Bates Motel Season 5 Episode 8 – TV Review
Well, Norman isn’t out of jail.
But Romero does get to shoot somebody in the head.
TL;DR Greene isn’t as ready to believe Norman’s story as I presumed, but the discovery of Sam’s body locks that shit down; Romero tenderly limps his way back to White Pine Bay, and executes Chick in lieu of Norman (fair); Dylan, even in the face of everything, wants to protect Norman; Norma takes over and struts her bravado, but it looks like not even that will save her and Norman now.
I genuinely can’t predict what will happen next. And I love it.
So yeah, Sheriff Greene, despite giving Norman the suspicious side-eye all season, isn’t quick to believe his confession of murder. She thinks he’s just a fucked up manchild who wants something to replace his dead mummy’s attention. It doesn’t help that he struggles to pinpoint the location of Sam’s body on a map, but Norman is prepared to co-operate for as long as he has to. However, Norma is not, and she forcibly ejects Norman’s meds from his body after he tries to take them, and knocks him out so that she can be in control. She tries to smarm and insult her way out of custody, but Greene isn’t a total fool, and notices the change in demeanour. Meanwhile, Dylan, ever the noble brother, and even mostly believing Norman’s murderous tale, hires a lawyer in the hope that Norman will be institutionalised, rather than imprisoned. Norma is onto the plan, though, and the unscrupulous lawyer suggests Norman come up with a good reason for why he would have had to move Sam’s body if he himself didn’t kill him. So Norma tries to pin it on Madeline, but Greene knows Madeline is far too delicate and dim a flower for that. Greene gives Dylan one last chance to roll over on Norman, revealing that Audrey has been identified as one of the bodies found in the lake, but Dylan refuses (Emma, via phone, understands his decision). But it’s moot, anyway, as Norman’s vague directions to the well prove fruitful, and Greene discovers Sam’s body. Greene drops the hammer on Norman, additionally charging him with Wallet Guy and Audrey’s murders. Uh oh. Meanwhile, Romero finally arrives back in White Pine Bay, having stolen his gun back from Maggie Summers. He arrives at the house post-Norman’s arrest, and relives some glowing memories of Norma. And then he runs into Chick, who babbles on insufferably about his book and his genuine bond with Norman blah blah hipster blah. But then he is a little too permissive of Norman’s exhumation of Norma, and that earns him a Romero bullet to the brain.
It isn’t even the season finale, and Romero’s already poppin’ caps. The final episode should be explosive.
I’m going to keep reiterating how glad I am that Bates Motel, at the critical moment, pulled itself out of the mire of Season 4 and the first half of this season. This high note is how I’d hoped the show would finish. And it looks like it is.
With Norman under an impossible pile of evidence (and his own confession), I don’t know how he can escape the law this time. But we’ve still got Romero on the prowl and Dylan fighting the bad fight for his brother. Things must escalate.
And I am fucking on board, baby. Let’s do it.
Why I hate this episode:
The only person still on the bench (literally, as of her scene on the phone this episode) is poor Emma. Will Bates Motel really do her the disservice of leaving her to stagnate away from the action? Emma deserves better than this.
Dylan’s tolerance level for Norman’s actual homicides is also disappointing. Audrey was one thing, but Norman killed Norma, for God’s sake. Norma fucking Bates. That’s not okay. While I do admire Dylan’s commitment to his brother, his sympathy for Norma’s murderer is hard for me to reconcile.
I won’t be crying any tears for Chick, but Romero’s murder of him was pretty harsh. Oh, well.
Romero’s rosy visions of Norma in the house were more than a bit too cheesy.
Oh, and seriously, Sheriff Greene? Why so incredulous? Norman hasn’t had a single interaction with you that hasn’t been disastrously suspicious. And let’s be real: that motel bathroom would be swimming in evidence from Sam’s murder. Norman and the Norma in his head are motel proprietors, not crime scene cleaners. They’d leave something behind.
But it’s not all bad:
With the pile of bodies now now assembled, I think Greene’s got all she needs to stop playing games with Norman. And she does.
In fact, while Greene’s incredulity is a bit of a time-waster, I appreciate her ability to play by the rules. Because God knows Romero never did. When Norma first takes over Norman, she demands Greene let them go because they haven’t been actually charged and arrested. So Greene promptly charges and arrests them. Boom, bitch.
The highlight of the episode is, without a doubt, the sequence where Norma takes over Norman by force in the jail cell. As soon as he pops his meds, she comes out of nowhere and jams her fingers down his throat to make him chuck ’em up. Then she smashes his head against the toilet to knock him out, and it’s Norma time. They even show her putting on Norman’s clothes to complete the mad illusion. It’s brilliant.
Norma explains the change in her demeanour as being a result of taking the meds. Clever.
Norma’s plan, once prompted by Julia, the lawyer, to pin Sam’s murder on Madeline is the most logical move. And we don’t get explicit exoneration of Madeline from the accusation, so that could still work somehow. Well played, Norma.
Norma also gives Madeline, who is leaving the police station after her meeting with Green, an excellent ghoul face when they glimpse each other. Yummy. And Madeline, after her meeting, leaves a voicemail for Sam asking him where he is, in the dwindling hope that he’s alive. So if Greene were to look into that, it would be pretty clear that Norma was fuckin’ lying.
Norma, psycho killer she is, isn’t without her tenderness. In a quiet moment alone in the interrogation room, Norma fears that maybe she won’t be able to fix things; that this could be the end of her and Norman. It looks like she’s right.
Chick’s subplot about forming a real bond with Norman was a bizarre turn. It happens that his book wasn’t going to be an exploitation of Norman, but (because he is an unbearable hipster) in fact it was in the pursuit of documenting the special relationship Norman had with his dead mother something something. I was in agreement with Romero’s headshot, brutal as it was. I’m glad we’ve closed the door on Chick.
Dylan has now solidified his bid to compete with The Originals’ Elijah for Most Noble Big Brother. So self-sacrificing; so unf.
Julia the lawyer is spunky, and is known and disliked by the White Pine Bay police. I can dig it. Remo also gets his final season, namedrop-only cameo, as he is the one who gave Dylan her contact information.
Oh, and handcuffs and Norman’s clothes are no barrier to Vera Farmiga looking like a fucking goddess. We need to savour these moments, because there are only two episodes of them left to go.