BATES MOTEL Review: “There’s No Place Like Home”

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Airtime: Mondays at 9PM on A&E
Episode: Season 4, Episode 7 (S04E07)

TB-TV-Grade-B

Tweetable Takeaway: Norman is not happy to learn of his mother’s nuptials on a big #BatesMotel


It’s fitting that Mother’s Day is right around the corner, as this week’s episode of focused on Norman and Emma’s attempts to reunite with their mothers, with each achieving much different results. While Norman secures his release from Pineview after learning about his mother’s recent marriage, Emma tries in vain to reach her mother, unaware that Norman killed her several episodes ago. “There’s No Place Like Home” was another solid episode of Bates Motel that moved the chess pieces and set the stage for the conflicts to come in the final episodes of the season.

Over the past several episodes, Norman has made a surprising amount of progress in his therapy sessions with Dr. Edwards, which culminated last week with Dr. Edwards speaking at length with Norman while he was embodying his Norma persona. Unfortunately, this week there’s risk of all that progress screeching to a halt when Norman learns that his mother and Sheriff Romero have gotten married and kept it a secret from him while he was locked up at Pineview.

Norman finding out about Norma and Romero’s relationship has been the major ticking time bomb of this season. From the beginning it was obvious that he’d take the news of their marriage poorly, even knowing that it was initially done out of necessity, in order to pay for his treatment. But when Norma and Romero started to genuinely fall in love this season, that’s when I knew fireworks were really going to go off when Norman learned the truth.

While Norma does peak into Norman’s room early in the episode, showing that he does remain in her thoughts, it’s clear that a part of Norma has moved on and settled into a relatively calm life of domestic bliss without him. When she talks to Romero about planting fruit trees and allows herself to imagine what the trees will look like when they bear fruit, does she envision Norman in that future, or has she already resigned herself to the idea of him remaining institutionalized indefinitely?

Regardless of Norma’s designs for the future, Norman has some ideas of his own about how things need to go down when he learns about Norma’s secret. After he sees a photograph of Norma and Romero together in the newspaper, Norman insists on being immediately discharged from Pineview so he can return home. Though Norman doesn’t articulate why he needs to return home or whether he thinks his relationship with his mother will go right back to the way it was, it’s easy to imagine that he intends to immediately reassume his role as the sole man in Norma’s life, pushing Romero out of the equation entirely. He’s told that he’ll have to write a letter formally requesting his release, and that Pineview would have 72 hours to decide whether he had met the conditions for release. In that intervening time everyone who knows about his psychosis tries to argue for Norman to remain in Pineview, but he remains steadfast in his belief that his treatment will not suffer with him back at home.

While Dr. Edwards, Norma, and Dylan, all of whom are aware of Norman’s blackouts, believe that he needs to remain at Pineview, Norman does have the capacity to secure his own release since he voluntarily committed himself. The only alternative presented to ensure Norman’s continued stay would be for Dr. Edwards or Norma to petition the court and argue that Norman would pose a danger to himself or others if he were to be released. Though Norma knows by now that Norman is an uncontrollable danger, and has killed in the past, after she meets with him at Pineview and hears him plead to come back home, she doesn’t have it within her to say no to him.

While Norman is trying to return home in order to see his mother again, Emma also tries to reunite with her own mother Audrey, unaware of the futility of the task because of Norman’s actions several episodes ago. While the viewer knows that Norman killed Audrey in the season premiere during one of his blackouts, Emma has only just learned that her mother tried to visit her while she hospitalized and cannot find a way to get in touch with her.

When she can’t get through to her mother on her cell phone, Emma argues with her father his refusal to allow her mother in their life, and she learns that Dylan met her mother at the hospital and never told her about it. Dylan apologizes and tells Emma that he loves her. To make it up to her he tries to track Audrey down, but she appears to have disappeared without a trace. He finds a letter in Norman’s room that Audrey had left with him, and after seeing that Audrey never officially checked out of the motel and learning that she had been evicted from her apartment after not paying rent for months, Dylan starts to suspect that Norman may have killed her.

Dylan expresses his concerns to Norma, but she tries to explain away the idea that Norman may have hurt Audrey. I was very surprised to see her be so dismissive of the idea, considering how aware she is by this point about Norman’s violent proclivities, but I guess she’s at once willing to admit Norman’s past misdeeds while still allowing herself denial about any other, newer bad behavior on his part.

After Dylan brings Emma her mother’s letter, Emma makes the erroneous assumption that her mother was broke and only reaching out to her because she wanted money. She decides it’s not worth trying to seek out her mother, remembering that her mother pulled a similar stunt several times before when she was younger. Though it’s probably painful for Emma to have his lasting image of her mother, it’s much preferable to the alternative if she were to learn the truth about what happened to her. But, considering that this is Bates Motel and most bad things that can happen will happen, I’m sure Emma will find out that Norman killed her mother before the season is out. And then we’ll see how willing she’ll be to reciprocate Dylan’s love.

Elsewhere in White Pine Bay:

  • Rebecca Hamilton visits Sheriff Romero’s office one last time before splitting to Indiana with the money from Bob Paris’s security deposit box. She drops off the new checks for Romero and Norma’s joint checking account and thanks him for giving her the key to the box. Romero tells her it might not be a good idea to leave town while the DEA is looking into her activities, but she’s confident that her cover story about returning home to take care of her sick mother will be sufficient.
  • Before Norman intrudes upon their sudden domestic bliss, we see Norma and Sheriff Romero starting to make plans for their future together. Norma talks about how she wants to renovate the house, and when she admits to Romero that she doesn’t have the money to afford it, he reveals Bob Paris’s hidden stash of money and promises to help her pay for it. He argues that after having to endure so many bad breaks all her life, Norma deserves the money to balance the karmic scales.

TB-TV-Grade-B

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Eric enjoys watching and making movies.
Twitter: @Colasante

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