Before we dive into the season finale of ‘Bates Motel’, we should take a moment to send kudos in the direction of creator Anthony Cipriano and executive producers/writers Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin for reimagining Hitchcock’s classic movie in a way that both honors the original story and opens up the mythology for brand-new horror. There have been a handful of poor attempts to reboot ‘Psycho‘ over the years, but ‘Bates Motel’ is the first time anyone has gotten it right.
When we last saw Norma Bates, she was in her car being threatened at gunpoint by the mysterious Jake Abernathy, who insisted that he be paid the $150,000 he was owed or he would kill Norma and both of her sons. As the finale opens, Norma takes her information to Sheriff Romero, who assures her that he’ll take care of the problem. However, he won’t tell Norma how he’s going to do it.
Not trusting the sheriff, Norma asks her son Dylan to get her a gun, but Dylan thinks that’s a horrible idea. However, he eventually gives in and decides to supply Norma with a gun. He also takes her out to show her how to shoot it. After a couple of tries, Norma seems to get the hang of it, although she isn’t pleased when she finds out that Dylan has a job guarding the town’s marijuana production. Still, she cheers up when Dylan refers to her as “mom” for the first time instead of just “Norma.”
Meanwhile, Norman discovers that Emma doesn’t have a date to their school’s winter formal. He asks her to be his date, and Emma agrees, although she’s a little suspicious about Norman’s motives. Those motives become a little clearer when Bradley comes over to Norman’s house to pick up some things that Dylan was able to box up from her father’s old office. Dylan tells Norman that he has no intention of asking Bradley out, even though she seems interested in him. Although Norman obviously doesn’t mean it, he tells his older brother there’s no reason for him not to ask Bradley out.
The night of the formal, Norma heads out to the rendezvous location where Abernathy said to meet and hides when Sheriff Romero shows up with a bag full of money. He tells Abernathy that if he’s going to stay in town, he needs to cut a deal with him. Romero sets the money in front of Abernathy, but when Jake reaches down to pick it up, Romero shoots him down. Abernathy’s body falls off the pier into the water. Romero picks up the bag and throws it into the water as well. “Not in my town,” he yells. He then tells Norma (whom he has known was there all along) that she can come out now. As good as his word, Sheriff Alex Romero has kept his promise to Norma.
At the winter formal, Norman dances with Emma, but can’t keep his eyes off Bradley. Upset, Emma claims that Norman is still in love with Bradley and leaves him. Bradley’s boyfriend has also noticed the way Norman has been staring at her, and takes him outside where he promptly slugs him in the face. Norman has no choice but to walk home in the rain, but his English teacher, Miss Watson, happens to be driving by and picks him up. Seeing his bloodied face, she convinces him to come back to her house to clean up before she drives him home.
At the house, Miss Watson tells Norman to wait while she goes to change. She leaves her bedroom door open, and Norman can see her stripping out of her clothing via the bedroom mirror. Suddenly, Norman has another one of his psychotic breaks, in which his mother is suddenly in the room telling him that Miss Watson wants him sexually and that Norman knows what he has to do.
Norman returns home, meeting Norma there and telling her the last thing he remembers is leaving the dance and walking in the rain. As Norma leads Norman back up to the house, we return to Miss Watson’s home, where her lifeless body lies on the floor… with her throat slashed!
Well, it looks like Norman has committed his first murder, but this being ‘Bates Motel’, we can’t be 100% sure until Season 2 begins this time next year. In the meantime, for those of you who missed out, be sure to catch up on this great series – which gets my vote as the best new show of 2013.