WARNING: Spoilers from the series finale (and season 5 altogether) below
It finally came to an end, despite our best wishes for it to continue. However, there are no screams for destroying a great product.
Bates Motel proved to be a more than worthy prequel to the iconic "Psycho" that we've come and known to love over the many years since it hit theaters in 1960. The world became either frightened of or fell in love with Norman Bates, the man with Oedipal complexities, that would make its namesake jealous, of a raving serial killer.
When we left off in the penultimate episode, Norman was kidnapped by Romero and took the sheriff station's secretary, Regina, with him to where Norma's body was buried. Regina was ditched and left to walk back to the main highway while Romero and Norman were left with each other. In this stage, Norman perceives his mother leaving him because she no longer can protect him from anyone or anything, and now he’s really on his own.
Romero punches the snot out of Norman after finding her body buried in the snow deep within the woods. Leaving Norman to fend for himself, Romero continues to grieve over the loss of his wife and his former stepson’s mother. Meanwhile, Norman grabs a rock and smacks Romero across the back of his head. They engage in a scuffle, with Norman ultimately taking Romero’s gun and fatally shooting him.
Norman begins to carry Norma’s body back to the house. He feels that Norma is still a huge part of his personality/persona. He sets her up at the dinner table as if he’s going to enjoy a last meal.
In a parallel stage, Dylan is contemplating what to do with his life. He’s been told by Sheriff Greene that Norman was kidnapped by Romero. He doesn’t know whether to go back home with Emma and Katie and move on from the craziness. He hooks up with a former co-worker, Remo, who hooks him up with a gun. Shortly before, Norman called up Dylan and asked him to come over for dinner.
Dylan calls up Emma, and Emma knows something is wrong. Dylan is planning to go on the warpath to kill Norman in avenging his mother and all the crap he’s gone through with his brother’s mental issues. Emma tells him to come home. Dylan pleads for his wife to tell him she loves him. She won’t bite. She assumes the worst, and Dylan plans for the final standoff.
Dylan arrives at the house. Norman is planning dinner, and yet Dylan discovers Norman has propped up their dead mother’s corpse in some sick twisted fashion. This leads Norman to grabbing a knife and trying to dispose of his brother. Dylan acts quickly. As Norman races toward Dylan, Dylan shoots his brother. As Norman lies in Dylan’s arms, we see, in the afterlife, Norman reuniting with his mother. It’s a bittersweet end, but quite frankly, we can’t see it ending any other plausible way.
Upon the bodies leaving the house in body bags with the authorities, it transitions to a new family buying the property. Meanwhile, Emma, Dylan and Katie – a year or two later – have settled back in the state of Washington, where THEY live happily ever after, and it’s the end of Norman Bates as we know it.
If you read my previous review, you might remember me predicting that Dylan would avenge his mother’s death and close the book on his brother’s murderous past. We could’ve have the show pivot and have Norman stay alive somehow some way, and find some sort of legal loophole which would’ve allowed him to keep living in the house above the Bates Motel.
What makes this ending that much more appealing is that – like all good TV shows these days – its ending made total sense. We, as humans, love closure. Knowing that we get back to the point of Norman operating the motel would drive us insane. Conventional wisdom would dictate predictable storylines as well as endings, and this finale tied the whole show into a wonderful bow that should leave no fan of the show disappointed.
Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore crushed any expectations I had for Norma and Norman Bates, respectively. They deserve any and all Emmy nominations for which they’ve submitted examples. Freddie undertook a large task in recreating one of cinema’s greatest villains, and, in my humble opinion, if Anthony Perkins were alive today, he would praise Freddie as portraying an even scarier version of Norman Bates.
This show is deserving of a lot more critical acclaim than what I’ve seen. That’s not to say it’s been a majority of negative reviews/reactions, but it’s definitely one of the better shows I didn’t expect to love as much.
Bates Motel 2013-2017… Well done, and I look forward to watching you again.