Bates Motel Season 5 Episode 7 – TV Review
For a long time, I’ve salivated at the thought of Norman slashing his way through his fellow main characters. I mean, I knew it would be harrowing, but I also hoped it would be delicious.
But it’s not delicious. I’m just scared and crying.
TL;DR Dylan tries to help Norman, and almost ends up on the pointy end of Norma’s knife; but Norman saves him; Norman and Norma’s body-dumping lake is discovered by the police, and Greene starts closing in; Romero convalesces at Maggie Summers’ home, and refuses to be discouraged from his revenge.
The tender limp goes on.
So fresh off his first in-control murder, Norman is harangued by Norma into getting a goddamn move-on and cleaning this shit up. They take Sam’s body to their usual dumping spot, but it’s swarming with police. They eventually get rid of him and his car, but Sheriff Greene comes calling with news of this lake down the road that’s got bodies in it, Wallet Guy being one of them. Norman brushes her off, but does take the precaution of moving Actual Norma’s body out of the house in case Green comes searching. Dylan then shows up, intent on helping his brother, as fucked up as he is, get better. Dylan wisely shoos away Madeline, who has come searching for information on her missing husband, and also goes out to get a prescription filled for Norman’s medication. This is the last straw for Norma, who had previously been content with Dylan simply being sent on his way, and in a truly gasp-worthy scene, Norman has to stop Norma from stabbing Dylan to death in the kitchen. Norman scrapes through with a victory, and calmly picks up the phone to report himself for Sam’s murder. Meanwhile, Romero finally wakes up at the home of Maggie Summers (who we have met once before), Keith Summers’ sister who was involved in that whole sex slave trafficking business from Season 1. They’re friends, and she hides his gun and tries to talk him out of whatever stupid thing he’s going to do. But Romero’s got a villain to shoot, baby.
Although, I suspect Norman’s imprisonment from turning himself in will make that a little bit more difficult.
I mean, considering how stellar this episode is, my only major concern for Bates Motel is where it goes from here. We’ve still got three episodes to go, and Norman’s confessing to his crimes already. What happens now?
Three episodes of mopey epilogue?
Dear God, no.
Why I hate this episode:
Really, though. Presuming the authorities don’t let Norman go (Greene’s seen enough red flags not to let that happen), how does Bates Motel climax from here?
And with Norman already kind of redeeming himself by saving Marion and Dylan, any revenge Romero does seek will feel hollow. And after such a stellar three seasons of killing bad, bad villains and making it feel awesome, I don’t want the last one to be a bummer.
What place is there in this final run for Emma? She was an integral part of Bates Motel, and they’ve kept her hanging on for so long. But what’s left for her to do?
Norma mentions Chick this episode, and considering we didn’t get any closure on him, I assume that means he’ll be returning. Does he have to?
Oh, and when Dylan goes to fill Norman’s prescription, which was written way back over a year ago by Dr Edwards, he discovers Edwards went missing back then and has been presumed dead. Which means the Edwards Norman encountered was another mind projection. But why would Norman’s mind sabotage itself like that?
But it’s not all bad:
On the other hand, it could have been Norman’s mind’s way of trying to steer itself back to virtue. Which it has achieved. So that’s pretty great.
Really, we’ll just get straight to that final scene, because I could barely stomach to watch it through my shredded nerves. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Norma had wanted Dylan dead, but earlier in the episode she merely instructs Norman to find a way to boot Dylan out. That is, until Dylan presents the pills. A wave of dread washed over me as Norma, against Norman’s protests, took over Norman’s body.
And then, in probably Norman’s greatest hero moment in the show (considering he’s Norman Bates, he’ll take what he can get), he physically stops Norma from stabbing Dylan to death. Dylan, having had a glass smashed on his face and crawling on the floor, watches Norman flail against the air until finally Norma is subdued. It’s the essential mix of Bates Motel goofiness, family tragedy, and horror. Nobody does it like Bates.
And then Norman quietly dials 911 and reports his murder of Sam, both turning himself in and confirming to Dylan (who is still in the room, remember) that Norman is indeed a murderer. Jesus.
Leading up to this is Dylan’s sombre tour through Norman’s life and the Bates house post-Norma. Dylan sees all the troubling signs of a woman still living there, and has to face the truth of what’s happening.
His scene where he breaks down crying in Norma’s room, mourning her loss and his failure to save her from Norman, is beautiful. Again, nobody does it like Bates.
I also appreciated that he sent Madeline away. He barely knows who she is, but he guesses enough to know she’s in danger. Dylan is a good man.
Romero doesn’t get a lot to do, but you can see in his face that his revenge is starting to look less sexy. He’s still apparently committed to it, though.
Norma, now she no longer has to put up any front or pretense, is actually a lot more like the living Norma she is imitating. She gets the second best line of the episode moments after Sam’s murder, when Norman is freaking out a little bit: “Big deal. You’ll live. You can think about the meaning of life later. But right now, we’ve got shit to do.”
Norman also finds some inner courage to rally against her, and ends up punching her in the fucking face when they’re bickering over the discovery of the body dumping lake. Norma gets the episode’s best line thereafter: “I’m gonna pretend that didn’t just happen right now.” Norman’s remorselessness is refreshing.
Oh, and Norman takes Actual Norma’s body and conceals it in the frozen woods, promising to return to it when he can. But will he be able?