Previously on Bates Motel, “There’s No Place Like Home”
I may hate Norman Bates more than any other character currently on TV. And I say that in a week where I watched a man sic dogs on a mother and her hours-old baby.
I feel bad that I hate Norman because he is clearly and profoundly mentally ill. It’s not his fault he hasn’t received treatment before now, nor is it his fault he doesn’t know how to accept the help he’s finally receiving. That all falls squarely on the shoulders of Norma, who protected and enabled Norman, and denied he had a problem until it was too late. I suppose then that it’s fitting his current antics threaten to harm her most of all – though I’m pretty sure either Emma or Dylan won’t make it through the finale.
Norma continues to give inches until Norman snaps and takes a whole damn mile. She lets him sleep in her bed when the heater in the house breaks. She refuses to tell him the truth about her relationship with Romero, despite sound advice from Romero and Dylan that she should.
If Norma enables Norman, I fear the people who see Norman for what he truly is – Romero and Dylan – in turn enable Norma’s failings as a mother. They both know it was a bad idea to let Norman come home early, but they don’t push when Norma becomes defensive about her decision. It’s not until Norman visits Romero at work and threatens to reveal the fraud does Romero give Norma an ultimatum: Tell Norman the truth or else.
She eventually does, thus quickening the pace of the steady march to tragedy we’ve been on all season. An outing with Emma and Dylan ends with Norman vomiting at the news that his mother and Romero are in a legitimate marriage. A family dinner between Norman and the newlyweds – where Norman is at his most childish – ends with Norman wielding an axe as he screams hate at Romero.
Norman does say something that, while hurtful, had some truth on it. He accuses Norma of keeping so close it was suffocating. She didn’t allow him to have a girlfriend or any real friends. Now that she has found someone, he feels discarded. It’s no wonder he has issues coping with separation from her. Of course this doesn’t excuse anything Norman has done or will do, but it does speak to Norma’s role in the kind of young man Norman has become.
Scarier than the thought that Norman may flip and kill another innocent person, is the thought that Norma will still finds ways to make excuses for him. So, yeah, most times I hate Norman and I guess I kinda hate Norma, too. And Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga make it so easy to do. Highmore plays Norman to cocky, demanding, and spoiled perfection. I believe the inner turmoil that plays across Farmiga’s face as she tries to make Norman happy without losing the happiness she’s found for herself. Maybe that’s why I’m so angry and frustrated. I know she’ll never be able to do it.
Other Bits of Note
- I could go another 40 years without watching Norman watch his mother have sex with Romero.
- Now that the DEA have Rebecca, how long before she turns on Romero?
- I need Dylan and Emma to get to Seattle. Yesterday.
Bates Motel S4E8 = 9.2/10