number of people in the United States do not live in big cities, so they were witnessing an event that seemed to bear scant relation to them."

That pursuit of realism wasn't always to the network's benefit. ABC originally planned a four-hour film to run on two consecutive nights, but filling up that much commercial time proved to be a challenge. Fearing a graphic and partisan display of anti-nuclear propaganda, many loyal advertisers refused to let their spots air during The Day After. (Meyer later joked that all the "generals" pulled out, including General Mills and General Foods.) They were ultimately able to sell a little over 10 minutes of commercial time, which prompted executives to condense the movie to a two-hour presentation. Meyer, who thought the script was padded to begin with, agreed with the decision.

ABC sensed that the film would be provocative and took unprecedented steps to handle the inevitable viewer response. A 1-800 number was set up to field calls from people concerned about an actual nuclear disaster; the network also issued pamphlets that acted as viewing guides, with fact sheets on nuclear weapons. Psychologists warned audiences would experience "feelings of depression and helplessness." Meyer was, in effect, making a disaster movie with the characters being offered no help of rescue. The film had been openly endorsed by anti-nuclear organizations as being a $7 million advertisement for their stance, and some TV industry observers wondered whether ABC would even air it at all.


Prior to The Day After's November 20 debut, actor John Cullum appeared onscreen and delivered a warning. Calling the film "unusually disturbing," he advised young children to be led away from the television and for parents to be prepared to field questions older kids might have.

A still from 'The Day After' (1983)

With that, The Day After commenced. It was every bit as terrifying as viewers had been told it would be. For the first 50 minutes or so, actors like Jason Robards, John Lithgow, and Steve Guttenberg established their characters in Lawrence, largely oblivious to an incident on the border of East Germany that triggered an armed response from both Russia and the U.S. As missiles fell, a mushroom cloud vaporized the community; those who survived were doomed to brief and miserable lives as radiation destroyed their bodies.

Dramatizing what had previously been a sterile discussion about nuclear defenses had its intended effect. Viewers shuffled away from their televisions in a daze, struck by the bleak consequences of an attack. The people of Lawrence, who had a private screening, were particularly affected—it was their town that appeared destroyed. Residents exited the theater crying.

What ABC lacked in ad revenue it more than made up for in ratings. The mammoth audience was comparable to Super Bowl viewership; the network even presented a post-"game" show of sorts, with Ted Koppel hosting a roundtable discussion of the nuclear threat featuring Carl Sagan and William F. Buckley. Sagan is believed to have coined the term "nuclear winter" on the program, while Secretary of State George Shultz argued the necessity of harboring nuclear weapons to make sure the nation could protect itself.

The experience stuck with Reagan, who signed a nuclear arms treaty—the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, Treaty—with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, leading to longstanding speculation that The Day After may have helped sober political attitudes toward mutually assured destruction.


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