Bates Motel Season 4 Episode 7 – TV Review
But don’t get your lube out just yet. That’s the closing shot of the episode.
No, we’ve got the fifth leg in our “how many episodes can Norman waste in Pineview?” marathon to complete first.
TL;DR Norman’s stay at Pineview ends up having been utterly pointless; but at least he’s back home to get back to his Psycho business; Norma falls back into old patterns to appease Norman; Rebecca leaves town uneventfully; Dylan and Emma are still treading water.
Just how well did Norman hide Audrey’s body?
So Norman’s still at Pineview, and Doctor Edwards keeps up his treatment and sympathy for Norman, who appears to be reacting well. But reality comes smashing in as Norman discovers that Norma has married Romero, and now wants out out out. Presumably to kill Romero, right? Dylan and Edwards both advise Norma not to allow this to happen, but she refuses to have Norman committed involuntarily, and is too weak to withstand Norman’s pleas to come back to mummy. Norman is within his rights to discharge himself, and he manages to sell Edwards enough bullshit, and he’s back, baby. So next episode something interesting might happen. Meanwhile, Dylan tells Norma about the letter from Audrey he found in Norman’s room. She feverishly stays in denial about what likely happened, and Dylan’s curiosity seemingly abates. He also shows Emma the letter, but she surmises that Audrey probably only wanted to meet with her to get money and/or talk smack about Will, so decides to not give a fuck. Good for her. Meanwhile, Norma confesses to Romero that she’s broke and the motel isn’t doing well, so he gives her the brick of Bob Paris cash. And speaking of cash, Rebecca gets her three million dollars, hunty, and fucks off outta town, despite Romero’s protests that it could look suspicious to the DEA.
If Romero’s penchant for shooting complications to death doesn’t extend to women, he could recruit Norman to do the job.
Again, I feel dirty for saying it, but what another boring-ass episode of Bates Motel.
And it turns out Norman’s whole stay in Pineview was for nothing. Yes, it was cute seeing him go in and out of trances and stuff, but as of this episode he’s rolled back to his slasher smiling ways and comes home to get between Norma and Romero.
At the time Norman went in for treatment, Bates Motel only had eighteen episodes left until its conclusion. So why on Earth did we waste five of them?
Why I hate this episode:
The argument about setup/payoff naturally comes up here. But, like I said of Bates last week, and of Game of Thrones Season 5, a television show is not a movie. A movie can take its time building to a final third bombastic fantastic climax because it’s a single piece of work, designed to be watched in its entirety in one sitting. A ten episode TV show is designed to be watched in one sitting per week for ten weeks. So to have five of those sittings be meh is pretty rubbish.
Especially after the heights of this season’s second episode. How did we go from that to this? Boo.
Norman isn’t the only one who’s wasted our time. Dylan and Emma still have contributed nothing of value on an episode-to-episode basis. We finally get a whiff of tension with the Audrey thing (I assumed Emma might have been just as interested in what happened to her as Dylan was), but it’s then stamped out by Emma’s apathy. Good grief.
Norma has been the only winner in the Bates family from the five episode lull, as she’s been living life without the crippling weight of Norman hanging over her. But that progress she made is for naught, as she folds like Superman on laundry day when Norman comes crying to return home.
She has three options to keep Norman in Pineview: 1) give Edwards cause to declare Norman a danger to himself or others, so he can get the court to intervene; 2) petition the court to give her custody of Norman and have him involuntarily committed; or 3) try convincing her psycho murderer son, clearly jealous of her marriage, to stay somewhere he doesn’t want to be. Norma won’t admit he’s dangerous, and she doesn’t want to be the bad guy by forcing custody, so chooses option 3. And fails spectacularly. For fuck’s sake. He’s gonna kill you, Norma.
Oh, and I can’t imagine this is the end of Rebecca’s road, but as of now, her subplot seems so pointless. Unless she finds a way into Norman’s homicidal sights, what other purpose could she serve?
But it’s not all bad:
Didn’t Marion Crane steal a bunch of money from her workplace?
And didn’t Psycho’s Norman Bates murder his mother and her lover out of jealousy? Could we already be at that point? Because if so, holy fuck, I’m in.
Norma’s capitulation to Norman’s demands is disappointing, but she still manages to sell her pieces of the episode with her typical Norma Bates flair. The highlight would be a zero-to-one-hundred anxiety shift when Dylan asks her about Audrey, complete with a Norma shriek of dialogue.
But she gets the best line earlier:
Dylan: “I need to tell you something.”
Norma: “Oh my God, did Emma die!?”
Only her character’s usefulness, Norma.
Norma gets excited about fixing up the house this episode, but then realises her dreams are probably not going to work because she’s broke as hell. She tells Romero this while they’re in the basement, which makes his reveal of the block of Bob cash from the boiler easy. She’s hesitant to accept literal blood money. But hey, Norma Bates gotta do.
While Emma’s dismissal of Audrey is a blow for the mystery surrounding her disappearance, I applaud her emotional maturity to see Audrey’s gesture for what it likely was.
Norman makes a papier-mache dog while at Pineview that is a dead ringer for Juno. Great work, props department.
Norman finds out about Norma’s marriage to Romero from the strips of newspaper he’s using to make the papier-mache. All his progress is immediately flushed down the toilet. Which is wasteful, but also conducive to getting him out of Pineview and back to access to knives.
Norman tells Julian, who has acclimated to his medication now, his plan to discharge himself. Julian snorts back that someone as crazy as he or Norman will never get out. Or, if they do, stay out. Norman shows some menace when he replies that while he is indeed just as crazy as Julian, he is also able to put on a normal face to get what he wants. Chills.
Norman envisions Norma and Romero having sex, and it makes him super pissed off. As it should.
Oh, and Norma and Romero have for real sex. Which is so divine that I’m struggling to believe I ever wanted her to get together with Norman. Romero is definitely the right choice.