Bates Motel Season 5 Episode 5 – TV Review
Bates Motel, just in the nick of time, blasts out of the water-treading trap it has fallen into so far this season by getting those Psycho gears turning.
Marihanna Crane, you better watch out.
TL;DR Marion Crane makes her fateful decision and is on her way to the Bates Motel; Norman follows a Norma breadcrumb trail and is smacked in the face with the reality of his situation; Madeline confronts Sam about his infidelity; Greene circles Norman; Dylan reveals to Emma his suspicions of Audrey’s fate, and Emma finds out about Norma’s.
Some mothers do have ’em. Fucked up deaths, that is.
So we’ll start with Norman, as this is his show. The house is no longer the sunny paradise he envisioned, and Norma is missing. He follows a matchbook to a bar where Norma left the car, and reluctantly accepts a lift to the bar from Madeline. Apologies are exchanged for what happened last episode, but Norman eventually admits Sam is cheating on her, and he knew about it. Madeline is not impressed; with Sam, or with Norman. With the car retrieved, Norman bumps into Doctor Edwards from Pineview, who reminds Norman of the breakthrough they had: that Norman sees Norma when she isn’t there, and that he becomes Norma. Yada yada yada, Norman finds out that he’s been going out as Norma and having hot gay drag sex at a gay bar. This is not comforting news. Meanwhile, Sheriff Greene does not turn away from the oddness surrounding Norman and Romero’s relationship, but Romero himself doesn’t actually appear this episode. Meanwhile, Dylan and Emma return, and upon Emma finding Audrey’s (he always told her it was Norma’s) earring, Dylan finally comes clean about the reason why he excommunicated Norma and Norman: because he suspected Norman had killed Audrey. This is not comforting news for Emma. And neither is her later Google discovery that Norma is dead. Meanwhile, Sam cavorts around with Marion Crane, with nebulous promises of commitment. A sour turn from her douchebag boss sets her on the path to stealing $400,000 in cash, and she’s off to White Pine Bay to see her man.
Well, I suppose she’ll be seeing a man. Or a woman. It depends on Norman’s mood, really.
God, it feels so good to give a shit about Bates Motel again. With Marion in the picture, things really are starting on the final stretch.
No more dilly-dallying, please.
Why I hate this episode:
Where’s Romero? He’s only got five episodes left to reach White Pine Bay. And we still don’t know how far away he is.
With Dylan and Emma’s return, Bates Motel almost feels whole, again. But it’s clear now that what’s truly missing, and that can’t be replaced, is Vera Farmiga’s Norma Bates. The real, human Norma Bates. Not the imitation in Norman’s mind. When Real Norma screamed and cried and was basically a human hurricane, it worked. Because she was a real person. When Apparition Norma does it, there’s no impact. It doesn’t matter. And it’s disappointing when Bates Motel doesn’t matter.
The only two things Apparition Norma is good for are murder and incest. And Bates Motel never pulled the trigger on the incest, and she doesn’t murder anyone this episode. Get a move on, honey.
Marion’s here, so I suppose we won’t have to wait long. And as much as I don’t hate that Rihanna got the part, I’m also not blind to Rihanna’s level of acting talent. In a world where Rihanna didn’t lobby for the part, I wonder who it could have been?
Oh, and Emma took the “I think Norman sliced up your mum” news pretty well. I know Audrey wasn’t Mother of the Year material, but gosh. A little more shock and horror would have been appropriate.
But it’s not all bad:
Emma and Dylan were an integral part of Bates Motel, and their sidelining during Season 4 and this season, I now appreciate, is part of why my feelings towards the show have cooled off. So thank God they’re back.
And amidst their suburban dullery, they find the time to have a powerful moment. Dylan’s pained confession of what he thinks Norman did, including both Audrey and Miss Watson, and of what he knows Norman did (killed his dad), is the anvil drop moment they needed to get them back on track. And with Emma’s discovery of Norma’s death, I think they’ve got their impetus to return to White Pine Bay. And get murdered? We’ll see.
Unless Bates Motel is really going to forge its own path, we know who will be getting murdered: poor Marion Crane. Yes, Rihanna can’t act and all that, but it’s still exciting to see her fate being played out.
I also love that her douche boss chews her out for not being educated enough to ask for a promotion or a raise after he has given her $400,000 to take care of. Dr Hopper, you are a turd.
Greene isn’t ready to put out any arrest warrants yet, but she does dig into Norman about his conflicting statements about never being in contact with Romero, although Norman literally visited Romero on the day he escaped. Norman affably plays it off, but Greene isn’t giving up that easily. I hope.
Madeline finds whatever scraps of dignity she can and rightly tells Norman off for keeping Sam’s infidelity from her and then letting her throw herself at him. And she backs this up by confronting Sam about his affair later on. I still assume she will be horribly murdered soon enough, but you go, girl.
Sam is concealing his marital status from Marion, so points to Marion for not being a homewrecker. That will make her death all the more tragic.
Chick wasn’t in this episode, and I didn’t miss him.
Norman’s plot is threatened with being overshadowed by the arrival of Marion Crane, but he brings it around spectacularly. I was almost hitting the snooze button with this blackout bar, picking up my car, running into Edwards nonsense. But then Edwards nails Norman with the truth about his delusions, which sends Norman back to the bar, and we discover that Norma went there in full drag. And that it’s a gay bar (the world’s dingiest gay bar, evidently). And that Norma totally hooked up with a dude.
This precipitates a flurry of memories of Norma’s dead body, and Norman appearing to realise that she is dead. I complained last episode about how Norman wasn’t considering this, so I’m glad they fixed it.
Oh, and Bates Motel isn’t content to just say Norman banged a dude. We get some key memory flashes showing Norma getting head from her hot little slice. See? This is the kind of twisted sex stuff that I’ve always wanted from this show.