Has ‘Bates Motel’ run out of steam so close to the end? That’s kind of the impression I got watching the penultimate episode of the series, a huge chunk of which focuses on the characters of Dylan and Emma.
Granted, we get a little excitement at the conclusion, but the showdown we’ve all been looking forward to between Alex and Norman looks like it’s going to lack originality.
First things first, as this week’s story gets underway Norman/Norma is fingerprinted, has a mug shot taken, and is formally charged with three murders. Meanwhile, Emma arrives in White Pine Bay and informs Dylan that her father is watching their baby. Dylan breaks the bad news that her mother is confirmed dead, and he’s pretty sure Norman is responsible.
Out on the Bates Motel property, the police forensic team continues to search the premises. One of the officers finds a suitcase belonging to Emma’s mother buried in the yard, while another discovers Chick’s dead body in the basement. It should be easy enough to trace that bullet back to Alex Romero, which makes me wonder if there’s some way Norman can pin all the other murders on him as well? That’s certainly the only out Norman might have at this point.
Norman’s lawyer Julia tries to talk him into pleading guilty by reason of insanity, believing that’s the only way he can avoid the death penalty. (For those wondering if the series is accurate, yes, Oregon does have the death penalty, although no one has been executed since the late 1990s.) Julia then goes out to see Dylan at the motel where he’s staying and asks if he’ll attend Norman’s preliminary hearing as a show of moral support. Dylan is torn over whether he should go or not. Emma isn’t happy with him even considering it, but tells him that he’ll have to make his own choices when it comes to his family.
The next day, Emma goes to take care of her mother’s body (she has it cremated and takes it up to a cliff overlooking the area’s woods to dispose of the remains), while Dylan goes to the hearing. However, when Sheriff Greene lays out the evidence against Norman, Dylan can’t listen anymore and leaves the courtroom. Outside, he runs into Madeleine and attempts to apologize to her. She’s dumbfounded at how Dylan could know Norman’s mental state for all these years and do nothing about it.
The next morning, Emma announces that she’s leaving town, but not before paying one last visit to Norman in his holding cell at the police station. When Emma realizes she’s talking to Norma instead of Norman, she asks her to tell Norman that she misses him. Emma then exits the station, and most probably the series as well. I don’t think we’ll see the character in the finale.
After seeing a newspaper headline indicating that Norman has been arrested for murder, Alex races back to Maggie’s house and demands to use her laptop computer so he can find out where Norman is being held. Learning that he’s at his old place of employment, Alex goes there and takes the receptionist, Regina, hostage. In short order, he disarms the rest of the deputies and shoots one who tries to draw his gun. (It looks to be a shoulder shot.) Alex then locks all of them inside Norman’s holding cell, forces Norman to exit, and almost chokes him to death. He holds back at the last second and drags Norman and Regina out to the parking lot. He makes Regina drive the car while he sits in the back seat with Norman. The episode ends with Alex ordering Norman to take him to Norma’s body.
A lot of this episode focuses on Emma (Olivia Cooke), in what I assume is the character’s final appearance on the show. I think most of us back in Season 1 thought that she’d wind up being one of Norman’s first victims, so it’s nice to see her make it to the end of the series safe and sound, even if her character really hasn’t been given much to do in this latest batch of episodes.
I’m still not 100% happy with what the writers have done to the character of Alex Romero. In many ways, he’s just as crazy as Norman is now, and it’s not hard to guess his fate going into the final episode. The bigger question seems to be what will happen with Norman. I doubt that the writers will kill him off. (I mean, a few years from now, won’t everyone involved be interested in a reunion movie?) I’m betting that another mental institution is in his future, unless they’ve come up with a creative way to get him back running the motel and living in the Bates’ house – which is how I think the series should end.
This is your last chance to chime in before checkout. What do you think will happen in the final episode?