S1ep10: “Midnight”

Original air date: May 20, 2013

The Bates Motel finale is here! Too fast, too soon and too long of a wait for Season 2! But that’s a rant I’ll save for another time. Luckily you don’t have to wait at all to read my Season 2 reviews. I’m writing this on an early Monday morning, and I don’t remember ever being this excited for a Monday morning in recent memory.

On to the episode: Norma’s got the problem of coming up with $150K in 24 hours, and she has to get past Romero’s irritating secretary before she can tell him about Abernathy ambushing and threatening her, Norman and Dylan. Not surprisingly, he’s pretty damn calm about the whole thing. She’s just supposed to trust on blind faith that he’ll “take care of it” Yeah, okay, given his rather blasé attitude lately, that wouldn’t inspire much confidence in me either…

Emma and Norman agree to go to the winter formal at school; I like how Norman says “Well, yeah” when she says he’s just asking because she’s his friend and he feels sorry for her. At least the first part is true, and I think it’s sweet how they’re still friends after everything that’s happened, love-triangle-wise, between them in this season.

“You and a gun is a bad idea.”

Norma’s being sweet to Dylan because she wants something from him, namely a gun and for him to show her how to use it. She also expresses her honest thoughts on Romero: doesn’t like him, doesn’t trust him and thinks he’s bad just like everyone else in this town. Smart conclusion, Norma. I know I’m in the minority here, but I hope that doesn’t change and that deep freeze will stay just as it is. Nothing good would come out of any alternative, in my opinion. Dylan initially says no, but he later changes his mind about the gun.

We do get to see that Romero does do something other that sit around on this issue of Abernathy. Turns out he’s the one who has the missing $150Gs that the trafficker is after. How the hell did he get that? Did he take it from the Bates house back during the search for evidence on Summers’ murder? And why would he do that? Nice little twist I didn’t see coming. If anyone would’ve taken the money hidden somewhere on the Bates property, I would’ve guessed the late Shelby.

It looks like Norma’s been too busy with all this craziness in Season 1 to get the Arizona license plates changed over on the car. This part where she goes into the dry cleaners and the guy passing her is rude for no reason…Sorry(not sorry), I love it!! Honestly, total strangers have acted like that to me too, when I did nothing wrong to them, and I’ve momentarily seen red just as much. I just haven’t had the gonads to yell:

“Screw off, shithead!!”

Oh Norma, I love you and I think you just might be my sister from another mother…

On the logical side though, it’s probably not the best way to act on the street in a town like White Pine Bay. Not that it couldn’t feel any less gratifying, in some instances. Norma’s still understandably stressed and upset when she goes to the therapist’s office. She’d forgotten to reschedule a session with her and Norman, but Norman’s at school, so we get the chance to see Norma try therapy. Just to get some advice on how to handle stress, which sounds like a wise move. But…it’s not going to be that easy because the doctor does what therapists do: they dig. Dig for information with probing questions, that is.


This scene is really sad for me to watch because of the fairy-tale life Norma’s making up about her childhood. She’s making it up on the spot, and it’s fooling no one. Norma, I know you’re lying; I know that’s not how it was, not in the slightest! A lot of things like the scar on her leg point to the fact Norma was abused. Just exactly how and who in her family did it: we still don’t know those details, but right now it doesn’t matter. We have the strong sense it happened and that it’s a huge part of why Norma’s the way she is–the bad as well as the good. The way she describes her parents, I bet it’s they way she wished they’d been. My heart cracks for her at that point.

Another sign of her and Norman’s very tight relationship: It seems to have genuinely never dawned on her that Norman might go away to college. In her world, he’ll always be with her. That’s just how it’s going to be.

It might be a good idea for Ms. Watson to change her phone number, if Eric is bothering her that much and getting her that upset. Norman overhears this exchange, and this quickly moves into a new level of intimacy between them. It’s remarkable how sharing a secret and promising not to tell anyone will do that to any two people. Ms. Watson also really likes hugging Norman, even seems to be…getting off on it; I’m venturing she’s been wanting this kind of contact with him for a while. He’s doomed. In more ways than one.


Meanwhile Romero goes to Maggie Summers, Keith Summers’ sister. He reveals that he knows about her doing the bookkeeping for the sex slave business. Very nice family there, really. They make the Bates family look like the Partridge family by comparison. Maggie’s apparently paying for it though, since Abernathy’s been to see her and roughed her up somewhat.

“A bit weird, nothing to bury but a hand.”

Emma shows Norma the dress she bought for the dance, and Norma’s happy that those two are going together. Emma catches a glimpse of the scar on Norma’s leg, and just as in the therapist’s office–Norma brushes it off with a story about a childhood accident. It makes this scene both sweet and a little sad as well. Also another instance of where Norma keeps making up different locations where she grew up. Dylan mentioned this earlier; she’s said she grew up in Colorado, Florida and other various places. Now she’s telling Emma the same kinds of made-up histories. I’d think it would be very difficult to keep all those lies straight and remember which one she told to whom.

And let’s be honest: Norma isn’t always the world’s greatest liar–normally a good character trait, but it has the potential to get her into trouble in this instance. Wouldn’t it be easier to just make up one story and keep telling it to everyone, Norma? But then again, that might cause some people to go researching and digging into her past and find out it’s a lie, so maybe that’s why she does this with the different stories about her childhood. In any case, she feels the need to cover up the ugly past with these stories, which tells me the truth is likely pretty ugly indeed…

Norma does get to go with Dylan and learn how to shoot the gun he brought her. I’d feel better about being able to defend myself, too. Even though she and Dylan squabble at first, and maybe Norma could listen to instructions better. FYI: it would’ve been better if he hadn’t pulled back the hammer. With that kind of revolver, the slightest touch to the trigger would cause it to go off, so that wasn’t Norma’s fault. It takes more arm muscle to control and aim it, but it’s better to start out without the hammer pulled back; that way you have to squeeze a lot more to pull the trigger, but it won’t fire at the slightest touch either.


Anyway, it makes me smile how excited Norma gets when she hits a target. Badass. And Dylan calls her “Mom” for the first time in forever. Having the shooting practice comes just in time too, as Norma gets another dire warning about Abernathy from Maggie Summers.

Norman gets a pretty big clue that Bradley and his brother now have something of a history, and it could possibly turn into even more. Damn, as much as I adore Norman, that look he has while eavesdropping on them sends a chill through me. We get a clear window into his dark side here.

Norma’s not the only one who can have a meltdown over something pretty minor–missing black socks in this case. Just like his mother too, he’s so upset about another issue–Bradley and Dylan in this case–and deflecting it onto something else.

“Oh it never occurred to me to look in my drawer!” Smartass.

But it’s not productive or the best idea for Norman to go having a meltdown directed at Norma, because that just sets her off and they end up yelling at each other without fixing the problem. These two can be truly like fire and gasoline.

Dylan the voice of reason steps in and loans Norman some black socks, even though he’s the very person Norman’s so angry at over Bradley. He tells Dylan to go ahead and ask Bradley out, it doesn’t matter, he’s over her. Dylan denies he wants to at first, but then “I should..”

“Can I tell you something I’ve never told anybody?”

But this issue is relatively minor compared to our getting the truth about Norma’s past. She had a brother too, one who raped her repeatedly starting when she was 13. It all becomes much clearer now. No wonder she’s tried to bury that; who wouldn’t? And it brings up this question: since Norma’s a victim of incest, what exactly has that done to her psyche? Not just in general, but as far as twisting and warping her feelings of love towards Norman, until those feelings comprise something possibly not entirely maternal or familial?


“It was a long time ago. It doesn’t really matter.” Yes, it does, Norma. It matters a whole hell of a lot.

Now what’s Norman to do with this truth? He’s the only one she’d ever what to know this about her, and it’s got to change the light he sees her in. It would be a difficult thing for anyone to process under the best of circumstances, and now Norman learns this a few minutes before Emma shows up to take him to the dance. Now how’s he supposed to act like he’s happy to go and that he’s in a good mood? Before leaving, he grabs Norma in a tight hug like he doesn’t ever want to let go. I imagine he’s wishing he could prevent anyone from ever hurting her again.


I’d bet Emma figures Norma’s just emotional about seeing Norman going off to a school dance, looking so grown up. Something parents often do at these moments, but of course–secretly–that’s not the source of Norma’s tears and her clinging to Norman.

The song playing when they get to the dance is “Kill for Love” by The Chromatics. It’s another one of the first ones I went looking for when I put together my first Bates Motel playlist.


Norman’s mind is evidently elsewhere, even though it’s the first time either he or Emma have been to a dance. Sadly, Emma thinks that his distant behavior is because he doesn’t want to be there with her. Due to truths kept from her, poor Emma often gets hurt even though those doing the hurting aren’t setting out to do so. And as if Norman isn’t preoccupied enough, there’s Bradley standing nearby. In a dress that’s his favorite color.

The dance ends at midnight, and that’s also when Norma’s supposed to meet Abernathy at the dock. While she’s at home loading the gun, Norman and Emma are looking rather sweet together on the dance floor. That is, until Norman keeps looking over at Bradley. Norman, I adore you, but that’s being a tool–quit doing that! It’s just going to hurt Emma and make things worse. Emma’s not the only one who notices him doing this; so does Richard–and Norman ends up getting punched in the face.

Perfect timing–Ms. Watson picks up Norman as he’s walking home in the rain. It seems like a lot of effort and time spent for her to take him to her house just to clean up the cut on his face. Does she have something else in mind as well?

As much as I’ve ragged on Sheriff Bulldog, he does come through by getting rid of Abernathy. I was sure at first he was serious about making a deal with him and becoming a new partner in the Asian sex trafficking business. But, I admit when I make mistakes, I misjudged Romero as a dirty cop in this instance. He instead shoots Abernathy, and the creep ends up just where Summers did: in the bay.

“Not in my town.”

Romero also knew Norma was hiding nearby all along. I guess when the stakes are the highest and the danger’s the most intense, Romero can be trusted. Just don’t go bothering him with anything less than life-threatening, Norma.

Norman at Ms. Watson’s is probably one of the tensest scenes in this episode. She’s definitely taking any chance she can get to caress his face. It’s not Norman I’m afraid will do something bad here; it’s Norma. If Norman’s teacher seduces him and he sleeps with her, a Norma-generated hellfire storm of biblical proportions is going to rain down on Blair Watson’s head if Norma finds out about it. And Norma tends to find out about things like this.

But there’s a twist, and a big one. This is the first time Norman has a vision of Norma there in the room, talking to him as if she’s really there. That theory still prevails. Norma-as-hallucination is also dressed once again pretty close to how the Norma in “Psycho” might have dressed. Pretty awesome touch we haven’t seen since “First You Dream, Then You Die.


“You know what you have to do.”

The twist doesn’t end; the next thing we see is Norman running home through the rain. Norma-in-real-life is driving back to the motel just as he returns and runs right in front of the car. Did Norman just take off because Ms. Watson was trying to seduce him? Somehow I doubt it, because we know what Norman Bates is already capable of. It’s more great timing as Norman and Norma get back home right at the same time. And right back into each other’s arms, where they belong the most. I noticed on rewatching that it was pouring rain a minute before while Norman was running along the road, and then it had stopped by the time he and Norma are hugging once again.

“Everything’s all right, Norman. We’re home, and you’re safe.”

Just as I found them in the pilot, I find this scene with Norman and Norma rather sweet. I do hope things will be all right for them, at least for a while until trouble finds them again. Even when it does, they’ll find a way through it. As long as they’re together and have each other.

While I never liked the fact Ms. Watson had some inappropriate sexual attraction towards Norman, that doesn’t mean she deserved to die either. Other than that prediliction, she seemed nice if rather troubled. It looks like trouble might be in store for Norman and Norma sooner than they think it will.

4.75 out of 5 blue hearts for the series finale:


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