In the ‘Bates Motel’ recap for the penultimate episode in the series, Norman gets ready to face trial, Emma is confronted with some old demons and Romero prepares his final assault…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
It all comes down to this.
‘Bates Motel’ will come to an end one week from today as the ambitious series that set out to re-tell Alfred Hitchcock’s classic horror film ‘Psycho’ will finish with a final hour spent with Norman, Dylan, Emma, Romero, and of course ‘Mother’.
The series has sped far beyond the original film by this point because ‘Psycho’ ended after Norman Bates was captured for the murder of Marion Crane. The final shot in the film took one last look at him behind bars and that’s when we realized that the person lurking behind his eyes wasn’t Norman at all.
That same ominous threat is still simmering under the surface this week as Norman prepares to go before a judge and jury who will decide his punishment for the crimes he committed. Meanwhile, Norman’s brother Dylan is conflicted about his part in all of this.
He loves his brother and knows deep down that he’s just sick, but at the same time what did he do to stop it before now? Dylan is confronted with that truth a couple of times this week and it leads me to believe he may be facing a tragic end before the finale is finished as well.
Emma also gets a fitting swan song this week as she arrives in White Pine Bay to support her husband only to find out that her former best friend/boyfriend is actually a serial killing psychopath who murdered her mother more than two years ago.
Add to that, former Sheriff Alex Romero finally sets in motion his plan for revenge as he seeks out his stepson Norman to make him pay for the death of his mother and the loss of the only woman he ever truly loved.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘Bates Motel’ titled ‘Visiting Hours’…
Trial and Error
As ‘Mother’ continues to control Norman’s fractured mind, it’s coming time for him to face a judge and jury for the crimes that he’s committed. The police are combing through the Bates Motel where they find a treasure trove of evidence including a buried suitcase belonging to Audrey Ellis aka Emma’s mother but that’s nothing compared to the basement where an officer discovers a very dead Chick Hogan still slumped over his typewriter with a bullet in his head.
All of the evidence is mounting against Norman and it’s not looking good that he’ll ever see outside his cell again.
At this point, Norman’s attorney Julia Ramos isn’t thinking about a not guilty plea whatsoever. In fact when she meets with Norma/’Mother’, Julia does her best to convince him that claiming guilt by way of insanity might be the only way his life doesn’t end by lethal injection considering the particularly grisly way these murders occurred.
Meanwhile, Emma has arrived back in town while her father watches the baby so she can show support to Dylan in his time of need. Sadly, Emma is greeted with tragic news when Dylan informs her that the police have found her mother’s body and that Norman has been charged with her murder.
It’s bad enough that Dylan kept his suspicions about Norman quiet when it came to her mother’s disappearance, but now she’s dead and he’s still defending his brother. Emma is so angry that she tells Dylan that if she lays eyes on Norman, it’s likely she’ll be the one to kill him long before he ever sees a trial for his crimes.
Emma’s anger is justified considering how much Dylan kept from her so it’s also understanding that she wants to be left alone while she deals with the funeral arrangements for her mother while telling her husband that she can’t be certain where their future lies after all of this is over.
The torment is made worse when Norman’s attorney shows up asking for Dylan to sit in the courtroom to support his brother during the preliminary trial. A family member connected Norman to humanity will go a long way into making him look like a person rather than a monster. Of course, Dylan is hesitant to do it considering his marriage is hanging on by a very thin thread thanks to the crimes his brother committed and how he refused to tell his wife about any of it.
When Dylan arrives at the trial, he locks eyes with his brother for just a moment but after hearing all the charges against him — three counts of murder in the deaths of Jim Blackwell, Audrey Ellis and Sam Loomis — he can’t take it anymore and leaves the room.
Before he exits the courthouse, Dylan is confronted by Madeleine Loomis, who he offers his sympathy but receives an angry retort in return. Madeleine feels duped that she somehow allowed Norman into her life even for only a few weeks before he lashed out and killed her husband but she can’t believe that Dylan didn’t know more about his brother after all these years yet did nothing to stop him.
Madeleine’s words cut deep but Dylan knows it to be true.
He left town because his mother refused to deal with Norman’s psychosis but Dylan failed to do anything himself, even after suspecting his brother was responsible for at least one death in town. Now Dylan is left in his brother’s murderous wake as he’s now tormented with the hardest question that he’s ever been faced with during his life.
How could he allow it to happen?
Crimson and Clover
Emma is confronted with several awful truths in this episode — maybe the most harmful at the start is that she never really knew her mother and never got the chance to say goodbye to the most maternal woman in her life, Norma Bates.
So when Emma arrives at the funeral home to arrange plans for Audrey to be creamated, she’s just as inquisitive about seeing Norma’s final resting place so she can pay her respects.
With a soundtrack set to the track “Crimson and Clover”, Emma watches her mother turn to ash before she spreads them over a rocky cliff in the woods but her real heartfelt goodbye comes at Norma’s grave. She breaks down in tears while saying goodbye to the woman who was more of a mother to her than the person who gave birth to her all those years ago.
When Emma returns to the hotel, she lays in bed with Dylan but the closeness she shared with her husband is seemingly shattered. The next morning she tells Dylan that she’s returning home to Washington to be with their daughter and return to some sense of normalcy. She can barely embrace him before making her hasty exit and it appears by this heartbreaking goodbye that the one healthy relationship remaining on ‘Bates Motel’ may have just come to a bitter end.
Before leaving town, Emma decides to go visit Norman in jail.
Perhaps it was the simmering rage underneath the surface that made her want to see him or just a lack of understanding how the sweet boy who gave her a first kiss has somehow transformed into a homicidal madman?
When Emma arrives, she’s looking for answers but one glimpse at Norman standing behind a thick, glass wall tells her immediately that he’s nowhere to be found in that holding cell.
A few words exchanged between the two of them let Emma know that the person she’s speaking to isn’t Norman Bates, but instead the cold, calculating murderer responsible for killing her mother and several other people in town.
This was quite easily one of the best scenes in ‘Bates Motel’ history as Emma realizes the sickness that has invaded Norman’s mind for years before finally festering out of control into the current state he’s in now. Before leaving, Emma passes along one final message by telling ‘Mother’ to tell Norman that she misses him before leaving the room.
Emma may have arrived with confrontation on her mind but she left with a sense of closure because deep down she knows that her friend Norman didn’t kill her mother. There’s a darkness inside of him, a sickness that’s responsible for all of it and she has now witnessed it first hand.
The Broken Man
Alex Romero has been back in town for a few days already but he’s no closer to tracking down his stepson Norman to exact his final revenge after he killed the love of his life. While driving across town in Chick’s stolen car, Romero sees a newspaper where he reads the headline about Norman being arrested and charged with murder.
He returns back to his friend Maggie’s house where he searches for information on the computer to discover that Norman is about to start trial for the crimes he committed. Romero is enraged because the only thing that’s kept him alive over these past two years was the thought of finally returning to White Pine Bay to pay back Norman for taking away the only person he’s ever truly loved.
Romero is a broken man, shattered into a million pieces after Norma’s death, but killing Norman in an act of revenge was the only thing that kept him together. Now that opportunity may be slipping away with Norman behind bars.
Despite pleas from Maggie — including a heartfelt invitation to run away with her to Montana where she would gladly take care of him, broken or not — Romero only has one last mission to complete before he rattles off this mortal coil.
Romero ultimately takes his former secretary hostage before breaking into the police station where he rounds up all of the officers on duty — including one who he shoots — before taking them down to the jail where he finds Norman by himself. Romero pushes all of the officers inside before telling them to send Norman out to him.
After two long years in prison, Romero is now face to face with Norman (without guards surrounding them mind you) and it takes him just a moment before the rage washes over him as he grabs his stepson by the neck and begins to strangle the life out of him. Romero finally relents from the choke before pushing Norman and his former assistant back out of the police station into his waiting car.
Romero puts Norman into the back seat and tells his former assistant to drive. Just killing Norman with a shot to the head would be too easy an exit after everything he did to tear Romero’s world apart.
Romero means to make him suffer because that’s what Norman Bates truly deserves.
The final episode of ‘Bates Motel’ airs next Monday night at 10pm ET on A&E.