BATES MOTEL gives us Norman – a young, mentally ill man who has an unwavering and unhealthy attachment to his dead mother. In last week’s episode, he mentions to Marion (Rihanna) that he likes to stuff things (granted, he said this when she comments about his stuffed animal collection). This, of course, brought me to thinking about how he stuffed his mother and keeps her dead body preserved in his basement. Can anyone say cuckoo?
What I’ve been battling with is whether I should feel sorry for Norman. Last week, I didn’t. This week, I do.
Norman is crazy af. He needs legitimate help. I realized this when it turns out that he didn’t see his psychiatrist the other week. That was all in his head. He made me think that encounter was real, and because I haven’t seen the other seasons, I had no clue that the shrink got whacked a long time ago.
I can’t imagine how the customers reacted seeing Norman interact hysterically to an invisible being. And why would he conjure up that interaction with his psychiatrist? Is there some desperate unconscious desire for help? Enter: Dylan.
Dylan finds out that his mother is dead. First of all, how can you go 2 years without knowing your mother is dead? (cue all the side-eyes in the world). As I’ve mentioned before, there’s IG. There’s FB. There’s Twitter. I mean…huh? This is the only part of the storyline that is so unbelievable, and it makes me believe that he is kind of a crappy son.
Despite that, he’s returned to help his brother. He doesn’t believe that his mother committed suicide (spoiler: she didn’t), and the only way to prove that is by committing his brother. I don’t fully buy that he only wants to help his brother get mental help. He wants the truth about what happened to his mother revealed. His tactic in doing so is a slow burn, and when the time is right, he will get Norman to confess.
Let’s talk about what Dylan witnesses at the end of this episode. From his point of view, Norman talks to an invisible person (his mom); argues with her; stops her from stabbing him; and proceeds to tussle with her on a kitchen table. While I was watching Dylan watching all of this, I thought, “Why doesn’t he get the hell out of there?” But then I remembered that this is his brother. This is someone tormented. You can’t help but have all the compassion in the world watching your sibling deteriorate.
I also realized that Norma is a true projection of how Norman sees her. I’m not sure what Norma was really like, but this creation has her wanting to kill her own son. There’s no way the real Normal desired that. Why does Norman see her as a murderer when he, in fact, is one? Why is she unbearable, jealous and condescending? Maybe Norman hated that she wasn’t all these things. Knowing himself to be this way, how could he come from the opposite?
Norman’s murderous rampage will come to an end soon. Several dead bodies have emerged from a nearby lake, and he is shook. I think this propels him into that violent scene with his mother. In an attempt to stop his mother from inflicting harm, he calls the police and confesses to a murder. How many more will he confess to?
Sam Loomis is one. Madeleine attempts to find her husband at the hotel, but Dylan stops her. He tells her that Norman is mentally ill, and she says that she has no idea. Norman played a brilliant “normal” person, so I can understand how she could have no idea. But now that she knows he is mentally ill, will she be a friend or foe of his?
With the season finale coming up, I wonder if this will end with Norman stuck in a mental institution. The writing is superb, so I hope they wouldn’t do us viewers like that. That would be insane.
Season 5, Episode 7 (S05E07)
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.
Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @reneseford
Keep up with all of Jennifer’s reviews here.
Jennifer Ford | Contributor