Ok, So…This weekend, I binge-watched season 1 of BATES MOTEL because I love this show. This has filled in many gaps in season 5.
When Norman and his mom moved to the Town of White Pine Bay, reports of the missing rose 1000% (real figure). Why weren’t they under more heat for that stat? It is a small town, and in those places, 2 people can make a difference in any town stat. In any case, I think I got my answer.
Norman admits that he killed Sam Loomis, Madeleine’s cheating husband. Sheriff Jane, at first, doesn’t buy it. She thinks Norman was traumatized by his “crazy” mother, and since her death, he has been acting out (although he’s like 21 years old). She concludes that when she looks at him, he is a child.
It is Norma’s reputation that has saved him time and time again. She is the fall-back crazy guy. But what I learned in season 1 is that Norma has been traumatized. She was raped by her brother. The old owner of the Motel broke into her house and raped her (Norman witnessed this). She witnessed her son murder her husband in a sleepwalking state. And she used to date a man who enslaved women.
This woman has gone through a lot.
From my perspective, blaming Norma is wrong. Norman is the only one who knows all of her trauma. By carrying on that trauma, Norman cracked. No child should have to be responsible for protecting his mother from the world’s ills, but that’s the role he plays. He’s used to it, and he would probably kill himself if he ever got in the way of that.
Chicky says that Norman killed his mother, but he loved her. Imagine that – Norman believes that murdering his mother was on par with protecting her.
Now that she’s gone, he has officially split in two.
While in a holding cell, Norman becomes Norma. She makes him throw up his meds and bangs his head against the toilet to knock him unconsciousness. Freddie Highmore shines when he emerges from this to become Norma acting like Norman. His mannerisms and cadence mimic hers as she tells Sheriff Jane that he did not kill Sam. S/he explains that s/he was in love with Madeleine and implies that she may have something to do with it.
Norma is in protective mode. And she will do anything to save her son from prison, including framing poor Madeleine for her husband’s murder. Madeleine realizes this when she catches eyes with Norman at the police station. She has no idea that she is standing against two people. When will everyone find out that this man is crazier than they think?
Trauma is nothing to laugh at. People need to heal from all trauma. But Norman’s trauma has grown to a level of lashing out by murder. And he doesn’t even remember doing most of it.
His brother is the only one who can advocate for him. Norman is going down for at least one murder, but it depends on how he’s going down. Will it be prison or a mental institution? With Sheriff Romero back in the picture, he’s dead-set on making Norman pay to the fullest extent. He’s so riled up that he kills Chicky for being witty. Geez.
And where is Norma’s stuffed body? Season 1 also introduces us to Norman’s love for taxidermy. His first is a stray dog that’s violently run over by a townie. I can’t imagine his process when he dug up his mother, removed the organs, and then stuffed her. Yea, he’s nuts.
Furthermore, Norman is not projecting his own interpretation of Norma. He is her. She would be saying everything he’s saying if she was still alive. Season 1 taught me that, too. She is very well-meaning, but she has an explosive side. Getting on her bad side was a sure nail in your coffin. But she met her match in her son, so touche, lady.
“Bates Motel” has me on the edge of my seat. I’m not sure where this is going, but I will continue to follow gladly.
Season 5, Episode 8 (S05E08)
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