Midnight – Episode 10 – original airdate 5/20/2013 For the last three episodes, this show has been building up for a Norma/Abernathy showdown. After the somewhat formulaic ending of last week’s episode (how many times have we seen the bad guy suddenly pop up in the back seat of the car and place a gun to the driver’s head?) it was natural to assume that this season would end with the Bates family facing off with the sinister sleazebag Abernathy. Or would it? There have also been plenty of surprises, so maybe the season would end with another didn’t-see-that-coming moment. How about a little of both?
First off, hats off to writers Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin, who also wrote the excellent episode 6, and the underwhelming episode 9. This is a very well-written conclusion to the first season, and it does just what a good season finale should do: it answers some questions, provides some clues to others, and piques the viewers’ interest for next season. Last week I questioned the relevance of the Norman/Miss Watson storyline, saying that it was wasted screen time if it didn’t build to something. Well the writers knew exactly what they were doing, because it builds to something pretty big, and completely unexpected.
Nestor Carbonell continues to impress as Sheriff Romero. His character has been hard to peg; he has been written and played as a guy who may go either way. Is he the good sheriff who cares about his town, or is he just another Shelby, or worse? I found myself cheering for his actions in this episode, although I think there are still questions about him and his choices.
So lets review Norman’s last day of season one. He asks Emma to the dance (or Emma tricks him into asking her); he overhears Miss Watson having a violent conversation on her cell phone, after which she gives him another of those awkward embraces; he sees Bradley and Dylan together and realizes that they are clearly attracted to each other; his mother Norma confesses to him that her brother forced her to have sex with him while she was a teenager (really Norma? while you are waiting with your son for his date to arrive, his date to his first ever school dance, that’s when you decide to spring that? Granted, you are worried about your showdown with Abernathy, but still, how could you?); Norman stares at Bradley at the dance, prompting Emma to leave (way to be a jerk Norman, she is clearly the girl for you); Bradley’s bf punches Norman in the face; Norman is walking home from the dance in the rain, when a car pulls up… (Pretty messed up day, huh? Any wonder he has problems?)
The expected showdown is kind of a bait and switch by the writers, giving us what we wanted, and something else we didn’t expect, which left me pleased overall, and hungry for more.
Stay tuned next week for a season one summary, including some questions that didn’t get answered this season.