Just one day after we got to celebrate Mother’s Day, Bates Motel delivers one of its most devastating episodes yet.
From its conception, the goal from Bates Motel has been to give Norman Bates an origin story. Now with four seasons in, the show is beginning to lay the groundwork for the Norman Bates we know from Psycho.
***WARNING SPOILERS BELOW***
It only took Norman two episodes after his release from Pineview, to break off the relationships that his mother had been able to nurture when he wasn’t around. The only two sane people in Norma’s life, Dylan and Romero, were pushed away to protect her mother-son dynamic.
It is not specifically clear whether Dylan believes Norman killed Emma’s mother, but it is implied that he at least has a strong suspicion that he might have had something to do with her disappearance. When Romero confesses that he wants to commit Norman back into Pineview without Norma’s knowledge, Dylan asks him to wait while he tries to talk to her. This leads him to confront Norma in what appears to be his last attempt to make her see reason. But Norma being Norma, as soon as she begins to feel threatened, she retaliates with words she knows will hurt Dylan: “You’re making sh** up because you’re jealous of him. You always have been.” (A slap to the face would of probably hurt less Norma.) Dylan also being Norma’s son hits her back with: “You’ve never been a real mother to me.” As he leaves, Dylan tells Norman that he is not well and needs to go back into Pineview. This only leaves Norman confused, to which Norma dismisses as a “no one understands what we have, they’re all just jealous” situation.
But Dylan wasn’t the only one to face Norma’s contempt. After learning from Dylan that Romero was planning to have Norman committed back into Pineview, Norma pays a visit to her hubby’s office. They argue on the perception that each one has regarding Norman, but it inevitably ends with Norma’s trust issues: “You crossed over a line, and you’re never crossing back. I will never trust you again.”
Meanwhile, Norman finds Audrey’s suitcase in the basement with his mother’s robe covered in mud. He inspects it and tries it on. Not a word is uttered, but Freddie Highmore is able to convey fear and confusion through his facial expressions. (Insert Emmy here.)
When Norma comes back from cutting all but one of her relations, she breaks down in the middle of her kitchen with Norman as her comfort.
As they get ready to go to bed, Norma writes a letter to Romero professing her eternal love. She then starts building up a possible future in an island with Norman. He then begins to sing her to sleep. When Norman is sure that mother is sound asleep, he goes down to the basement to turn on the faulty water heater to fill up the house with gas. He then proceeds to close all the vents in the house, except for the one in mother’s room and then climbs back to bed with her. He falls asleep believing that they will both be sleeping forever, together. Unfortunately for him, Alex Romero doesn’t give up that easily. He arrives at the house and begins to call out for Norma. When he doesn’t hear a response, he goes to her room and notices that she isn’t responding. It is then that he smells the gas in the room and throws a chair through the window. He carries Norma out of the room, opening the nearby windows, and then goes back for Norman. He begins giving Norma CPR, but it is too late. He begs for her to come back to him, but apparently she didn’t hear which body to come back to. Without having been given aid, Norman Bates starts gasping for air, as if Romero had been trying to resuscitate him instead of his mom. Norman turns his head and looks at Romero holding on to Norma’s corpse and can only manage to say “Mother.”
(I personally saw this as Norma waking up on Norman’s body.)