Upon first learning about Bates Motel and its desire to revisit the Psycho franchise, it was easy to roll my eyes simply because the attempt at rebooting the movie franchise was a less-than-desired experience that left a lot of Hitchcock fans fuming. But after binge-watching the show over the course of a few days, it became apparent why this attempt was so much better and why it had to end eventually. It is apparent that opinions have varied about Bates Motel since it came out in 2013, and there were moments during the franchise when the pace of the story slowed to a near crawl. There were also moments when it appeared to go off the rails that didn’t make much sense when it pertained to the core premise that started the whole thing. Much like the movies after Psycho, Bates Motel had several episodes that felt as though they didn’t fit with the overall story. But the ending was still one part of it all that came off beautifully since it wrapped up everything in a way that made far more sense than the movies did.
Norman Bates was never going to stop on his own.
This was obvious from the start since Norman’s downfall started early on and didn’t show any signs of stopping, no matter how often it appeared that he found a level state that he could rest in for a short time. His relationship with his mother was beyond disturbing, no matter how it ended, and this tainted his relationship with other women so that he could never find normalcy in any way. The fact that he would tremble and lose control of himself whenever he was around another woman or, in some cases, another human being made it clear that his mother had somehow twisted him up in knots in such a way that he could never be deemed a ‘normal’ and fully-functioning human being. By the time the fifth season rolled around, a field of red flags had been created when it came to Norman since his mental state was, without any doubt, one of the most significant plot points that many people found relevant.
Had the show stuck to the idea of Psycho, it would have likely dragged on for a while.
One has to remember that the original Psycho franchise saw Norman getting out of the psych ward and eventually leading what amounted to a normal life. Well, normal for Norman at least, since he had to exorcise his mother’s spirit more than once, and it didn’t really appear to take that long for her to return each time. But the funny thing about the movies is that others took on the role of Mother to torment him, which thankfully didn’t happen in the show since it would have likely forced things to go on and possibly encouraged fans to ask and even petition for another season. Seeing how five seasons was enough to widen the scope of the original story, it feels that ending it was only right since otherwise, it could have kept going until it was completely worn out.
Dylan’s inclusion was a wise move from the start.
It does feel as though many fans would say otherwise since Dylan wasn’t exactly a fixture that the original movie was ready to embrace or even think about. He didn’t exist in the novel or the original movie. Still, in the show, he created another bit of intrigue and conflict for Norma and Norman, adding a little depth to the story and bringing a happier ending than many people remember. Even in the Psycho movies, the happy ending trope was riddled with inconsistencies and conflict. Dylan brought to this story a level of interest that wasn’t always perfect but was still something that managed to add a bit of enjoyment that was fun to watch after a while. It brought much more depth to Norma but gave Norman another bit of redemption or at least the chance.
Ending the show the way it did provided a nice bit of closure.
Keeping things going would have been a mistake since it would have meant more bodies, more conspiracies, and a swiftly closing window of opportunity to ensure that Norman Bates would be allowed to go free. As compelling of a story as it would have been, seeing this story continue wouldn’t have been the best idea. It had run its course, as Norman’s mind had reset in a way that wouldn’t allow him to return, and Dylan had way too much to lose by the end. The happy ending to the tragedy felt earned, which is why it feels like the best thing to have happened.
Psycho never had a truly happy ending, but Bates Motel is a spinoff. It works.