Bates Motel Wiki
Bates Motel Wiki

"Meltdown" is the eighth episode of the second season of Bates Motel. It aired on April 21, 2014.


Romero delves deeper into the murder of Miss Watson; the battle between the drug families leaves Dylan caught between a rock and a very hard place; Norma refuses to tell Norman the truth about his blackouts.


Norma lies in bed looking at an adorable picture of Norman as a child. She goes to look for him but he isn't in his room. He's down in the office, vigorously sweeping. Romero comes in and Norman offers him fresh coffee. He eyes Norman, who asks if everything's okay. Romero says they're out of cream but, no matter, he likes it black and leaves.

Norma brings him a pastry which he refuses. He says he's fine with her not telling him secrets she knows about him. He says he has to head back to the house and finish work on stuffing an owl.

Nick Ford arrives unbidden and tells Norma that he needs her to arrange a meeting with Dylan and notes they are in the same business. Norma says she doesn't like the business Dylan is in and is, in fact, estranged from him. Nick says he recently lost his daughter and they were estranged and he regrets not mending fences and that she should talk to him and make-up, as well as arrange that meeting, right away.

Police arrive at the site of the shootout. Dylan is still passed out in the nearby bushes. He attempts to crawl away through the brush. The police enter the Ford grow house which is strewn with bodies, plants, money. The young female cop tells Romero they were all low level workers. He tells her to find Zane Morgan pronto. Dylan goes to see Jodi and tells her what Zane did.

Norma calls Dylan's cell but doesn't leave a message. Emma comes in to the office and Norma asks if she knows much about this town. Emma says she does. Norma asks if she knows where Dylan works. Emma says she'll take her.

Zane pleads his case to Jodi. Jodi says she understands that Zane resents that their father left the business to her but he shouldn't be starting a war. He claims she begged him to come help. They fight as Dylan watches. He says how they feel about each other is irrelevant and they need to figure out what to do. Zane says he has a plan: Nick Ford is old, they offer him a buyout and if he refuses they keep killing people until they wear him down. Jodi is unimpressed with this plan. Dylan says right this minute there are a bunch of people who want his head so Zane needs to lay low. Jodi says he knows where to go. Zane says they're going to see.

Norma arrives at the Morgan grow house with Emma. Emma says it may not be a good idea to go in unannounced and tells Norma to be careful. She goes to the door but it's locked. Remo approaches her with a gun and asks what she wants. She says she wants to see Dylan. She notices the video cameras. He apologizes that he didn't recognize her. He takes her through the heavily guarded house and she's surprised Dylan has an office.

Dylan wonders why she's here. She tells him about Nick Ford and the bypass and how he wants to see him. She compliments his office. She says she doesn't like the marijuana part but is glad he's doing well. He asks why Nick wants to see him. Norma says she doesn't know but that it was important. Dylan says since he's the head of the rival drug family he probably wants to kill him and says Norma should tell him she couldn't find him and then having nothing further to do with him. She tenderly touches his banged up face. She says she doesn't want him ever to get hurt. He tries to get her to leave and she stalls talking about how cannabis can seep into your system. He says she has to go. She says there's lots of stuff they still need to talk about. He says he can't. He asks Remo to walk her out. She kisses him goodbye.

George comes to see Norma at the motel to tell her the bypass has been temporarily halted for environmental studies. They hug, a little too long. He says it's great being her friend but he's interested in more and wants to know if she is too. She says okay and they make a date for the following night.

Romero's female underling has no lead on Zane and he tells her to work harder, get info out of people, don't be nice and don't make excuses. Dylan is driving at night and he gets pulled over by Romero who orders him out of his truck. He asks where Zane is. Dylan says he doesn't know. Romero roughs him up. Dylan says he'd tell him if he knew and he didn't want any of this to happen. Romero says to tell him if he finds out and if he's lying to him he'll be in big trouble. He lets him go.

Norman has finished the owl and has hung it up in the foyer. And he's putting other stuff up saying he knows how much Norma likes it. He has her touch it and says how soft it is. She says she's not sure they go. He says it's nature which goes with everything. She wonders if he's doing this because he's mad. He says he's doing it because he loves taxidermy and her and wants to share it with her. She thanks him.

Romero knocks on the door and tells her his shower curtain rod fell. He asks Norman to hold it up for him while he fixes it. They work on the curtain rod. He asks Norman how well he knew Miss Watson, he says not that well. He asks if she seemed stable. Norman says mostly yes, a good teacher, a good counselor. He says she seemed a little sad and lost at times. He asks if he saw her outside of school and Norman says for school projects. Romero says she slept with a lot of people and many of them were not nice and asks if Norman was one of them. He says no and wonders why Romero's telling him this. Romero says he can tell him and in fact he has to. Norman freaks and leaves saying he doesn't know why he's telling him this. Romero says this is not just going to go away.

The next day Nick Ford arrives at the Bates house and bangs on the door. He tells Norman he wants to see his mother. Norman says she's in town. Nick asks about Norman when he took pictures of Nick at his daughters grave. Norman replies saying she was his teacher and he was upset and knew that she was fighting with someone named Eric and that maybe Nick was Eric and killed her. Nick says that was his business partner. He says he hoped cutting her off would make her come home. It didn't. Norman offers his condolences. Nick notes from the pictures that Norman and Norma are close. Norma comes home and tells Nick she couldn't find Dylan while Norman eavesdrops. Nick tells her she's not being smart. She says how dare he come to her house and act like she's beholden to him. He says she is and is too ignorant to know it and that he got her her seat on the city council and killed Lee Berman. She says she doesn't like him and wants him out or she'll call her close personal friend the Sheriff. He tells her she's making a horrible mistake.

Norma finds Norman working in the basement and tells him she's meeting someone for dinner. He says okay. She says she knows he's upset. He says he's not. She says she's meeting George to get a rise out of him. Norman says he seems nice and to have fun. She says she's going to be very late. He says he won't wait up.

Dylan calls Nick and agrees to meet someplace public outside of White Pine Bay, so he can't shoot him.

Norma meets George at his swanky pad. He's grilling steak, says he was a ranch hand in Texas for a year. He tells his tales but she seems distracted. He asks if she's okay. She says she is. They start talking about college, he mentions Brown. She says she went to Florida. He thought she said Arizona State. She gets tearful and says she has to leave. He's confused. She says she didn't go to college, barely finished high school, her family was a mess, and she's not educated, polished or nice. She is nothing and can't come to a rich man's house and have him cook her filet mignon. He wonders about dinner, she apologizes and runs out.

Dylan meets Nick at a pizza place. They sit at the bar. Nick raises the issue about their mutual problem: Zane Morgan. He wants Dylan to kill Zane and if he does, the drug war stops right here. He says he's not asking, he needs to do it and that you don't start a drug war unless you're prepared for slaughter to the last man standing. He asks if Dylan and his family are prepared for that. Dylan says they're done talking and to stay away from Norma or he will kill him.

The female cop reports to Romero that Blaire Watson's skeevy ex-boyfriend has been convicted of her murder. She asks where that leaves them, since they're the only ones that know that Norman had sex with her the night she died. He says maybe they can prosecute her for having sex with a minor but since she's dead that's no longer possible. He says if she tells anyone he will hang her from the highest tree for processing that sample without permission.

Norma heads home and tells Norman she misses him. He says that's silly because they just saw each other. She says she doesn't like him being distant. She says not to walk away and starts to cry. He taunts her saying anger didn't work so now she's doing tears. He says they are not what he thought they were. She says they are and nothing has changed. He says everything has changed and he doesn't trust her anymore and she no longer knows him anymore and everything is up for grabs. He says it was all just a game, where they pretended they were devoted to each other and loved each other more than anyone else. She protests that they do love each other but he tells her to leave him alone. She follows him anyway and he locks his door. She bangs on it but he won't yield. She tries the other door and he says he has the key. She cries and screams and bangs on the door. She tells him he wants to be alone, fine, he'll be alone. She heads downstairs and out the door.

Norma goes back to George's house. He asks her what she's doing and she kisses him aggressively. She takes her underwear off under her dress. He says he's been wanting to do this for a long time. She tells him to do it as he begins kissing her neck.

Dylan goes to Jodi and tells her Zane's plan is insane and Nick Ford isn't going to retire to Hawaii. He says Nick is going to slaughter everyone. Jodi wonders how he knows this and Dylan says it's common sense. He says Jodi is the only one who has the power to stop him and Dylan's life is at stake too. She tells him he can leave now. He says she can't walk away. She says she doesn't know what to do. He hugs her. She says into his shoulder, "If you need to do something about Zane, you can do it."

In the pouring rain, Romero returns to the motel just as Norman is closing up the office. Romero tells Norman that the skeevy ex-boyfriend was convicted of Miss Watson's murder so he wonders why Norman is lying about having sex with her the night she was murdered and tells him they have a semen sample. Norman says it's impossible. Romero says maybe he doesn't want his mother to know but he has to know he didn't convict an innocent man and if Norman doesn't tell him what happened he will have to go to Norma. Norman simply runs away to his room and looks at Miss Watson's pearls and her obituary. He hears a noise and calls out to Norma. He heads downstairs gingerly to investigate and it's a husky thug who drugs Norman with chloroform and abducts him. Just then Norma's eyes pop open: she's lying in bed with George.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

Also Starring[]


  • This episode was watched by 2.10 million viewers.
  • Norman is seen using his taxidermy skills on an owl. The same owl (although faded with age) is seen in the parlor scene in Psycho.
  • When Norma finds Norman placing his taxidermy around the living room she has similar creeped out body language that Marion Crane has when she sees the taxidermied owl in the parlor scene in Psycho.
  • When Romero tells Norma about the shower curtain rod being broken and later tells Norman how it broke, it is a reference to Psycho as Sam and Lila find no shower curtain in the motel room while investigating Marion's disappearance, unaware that Marion tore the curtain down as she was fatally stabbed repeatedly by "Mother".
  • The film that Norma suggests to Norman that they go see together and then the latter later watches alone is the 1944 psychological thriller film noir Double Indemnity, which is about an insurance salesman lured to his doom by a predatory femme fatale, a parallel to the close relationship between Norma and Norman.


Song Title Performer(s)
Bodysnatchers Radiohead
Slow Ride Foghat
Electric Avenue Eddy Grant
Cold Duck Time Les McCann & Eddie Harris



Promotional Pictures[]

Episode Stills[]

Season 2
#201 "Gone But Not Forgotten" #206 "Plunge"
#202 "Shadow of a Doubt" #207 "Presumed Innocent"
#203 "Caleb" #208 "Meltdown"
#204 "Check-Out" #209 "The Box"
#205 "The Escape Artist" #210 "The Immutable Truth"