Bates Motel Season 5 Episode 3 – TV Review

Bates Motel Bad Blood Norma gun

All that training paid off.

As predicted, Caleb is not dead yet.

And Chick is now Igor to Norman’s Dracula?

TL;DR Caleb is held prisoner by an indecisive Norman; Chick shacks up with the crazy man and his not-there mother in order to write a book or something; Romero escapes from prison to get his revenge, but stumbles; Norman resists Norma long enough to release Caleb, but stupid coincidence leads to a rubbish, cop-out ending.

I hope this is not an omen of the series ending to come.

So yeah, Caleb survived his whack to the head, and endures the torments of Norman and Norma. Chick is no help, either, as it looks like that grudge is holding hard and fast, despite it being clear to Chick that Caleb will likely die. Norman and Norma go back and forth on what to do with Caleb, but eventually, despite some surprisingly emotional connections between Caleb and Norma (the head trauma helps), Norma tasks Norman with murdering him to keep her secret. But Norman resists and frees him. Just in time for Chick to distractedly hit him with his car, which is a super fucking weak way to have that whole thing end up. Meanwhile, Chick, recognises the dual personality thing that’s going on with Norman. But hey, he needs a place to stay. And apparently he’s been inspired to write a book about it. Because not only is Chick still on the show, but now he’s getting actual subplots, too. Huh? Meanwhile, Romero gets that transfer he was angling for and takes the opportunity to escape custody and hijack his way back to White Pine Bay. But a jumpy tween with a rifle shoots that plan down. And Dylan and Emma do not appear.

I’m still not sure whether or not Bates Motel will offer them a happily ever after.

You know, I was going to slam this episode. Those final moments with Caleb getting run over really left me with a sour taste in my mouth.

But up until that point, Bates Motel had done a deft job of solidifying Caleb as the tragic victim we’ve come to know him as. His submission to Norman killing him, because he has nothing else to live for and nowhere else to go, is heartbreaking.

It’s a shame about all that Chick bullshit.


Why I hate this episode:

Why is Chick still here? Seriously? I like to imagine he’s being built up as an asshole victim, but I think that’s more my disdain of him than it is something the show is actually doing. Again, out of any past character who is still alive, why Chick for the final season?

Chick’s hipster-ness is brought to the forefront this episode, and it makes me so fucking angry. I always assumed he was some tragic art hoboe with his fashion choices, but it turns out he’s straight-up hipster. This is solidified by his smug purchase of an old-fashioned typewriter for his book, rather than using a computer. Fuck you, Chick.

Oh, Chick’s plan is to write a book about Norman’s psychosis, by the way. So you’re willing to live with a killer for some elusive prospective book deal? Huh?

The final moments of the episode are the real deflation of everything its built towards. Just as Norman has found the inner goodness to let Caleb go, Norma, of course, comes flying out with a gun to try to kill him as he flees. But she misses, and Caleb is almost in the clear, but Chick just happens to be looking at his phone while driving in and hits Caleb. I can’t imagine he can endure much more trauma, so I assume he’s dead. What a crappy way to do it, Bates Motel. After all that, and he was a victim of mere coincidence?

I assume it was done that way to ensure Chick is truly entangled with the web of lies that is Norman Bates’ household. Now that he’s killed someone, he doesn’t have an out to run when things get hairy. I don’t want to be able to see the gears turning, show. Don’t be so transparent.

Oh, and Bates Motel again misses another opportunity to really go for it in the final season, and does not show Caleb and Norma kissing. It was close, but they did the writing equivalent of hover hand at the last second. Just go for it. Come on.


But it’s not all bad:

They hold hands and fall asleep together. So that’s something.

Caleb’s devolution from wanting to escape to grim acceptance is the foundation of the episode. Norman goes through the motions of finding out Norma has done something naughty, and then the requisite hand-wringing. That’s all well and good. But it’s Caleb who sells it. At first I thought he was just playing along by calling Norman “Norma.” But between the hopelessness, depression, and brain injury, I believed he believed he was talking to Norma.

And I appreciate Norman’s break-away from Norma to let him go. Norma gives Norman his marching orders to go execute Caleb, but Norman, desperately trying to hang onto whatever sanity is still inside, reneges. If it wasn’t for Chick’s distracted driving PSA being filmed on the street out front, it would have worked.

Watching Norma tear out of the house with the gun to stop him is also divine.

I imagine Chick’s douchebaggery is setting him up to die. Bates Motel has always been dark and disturbing, but it has rarely tolerated jerks (remember Zane?). And he’s recording his notes with voice memos. Norman will find out, baby. Then you’ll be in trouble.

Romero is a mix between Robert Deniro from Cape Fear and a terminator when it comes to getting his revenge. He commits crime after crime, and he, as a sheriff, should know that these are all going to incur much harsher punishments than the bullshit charge he was actually in prison for. But Romero has no fucks to give when it comes to Norma’s murderer. And I’m with him on that one.

His one stumbling block is getting caught by a tween while trying to steal a car. He only gets shot in the gut, which is TV and movie code for “he’ll be back on his feet next episode,” so I’m not worried. I wonder who will get the final showdown with Norman? Romero, or Dylan? Who else could it be?

Oh, and farewell to Caleb. My sincerest apologies for hating you so much in the past. You did good, dude. For an incest rapist, you did good.

Bates Motel Bad Blood Caleb

And if there’s one thing an isolated, barely-read TV blogger knows, it’s self-gratification.

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About ijusthateeverything

Sincerity is death.

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