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Bates Motel “The Immutable Truth” 

Photo Credit: Joseph Lederer/A&E
Photo Credit: Joseph Lederer/A&E

I know full well that Norma and Norman are the glue of Bates Motel, but I could seriously watch a show all about Norma and Dylan. For me, that’s where the finale tonight just sang. We knew a couple of the big MacGuffins were just lost leaders–Norman wasn’t going to kill himself, and he wasn’t going to prison. The rest of it was up for grabs.

First, I was surprised that we wrapped up with Dylan essentially the last man standing in the drug trade. I kind of wanted to see Max Thieriot and Kathleen Robertson together again. I’m very curious if that arc took a left turn because Robertson is attached to TNT’s Murder in the First coming this summer.

Back to Dylan. I LOVE that he ran into Romero immediately after killing Ford and just blurted out what he’d done and Romero helped him cover it up. I love that they found Norman together, and that Dylan was emotional about finding him.  I love that Norma finally told him what she’d probably never told him when she realized he’d saved his brother, that she loved him. And she said it twice. And Dylan didn’t know what to do with it.

I loved that when she was backed into a corner about Norman’s confession, she turned to Dylan again, telling him she bought the three of them tickets to Montreal. He’s floored that she included him, and then she says everything she couldn’t tell him that night in the kitchen:

“I’m sorry, Dylan. I’m so sorry. For everything. For how you were born…how I handled it. How I shut you out. It was horrible of me and I am so sorry.”

“It’s not your fault, Norma, you were just a kid.”

“I didn’t know what I was doing, but as horrible as it was, I wouldn’t trade it for anything because you’re here now and you’re beautiful. And you’re a miracle that someone like you could come out of that.  And I wouldn’t give you up for anything.”

And they finally hug each other, which I’m pretty sure was also likely a first in his life.

[Ed. note: A&E put the clip online, and it’s so good that I’m adding it here.]

All kudos to Vera Farmiga as she vacillated between Norma’s realization that she genuinely loves her older son, and is equally torn about how to help Norman when it’s rapidly becoming clear he’s aging past the point that she can control or protect him. Her plea to him that he can’t kill himself because they belong together, and if he goes, she will follow because she can’t live without him is sealed with a kiss, and Norman, defeated, can only muster, “You win.”

Norman’s hallucinations of her during his polygraph are terrifying because they’re rooted in something sinister we haven’t quite seen yet. Did Norma abuse him? Did something in his childhood psych misconstrue their games of hiding in closets to steer clear of his father? We definitely see Norman break at the end there, and it’s a visage of Norma that does it. Highmore is so good–and his icy flip to dead eyes is so, so effective. I love that the interviewer couldn’t actually see his face harden during the polygraph.

Dylan wasn’t wrong when he told Norma they needed to know if Norman was sick, if he was dangerous, to confirm whether he’d killed Ms. Watson. Now Norma and Dylan pretty much know without the polygraph, I think. BTW–did Romero ever explicitly say to Norma that the polygraph was just for him, since they conducted it in an abandoned building? That part of was sort of off. I understand why it couldn’t be at the station, but I felt like we missed a scene that set that up.

Photo Credit: Joseph Lederer/A&E
Photo Credit: Joseph Lederer/A&E

And it’s taken me two seasons, but I finally buy Nestor Carbonell as Romero, and I feel like we have a bead on what makes him tick. Full disclosure: I did not watch Lost, so my benchmark for him is the sitcom Suddenly Susan, where I adored his goofy charm with David Strickland, so it just took me a while to see him as a badass and not wait for the rug pull to follow. Now I’m in.

I was impressed that part of Norman’s bucket list was to tell Emma the truth, and then she was just dumsbtruck, and perhaps realized maybe she didn’t need to be that far down the rabbit hole with their family secrets.

Photo Credit: Joseph Lederer/A&E
Photo Credit: Joseph Lederer/A&E

And bravo again to Max Thieriot–his scenes with Farmiga were just perfect. I can totally understand why she said at the beginning of the season that she’d sometimes get so wrapped up in what he was doing that she spaced her own lines. Her scenes with Highmore were great, too, but with Thieriot, I wasn’t queasy about the mother/son dynamic. Also, I took entirely too much joy out of Norma in the rocker at the foot of Norman’s bed. I may have cackled.

And that leaves us with what’s next. SO glad they’ll be back next year. I wish we’d get a bump to 13 or 15  episodes. Two and a half months a year of this show just aren’t enough.

You can rewatch the season finale on A&E overnight tonight, and online beginning tomorrow.

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