Tuesday, April 25, 2017

TV Show Review: Bates Motel (Season 5)

The fifth and final season of this Psycho prequel and retelling shows the final psychotic break of Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) as he begins to fully communicate with his dead mother Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) after killing at the end of the fourth season. This season intersects with the original Psycho storyline and then throws that totally out the window as it develops a new storyline. Norman begins to have a crush on a woman at the local hardware store Madeleine Loomis (Isabelle McNally) but grows jealous of her cheating husband Sam Loomis (Austin Nichols). Marion Crane (Rihanna) makes off with her boss's cash and checks into the Bates Motel. Norman spies on her through his hidden peephole, but when Marion showers, she is not murdered.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Romero (Nestor Carbonell) plots revenge on Norman for killing Norma. He sends murderers to kill Norman though the motel owner outsmarts these hitmen. Frustrated with his plan's failure, Romero escapes from prison and travels towards Bates Motel. Norman's brother Dylan (Max Thieriot) worries about Norma, not knowing that she's dead. He has started a new life with Emma (Olivia Cooke) and their new child. When he learns of Norma's death he grows worried and admits to Emma that he believes Norman killed her mother. 

Norman continues to tumble towards insanity as he goes out drinking and has whole nights as Norma. He wakes up disturbed and eventually manifests his fantasy by digging her body up and keeping it down in the basement assumedly using his skills as a taxidermist to keep it in a somewhat manageable condition. The sight of Norma's dead body is especially chilling and harkens back to the original films awful revelation. Norma's brother Caleb (Kenny Johnson) shows up and starts asking questions about his dead sister. The strange Chick Hogan (Ryan Hurst) becomes fascinated by Norman and accidentally kill Caleb when he escapes after witnessing the horror of Norman's insanity.

As Norman becomes more unhinged, he realizes that his split personality is fighting for control. His mother's identity murders Sam Loomis instead in the shower scene and disposes of the body. However, in a brief moment of clarity, Norman calls the police, confesses and is arrested. The Norma half is furious with his actions but before he can be prosecuted Romero breaks in and captures him. Romero forces Norman to show him where he reburied Norma and as the sheriff cries over her body, Norman hits him over the head and kills him. Norman returns to the motel for one final check-in before his brother shows up. Dylan shoots Norman when attacked and Norman dies, ending the show.

Bates Motel has been an interesting reimagining of the Psycho story, focusing on Norman as a young man whose illnesses shown through prior to the final breakdown. I am a bit torn by the divergence with the real story as I would have liked to see the updated classic scene but thought the story was good even without it. The seasons have always been interesting with plenty of cliffhangers and plot twists as the story was expanded. It is hard to end a show but I found this one satisfying. Bates Motel was a good new twist on an old classic story. 

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