The season of Bates Motel is coming closer and closer to an end, but it’s not winding down. If anything, the action is ramping up as we head toward the finale. Things are finally paying off with the flash drive. I had previously stated that it would be too obvious for Norman to kill James, but I think at this point it’s pretty obvious that that’s what’s going to happen. It keeps with the tradition of a new expendable character getting introduced every season, but we’re closer and closer to growing out of that at this point.
This was a very plot heavy episode and because of that it focused very much on Norman and Norma’s relationship, which has been changing a lot this season. It was nice to see them forced to acknowledge how different things were for them, and then do exactly what they would do, and pretend nothing has changed and everything is fine. The scene where Norman confronts her about the notion that he might be attracted to her sexually is actually kind of hilarious. He goes in there knowing exactly how messed up the situation is and is extremely conflicted, and she just does the motherly thing by telling him whatever he’s feeling is perfectly normal and he’s just getting worked up over nothing. After their talk, Norman is convinced that he’s not actually attracted to her and that everything is fine. It’s interesting on one level, because if this was handled carefully, knowing the way things are going in the future, this could have wound up being the talk that saved Norma’s life.
The characters around the two central figures took a back seat this time. Emma had her one major scene, but it was important, and it was good to see her acknowledge the situation between Norman and herself and break up with him for the right reasons. Although, with how much things have shifted toward a romantic relationship between Emma and Dylan, the whole scene almost seems like an afterthought.
One of the most important developments, without a doubt, was Romero’s decision not to associate anymore with Norma. The two characters have gotten a lot closer this season. At the beginning of this episode, he gets her car back for her because he knows how much it means to her. Things change quickly, though. Bob really proved himself as an antagonist this week. There were no more vague threats, no weak things like running Norma’s car off the road. Not only did he torture James, but he only did it as a means to an end, just so he could have leverage to use with Romero. It’s obvious that Bob is somewhat afraid of Romero, or at least takes him seriously. He doesn’t feel the same way about Norma, and it’s Norma that he’s really after. Without Romero on her side, he’s pretty much open to do whatever he wants with her now.
Now that Romero knows that Norman killed his father, it will be interesting to see what he does with the information. There are a lot of different directions it could go. I could see him holding onto it, but I don’t see him using it to launch an investigation into the death or to hold it over Norma’s head. But I could see him using the information to re-open the Blair Watson case and search for harder proof that Norman was indeed the one who killed her. Like everyone else, I guess I’ll just have to wait and see as things continue to develop.