Bates Motel Season 1 Finale Review

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Bates Motel Season 1 Finale Review

bates-motel-season-1-photos-pictures-006Bates Motel’s finale, appropriately titled “Midnight,” had everything that had been prepared the episode prior occur at midnight. Norma faces the threat of having her entire family killed because she didn’t drop money to Jake Abernathy, his current fake persona. Emma and Norman go to a school dance, which coincidentally ends at midnight. And the moment that defines the entire season occurrs: Norman, a small-town kid with a protective mother, becomes Norman Bates, the killer.

“Midnight” begins with Norma pleading with the Sheriff to believe her when she tells him about Jake Abernathy attacking and threatening her. The Sheriff listens and tells Norma that she needs to trust him. He proceeds to go to an abandoned shed and pick up a bag full of money, assumed to be Jake’s money. He brings it to the docks, gives it to Jake, has a “this town ain’t big enough for the two of us” moment, kills him and finally tells a hiding-Norma to go home. Norma still doesn’t trust him, which the Sheriff mentions as he’s walking away. Norma isn’t all that great with trusting men in her life, which we learn the beginnings of right before Norman heads off to his first dance.

Norma, instead of giving the courtesy pep talk before a big dance, decides to tell her son the origins of her craziness beginning with her childhood. She is most likely telling him this in case she dies at midnight when she meets with Abernathy. Earlier, while at a once-canceled-therapist-appointment that she begged for, Norma describes her childhood as a perfect story book picture: her mother, a baker that smells like cookies, and her father, the nicest man in the world. In reality, her brother was forcing her to have sex with him from the time she was 13 until he moved out. Scared by her violent father, Norma decides to not tell anyone because she is afraid that he might kill her brother. Norma’s mother had already become dead to the world and pretended like her life wasn’t happening. This is where Norma’s distrust with the people in her life began. Her brother had emotionally confused her by violating her, but also caused her to protect him because he has a familial bond. Sex has also been a reoccurring theme with Norma. The beginning of the season wasn’t the first time she was raped, which explains her calm demeanor afterward and how she dealt with it quickly.

Norman’s story also increased in depth bringing us directly to the point of where Norman becomes the infamous killer that we all know. Miss Watson super-sexualizes her relationship to Norman, the old soul, who probably stole her equally-demented heart. After hearing an angry phone call to some guy named Eric, Norman explains how he doesn’t want to publish his book anymore. Miss Watson listens to him, but hugs him tightly and says that the phone call needs to be their little secret. Then, while Norman walks home in the rain from the dance, (where he was punched in the face by Bradley’s protective friend and ditched by a jealous Emma), Miss Watson picks him up to bring him back to her place to clean off the cut on his eye. She proceeds to have a typical feminine scenario where the girl cleans off the wound of the fighter and creates tension between them. Norman feels it, and when Miss Watson excuses herself to change out of her formal dress, he sees her begin to change down to her lingerie. The sexual feelings that he has forces him to hallucinate his mother who tells him that he knows what he needs to do. Turns out that means slit Miss Watson’s throat and kill her.

Norman-Bates-PromotionalNorman did his first killing in tonight’s episode opening up an entire new character for next season. Freddie Highmore is chillingly creepy when he portrays evil Norman. Because Norman never remembers what happens when he is in this state of being — confused, hallucinating his mother, and violent — he has to switch between sweet, tortured Norman and the infamous Norman Bates. Highmore has both characters nailed down. He is a son one minute and a killer in the next. But not just a killer, one that is fueled by the influences of his hallucinated mother. Next season, 10 episodes due out in early 2014 according to Carlton Cuse’s twitter account, will most likely be discovering who this new Norman is and explore how this hallucinated Norma controls him. Will this hallucination be the source of the sexual theme between him and his mother? If it is a dream then it isn’t exactly Norma Bates. Norma loves her son and is protective, but isn’t one to go that far.

As Norman Bates steps onto his rise to the top of his character, Norma is declining to the base of hers. After receiving a gun from Dylan, and learning how to use it, she takes a moment by herself to learn more about it. Staring at it with a curious look, she points it at her head. We are unaware if it is loaded or not, but the scene might be foreshadowing to how this character faces her demise. However, Norma, at this point, does not seem like the one to kill herself. But she might in order to finally have the control over a situation in her life — a reoccurring theme throughout the series. She does not look at the gun with the typical signs of a suicidal person, but with a curiosity as to what it would be like.

The pilot and the finale were this season’s top episodes. The episodes in between were full of crazy miniscule plots that took everyone on an arguably unnecessary ride; however, this last episode felt strong. It defined what we should expect for future seasons. “Midnight” felt like the beginning of the story with all of the previous episodes being a prologue. Next season, if continued off of the strength of this episode, will be stronger and more fulfilling than the past. We can expect equally, or increasingly, strong portrayals from the actors as their characters continue their genius arcs.

 

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  1. Hyok Kim
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