Here’s a little lesson in Murder 101 for my readers: if you’re going to kill a guy, especially if it’s in self defense after being violently attacked and you’re not Buffalo Bill, you don’t keep a souvenir. You don’t keep a memento from the corpse. You don’t, like Norman Bates, keep the dead guy’s belt. The police will invariably find it and you’ll be in hot water.
However, if you do keep the belt of the dead guy you’ve killed you’ll then have to pray very hard for one thing: that A) you can get romantically involved with one of the cops investigating the case and B) that cop is also helping run a human trafficking ring so you can turn the tables and paint him into a corner, if necessary. That’s what Norma, Norman, and Dylan succeeded in doing in “The Truth,” an episode that felt like a midseason finale in the way it swiftly wrapped up a lot of the biggest narrative strands of the season thus far — except that this is cable so we’ll have a brand new Bates Motel episode waiting for us next week. I hope you’re watching how it’s done, Network TV.
“The Truth” opened with Norma in a psychotic rage over the Chinese sex slave Norman presented to her. It proved that her boyfriend Shelby had been involved in the sex trafficking ring Norman and Emma had been investigating and that she had been woefully misguided in trying to pursue a romance with him. She got in her car half-cocked and tried to speed off for, in all likelihood, a violent showdown. Norman grabbed onto her car door as she tried to motor away, but she couldn’t shake him off. He jumped through the window, took her keys out of the ignition and through them away. Blind with fury, she said that she just wanted to talk to Shelby. Norman knew better. The main thing was that his Mom was so tired of seeing people get away with s**t. But to take down Shelby, you’d need a little bit more finesse.
So Norma calmed down pretty fast. So quickly in fact that she figured out how to manipulate Emma into not going to the police about Shelby. That wouldn’t be good, after all. Even with his sex slavery, he still had Keith Sommers’ belt and could destroy Norma and her son. Norma convinced Emma that they should let the poor girl rest until she’d truly be ready to go to the police, and in the meantime they’d keep her in one of the cabins. And to seal the deal Norma bonded with her over her past. Emma said that her mom had abandoned her, leading Norma to return that “she deserved better.” Emma practically jumped into her arms for a hug. How bad of a home life do you have to have to want to be a part of the Bates family?
Dylan quickly become an MVP when it comes to finding and eliminating evidence. He had a feeling that since Shelby and Keith Sommers had obviously worked together in the human trafficking ring, that maybe Shelby was keeping the latter’s belt on Sommers’ old boat. So he and Norman went down to the docks and broke in. Dylan always has to stir the pot, however, so he told Norman he thinks his mother killed his father. Why else did they pick up and leave without any word?
Back at the Bates Motel, Shelby showed up. And he was itchin’ for a little action from Norma. This put Norma in an impossible position: have sex with a man she despises just to stall for time…or what? So they start to have sex. But then Shelby heard water moving through the pipes of the motel, meaning that somebody else was staying there. And Norma had been saying that the place was vacant. Curious. He walked from cabin to cabin and finally stopped at the one the poor sex slave was staying in. He shouted, “Police!” And the girl came running out. She fled into the woods and Shelby got a shot off at her before Norma could intercede. We don’t know if she was hit. Neither did Shelby, so he ran into the woods after her. As soon as he left, Norman and Dylan returned, and Dylan announced that Norman was coming to live with him. A boy’s best friend may be his mother, but that boy needed to get away. Of course, before they could get any further with this, Shelby returned, gun drawn, and walked everybody up to the house for a little chat.
Shelby is obviously a psychopath. He sat everyone down around the kitchen table and started saying things like “Why are you making me do this to you?” as he was pointing his gun at Norman’s head. He then decided he would beat up Norma for the fun of it, and the son began to go into one of his detached-from-reality episodes. To Norman all went quiet. The only thing he knew was that his mother was in danger. So he charged into Shelby like a madman, allowing Dylan to grab his gun. Before long Dylan and Shelby were having a gunfight all throughout the house. Dylan managed to shoot Shelby in the leg, but he ran out of clips, meaning he’d have to run upstairs to get more. Shelby followed him up that famous staircase Arbogast will one day ascend, and we half expected that someone — Dylan? Norman? — would come charging out and stab Shelby on the stairs. That didn’t happen.
Norma and Norman made it to their car. Norman had suffered some kind of head injury and was zoned out. Finally, Mother called the police. They’d get help…although I don’t know how kindly they’ll take having to shoot at one of their own. The bigger problem was that Norma had forgotten her car keys, so they were stuck motionless in a getaway vehicle that wouldn’t provide any getaway. And just then Shelby came stumbling out of the house after a few exchanges of gunfire. He got to their car, raised his gun…and collapsed before he could get off a shot. The crisis was over. Well, all except that they’re going to have to explain the presence of this dead cop on their property and convince the police that Shelby was part of this organized crime ring when their key piece of evidence, the sex slave, was nowhere to be found.
Dylan wanted to tell the cops everything, including about what happened to Keith Sommers. He really believed, also, that Norma had killed Sam Bates. So Norma decided to level with him. Sam was beating her brutally one day, and finally Norman just had enough. He went into one of his “zones,” just like he did when he charged into Shelby and knocked Sam unconscious with a blender so hard that it killed him. (The fact that he likes to kill people with a blender makes him a spiritual cousin of Mark Moses’ Paul Young from Desperate Housewives, with Sam as Mrs. Huber.) Norman never even knew what he’d done. And based on what he’d just seen Norman do in the fight with Shelby, Dylan believed her.
Let the cover-up commence!
Is this show moving fast or what? Are you excited for where it’s going right now? And how do you think they’ll explain all of this to the police?
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
More: ‘Bates Motel’ Recap: But Norma Would Never Even Hurt a Fly ‘Bates Motel’ Recap: One Evidence-Laden Severed Hand, Coming Right Up!
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Onscreen, he slept on a bed of old newspaper and lunch meats, grumbling at his finicky roommate and guzzling beer after beer. He made his life's work uncovering the mysteries behind suspicious deaths with a microscope and a permanent grimace. He deliberated upon a complex court case, whose story has maintained its status as one of cinema's greatest feats to date. Offscreen, his name was Jack Klugman. The accomplished film and television actor, a show business staple for over half a century, has passed away at the age of 90.
USA Today reports that Klugman died suddenly, of yet undetermined causes, on Monday in Los Angeles. The reports came to USA from his son, who revealed that Klugman passed away while beside his wife, Peggy Compton.
Early on in his career, Klugman took a role in Sydney Lumet's classic film 12 Angry Men, which would cement his reputation as a performer of note and stick with him has one of his greatest accomplishments. Undoubtedly, however, Klugman's most iconic role would have to be his small screen turn as Oscar Madison, the slovenly half of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple. Klugman assumed the role at the inception of the sitcom in 1970, more than living up to the crotchety but fun-loving incarnation of the character that audiences saw actor Walter Matthau create for the film, two years prior. For the program's five-year run, Klugman invigorated misanthropic slob Oscar with a perfect recipe of grumbling cynicism and boyish charm.
Immediately following the conclusion of The Odd Couple, Klugman returned to his dramatic roots with the crime series Quincy, M.E., portraying a coroner who made a habit of investigating the foul play behind a number of his deceased subjects. The series would last until 1983, allowing Klugman's notoriety to grant him a number of recurring and guest starring television roles throughout the remainder of his career.
From the mid-1970s on, Klugman had repeated struggles with throat cancer. In 1989, Klugman lost the use of his vocal cords temporarily, but through determination regained the ability to speak, continuing to perform on film and stage thereafter.
Klugman has been married twice: to actress Brett Sommers from 1953 until her passing in 2007, and then to Compton from 2008 on. Klugman is survived by Compton, and his two sons, Adam and David Klugman, from his first marriage.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]
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An avalanche of ticket sales for The Rock gave Scorpion King a record setting number one opening of $36.2 million.
Changing Lanes slowed down to place second with $11.1 million. Murder by Numbers opened third with only a small box office killing of $9.5 million.
The Rookie showed strong legs and placed fourth with $6.3 million. Panic Room locked up the fifth spot with $6.2 million.
Driven by Scorpion, key films--those grossing $500,000 or more--totaled $99.1 million, up over 27 percent from last year's $77.8 million. Business was up over 9 percent from the previous weekend's $90.7 million.
THE TOP TEN
Universal's PG-13 rated adventure spinoff The Scorpion King in association with World Wrestling Federation Entertainment and Alphaville kicked off with blockbuster strength to a chart topping ESTIMATED $36.2 million at 3,444 theatres ($10,515 per theater).
Scorpion's average per theater was the highest for any film playing this weekend.
Insiders said Scorpion is well on its way to $100 million in domestic theaters. How far it goes beyond that will depend on how well it holds after Columbia launches its highly anticipated event film Spider-Man May 3.
Scorpion goes into the record books as the biggest opening ever in the month of April. Actually, Universal broke its own record, having set it with $20.4 million for Life the weekend of Apr. 16-18, 1999.
"Everyone at Universal is very excited over the fact that we took one immensely popular franchise and spun off a completely new and obviously equally popular franchise," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said Sunday morning.
"We're happy we were able to launch a summer type movie in mid-April. That's setting precedent again. And certainly, having the April opening record is something to toot your horn about."
Rocco emphasized that, "None of this would have been possible without the tireless efforts of the amazing star of this movie, The Rock, who we're very proud to be in business with. He literally did everything we asked him to do (to launch the movie) and kept coming back for more. He's incredible. He's got talent. He's got charisma.
"And I have to credit our filmmaking partners at Alphaville, (producers) Sean Daniel and Jim Jacks with producers Kevin Misher and Stephen Sommers, for getting this film ready, bringing it to us in time to release it in April and doing it at a relatively inexpensive cost. Because it's not a special effects film like The Mummy, it didn't cost as much. It was $60 million--not (cheap) by today's standards, but still and all it's something to be very proud of."
Asked who was on hand opening weekend, Rocco replied, "It was just what we thought it would be. It was young males, who loved it. They came for The Rock. The audience was (about) 56 percent under 25, which was what was expected for this. And having launched it at this tremendous number, it bodes very well for next weekend where there's really nothing (in terms of huge competition to cut into Scorpion). We have two weeks to ourselves--this week and next week. That's a good thing."
Paramount's R rated road rage drama Changing Lanes drove one notch down the chart to second place in its second week, still on the track with an ESTIMATED $11.1 million (-35%) at 2,642 theaters (+29 theaters; $4,201 per theater). Its cume is approximately $32.8 million.
Directed by Roger Michell, it stars Ben Affleck and Samuel L Jackson.
Castle Rock Entertainment's Murder by Numbers opened calmly in third place via Warner Bros. to an ESTIMATED $9.51 million at 2,663 theaters ($3,569 per theater).
Directed by Barbet Schroeder, it stars Sandra Bullock.
"About 71 percent of the audience was over the age of 25, of which 60 percent were female," Warner Bros. Distribution president Dan Fellman said Sunday morning.
"So it was predominantly female. It's a different kind of film for Sandra Bullock and a film she wanted to make. It wasn't that far from the studio projections. We'll hang in there and see how we hold up. Next week's not very strong (in terms of new competition)."
Buena Vista/Disney's G rated family appeal baseball drama The Rookie rose one rung to fourth place in its fourth week, still rounding the bases with great energy with an ESTIMATED $6.3 million (-21%) at 2,507 theaters (-13 theaters; $2,528 per theater). Its cume is approximately $53.7 million.
Directed by John Lee Hancock, it stars Dennis Quaid.
Columbia's R rated thriller Panic Room escaped three blocks south to fifth place in its fourth week with a still scary ESTIMATED $6.2 million (-42%) at 2,825 theaters (-294 theaters; $2,195 per theater). Its cume is approximately $82.2 million, heading for the area of $100 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by David Fincher, it stars Jodie Foster.
"We have opened every (new international) market in the number one position. This weekend we had a very big opening in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy--all in the number one position," Sony Pictures Entertainment worldwide marketing & distribution president Jeff Blake said Sunday morning.
Panic's international numbers, Blake said, are "very comparable to a picture we handled last spring, Erin Brockovich, which was our international title. It's doing that level of business (and is) certainly pointed towards $100 million-plus and we're going to be real close domestic. But, certainly, international is off to that level of start. Obviously, with more major territories to come, we'll know more within a month. Every one has been a terrific launch and a number one opening."
Looking ahead, Blake noted, "Next week is France. The U.K. opens on May 3. And Japan opens May 18."
20th Century Fox's PG rated animated feature Ice Age eroded two pegs to sixth place in its sixth week, still holding nicely with an ESTIMATED $5.74 million (-33%) at 2,817 theaters (-194 theaters; $2,038 per theater). Its cume is approximately $159.5 million, heading for $175 million or more in domestic theaters.
Directed by Chris Wedge, it features the voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo and Denis Leary.
Columbia's R rated romantic comedy The Sweetest Thing dropped four notches in its second week to seventh place with a bittersweet ESTIMATED $5.2 million (-45%) at 2,670 theaters (theater count unchanged; $1,948 per theater). Its cume is approximately $17.0 million.
Directed by Roger Kumble, it stars Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate and Selma Blair.
20th Century Fox and Regency Enterprises' PG-13 rated thriller High Crimes fell two rungs to eighth place in its third week with a dull ESTIMATED $3.77 million (-50%) at 2,408 theaters (-339 theaters; $1,564 per theater). Its cume is approximately $30.8 million, heading for $35-40 million.
Directed by Carl Franklin, it stars Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman.
Paramount and Nickelodeon Movies' PG rated time travel adventure Clockstoppers slid two slots to ninth place in its fourth week, with a slower ESTIMATED $2.86 million (-39%) at 2,188 theaters (-324 theaters; $1,307 per theater). Its cume is approximately $31.9 million, heading for the area of $40 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Jonathan Frakes, it stars Jesse Bradford, Paula Garces, French Stewart, Michael Biehn and Robin Thomas.
Rounding out the Top Ten was Artisan Entertainment's R rated youth comedy National Lampoon's Van Wilder, which was tenth last week, in its third week with a less wild ESTIMATED $2.25 million (-45%) at 1,806 theaters (-298 theaters; $1,246 per theater). Its cume is approximately $17.3 million, heading for $20 million in domestic theaters.
Directed by Walt Becker, it stars Ryan Reynolds and Tara Reid.
"We're thinking it will probably top off at $20 million because I don't think there's going to be more than a couple weeks of business left," Artisan domestic theatrical distribution president Steve Rothenberg said Sunday morning.
"For us, it's a good win. We made the film for between $5-6 million, so to gross $20 million and with all the ancillary (business because) these titles are usually very good in video, we should be fine."
This weekend also saw the arrival of IFC Films' PG rated romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding with a slim ESTIMATED $0.53 million at 108 theaters ($4,895 per theater).
Directed by Joel Zwick, it stars Nia Vardalos and John Corbett.
Manhattan Pictures' R rated thriller Enigma opened to an unexciting ESTIMATED $0.15 million at 25 theaters ($5,985 per theater).
Directed by Michael Apted, it stars Dougray Scott, Kate Winslet, Jeremy Northam and Saffron Burrows.
Paramount Classics' PG-13 rated romantic comedy Triumph of Love arrived to an non-triumphant ESTIMATED $61,000 at 18 theaters ($3,378 per theater).
Directed by Clare Peploe, it stars Mira Sorvino, Fiona Shaw, Jay Rodan, Rachael Stirling and Ben Kingsley.
Sony Pictures Classics' R rated drama Nine Queens kicked off to a hopeful ESTIMATED $39,000 at 5 theaters ($7,713 per theater).
Directed by Fabian Bielinsky, it stars Ricardo Darin and Gaston Pauls.
Lions Gate Films' R rated drama Chelsea Walls opened to a soft ESTIMATED $10,000 at 3 theaters ($3,219 per theater).
Directed by Ethan Hawke, it stars Rosario Dawson, Vincent D'Onofrio, Kris Kristofferson, Robert Sean Leonard, Natasha Richardson, Uma Thurman, Mark Webber and Steve Zahn.
There were no national sneak previews this weekend.
On the expansion front this weekend IFC Films' unrated erotic drama Y Tu Mama Tambien went wider in its sixth week with an okay ESTIMATED $1.03 million (+1%) at 243 theaters (+50 theaters; $4,245 per theater). Its cume is approximately $5.9 million.
Directed by Alfonso Cuaron, it stars Maribel Verdu, Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna.
USA Films' R rated romantic comedy Monsoon Wedding added theaters in its ninth week with a still enticing ESTIMATED $0.71 million (+14%) at 189 theaters (+27 theaters; $3,740 per theater). Its cume is approximately $7.1 million.
Directed by Mira Nair, it was produced by Nair and Caroline Baron.
Universal's international division reported Sunday morning that The Scorpion King kicked off its international run with an outstanding number one opening in Australia. The film's $0.28 million opening day gross is the second biggest opening day of the year Down Under. In its first three days, Scorpion grossed $1.0 million on 191 playdates.
In the U.K. Scorpion arrived to an excellent $1.7 million on 402 playdates in its first 2 days, including Thursday night previews, and is running neck and neck with Bend it Like Beckham for first place.
In Malaysia, Scorpion grossed $0.33 million on 41 playdates, ranking as Universal's second biggest opening ever, UIP's all-time third biggest opening and the industry's fourth biggest opening in history.
In Singapore, Scorpion grossed $0.36 million on 26 playdates, making it Universal's fourth biggest opening, UIP's sixth biggest opening and the industry's tenth biggest.
In the Philippines, Scorpion also did excellent opening weekend business, grossing $0.23 million on 76 playdates, matching the ticket sales for past blockbusters like Jurassic Park III and Tomb Raider.
In Hong Kong, Scorpion grossed an excellent $0.36 million on 38 playdates, equaling the openings for The Mummy and Tomb Raider.
A Beautiful Mind continued to hold very well in the Top 5 in several countries. In Argentina, Mind tied for first place in its ninth week with $35,000 (-17%) on 51 playdates.
In Brazil, it ranked fifth in its tenth week with $0.11 million (-27%) on 155 playdates.
Mind was fifth in its eighth week in Germany with $0.46 million (-21%) on 389 playdates.
In Mexico, it placed fifth in its eighth week with $0.14 million (-24%) on 153 playdates.
Ali G Is in Da House, Universal's latest film from Working Title, was ninth in its fifth week, grossing $0.32 million (-38%) on 282 playdates. In 29 days, Ali G has grossed $13.6 million.
Key films--those grossing more than $500,000--took in approximately $99.1 million, up about 27.42 percent from last year when they totaled $77.78 million.
Key films this weekend were up about 9.27 percent from the previous weekend of this year's total of $90.7 million.
Last year, Miramax and Universal's second week of Bridget Jones's Diary was first with $10.2 million at 2,221 theaters ($4,585 per theater); and Dimension Films' fourth week of Spy Kids was second with $10.1 million at 3,191 theaters ($3,156 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $20.3 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $47.3 million.