BATES MOTEL allows us to see the Oedipus complex in action. Albeit, it’s a darker one, Norman is Oedipus, a man so obsessed with his mother that he kills her and mummifies her. He plays both roles of Norma and Norman so well that I have to remember that his mother is indeed dead. He wants his mother to still be alive, so he creates situations where he can interact with her as her. Now, there’s another element to this saga – Chicky.
Chicky witnesses “Norma” wacking Caleb over the head in last week’s episode. Instead of freaking out, he befriends “Norma”, convincing her that he is not there to judge, but he insists on staying in the house to look after her and Norman. “Norma” agrees, and she and Chicky keep this secret of Caleb being locked in the basement.
Chicky has a very frank discussion with Caleb. He concludes that Caleb raped Norma as a kid, and Caleb doesn’t deny it. How much more effed up is this family? Norman is mentally ill, and so is Caleb. There is something in this family’s blood that makes everyone go crooked at one point or another. Caleb claims to have loved Norma. He slips into a hallucination and tells “Norma” how he feels about her. She comforts him but reels it in by saying that Norman will have to kill him. After hearing that Caleb raped her, I had no problems with what “Norma” was saying. Then again, I’m not really sure what “Norma’s” motivations were. Did she want Caleb killed because he now knows that she is mummified in the basement or is it payback for what he did to her?
Turns out that Chicky is the one who kills Caleb (accidentally). He is distracted by his cell phone while driving. Caleb rushes into the street while trying to escape “Norma’s” gunfire. And boom! Chicky hits him with the car. I’m pretty sure he’s dead. And now we have Chicky as a possible co-conspirator. There is no way he’s going to tell anyone about this. He has his own agenda – writing a true crime story with Norman as the subject.
Chicky is an interesting character because I wonder what he was thinking before he discovered Norman and “Norma”. Did he know that something wasn’t right with that man? If so, then he should have ratted him out. He reveals himself to be a nosey, self-serving chimp, and running around with a tape recorder is proof of that. He better be careful before “Norma” offs him. He’s towing a very thin line with a disturbed young man.
Norma claims that he has blackouts. Chicky witnesses his blackouts when he becomes “Norma”. I’m not sure whether I buy this excuse every time. One scene seems to give him away. He walks down the stairs to confront Caleb in the basement. As he talks to him, he seems to go into “Norma” mode. Is that how it works? You can just flow from one personality into another? Nahhhhh. It makes me more empathetic toward him thinking that he has actual blackouts, but if this man is consciously role-playing, then he is crazy for real. And he gets no sympathy from me.
This episode has no redeemable character in it. All are hot messes. I felt like a ticket-holder at a freak show. All are showing just how psychotic they are.
Oh! There is Madeleine. She brings Norman cookies to apologize for that blind date she set him up on. This girl seems to like him, but I don’t trust her feelings. She’s just lonely. Her husband goes to Seattle a lot for “work” and leaves her for who-knows-how-long. We already know he has a mistress in town so who knows how many he has in Seattle and the adjacent areas. I’ve been lonely before and made a mistake or two. If Madeleine leads Norman to believe he has a chance, then that could be her ass. She may want to check her hurt to see exactly what she’s getting into. Going from a cheater to a psychopath is not the way you choose up.
“Bates Motel” is about Norman facing the reality that his mother is dead. He seems to do that just fine outside the home, but once he enters that place, he’s transported into La La Land. Although Chicky has hiw own agenda, I hope he’s able to help Norman face the music without putting himself in harm’s way.
Season 5, Episode 3 (S05E03)
Bates Motel airs Mondays 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