The Arcanum Club

by Ed Blackadder


This week sees another new face brought into the show; none other than Sons of Anarchy‘s Ryan Hurst. He’s playing Chick Hogan, Dylan and Caleb’s new gun-nut neighbor. Norman is confronted by his mother about being the last person to see missing motel guest Annika, and Emma and Norman finally get to go on a strange date.

Caleb is really trying hard to be a father to Dylan, by helping set up the small, legal, 99 plant pot farm. Dylan is still unsure about the whole situation with Caleb, and understandably so. It’s only a matter of time before Norma finds out, and that’s not gonna be pleasant. Caleb has some old mutt staying with them for security, and after another dog attacks his mongrel, Caleb shoots it dead. Because this happens late at night and the sound of a gunshot carries, the next morning their new neighbor makes an appearance at the cabin. With a crazy glint in his eye, Chick appears to be trying to strongarm Dylan, but then Caleb shows up making Chick think twice. Chick could just be putting on an act, especially after we get to see the inside of Chick’s workshop. It looks like a small, but well stocked gun factory.

Bates Motel
Created by
Anthony Cipriano
Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Max Thieriot
Episode Release Date
16 March 2015
Ed’s Grade: B

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Norma notices that Annika hasn’t returned all day or slept in her bed, even though her car is parked outside her room. (Norman really needs to get his act together if he plans on doing a lot more of this sort of thing this season, which we know he does.) When Emma is questioned by Norma about the missing woman, she innocently lets slip that Norman went with Annika into town the previous night. Poor Emma is always getting Norman into trouble with his mother. That didn’t match up with what Norman had told his mother earlier, and the sick look on Norma’s face says it all. She knows deep down exactly what’s happened, yet she blocks it out, just like she was forced to do when she was a child. A furious Norma storms into the house to get Norman’s version of truth. He claims he simply directed her to a bar then drove her car back so Annika could drink without worrying. Norman’s lies are all so transparent, yet Norma would rather believe his denials.

Eventually Norma and Emma search Annika’s room to look for clues, and they find an invitation to the exclusive The Arcanum Club. Emma explains how her father has done taxidermy for them in the past, and that he disliked the place for some unspecified reason. Now armed with information about the call-girl, Norma goes into Nancy Drew mode once again and sneaks into The Arcanum Club, where she stumbles onto a few sexually-explicit clues (or possibly just red herrings), and, surprise, surprise…Sheriff Romero.

I love the coincidences that pile up when Norma starts to investigate stuff. When asked what she’s doing there, Norma explains about Annika. When he’s told that Norman was the last person to see her, he has that “not again, Norman!” look on his face. And the way Norma tells the Sheriff about Norman, sounded like she was serving him up rather than protecting him. While this scene was weird, it was nowhere near as weird as the earlier scene when Romero leaves the motel to move back into his previously wrecked home. He and Norma try to give each other a farewell hug, but Norma starts to make Romero feel uncomfortable the way she grips and cuddles right into him. Hell, I felt uncomfortable!

Norman and Emma go out on a date, and the results were fairly predictable. Emma is trying to have a normal conversation the way couples on their first date would do. But this is Norman Bates she’s trying to connect with. Emma mentions Norma loving him too much and not allowing him to grow up, which puts him on the defensive. “She’s doing the best that she can” he tells her while barely keeping himself in check. When the conversation turns to sex, Norman becomes very uncomfortable. “Would you rather be like Peter Pan?” Emma playfully asks Norman. “If you’ll be my Wendy” he replies. (How cute is that?) “But Peter and Wendy never got to have sex.” says Emma. Norman responds with some odd sound containing a lot of vowels, and it sums up how he really feels about having normal, non-killing, non-stabby sex.

We close on a body found floating face down in the water. Now, we would automatically assume that we’re looking at the dead Annika, however, with The Arcanum Club being forced onto us via Norma’s arc, it could be that this is another body that links to the misogynistic club, taking the heat away from Norman. Or, maybe it is Annika and I’m just talking through a hole in my…