Bates Motel: Norman
May 16, 2016 7:41 PM - Season 4, Episode 10 - Subscribe

The season finale.

Norman tries to make it all up to Norma, and meets a nice girl along the way. Dylan and Romero reach out to Norman, each in his own fashion. And a magical bearded visitor sheds a little light on the situation. Happy holidays.
posted by kittens for breakfast (6 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Two quick things:

1. am I the only one who felt like not TOO much happened in this episode, considering? Or, maybe it was a matter of everything happening mostly as expected, as we get nearer to the 'handoff' to existing work.

2. lots of 'Deus Ex FBI/New Phone Number' tonight to explain why nobody did anything...not sure I'm feeling it, writers.
posted by destructive cactus at 10:55 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, it did seem to be some convenient "getting people out of the way" plotting. I'm not buying that Dylan wouldn't hear about Norma's death via Nick and Emma's friends, at least, at some point.

I'm pleased that they didn't back off on killing Norma, but I'm genuinely sad about losing her since the version we'll see from now on is going to be Norman's gross twisted Mother parody rather than the real, wacky, wounded, human, warm, vibrant Norma. RIP girlfriend.

The funeral, though? HILARIOUS. From the goth mortician/organist, to the (purposely) empty church so Norman could have Norma all to himself, to his marvelous near-meltdown during the initially affecting eulogy -- "God's plan . . . I wish someone would tell me WHAT THE HELL THE PLAN IS. I guess I'm just supposed to FIGURE THIS SHIT OUT by myself," as the clergyguy freaks out. Norman's pretty great when he loses his cool; he gets it from Norma, and many funerals would be better if they had yelling and fistfights.

So glad we got the graverobbing in this episode; I was afraid they'd leave that until next year. Farmiga's performance of Norma-as-corpse was pretty fucking creepy -- and the makeup, eek.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:26 AM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I loved everything character-driven about this episode -- I think this was one of the best episodes of a very good series -- but yeah, the logic holes. I was surprised right off the bat that the house wasn't being treated as a crime scene. Then: What the hell happened to Norman's doctor? All Romero had to do was have one conversation with him and Norman would have been in custody. And also: Would a funeral home even handle this situation with Norman alone, knowing that Norma had a husband? And also also: How did Norman pay for the funeral? Not to mention, yeah, how does Dylan not know? Does Facebook not exist in this world? Even if Dylan is too oblivious to keep up with news from White Pine Bay, Emma certainly would. For that matter, Romero would likely call Dylan himself.

But I loved seeing Norman try to navigate life on his own. Bates Motel has always struck me as a bookish, more subdued cousin of Hannibal -- where that show lived in a heightened reality that had increasingly little relationship to our own, Bates Motel achieves its effects by being so naturalistic at all times that the horror feels organic, as much a part of life as anything else the show depicts. That has clearly changed. We're now allowed inside Norman's mindscape, where happy little dead dogs bark at the feet of lovely dead ladies who play Christmas songs on the piano. It's an exciting and frankly disturbing as fuck shift in tone, and while this would have been one hell of a series finale, I'm delighted there's more to come.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:59 PM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

What the hell happened to Norman's doctor?

That was a big question for me too, except that he wouldn't have heard yet since Pineview's pretty far away. I'm assuming that the cop investigating Norma's death finds Norman's "I was institutionalized because my stepfather wanted to get rid of me" story pretty dang unlikely and will be contacting Dr. Edwards next season. And/or the second Norman misses one of his thrice-weekly appointments, Dr. E. would certainly take steps to find out what's going on, only I hope he calls rather than coming to visit, for his own sake.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:38 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Season 5 is obviously going to deal with all of these loose ends. "How does Norman get away with it?" will be the question that drives the plot, and having the detective from the State Police show up now I think was a hint toward this direction.

It's kind of weird that we're going to have a Season 5, though? I mean, I think this episode should suffice as far as telling the Norman Bates Origin Story we all knew had to happen at some point. But Bates Motel has always been, at its core, the story of Norma Bates. Continuing the show for much longer past her death feels like... well, like exhuming her corpse and propping it up in the living room and shouting at her to open her eyes.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:20 PM on May 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

Yeah, I can't believe they would cast Molly Price (the state police detective) as a one-off since she's a pretty established actor.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:26 PM on May 17, 2016

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