Well, well, well. The showrunners promised us a wild ride for this last season, and they sure weren’t kidding; each episode seems to be better than the last. The final moments of the episode were EVERYTHING! But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
The episode begins right where last week’s left off: Caleb dead in the road. Huzzah. Norma “Rollercoaster of Emotions” Bates is crying, all sniffly over the dead body of her brother, her abuser. Just moments ago, she was screaming and yelling about him needing to be dead. It seems to just further prove how emotionally unstable she really is, and how much this split personality Norman created is affecting him. She’s quick to talk about body disposal with an agreeable Chick, and Norman who wants to call the cops. It’s odd to see him be the one trying to find the moral high ground. But, they eventually settle on Chick making the body disappear.
To add to the oddity of this situation, Chick gives Caleb a (semi) proper Viking burial, sending him out onto the lake, wrapped in cloth and covered in flowers, then set aflame. I mean….what? Does this have some kind of significance that I’m missing or is Chick just continuing with his weird tendencies? Normally in lore, this kind of ritual was saved for those who had families and would be missed, so they would have a more comfortable ride into the afterlife. So why was this done for Caleb? It leaves so many questions and it’s gonna bug me.
Cut to poor Romero, trying to convince the teen who shot him to go get first aid supplies and a promise that he won’t tell anyone what happened. He takes this opportunity to flee, which seems a little farfetched seeing as he was just shot in the stomach. But whatever. He hobbles into the woods and goes on his merry way.
We get a glimpse at the new sheriff, a lovely lady who seems rather chill, and actually shows compassion towards the people in her town. She gets a call from the DA and heads to ask Mr. Norman Bates some questions about a missing parolee.
He can’t keep his cool in the face of being exposed, it seems. When the sheriff asks him about the missing person, Jim Blackwell (y’know, the hitman Romero hired to kill Norman? But Norman killed him first?) he’s jittery, he’s avoiding eye contact, and he’s stuttering his way through answers. Not at all obvious. Norman is also informed that his good ole friend Alex Romero has escaped from prison and has yet to be found (dun dun dun).
In his next conversation with Norma, Norman seems to be creating a greater a rift between them, finding that her overprotective nature is getting out of control. She says that just letting Blackwell kill Norman would’ve been “depressing.” He counters, “You know what’s depressing, mother? Having no control over your own life, over these decisions that are supposedly being made on your behalf.” This Norma that’s been created in his head is starting to have a life of her own, and is controlling Norman’s thoughts and actions way more than he could have ever anticipated. Seeing this development between the characters is riveting, and is one of the greatest thrill factors this season.
There’s some more cutesy (I use that word loosely) interactions that happen between Norman and Madeleine, but frankly this story line is boring. She’s an obvious doppelganger for Norma, he likes her, she won’t admit she like-likes him, blah blah blah. He creepily gives her some of Norma’s old dresses. She invites him to dinner. I’m sure you can guess where that’s headed.
Good ole Norm comes home to find Chick unloading his car and planning on moving in. That idea is immediately shut down, and poor Chickadee tries to wriggle his way into the house anyway, but Norman isn’t having it. He wants them to be friends, but he just can’t have someone meddling too much in his life.
And back to Romero, who’s miraculously still standing, calls 911 with a fake tip about a drug overdose and waits for an ambulance to show. When the coast is clear, he hops in the back of the car and gathers as many medical supplies as he can; guess he’s really out here trying to patch himself up and hoping for the best. He manages to pull the bullets out of himself, bandage up, then go back on his murder path to Norman.
Just when we thought Norman was free from the Sheriff’s questioning (haha just kidding. No one really thought that!) she returns and asks for the motel’s guest book. And this scene. This. Scene. Is great. Throughout the show, small homages to Hitchcock’s Psycho have been peppered about, but we’re finally getting into some serious parallels. In the movie, Norman is visited by police officers and asked about the missing Marion Crane; the cop asks to see the guest book as Mr. Bates nonchalantly looks on. And here we are in the show, seeing an identical scene, right down to the candy eating and awkward head tilt. I love how spot on this was!
The sheriff doesn’t find Blackwell’s name in the guest book, but she does say the police are still investigating and looking for his car. Norman panics, runs to mother and finds out she left it somewhere in the woods. She says she hid it well enough, but he doesn’t believe her, and they go out to try and find it. The Bates get into a heated debate, Norma is blasé and Norman is furious. He ends up smothering her until she dies. Again. But she’s brought back very quickly, and confronts her son about how odd he’s been treating her lately. He brushes it off and they head home like nothing happened.
Norman meets with Chick, and pretends like he never yelled at him to get out of his house. What a jerk. Chick is back at it with his story, saying “I think in the right hands, when it’s done it can make a nice little movie.” So I guess Chick = Hitchcock. Love it. Norman is there to ask for a favor, to get help hot wiring a car and finding a hop shop to help make it disappear. Chick will agree, as long as Norman tells him the juicy details about what happened and why he needs help (more fuel for his story!). They become friends again, yay!
Later on, Norman informs his mother that he’s going to see her lookalike and have dinner with her. Norma is very upset about it, and doesn’t like the fact that Norman is going against her wishes and is being so snippy about it. She can’t control him as much as she would like, and it’s clearly weighing heavy on the both of them. Norman goes to Madeleine’s house for their dinner date, where she’s wearing his mother’s dress and not so subtly trying to hide her affection for him. “Wanna make a cake?” Is arguably the best pickup line to ever exist! They make a cake. They make out.
And Norman has a very vivid and very graphic fantasy about Norma slashing Madeleine’s throat and she dies on the floor in front of him. Talk about a mood killer. The rift between mother and son widens, with Norma’s jealousy and anger taking a greater hold on Norman’s mind. He angrily rushes home to confront his mother, but she is nowhere to be found. The house is dimly cast in a blue light (in contrast to the warmth of a yellow light when Norma is around) as he yells for her attention.
The camera zooms in on the frustrated Norman, heavily panting, and some very odd look taking over his face. A look that’s just like the one movie-Norman gives in the final scene of Psycho.
The closer we get to the end of the show, the more elements of the movie we see, the most notable being the entrance of Marion Crane (played by Rihanna) in next week’s episode! I’m so excited to see just how much of the film’s plot is tied into the show.