TV Recap: Bates Motel Season 1 - Episode 8 ‘A Boy and His Dog’

By Caleb Woods

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I know I say this every week, but this is my new favorite show. The characters, the writing, the dialogue, the plot, and the twists are all amazing. This may not be my favorite episode of the season, but it’s definitely in no way a “bad” episode. This episode had a lot of story arcs going on, but they were presented very well. Each week I look forward to seeing what crazy things Norma and Norman get into.

This episode dealt heavily with taxidermy. We find out how Norman began to be interested in this trade. The dog that was run over in the last episode is actually stuffed and made into a prop by Emma’s dad. The scenes were very gross way too realistic for me. It was creepy, but then again, most things in this show are. When Norma finds out that Norman is helping Emma’s dad do this, she is less than thrilled. She decides to let him continue after Emma’s dad tells her, “What’s wrong with letting a young person follow their passion? What could go wrong with that?” Oh, the irony!

The bathroom scene at the beginning of the episode is one of my favorites. I wasn’t expecting Emma to come out of the stall and tell off all the “popular” girls. Go Emma! This was nice of her to take up for Norman, but it comes with repercussions. Immediately following this, Bradley confronts Norman about it in the hallway. She basically tells him that she has a boyfriend and for him to forget sleeping with her. Bradley is ridiculous. She’s the typical “popular” girl who’s too afraid to do something because of what her friends think. She isn’t as bad as her other “popular” friends, but she still takes up for them and will always run back to her douche bag boyfriend. Whatever. I’m over her. Once she tells Norman this, he gets extremely pissed. His whole body language shifts and he runs out of school. His teacher sees and follows him, but he refuses to go back into school.

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Norma notices in the paper that they’re building a highway that will basically make her motel obsolete, so she goes to confront sheriff Romero for help. He totally shoots her down and says, “Don’t ever try to intimidate me.” What is his problem? He was acting creepier than Norma! After she leaves, she gets a call from the school. She goes to talk to the principal and Norman’s teacher. Norma gets defensive of course and leaves that situation as well. Later, Norma and Norman are seen in a psychiatrist’s office. Norma won’t let Norman get a word in, she’s answering every question for him. After Norman leaves, the psychiatrist confronts her and asks her if she needs therapy as well stating, “People who feel the need to control everything often in actuality feel out of control on the inside.” I love this line. The dialogue is brilliant! Norma is once again offended and leaves.

Throughout the episode, Norma and the mysterious man staying in room 9 play a sort of cat-and-mouse game. At one point, she follows him to the marina where he’s looking around in a boat. He keeps asking her where she hid “it.” Norma doesn’t know what he’s talking about and acts dumb. Is he referring to the Asian sex slave girl? Finally, Norma has enough and forces him to leave the motel. Before he leaves, he says, “If you want to play, we’ll play.” (This comes back to haunt Norma in the final moments of the episode).

The Dylan story arc wasn’t wonderful, but it was still interesting. Did you catch the LOST references at the bar that him and his partner went to? Look at the label on the beer that’s sitting on the bar – it says DHARMA. Nice touch, Carlton Cuse! Oddly enough, Dylan and his partner become better friends after they beat the crap out of each other in the bar. They’re on their way to pick up some hippies and carry them back. ON the way back, one guy pisses Dylan and his partner off. Dylan holds him at gunpoint and demands that he get out of the vehicle. Dylan’s partner gains a lot of respect for him after this occurs.

Near the end of the episode, Emma goes to find Norman to tell him the truth about why she told everyone that him and Bradley slept together. Once she explains, Norman forgives her and they share a nice hug – which her dad eventually walks in on. During this scene, the writing was beautiful. I love Emma’s character more and more every episode. This scene was so amazing and the writing was superb:

Emma: “…I think you are so special and so much better than any of them. I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut. Anyway, I’m sorry. I just didn’t want you to think that I had any other motive. I know you think I like you…I guess I don’t, but it’s not about that. I don’t care if you’re not gonna be my boyfriend. I’m used to things not turning out the way I expect – and making the best of it. It’s just…you are really special to me and I feel safe with you. You are my friend. And I don’t want to mess that up…or lose you. I don’t have many real friends.”

Upon arrival at the motel, Dylan asks Norma is they can rent out rooms for his boss. Norma is thrilled and seems happier than she’s ever been. She even asks Dylan to go eat with her later – to which he agrees. It was nice actually seeing them get along. As dysfunctional as this family is, I still find myself rooting for them. Even though we all know how the story ends, I still want them to have a happy ending. Oh, well. Norma rushes upstairs to get ready to go out with Dylan when she notices something on her bed. Officer Shelby’s body is lying on her bead. Norma lets out horrified scream and the episode ends. Super creepy!


  • * What will happen once Bradley’s boyfriend finds out about her and Norman?
  • * Will Emma and Norman get together?
  • * What will be the fallout with officer Shelby’s body being found?
  • * Who is the mysterious man? What tricks does he have up his sleeve?
  • * Will the guy that Dylan left on the side of the road come back?
  • * Will Norman’s behavior at school begin to change?

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Staff Television Critic: I enjoy reading, writing, viewing, filming, and learning. I enjoy thought-provoking material that stimulates the mind. Inspirational influences of mine include J.J. Abrams, LOST, and Cloud Atlas.