Bates Motel Season 5 Episode 4 – TV Review
We get a hallucinatory murder this episode. Does that count?
TL;DR Norman is basically dating Madeline now, but Norma isn’t a fan; Chick disposes of Caleb’s body, but Norman kicks Chick out to avoid suspicion from the new sheriff in town; Romero, gun shot wound and all, continues his cross country trek; Dylan and Emma, for the second consecutive episode, do not appear.
I wonder if Max Thieriot and Olivia Cooke still get paid for every episode? They’re still in the credits.
So wah wah, Caleb is dead from Chick’s text-and-drive PSA moment. Norman wants to call the police because it was an accident, but Norma and Chick gang up and instead insist they get rid of the body. Which Chick does, giving Caleb some hipster bullshit burning barge funeral. Not conspicuous or visible for miles at all. But then Norman kicks Chick the fuck out because Sheriff Greene, Romero’s replacement, is snooping around with questions about Wallet Guy. And news that Romero has jailbroken. Oh, shit. However, Norman later comes grovelling to Chick when he finds out Norma didn’t dispose of Wallet Guy’s car, but merely left it in the woods. Meanwhile, Norman gives away some of Norma’s old dresses to Madeline. I could have sworn I heard her vagina snap shut at the prospect, but because she’s more desperate than me when the gin runs out, she is apparently super down with it, and even invites Norman to have a private dinner with her. While she’s wearing one of the dresses. This is, naturally, a huge turn on, but Norman has to flee mid-make-out when visions of Norma slashing Madeline’s throat crop up. And Romero legs it after getting shot last episode. He tends his wound as best he can, but ends up on some acquaintance’s doorstep.
His roaring rampage of revenge has become a tender limp of revenge.
I mean, yeah, Bates Motel is still making an admirable effort of hitting the emotional notes with regard to Norman and his descent into madness.
But last season kind of covered all that, already. I want to see Norman evolve into the murderous butterfly he was always destined to be.
Not snivelling and moaning about wanting to call the police after his incestuous uncle, who he had chained up in his basement five seconds ago, dies.
Why I hate this episode:
This is a prequel to Psycho, right? Not a prequel to Whinge.
The tension between Norman’s grasp on the reality of his situation versus his dependence on the fantasy of Norma being alive has been mostly dropped. Watching Norman crawl to his mummified mother’s body for comfort in the season premiere raised some vital questions about just how aware Norman is. But now all we get to see is his belief in the fantasy and nothing else. Where’s the conflict?
Chick’s hipster-y-ness is reaching intolerable levels. The clothing and the typewriter were bad enough, but his funeral ceremony thing for Caleb is preposterous. Even for Bates Motel, the show that has had things like a drug gang war and the Arcanum Club in earlier seasons. People could see a burning boat on the river, Chick. That’s not how you dispose of a fucking body. Jesus.
Where are Dylan and Emma?
I know Madeline is alone and sad because her husband is a philandering turd. But, gurl, surely there’s someone hotter than Norman Bates in White Pine Bay for you to have an affair with. And someone who doesn’t get turned on when you wear his dead mother’s dresses.
The moment when she admitted she liked the dresses I was like oh, honey, no. Like, no.
Oh, and Romero’s trek of doom loses impact for me because I don’t have a sense of the geography or scale of his journey. Just a few quick lines of dialogue to state how far/near he is would be nice.
But it’s not all bad:
Romero is seriously determined to get where he needs to go. He essentially walks off the buckshot wound he received last episode. There’s a great moment when he makes a pitstop outside of an apartment complex. He calls in a 911 emergency to one of the apartments from a pay phone, and when the paramedics go up, he robs the ambulance for supplies. Clever.
On the subject of sheriffs, Sheriff Greene is a welcome new addition to the cast. She seems like a confident go-getter, but without any “I’m a girl and that’s a big deal” bullshit. Her actress is Brooke Smith, who I remember fondly as the girl in the hole in The Silence of the Lambs. And that reality show horror movie Series 7: The Contenders. And she has barely aged a day. It’s miraculous.
It doesn’t take her long to raise her eyebrows at Norman, which doesn’t bode well for her chances of survival. When discussing Wallet Guy, Norman lets slip a detail that she hadn’t told him about. She calls him on it, and he plays it off. As you do. She doesn’t press any further, but you can see the wheels turning.
Despite its obstruction of the action, I can sympathise with Norman’s constant resistance to Norma’s criminal and homicidal actions. I suppose this is his final battle of wills to retain his sanity, and we know the tragic truth is he will not triumph.
Norman’s no angel, though. When Norma is sassing him about Wallet Guy’s car, Norman snaps and chokes her to death (she revives quickly because she isn’t real, but still). Maybe Norma isn’t the personality we have to worry about?
But she probably is, as she shows up during Norman’s pash with Madeline and he envisions her slitting Madeline’s throat. Interestingly, though, this depiction of Norma is costumed and made up to resemble the Apparition Norma of old, and not the fancy new model. Just something I picked up on.
Chick is, understandably, unimpressed when Norman rescinds the offer for him to stay. But when Norman goes to him for help with Wallet Guy’s car later, and Norman tearfully concedes he’s worried about Norma being out of control, Chick seems to feel bad for him. It’s like Norman’s crying for help. But we know no help will come.
Oh, and Caleb is pretty beefy in his shirtless dead body moment. What? This is Bates Motel. This is a necrophilia safe space.