BATES MOTEL allows us to see, time and time again, that Norman is acting in a one-man real life production. He plays himself and his mother, Norma, in all areas of the house and wooded areas. He should be tired a lot. But he isn’t. We’ve discovered that he has blackouts, and when he does, that’s when he transforms into Norma. And the Norma he transforms into is a witch.
Norma is a serial killer. She can’t help it. Any time someone threatens her safety or her son’s, she just wants to off them. Was she this violent in real life? I couldn’t imagine arguing with her. She would be petty enough to just kill you in your sleep for not liking her peas.
But since we know Norma is dead, this means that Norman is the serial killer. But is he separate from her? Enter: Schizophrenia.
I don’t know much about it. My only frame of reference is from the film, “Identity”. John Cusack plays a schizophrenic man who has many personalities. They range from prostitute to cop to a young, married couple. He’s forced to kill all of these personalities in his head in an attempt to kill the one that’s been killing numerous people. Turns out that his little boy personality is the one that’s been doing all of the murdering. Similarities?
Although Norman is no little boy, he sure looks like one. I had to google his age, and that boy is a 25-year-old man. I’m not sure what age “Bates Motel” wants us to believe he is, but he acts like a kid. He’s still suckling at the teat of his mother. He is non-existent without her. He’s attempting to project his idea of his mother onto Madeleine, which is why he gives her the hand-me-down clothes.
At first, Madeleine is a little freaked out, but because she is miss desperado, she takes them and even wears one of the dresses on their first date. I can understand a lonely housewife, but choosing Norman to have an affair with? Come on. Step your game up, lady. Norman, of course, sees his mother while they make out. He freaks out and leaves abruptly. Madeleine thinks it’s her fault (which it is because er, you’re married). Norman not only sees his mother, but he sees her slicing Madeleine’s throat. What is at the foundation of Norman wanting to kill everyone? If the justification is to protect Norman, then what threat does Madeleine pose?
Norman goes home to confront his mother. He doesn’t find her. He closes his eyes and opens them to a dramatic music cue. Uh-oh. Now, he’s Norma. Is he on his way back to Madeleine to end her? See, this is why affairs are always a bad idea. Nothing good ever comes from them. See: “The Affair” and “Unfaithful”.
The thing about Norman and Norma is that they’re in a relationship. I’m not talking about the mother-son one. They are like lovers who don’t touch each other. Ew. Gross. I know. But this is what A&E is making it seem like. If Madeleine is a threat, it’s to Norma’s importance in Norman’s life. Does Norman want to heal from the loss of his mother or is he looking for another reason to kill? I think it’s the latter. Everyone has a tick – something they reflexively do. Norman’s is killing people. It seems like he has to make a quota every so often to satisfy that hunger. I’m not saying it’s a good thing. But it is a thing.
We also see that he can be violent toward his mother. They go into the woods to find a car once driven by Joe Blackwell, another victim. The cops are sniffing around to find out what happened to him. In an attempt to figure out what to do, Norma has a screaming fit. Norman jumps on her and chokes the life out of here. Funny thing is, she is dead, so although she seemed “dead”, she came back to life instantaneously. You know, going back and forth with this can be daunting, but in a weird way, it just works.
“Bates Motel” still doesn’t have that many motel guests. But that’s not that weird. I’d totally drive past a motel that has a creepy old wooden house on a hill in its shadows. And where is Rihanna???? Next week, maybe?
Season 5, Episode 4 (S05E04)
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