It looks like this week’s episode of Bates Motel was mostly filler to keep us occupied until the series finale. The three roaming storylines (Norman and Mother, Dylan and Emma, Romero and revenge) finally came together, at least. But that’s about it.
Mother is still here instead of Norman as he works through more of his legal woes. He’s going to be processed and held in White Pine Bay until the pre-trial hearing is over and done with. The friendly officer who takes his finger prints thinks that he will be denied bail and not end up with a short sentence, which upsets Mother.
And hooray! Emma came to see Dylan! Such a loving and supportive wife. But before they can even get out of the snowy parking lot of the motel he’s staying in, Dylan tells her that her mother was murdered, and he’s pretty sure Norman did it. Don’t try to give her a little privacy or breathing room, Dyl, it’s TOTALLY ok to mention something so awful as soon as she sees you. Cool.
There’s some lovely old-timey tune playing as we watch the sheriff’s whole crew scouring the Bates property for evidence against Norman. They notice the house hasn’t been dusted or kept up, yet someone has been staying in Norma’s bedroom; then the sheriff gets a call on her walkie-talkie from an officer who dug up Audrey’s suitcase in the front lawn. That revelation is trumped by another officer’s discovery of a freshly dead Chick slumped over on a desk in the basement.
Poor Emma and Dylan discuss what happened with her mother and how difficult it’s been for Dylan to cope with what’s happened to Norman. The line “I never wanted to bring you anything but happiness” tears me to shreds, because FINALLY Dylan has found someone stable. He’s gotten his life together and is immediately dragged back into the fire. Emma goes to take care of funeral arrangements for her mother, then says she doesn’t know if she can handle being with Dylan if he sides with Norman. I mean, I get where she’s coming from; her brother in law possibly murdered her mother and it’s an awful thing. But leaving your husband for trying to find help for his brother? Come on, Emma. It’s not like Dylan is advocating murder, he just wants this poor kid to get the mental help he so clearly needs. Ugh.
Anyway, Mother/Norman (it’s growing difficult to know which term to use when talking about the character, thanks for bearing with me) meets with Julia to discuss what steps to take before the trial begins. She wants to pursue a mental defect/insanity defense because that’s Norman’s best chance to not face the death penalty. If he says he wasn’t in the right state of mind during the murders (which, honestly, he wasn’t) and then again during the questioning with Sheriff Greene, he can hopefully spend life in jail or in a mental health facility. Julia plays doctor here, and says that it’s likely Norman has Dissociative Identity Disorder. She believes entering a mental health facility would be a wise choice. Mother isn’t having that, though; she doesn’t want to “rot” in there.
After this chat, Julia heads over to see Dylan and update him on Norman’s situation. She stops by mid argument, with a distraught Emma and a Dylan who’s trying to keep the peace. Julia asks Dylan to come by during the pre-trial hearing and sit behind the defense so Norman can have a tie to the real world. He doesn’t have anyone else to rely on. This is the ultimatum for Emma, and she basically tells her husband that it’s her or his murderous brother. Tough decision.
Emma claims her mother’s remains and has her cremated. As she leaves the funeral home, she stops to see Norma’s headstone and has an emotional moment with the woman who was more of a mother to her than her actual mother. She cries, then takes the ashes of her biological mother and spreads them across the beautiful mountain view with less emotion than she had while seeing Norma’s grave.
Meanwhile, Alex “Oh My God Look at That Rugged Salt and Pepper Scruffy Face” Romero is lurking around town in the car he stole from Maggie. He goes to fuel up the car and briefly chats with a Nosy Nelly about the make and model of this vehicle. I thought this scene was going to lead up to something, like this guy saw Alex’s face on a wanted poster or something, but no. I guess he was just overly interested in the handsome man and his car? Unless he makes a surprise appearance in next week’s episode as a witness or something. That’d be neat.
It’s time for the trial hearing, and surprise surprise, Dylan decides to show up. He sits quietly in the back rather than behind Norman, but he’s still showing support…Until he hears details about the murders and leaves the courtroom. When he’s out in the lobby, he runs into Madeleine. Dylan apologizes about what happened to her and her husband. She says he has nothing to apologize for.
It’s a sweet, but fleeting moment, as she goes on to basically accuse Dylan of not stopping Norman. According to her, Dylan knew Norman his whole life and never did anything to stop him or get him help, which should be a burden Dylan has to carry for the rest of his life. Which…wow, rude. Girl, you know basically nothing about their lives, yet you’re going to treat Dylan like he was a personal assistant during the murders? Come on, he’s just trying to be nice to you when he doesn’t have to be.
Alex has cruised back to Maggie’s house and is trying to steal her Netflix account. I mean borrow her computer so he can find where Norman is being held before trial. This poor lady (who very obviously has A Thing for him, and who can blame her) is trying to stop him from doing something else he’ll regret. She’s trying to convince him to stay with her, lay low, and not act on the impulse to go after Norman. But Ex-Sheriff Eyelashes isn’t having it, and he runs right back out to go confront Norman at ye olde police station.
Before Alex gets there though, Emma goes to visit Norman. “He” says that he didn’t kill her mother, that he’s not that kind of person. But immediately she can tell that it’s not Norman talking and figures it’s his other personality. Mother says that Emma’s mom was a horrible person and that it’s better she’s gone. Emma meekly asks “May I talk to Norman?” But Mother says he’s sleeping until she tells him it’s okay to get up. So, Emma tells Not-Norman that she misses the real Norman, the one she was friends with years ago. It’s a touching moment, and it feels like Emma has finally let go of him.
When Alex finally gets to the station, he takes one of the clerks at gun point and makes her bring him inside. There are several other cops there as well, all of whom are taken as hostages (essentially) as he heads back to Norman’s holding cell. Alex shoots one of the cops who pops out of a doorway, but he’s okay I guess, since he’s getting corralled along with the rest of the gang. Mother (Norman) is shocked to see her man here, brandishing a gun and forcing them out of the cell and into his car.
Alex says that he wants Norman to take him to the place where he left Norma’s body. We see Norma’s reflection in the rearview mirror instead of Norman’s, which is a great shot. Alex doesn’t know that she’s taken over her son’s body, so I’m sure it’ll provide some interesting tension in the final episode.
Let’s hope that the series finale really delivers and doesn’t let us down!