BATES MOTEL is about Norman. Always has been. Protecting him. Loving him. Rooting for him. Feeling sorry for him. Getting annoyed with him. For the past 4 seasons, Norma has been the one doing all these things to him, and we became her. We saw that he has issues that warrants Norma to be such a seemingly overbearing, ruthless mother. If you have a child that kills people when s/he blacks out, then you may deal with it in the same way Norma does. IDK. IJS.
And now, some years after their “fresh start”, Norma is dead. And Norman is in jail. All of Norma’s trying seems to be a failure.
Sheriff Romero busts Norman out of jail. He is so hopped up on adrenaline because this is the moment he’s waited for – killing Norman. At first sight, he chokes him but stops. As Norman struggles for air, he looks pathetic. Weak. Pale. Frail. And like he’s 12 years old. He also looks sick. Ever heard the saying, “You can’t hit a man with glasses?” Same goes for Norman. You can’t rough somebody up when they look so harmless.
Romero tells Norman to take him to Norma’s body. In this last scene, we see Norma’s anxious face (via Norman).
How can Highmore embody Norma so well? Because he is a stellar actor, that’s why. And if the Emmy folks don’t recognize that, I’m going to have to boycott. Yup. For Highmore, I will.
I’ve had to sit through some performances in other shows that were lackluster. Painful. And to see an actor act is a gift. Highmore has it.
The thing about his Norman is that it is painful to root for him. But I do it every time. Norman isn’t a bad person, but he does bad things (because he is mentally ill). On the logical side, I’ve never heard of a person killing someone when they “black out”. Running up some stairs hella fast or texting an ex that you’re still in love him, sure. But murder? Nah.
It is in this episode that we have a name for what Norman displays: Dissociative Disorder. He dissociates with himself and becomes Norma. Before Norma died, maybe that “killer” went by a different name, but now that Norma is dead, that “killer” is her. This has always been in Norman, at least since he killed his father.
Emma recognizes what he is. She speaks to him as Norma, and she speaks to him as Norman. How can she be so compassionate when it’s rumored that he killed her mother? There is something so sweet about Norman. He is thoughtful and very protective of the ladies in his life. The latter is what charms the ladies. He’s not doing it as a reward, but that’s what comes from being a gentleman. And when he’s not his normal self, he may kill you. What a dichotomy.
I am not sure whether Norman killed Emma’s mom. It could have been Norma for all I know. From what I can tell, most of his victims are men. I just can’t imagine him wacking a lady. He has such an affinity for them because of his own love for Norma. If what I am saying is true, then that could really mess up Emma. Norma was her everything.
Dylan, Emma’s husband, isn’t surprised. He’s known that Norman is a killer. But when he finds out that his brother could be responsible for Emma’s mom’s death, he is floored. He still stays loyal to his brother, which I understand, but man, that is some serious family drama. I can’t imagine what future holiday chatter will be like?
Dylan: Norman used to make a delicious pie when we were going up.
Emma: The Norman that killed my mother?
I’m not sure how Dylan and Emma grow from here.
Norman is a sad, sad case. Makes me wonder: Do we treat real serial killers like this? Are they all just mentally ill?
A new fiction about Jeffrey Dahmer makes him out to be someone we should be sympathetic toward. It’s called “My Friend Dahmer”. A book club here at work is reading it. I had many issues with it, namely that this man tortured, sodomized and murdered men over many years with no remorse. But does anyone believe he didn’t know what he was doing? Yes, there’s an aspect of illness there, but he was conscious. He hunted those men and killed them.
You can make a case that Norman is similar to that because he is a serial killer. But it seems like Norman is different. OR it could be that in fiction, you can feel empathy for anyone. I guess I’ll only be able to decide whether he’s worth my empathy by the finale. Can’t wait.
Season 5, Episode 9 (S05E09)
Bates Motel airs Monday at 10PM on A&E
Jennifer spends her nights writing, her days securing insurance for TV shows, and her in-betweens blogging about the silliness and seriousness of life on her blog.
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Jennifer Ford | Contributor