Bates Motel Season 2 Episode 10 – TV Review
Let the I Just Hate Everything season finales begin.
That kiss is gonna be hard to beat.
TL;DR Norma finally kisses Norman; the truth about his murder of Miss Watson comes to light; but not to an easily-fooled polygraph machine; Zane and Kathleen both end up dead thanks to Dylan and Romero.
I’m not sure if I can see Dylan taking theirs and Nick’s places as Papa Drugs in town, though.
The episode starts off with Romero and Dylan teaming up to rescue Norman from the box, which they do. They then unite with Kathleen to eliminate Zane. But Zane, in another bizarre show of aptitude, pre-empts their ambush. Zane kills Kathleen, then Romero kills Zane. Shooting villains seems to be Romero’s season finale tradition. Romero suggests Dylan should fill the void left by Kathleen, Zane, and Nick, and that they can trust each other and work together. Meanwhile, Norma is glad to have Norman home. Until he tells her about his memories of banging and murdering Miss Watson. Norma freaks the fuck out and buys tickets for her, Norman, and Dylan to flee to Montreal to escape Romero’s polygraph test. Norman is more zen about things, though, and decides that he’s a rotten egg and suicide is the only way out. Norma begs him not to, and the power of her on-the-lips kiss proves effective enough for him to stay. Norman then passes the polygraph test because Apparition Norma shows up and is like “I killed Blair, not you,” so Norman isn’t lying when he claims to have not killed her. And Norman, before his suicide walk, fills Emma in on the Dylan/Caleb parentage situation so she’ll reconsider her resignation.
Shut up, Emma. This isn’t about you.
Honestly, this is a brilliant end to a near-flawless season. There wasn’t a single bum episode. Yeah, the drug politics stuff came close to suffocating things, but Norma and Norman always brought the attention back to where it belonged: their creepy, creepy love.
I gasped IRL when she planted the kiss on him this episode. I didn’t think they’d go there, but they did. And it’s mesmerising.
Vera Farmiga is mesmerising.
Bates Motel is mesmerising.
Why I hate this episode:
Not all that glitters is golden, though. There are a couple of plot conveniences that make things seem arbitrary. The most impactful being the extremely convenient deaths of Zane and Kathleen. Zane’s competence again shines through at the most inopportune time. And then everything’s wrapped up in a neat, little package when he and Kathleen fight to her death, and Romero indulges his dream of offing Zane with a shotgun blast to the chest. Way to kill the tension, guys. Literally.
Which means next season will have to waste time introducing a new slew of soon-to-be-killed-by-Romero Big Bads. Boring.
The other plot convenience smells a lot like Regina’s “I can do good magic because it would be handy right now” revelation from this week’s Once Upon a Time. Norman is in the polygraph test. The Bates family all know that he killed Miss Watson, and there’s no way he’s gonna pass. Then just as the tester asks him if he killed her, Apparition Norma pops in and is like “Lolz, you didn’t kill her, silly. I did. Good timing, huh?” Then Norman’s brain is convinced he didn’t kill Miss Watson, and he passes the test. It was necessary, but so fucking absurd.
Norman fills Emma in on things so she doesn’t feel out of the loop. So he tells her about the Dylan drama from several episodes ago, despite the fact she was way more concerned about Norman being missing and turning up mysteriously with an obviously bogus story about the stomach flu. Don’t be so easily placated, Emma. It makes you look stupid.
The Christine/George plot lines get very quickly tied up when Christine has a bitch at Norma when they bump into each other at the supermarket. Christine is pissed off about Norma’s classism, and implies she will be nixing Norma’s city council seat due to her personal relationship with the mayor. I don’t see how George and Christine would still be relevant anymore, so I doubt they’ll be back. So it sucks that they get only this as a coda. Especially George, who doesn’t even get to appear.
Norman and Emma reminisce over The Tyger. Ugh, don’t remind me.
Oh, and Bradley seriously isn’t coming back? Was Transformers 4 really more important than this?
But it’s not all bad:
It’s all about that Norma/Norman love, baby.
The climax of the episode, and possibly the best scene of the series yet, comes when Norma realises Norman is going off into the woods to shoot himself. She desperately chases after him, tackling him to the ground. He gets out from under her and even points the gun at her to leave him to his mission. He believes he is bad on the inside, and that the only sensible thing to do is end his life to stop other people from getting hurt. Norma’s anguished attempts to dissuade him are achingly sincere. Vera Farmiga is everything.
Norma gets the best line of the episode, with this simple statement: “We have to be together. We’re supposed to be together.” Together forever.
Then, in a move I wasn’t expecting, she kisses him on the lips. And not in a parental way. She quickly moves to kissing his cheek and tries to move out of “I’m a mum and just kissed my son on the mouth” territory, but I saw it, bitch. And it works. Yes, it’s incestuous and gross and everything you would expect from Norma Bates of Psycho fame. But it’s also genuinely sweet, and real, and nice. It may be wrong, but their love is real. It’s the immutable truth.
Dylan and Romero do what they can with the plot-heavy aspects of the episode. I may have rolled my eyes at how neatly the drug lords’ deaths tied things up, but hey, they got the job done. Romero, especially. He pretty much sings with joy as he blasts Zane’s torso off. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I felt a little bad for Kathleen. Zane sticks her up at gunpoint when he invades her home after figuring out the ruse. She slashes at him with a knife, and he mercilessly guns her down in retaliation, calling her a bitch as she goes down. White Pine Bay is cruel.
Speaking of cruel, Christine is really not pleased about the way Norma treated George. Christine disowns Norma completely, and calls her a train wreck. She’s not wrong, I suppose.
When Dylan rescues Norman from the box, Dylan hugs him deeply. Aww. He’s such a good big brother.
Likewise, when Norma tells Dylan she’s booked flights to Montreal, he is surprised and happy that she included one for him, too. Their relationship appears to be mended, and I’m glad. I’ve said it before: Bates family is best family.
The polygraph tester doesn’t pull any punches.
Apparition Norma had ridiculous timing, but she is a fabulous bitch. And I can’t fault her for that.
Romero’s gonna spin the story that Zane killed Nick. Romero went to Kathleen’s place just as he killed her, then Romero killed Zane. He’ll be leaving Dylan out of everything. He’s really a good guy, huh?
Nick’s goons evidently are all-around terrible, so last episode’s lapse wasn’t isolated. When Romero goes to Nick’s place shortly after running into Dylan fleeing from it, one of them is upstairs robbing his now-dead employer. Bloody mercenaries.
Romero kills Zane with extreme prejudice. Nothing’s sexier than a semi-corrupt sheriff gunning down the real jerky criminals. I hope he does this every season finale.
Oh, and Emma is sympathetically horrified to learn the truth about Dylan’s conception. She says she’ll reconsider her resignation.