TV Review: 'Bates Motel' Sees Tensions Reach a Fever Pitch


Bates Motel: “Crazy” |
The penultimate episode of A+E’s exhilarating drama sailed into its final hours with a return, a goodbye, a hellacious scuffle, and two close intimacy calls. After a huge fight, Caleb could collect the money owed to him and Dylan by Chick. Caleb decided to clear out of town to let the dust settle and said his goodbyes to Dylan and Norma.

In his farewell to his sister, he warned of Norman’s fragmenting mental state and foretold that someone would get caught in his illness's crosshairs. Norma seemed to heed his warning, and after clearing out Norman’s taxidermy paraphernalia earlier in the episode, she seemed poised to take her most significant action yet.

The romances heating up the season each took very different turns: mysterious, dark, and heartfelt. After discovering Norma rummaging through his home in search of the flash drive, she and Romero shared an explosive confrontation that boiled over into a physically fraught altercation between the two.

The acting between Vera Farmiga and Nestor Carbonell was nothing short of sensational. Farmiga honed in on Norma’s visceral exhaustion, and Carbonell expertly conveyed Romero’s pent-up frustration with the neurotic woman who’s enlivened his existence. Together their performances created a firestorm of underlying passion that continued to ramp up the anticipation for an eventual Nomero pairing.

Elsewhere, Dylan valiantly gave Emma’s dad the money for her transplant and asked that his donation be kept a secret from her. Emma compassionately disclosed that she knew of Dylan’s parentage during his visit to her house, and the revelation brought them closer together. Why Emma didn’t mention her newly single status was oddly omitted from their conversation. Something “Bates Motel” excels at more than other shows is the slow build of its pairings, spending more time on what draws two people together than the drama of what happens when they actually get together.

The return of Bradley saw Norman’s romantic senses tingling again as he took her on a “welcome home” tour. Unfortunately for Bradley, realizing everyone had moved on without her, she left White Pine Bay in her rearview mirror again.

The ongoing question that preoccupied their interaction was whether or not Bradley was actually there or a figment of Norman’s imagination. Whether flesh or fantasy, her presence definitely had an effect on him and left him hurtling towards a life-altering decision as the episode came to a close.

Side Notes/Burning Questions: One aspect lending credence to the theory that Bradley isn’t real is that she only reached out to Norman. When she left, she seemed to be quite taken with Dylan, and he was the one who saw her off at the bus stop. It seems strange that she wouldn’t at least ask what he was up to. If she’s a manifestation of Norman’s psyche, it would be understandable he’d leave that part out. Will Norma and Romero or Dylan and Emma ever get together? What will happen in the finale?