Bates Motel Season 5 Episode 6 – TV Review
Bates Motel is back, bitches. And it knows everything. About your expectations.
And it will subvert them.
TL;DR Norman confronts his insanity head-on, and manages to find the decency within to save Marion from her iconic shower scene death; Sam, in a delicious twist, is not so lucky; Dylan is devastated when Emma informs him of Norma’s death, and Norman offers no solace; Romero, again, doesn’t appear.
He’s just saving himself to bring back his tradition of shooting the villain to death in the finale. He was robbed last season, but he’s not gonna let that happen again.
After my whingeing through the first half of this season, Bates Motel proves why it has been such a darling of mine with this tremendous return to form. My complaint about Norman not questioning the fantasy in his head is addressed in full, as Norman, following his rude awakening last episode, tries to shut down Norma. He knows she isn’t real, and makes a conscious effort to ignore her as such. Norma doesn’t take to this kindly, as you’d imagine, but Norman won’t give up. This coincides with Marion’s arrival at the motel, and Norman makes for a charming, sympathetic ear. When Norman realises she’s Sam’s mistress, he has to tell her the bad news about his wife. Marion takes a tyre iron to Sam’s car in a genuine “yass, queen” moment, but is now disillusioned and lost. Summoning his remaining humanity, Norman shoos her out of the motel in a panic to save her from Norma’s murderous intent, and Marion drives, alive, off into the night. But Sam, fresh off Madeline also kicking him to the curb, wanders unknowingly into the motel room. Apparition Norma finally levels with Norman, explaining that she’s a part of him he can’t deny, and that they need to co-exist. And stab the shit out of the cheating, misogynistic Sam. Which they do. Meanwhile, Emma shows Dylan the article about Norma’s death. Dylan angrily calls Norman to demand answers, but Norman throws Dylan’s abandonment of Norma back in his face and hangs up on him.
Time to team up with Romero for revenge?
I feel foolish now for doubting Bates Motel. I’ll refrain from the hyperbole of saying that last season and the first four episodes of this season were worth being disappointing if it led up to this, but you get the idea. We’d all wondered since Season 1 Episode 1 how, or even if, Bates Motel would portray the events of Psycho.
And now we have our answer. And it is stunning.
Why I hate this episode:
Still, a season and a half of “meh” is a high price to pay.
Norma and Norman, now combined, seem to be taking some kind of moralistic path to killing. They agree to kill Sam because Sam is a bad dude. Or, at the very least, he reminds them of Norman’s arsehole father, so it’s okay to kill him. And it’s also important to note that Wallet Guy from the season premiere was only killed because he was trying to kill Norman. But what about Bradley? And Audrey? They weren’t perfect angels, but they didn’t deserve to be killed like that. I hope this flawed logic is pointed out by someone.
And what’s going to happen to Madeline? Is that it for her? Or will she come looking for Sam and find herself at the pointy end of Norman or Norma’s knife?
You know who I actually wouldn’t mind for a last minute cameo? Cody. Remember Cody? Replacement Bradley? Whatever happened to her?
I wish they’d used the Psycho Strings in the shower scene.
Oh, and I miss Terminator Romero. Will he ever complete his tender limp of revenge?
But it’s not all bad:
Or will Dylan beat him to it? Unless Bates Motel intends to murder every major character except Norman, I can’t see Norman getting out of this thing alive (or without being arrested). And wouldn’t it be operatic for Dylan, Norman’s brother, to be the one to take him down? Hell, Emma might slip in for the win, and put the hurt on Norman, and the show, for continually sweeping her aside. So many possibilities.
Dylan’s tears over Norma’s death totally got me, by the way. I cried, too.
But let’s be real: the star of the show is Norman. I’m overjoyed that he decided to rationalise his insanity, and see Norma for the illusion that she is. His intention to live as a functionally insane person, enduring Norma but not succumbing to her, is admirable.
But Norma is not ready to be ignored without a fight. And in typical Vera Farmiga craziness fashion, fight she does. There’s screaming and kitchen-trashing. All the good things.
And even after relenting, Norman still finds it within himself to do the right thing and get Marion out the goddamn door. He doesn’t have time to listen to her post-breakup moaning. He just needs her out out out. I was worried he wouldn’t make it in time; that Norma could take over at any moment. And that’s because the scene, and Freddie Highmore, is brimming with panic and tension. Norman even says he’s seen the money and it doesn’t matter. She’s just gotta go.
And she does. Marion Crane, film’s most famous victim, drives away, alive, into the night. Rihanna, again, is no Oscar winner. But she rises above her stunt casting and does a good job with what turns out to be a smaller than expected role. Thanks, baby.
In addition to Marion’s “yass, queen” moment, Madeline immediately follows up with one of her own, throwing a glass of wine on Sam when she kicks him out of the house, having now seen that his mistress does indeed exist. Bonus points for the mess probably being the reason why Sam feels compelled to take a shower. Cool.
When discussing Norma having taken crontol of Norman’s body, Norman doesn’t seem that mad about the gay crossdressing sex she/they had. That’s hot.
Norman gets the best line of the episode when resisting Norma’s attempts to convince him she’s the real deal: “Don’t act like her. I know you’re not.” Exactly. Nobody could ever compare to the real Norma Bates.
I was impressed when Apparition Norma dropped the facade near the end and is basically like “Yep, I’m a personality you created in your head. But I’m here, and you can’t get rid of me.”
Sam’s death is disturbingly violent. There’s more blood and some proper penetration shots compared to the original film, but it’s just as shocking.
Oh, and in a vital distinction, and another deft separation from Psycho, Norman is the one to kill Sam. Not Norma while in control of his body. Norman.