Monday, July 15, 2024

Dreams Die First on Bates Motel

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Pros of this episode: Dylan and Emma!
Cons of this episode: No Chick and no Romero.

There. Got my salty feelings out of the way.

We see Norman waking up (alone! No sign of Mother like usual) and immediately running to the bathroom to vomit, then inspecting an injury on his shoulder that looks like claw marks. Upon first watch, this seemed very odd, but when his escapades the previous night are revealed later on, it makes much more sense and is very much an “oh my gosh no way!!” moment. We’ll talk about that in a bit.

Mother’s presence is still missing from the house, the lights off and her breakfast left untouched at the table. But, her new penchant for smoking is leaving Norman little clues, with a matchbook from a place called the White Horse Bar, left on the table. His train of thought is interrupted by a call from the sheriff, who wants him in for questioning. He’ll continue his investigation later.

Cut to Dylan and Emma (yaaaaaayyy!!!); she’s looking for stamps in her desk, and finds “Norma’s” earring. Dylan panics a little, but sends her on her clueless way while he has a reflective moment. He can’t keep this secret from her much longer, obviously. Later, she brings up Norma again, asking Dylan to reach out to her just so he can know what’s going on and try to settle whatever ill feelings he has toward her; he snaps back and says she doesn’t have the right to keep bringing it up since she doesn’t know why he doesn’t want to talk to her anymore. Rude.

The sheriff is questioning Norman about Romero again, seeing if he has any clue as to where the former cop has run to. Norman quips, “as far as I knew, Alex Romero had no friends. At all.” The sass is strong with this one. And the sheriff isn’t letting go of her hunch that Romero’s escape has something to do with Norman. If this scene is any indication, his denial is going to come back and bite him once Romero resurfaces; guess we’ll wait and see.

It’s then that Norman resumes his investigation concerning the whereabouts with Mother, why his car is missing, and where the matchbook on the table came from. He calls the bar, finds out that “Norma” was there last night and left her car in the lot. Dun dun dun. Madeleine calls him soon after, apologizing for their impromptu makeout sesh the last time they saw each other, and she offers to drive him out of town to get his car. This ride ends with Norman telling her that her husband is cheating on her, and her screaming at him to get out of the car. Guess their friendship is gonna be over.

It’s episode five, and we’re finally getting into the plot of Psycho. Rihanna makes her first official appearance as Marion Crane, the lead character of the original film. Just like the movie, she’s having an affair with a man named Sam, who makes her late for work one day because of their illicit rendezvous. She wants him to live with her, have their happily ever after, and call it a day. That’s not gonna happen, duh, but a girl can dream. Marion is a notary working in a high power office with a jerk of a boss; he tasks her to take a large sum of money to the bank after work, since he’s too busy with a client to do it himself. Back when the original film was made, the sum of money was smaller, the office was smaller, and it would make more sense to have a secretary take care of some finances; but in the context of this time now, trusting an office drone with over $400k seems a bit ridiculous to me (surely they could have written it some other way. That’s my one big gripe with this plot line, to be honest).

There’s a subtle nod to the original actor, Janet Leigh, where Rihanna says “Janet is leaving. I’d like to submit myself for her position.” I see what you did there.

I see u writers…

But her jerkwad of a boss turns her down. So, naturally, she pulls a Steve Miller: she takes the money and runs. Tells Sam that she’s coming for him so they can be together forever.

On his way back home from the bar, Norman comes across Dr. Edwards, and they sit and have coffee. Norman lies to him about his lack of blackouts and how well he’s coping with life now, and the Doc seems leery. It’s then that Norman has an “episode,” zoning out completely as they discuss Mother and how he sees her during his blackouts. Honestly, the fact that Freddie Highmore hasn’t been given much recognition for his acting is ridiculous, especially in scenes like this!

I mean, come on!! Where’s the Emmy?!

We go back to Dylan and Emma, finally (!!) having the conversation about her mom, his mom, and Norman. She’s shocked, to say the least, but at least they’re talking and being honest with each other. After she calms down, she visits the motel website (for what reason, I don’t know. Maybe to check up on the Bates family), and thanks to a related Google search, she finds out that Norma is dead. That’s gonna be a terrible conversation to have with her husband.

So it turns out that the bar Norma went to was an….adventurous club. Seems she made an impression, though, since the bartender is talking to Norman like they’re old friends, and he has several strangers asking how he is. He puts two and two together, and starts to panic. That panic is worsened when a very friendly man who leads with his mouth first tries to kiss Norman, and it sends him into a full on panic attack and brief flashbacks to the Mother’s antics the night before. This scene has gotten viewers talking and speculating about Norman’s sexuality; they’re now trying to claim that the character is gay or bisexual because of the bar he was in, and the person that he had relations with. The key thing here though, which people seem to be ignoring, is that it was Mother doing all of this. She’d taken over Norman’s body during his blackout, and went on to hook up with guys, because that’s what SHE likes. She likely figured that using Norman to get into an alternative bar and finding someone to be with would work well for her. It doesn’t really have much to do with Norman himself since he wasn’t in control and wasn’t actively seeking sex, so the hyper focus on his sexuality really shouldn’t be a concern.

In my opinion, this last season is really delivering; the tie-ins with the movie, the acting, and the writing are the best they’ve been through this series. The audience is seeing Norman Bates at the height of his madness, where he truly spirals out of control and loses a lot of control over his life. Watching this happen slowly but surely makes it feel like we’re losing our minds right alongside Mr. Bates; it’s thrilling. Psycho is one of my all time favorite movies, so seeing how they’re incorporating bits of it within the show is fantastic. Just look at this parallel when Marion comes upon the motel during her rainy drive!

Keep driving, don’t stop here!!

I am beyond excited to watch these last few episodes.

Images courtesy of A&E

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