April 26, 2017

‘Bates Motel’ Season 5 Recap And Finale Review

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Written by: Lee Skavydis
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When Bates Motel first premiered back in 2013, it is probably fair to say that there were a lot of expectations. If it failed to be a good quality product then it would have probably been tossed in the movie junkyard alongside Psycho 1998. But executive producers Carlton Cuse and Keri Ehrin’s vision to give Norman Bates and his mother a new lease of life that would head in a totally different direction to it’s classic 1960 counterpart would see that fans would experience something unfamiliar and new.

The general consensus is that seasons 2 and 3 kind of stagnated the show on a temporary basis although things kicked into full gear as soon as the first episode of season 4 premiered! We finally bore witness the death of Norma Bates and Norman’s “becoming.” And with that, a reinvigorated demand to see Norman head toward his destiny quickly erupted in full force.

This editorial already covered the happenings that occurred in the first four episodes of season 5, so a brief recap of what happened from episode 5 to the ultimate finale will be discussed here. You can view recap of episodes 1-4 here: http://www.ageofthenerd.com/2017/03/bates-motel-final-season-far/

The moment fans had been waiting for. The arrival of movie shower victim, Marion Crane.

Picking up from episode 5, Psycho’s devotees finally got what they wanted when horror icon Marion Crane, played by Rhianna, made plans to be with her lover, Sam Loomis. Imitating the outline of the narrative of the original movie, she made a getaway from her boring life at her mundane job working for a demanding boss with $400,000 in tow.

Meanwhile, Norman was having problems reconnecting with “mother” after she disappeared from his life for a period of time. As it turned out, he as “mother” made out with another guy at a club which caused him deep confusion. Marion finally found herself at the Bates Motel during a heavy rainy night. Episode 6, simply titled ‘Marion,’ invented it’s own take of that fateful night, working up viewers into thinking that she would “get the point” while showering. However, that was not to be when she stepped out of the spray without a single blemish!

It was also this particular episode that perhaps gave us the deepest insight into why Norman’s mind worked the way it did as “mother” explained that Norman created her in order to block out emotional pain that he continuously denied himself from feeling. It was also at this point where the episode gave us possibly the biggest twist in the entire series when Norman was coaxed by “mother” into stabbing Sam Loomis while he took a shower waiting for Marion to return after Norman convinced her to leave in a hurry to start a new life for herself. This scene certainly threw everybody for a loop, although one wishes that they retained the infamously piercing “eek, eek” score piece while all the butchering commenced.

Bates Motel’s shower stabbing sequence commenced with a refreshing twist!

Alex Romero slowly but eventually made his way back to White Pine Bay after being accidentally shot while caught attempting to steal a car. He made his way back to Maggie’s, an old friend that we saw way back in season 1, where he recuperated for a while but was still intent on revenge against Norman for the death of Norma.

Dylan’s fiance, Emma had to make the difficult move in telling Dylan that she discovered that his mom had passed away a couple of years prior to current events. After an intense phone call with Norman, he decided to revisit some of his past by heading back to the Bates Motel. Norman must have had a sixth sense for his brother’s return because he buried the frozen corpse of his mom in a particular spot in a wooden area before his arrival, promising her he will be back. A welcoming Norman wasn’t so welcoming for long when Dylan suggested that he wasn’t mentally well.

“Mother” inevitably took over and attacked him but Norman managed to regain control. He rushed to the phone to confess that he murdered Sam Loomis while a horrified and bleeding Dylan looked on.

Chick Hogan came up with a way to make an opportunity for himself to make a small fortune by starting the process of writing a book on Norman and his dealings with “mother.” But Romero swiftly ruined those plans when he shot Chick dead after going to the motel in an attempt to find his nemesis, who had been arrested already for Loomis’ murder. At this point, Norman’s personality was completely engulfed by “mother,” which gave Freddie Highmore the opportunity to have his moment. And it looked as if he relished every second of it! There is no doubt that Highmore saved the best of his acting talents until near last.

Both Dylan and Emma had the task of telling each other things that one another certainly did not want to hear when Dylan disclosed to her that her mom’s body had been found after Norman killed her at the beginning of season 4. The couple briefly parted ways while Dylan wanted to support his brother in court. This gave Emma the space to say goodbye to an old friend when she visited Norma’s grave and to also lay her mom’s ashes.

The evidence mounted against Norman in court after police completely combed over the Bates Motel, discovering Chick Hogan’s body in the process. But unbeknownst to most people around him, authorities were actually interacting with Bates’ nefarious persona! Emma plucked up the courage to visit Norman, who was imprisoned in a glass cage. At first “mother” weakly tried to convince her that she was actually speaking with Norman but Emma wasn’t going to be fooled! Still, she never let her emotions get the better of her and kept in mind that all that went on before was the result of Norman being suffering from illness. Before she got her one last look at him before leaving, she simply asked evil Norma to tell him that she missed him.

Episode 9 of season 5 was where Romero finally made his move to confront Norman after discovering where he was being incarcerated. Kidnapping Norman’s lawyer at gunpoint, he forced his way in through the station to the disillusioned prisoner’s cell. After ordering an officer to force Norman out of it, he grabbed Bates by the throat and desired to see the life slowly drain from him. It was only at the last second that logic shone through and he made his way back out of the station with Norman and his lawyer, Regina, getting into her car and demanding that she drive. Romero told Norman that they were heading to the area where he hid Norma’s corpse.

Nestor Carbonell fools around on the set with Freddie Highmore

What happened next brings us to the finale and the last 43 minutes that we all had been waiting for!
Episode 10 started with Romero, Norman and Regina in the car on their way to the spot where Norma’s body was buried. After giving instruction to stop the car, Romero told Regina to head back to the main highway to safety.

Romero got back into the car to meet a mumbling Norman, who was in conversation with “mother.” Eventually arriving, Romero told Norman to begin digging, but the former Sheriff grew impatient and shoved Norman back and uncovered Norma himself.

Emotions soon got the better of him after seeing his beloved laid deep in the snow and he began beating a defenseless Norman after the murderous son told him that he was sorry about what happened. Leaving him bloodied, Romero made his way back to her and continued to mourn, but Romero’s head was met with a rock that was slammed down on him from behind! The two men began fighting for survival but the former motel manager came off best when he managed to grab Alex’ gun and put two fatal bullets into him! Just before he took his last breath, Alex reminded him that he will never be able to escape from the reality that he killed his own mother.

An angelic looking Norma then appeared before him, telling her son that he had no need for her anymore since all dangerous influences had been taken care of. It was at this point that the show went back to the beginning with both Norma and Norman laying in bed. Norman told her that he had a horrible nightmare about all that occurred and she reassured him that it was just a dream.

But it wasn’t long before we were bought back to the present. A heavily bruised and cut Norman made the journey back to the Bates Motel in his mom’s 1972 Mercede-Benz, uttering the lines that were said between them both in the pilot episode while on the way to their then new place.

After carrying Norma’s stuffed corpse up those familiar steps and into the gothic looking house, Norman made his way back down to reopen for business, removing the crime scene banners that the police had wrapped all around the office area in nonchalant fashion. A car pulled in, it’s occupants consisting of a mother and her two children who needed a room for a while. Of course, Norman had no problem checking them in.

Meeting up with an old pal that he did business with at the old marijuana plant and getting a gun, Dylan knew that time was nearing and that he had to come face to face with his psychotic brother! Arriving at the motel, Dylan called Emma and explained that confronting Norman was just something he had to do and told her that he loved her and their daughter. With the customer’s car catching his eye he knocked on their door, explaining why they had to leave and reimbursed the money the woman had paid. After being told that Norman was ill and that he had no right to check people in, they quickly left.

Now came the time for the final showdown. Norman, again, welcomed Dylan in and began making dinner for all “three” of them. Dylan slowly walked into the dining area but could not hold his stomach at the sight of seeing Norma’s preserved body and vomited all over the floor. Still in denial, Norman said that everything was going to be okay. But Dylan wasn’t about to take his foot off the gas now, and again tried to get through to him and convince him to surrender himself.

After a short period of contemplation, Norman took a knife, turned around and began walking toward a retreating Dylan. Norman stated that he was determined not to let anybody take his mother away from him and lunged at Dylan! Missing him and finding his knife embedded in the door behind them both, Norman looked down to see that he had been shot! Whispering “thank you” to Dylan for allowing him to be reunited with Norma once more, Norman slowly died in his brother’s arms. Now in the afterlife, mother and son glanced at one another from afar before running toward each other to embrace.

What followed was a brief series of shots telling of the aftermath of all that went on before. Dylan and Emma got back together, a new family moved into the motel and Sheriff Greene discovered Romero’s body slain in the icy woods.

The series concluded with a look of Norma’s grave, complete with Norman’s date of birth and death.

After nearly five years of being on the air, did Bates Motel conclude with a worthy pay off? Well, yes from an emotional point of view. However, there had been clues earlier on in this season that suggested that Norman wasn’t going to be making it out alive.

We saw Norma’s gravestone a couple of times before the finale and Norman’s name had already been attached minus the obligatory dates. Further, in episode 3 Chick Hogan suggested to Norman in a rather comedic scene that “we’re all in this sideshow together. And then we die.” That had never been forgotten. People with keen eyes and ears on these things would probably have predicted what happened in the end.

Also, while the finale attempted to answer as many questions as it possibly could there did not seem to be any answer for Dr. Edwards disappearance. It was explained that he had been missing for sometime and that Norman’s meeting with him in episode 5 was the product of his imagination.

Lastly, did anybody else think that Ryan Hurst’ Chick Hogan was underused and seemed kind of pointless? Yes, in the end he came across as a kind soul who loved helping people in life but the character never really got anything to do that was, shall it be said, phenomenal? Unfortunately Hogan came across as a bit of filler.

Although seasons 2 and 3 left a lot to be desired, series 1, 4 and 5 made for some compelling viewing. Vera Farmiga was extraordinary at making Norma Bates her own, giving us a multidimensional character that had a lot to be explored. Freddie Highmore took time to warm up but he almost equalled Farmiga’s efforts, especially in the final season. He was never going to be on the level of Anthony Perkins or take his place, but he easily made Vince Vaughn’s version of Norman in Psycho 1998 a vague dwindling memory. The future looks bright for Farmiga and Highmore, that is for sure.

Vera Farmiga was chilling as “evil Norma”

For those that were a little scared to take a shower while this show was in transmission, you don’t have to be afraid anymore. Bates Motel has finally shutdown for business for good. And we’ll miss it!

About the Author

Lee Skavydis
Lee Skavydis
I am a die hard movie fan, owning over 500 movies on both DVD and Blu Ray. I try to go to the cinema at least once a week when time permits. My other hobbies include following fight sports such as boxing, travelling around, writing and editing, listening to heavy rock and cook the odd occasional recipe. I used to write for several prolific boxing websites, interviewing some of the most famous names associated with the sport around.



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