BATES MOTEL is creepy af. It’s supposed to be! But after seeing Jordan Peele’s “Get Out”, nothing is creepier than being a black man in a remote White suburban neighborhood reminiscent of a plantation but like, in New Jersey or something. I digress, but that is creepy af.
Back to “Bates Motel”. Norman seems to be certifiably crazy. I think we’ve established that, but he’s able to play two roles so well that I don’t know whether he’s mentally ill or just a really great actor. Is there a fine line between the two (strokes chin hairs)?
Norman is Norma. The son is the mother. The story, according to Norman, is this: Norma killed herself 1.5 years ago. There was a funeral and a burial. And everyone has heard about it. But when Norman goes home, he sees his mother alive and well. He goes back-and-forth with her saying she’s dead but also saying she’s acting like she’s dead. I was confused at some points in this episode because I was forced to determine whether I knew the real story. But lo and behold, the end of the episode frees my mind from playing ping-pong with the truth.
Norman is dressed as his late mother – blonde wig, dress, and all. Chick, a nosey “friend” of Norman’s, catches him whack Caleb, Norma’s brother, upside the head with a shovel with his mummified mother as witness. WTF is going on here?
Who Is Chick? Why does he have that nickname? (Hope to God, it’s a nickname) And is Chick a co-conspirator? No answers to these questions are given in this episode, but they’re good ones to have going forward.
Back to Caleb pre-whack. He returns to town hoping to see his sister Norma, only to find out from a local that she died. What kind of a brother doesn’t know that his sister died over a year ago? I understand family members can be estranged, but goodness, like, you don’t have FB or IG? No one reached out to you to say sorry about your sister? That story doesn’t sit right with me, but if that’s where they’re going, then so be it. Caleb doesn’t buy that Norma committed suicide. He thinks what we all think – Norman killed her. He is dead-set on confronting Norman. But he gets knocked out instead. Caleb, you’re dealing with a crazy person. He shouldn’t be able to see you coming, bruh.
Let’s talk about Norman’s crush (not his mom). He likes Madeline, a married woman. A woman married to a cheater. In last week’s episode, we met her husband, who stopped at the Bates Motel for a “few hours” with an unidentifed young lady (who I think will be Rihanna in a future episode). Norman feels great about his chances of winning Madeline’s heart considering she’s married to a snake. The story forces me to root for Norman, but I have to remember that he is a nutjob. If Madeline ends up with him, it says more about her poor choice in men than it does about me choosing the crazy over the sleazy.
Madeline looks a lot like his mother. Same complexion. Blonde hair. Similar mannerisms. Assumed sweetness. Norma even notices It, and Norman waves her thought away as if it were an annoying fly.
After this exchange, we see that Norman not only impersonates his mother within the privacy of his home, but he does so in public. The bar scene allows us to see Norman as Norman and Norman as Norma while talking to the bartender. S/he says that they are taking care of a mentally ill person and really needs to live life outside of that to maintain some sense of normalcy. It is frighteningly brilliant seeing Norman’s two personalities play out right before my eyes. This is man who is very troubled. A man with not only split personalities, but he could be suffering from a type of PTSD since his mother’s death.
I have not seen any other episodes of this show before this season, so I’m truly in the dark about what happened to Norma. Did she commit suicide or did he kill her? If the answer to this question is still unknown then we’ve got a very compelling who-done-it on our hands. My guess is that it’s a combo of both.
Season 5, Episode 2 (S05E02)
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