Bates Motel – “The Immutable Truth”

batesseason2finaleThe Immutable Truth – Season 2, Episode 10 – original air date 5/5/2014

So Sheriff Romero is driving down the road, and who should he see coming out of a field towards the road, but Dylan?  And what does Dylan tell him?  “Nick Ford is dead.  I killed him.  They have Norman.”  Romero quickly processes these 10 words, and all they entail, and simply says “get in.”  Just another typical day in White Pine Bay for the most badass sheriff West of the Pecos.

Of course Dylan and Romero free Norman (we knew he wasn’t going to linger in the box until season three), and then there is the aftermath to deal with.  Anytime Norman tries to talk openly and honestly with Norma about his blackouts, she immediately suppresses him.   Only Norma could respond to what is essentially a confession of murder with “Eat your pot roast before it gets cold.”

It is very nice to see Norman confide in Emma, to a point, even if it was only done to try and get her to stay at the Motel.  Norman is making a list and checking it twice;  the last entry on that list is “Mother.”  Certainly the writers don’t expect us to believe that Norman is going to take her out?

Romero and Dylan continue their partnership, to take care of the inevitable.  It was definitely wish fulfillment to see that Sheriff Romero is a “man of his word”, although it was kind of sad to see Jodi become collateral damage, even if that seemed inevitable too.

Dylan’s embrace of Norman, after Norman is pulled from the box, may be the most touching moment in this show’s 2 season run.  Although Norma telling Dylan that he is a miracle was pretty damn cool too.  Dylan is really the moral center of the family, a magnet that pulls the others in the right direction.

And the finale is the lie-detector test, which has been set up for a couple weeks, the results of which are no surprise at all.

So:  no big cliffhangers, no mind-boggling revelations, yet a very satisfying, and at times sweet, finale.  Almost a clean slate going into season three, certainly from a standpoint of character development.   Not your typical season finale episode.  Bravo for that!


Bates Motel – “The Box”

The Box – Season 2, Episodebatesmotelthebox 9 – original air date 4/28/2014

It’s kinda funny to see Norma tiptoeing in the house, like a teenager sneaking home after a night with her boyfriend.  Here she is, worried that she will disturb Norman.  Little does she know that there is no Norman to disturb.

Of course we knew who took Norman.  That was no surprise.   This was set up well in the last couple episodes.  It’s also no surprise that Norma would freak out, and immediately go to Dylan.  How about that look on Norma’s face, when Dylan tells her what Nick Ford wants him to do.  Obviously she was expecting something a little less violent, but to watch her face, as she goes from shock, to horror, to acceptance and resolve, all in a few seconds, is frightening.    It is one thing to be willing to kill for your son.  It’s another to ask one son to kill to save another.

And let’s not forget that Norma is the one that really got Norman into this mess.  She is the one who got in deep with Nick Ford.  Granted, she didn’t know who and what he was, at first, but for her to blame Dylan for Norman’s abduction is pretty sad.  But even worse than that is the way Norma so icily dismisses Emma, rather than confide in her.   Emma embodies everything that the Bates family is missing, and needs to find in themselves.

The outcome of the Dylan/Nick Ford meeting was not a big surprise, but it was pleasing; I was beginning to worry that Dylan might not make it to season three.    This doesn’t change the fact that Zane really needs to go.

It makes sense that Norman’s confinement in the box would lead to an amplification of his mental problems.  And the big reveal finally confirms what we figured was the truth.  All in all, a very good episode.

Vera Farmiga deserves an Emmy nomination for her excellent work this season, don’t ya think?



Bates Motel – “Presumed Innocent”


Presumed Innocent – Season 2, Episode 7 – original air date 4/14/2014

This episode briefly becomes a police procedural, as Norman is taken in for questioning, photographed, and swabbed for DNA.  Considering how many people did in this quaint seaside town, one would  think the police would be rather blase at this point.   Cody’s dad was just killed by falling down a flight of stairs.  It’s not like he was set on fire, or shot in the head,  etc.  But of course our Norman is connected with this death.  Norman feels guilty.  If he had not confronted Cody, her dad would still be alive.   That is certainly a true statement, but Cody’s father was set up to fall.  He was mentioned off screen at first, then heard off screen in another episode, and is only seen for the first time when he is about to die.  By the time we see him, we know he’s a jerk.

Most of this episode deals with Norman’s time in jail, as he is questioned by Sheriff Romero.  How do the people in Norman’s circle react?  Well of course Norma is on the scene, and won’t leave.  Yet what are Norma’s motives?  Obviously Norma loves her son, and wants to protect him from harm.  But is keeping his blackouts a secret really helping him?  Is pressuring other people not to mention them helping him?  Emma is the only character who fully supports Norman in his predicament, with no motives of her own.   There is much tension between mother and son when they go home from the police station, as would be expected.  Cody and Norman say their farewells, as she goes off to live with the obligatory aunt in a faraway state.

Zane demonstrates that he may be a little bit smarter than suspected.  Not much, but a little.  He confronts Dylan, who then has to make a choice.  His choice may be his downfall.  How about a quick mention of Remo (Ian Tracey), Dylan’s partner in the drug business.  He has quietly made the most of his limited screentime.  If you are going to work in the illicit drug trade, you could certainly do worse in the coworker department.

There are only three episodes left in this season, and we can maybe see how the threads are coming together.  There is the drug war, with the Bates family having a connection with each side of the warring faction.  There is Norman’s blackouts,  and the consequences of them.  And there is the big reveal at the end of this episode, as Sheriff Romero learns the results of Norman’s DNA test and where his bodily fluids were found.  Not a surprise really, but I’m still not convinced that this particular aspect of the story is as clear cut as it seems.  The biggest question at this point is…how on earth will they stretch this out for another season?

Bates Motel – “The Escape Artist”

batesseason2epi5The Escape Artist – Season 2, Episode 5 – original air date 3/31/2014

This episode follows the separate narrative threads of several different characters, something we have seen in past episodes.   The narrative structure works better here than it did in the first season, simply because the characters are all more fully developed.  So, strand one involves Norman getting closer to his new friend Cody (Paloma Kwiatkowski.)  When Norman tells her “you’re not like any girl I’ve ever met”, I had the feeling he had used those exact same words before with Bradley and Emma, which simply means that Norman hadn’t really met any girls before, except of course for momma.  This relationship actually seems to make sense, because both have troubles at home, so they can relate to each other.

Norma meets up with Nick Ford (Michael O’Neill), about stopping the bypass, and he seems eager to support Norma, but only behind the scenes.  Meanwhile Sheriff Romero has taken up residence at the Bates Motel, since his house was torched.  Norma and Romero are very tentative in their scenes here, for two people who have such a shared history.  After all, Romero shot and killed Abernathy, potentially saving Norma’s life, and binding them together in a secret.  There is a hint in this new episode that there may be a potential attraction.   In the episode’s best scene, Romero confronts Zane (Michael Eklund), and wallops the crap out of him.  Moments like this I really love Sheriff Romero.

Dylan, still reeling frobatesseason2epi5twom the news about his uncle daddy, comes off of a massive bender, only to be invited to lunch with Zane.  He then proceeds to save Zane’s life when there is a drive-by shooting attempt.  He should have let him die.  The big reveal at the end of the episode is who the real kingpin is in the drug operation.   And let’s not forget Emma, who is important enough now to have her own narrative thread away from the Bates’ family problems.  She hooks up for the first time, with the dude staying at the motel.  It remains to be seen what the ramifications of that will be.  Good for Emma anyway, for pursuing her own happiness.