From the start of the season, Betty Gibbs has viewed Julia Trubkina as a rival for her son's love.
As creepy as that Bates Motel reenactment has been, fans have noticed another element of the story.
Brandon himself has repeatedly shown himself to be a disappointing -- or worse -- partner.
Is Brandon the real villain of the season?
Despite a lot of ups and downs, it's been pretty clear for some time that Brandon and Julia do get married.
Among other things, they were spotted together at a New Year's party.
The yikes-ness of a NYE party during a pandemic aside, Julia could not have attended if she and Brandon weren't married.
But that doesn't mean that they had an easy path to be together ... or that their union will last.
Fans first noticed that something was up with Brandon's attitude when he joked on Instagram, comparing Julia to an indentured servant.
Tone deaf? Yes. But it also seemed to indicate that he thought that how his mom treated his wife was funny.
In fact, there were a lot of red flags (and worse) early on with Brandon on the show.
Remember, he lied to her -- not telling her about how they would be forced into separate rooms -- to get her to come over.
Brandon admitted to the camera that if he had told her the truth, she wouldn't have come.
Brandon didn't stand up for Julia or for himself in that regard.
He also didn't stand up to his truly, miserably awful parents when they set Julia to work like she was (free) hired help.
Of course, they treat him the same way, so fans could almost understand. Other things were harder to swallow.
Somehow, the entire conversation about the birth control issue was about Julia.
Brandon briefly mentioned not liking the feel of condoms, while Betty did her best to force Julia to go on the pill.
The pull-out method is not effective birth control. You know what is? A vasectomy.
Brandon didn't just throw Julia under the bus when it came to birth control.
Remember when he would bring Julia her favorite tea in the mornings before beginning his farm chores?
When his parents asked why he took so long in the mornings, he blamed it on her. Childish.
Julia was immediately put to work doing farm chores that she didn't sign up for or enjoy.
There's a word for paying someone's way from Europe to America to then get them to labor on your farm for free, and it's indentured servitude.
Brandon seemed to shrug his shoulders and let his fiancee get treated this way. She had to give him an ultimatum to get his attention.
Julia gave Brandon a (frankly long-overdue) ultimatum that either they would leave the farm together or she would "go Russia."
Brandon told his parents, who were immediately outraged that anyone would defy their toxic house rules.
Naturally, Brandon fully blamed it on Julia ... and then went full weasel, offering to negotiate instead of just moving out.
Now, so much of that was so closely linked with Brandon's rotten parents that many viewers overlooked his passive role.
Should he have stood up for Julia more? Of course.
It was only after some of those issues were resolved that fans began to see that one of the problems was Brandon himself.
When Brandon and Julia went to look at a possible wedding venue, Brandon ... forgot why May 9 was the wedding date.
After all of the fuss of Betty trying to force them to change their wedding date from "Mother's Day weekend," he didn't remember?
It was the anniversary of the day that he told Julia that she looked like his "future wife."
What followed was even worse, because his apparent disinterest in wedding details could be chalked up to his upbringing.
(Or even to gender roles, but some viewers who apparently think that being a man gives someone a free pass to be a jerk)
But Brandon went from uninterested and uncaring to downright cruel.
When Julia teared up about the wedding, Brandon shifted gears.
He admonished his fiancee to "stop lying" while she wept.
He told her that if she really didn't care anymore like she claimed, she wouldn't be crying.
Now, it's true that many viewers observed that Brandon was probably repeating toxic, hurtful things that his mother has said to him.
This is often the case of people with bad parents.
Even the ones who know how bad their parents are -- and Brandon clearly does not -- have to work to unlearn their nasty behaviors.
But ... does Brandon have any hope of doing that and being a good, worthy husband to Julia?
He might! A lot of people disentangle themselves from their parents' baggage and turn into wonderful people.
But to do so, he may need to go no-contact with Betty and Ron, which would be a good idea anyway.
Ultimately, Brandon may be one of this season's villains ... only time will tell.
But he can't possibly be this season's or even his storyline's biggest bad.
Betty Gibbs holds that dubious title so far, and it's hard to imagine her passing that crown to anyone else.