Bates Motel 2.10 Review: “The Immutable Truth”

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by Autumne Montague

The truth is out this episode of Bates Motel. Dylan fesses up to Romero that he killed Nick Ford, Norma lets Norman in on what happens during his blackouts, and Norman accepts the truth of who he is and what he does.

Immediately after offing Ford, Dylan runs into Romero and blurts out that he has just killed Ford. Romero, in turn, helps Dylan find Norman, lures Zane into a trap that ends up killing both Jodi and Zane, and suggests that Dylan should be the one to step up to take over the town’s drug business as he knows how White Pine Bay works now.  It’s amazing how ingratiated Dylan has become in the town.  Dylan claims that this isn’t what he signed up for, but we all know how much Dylan needs to be wanted, so I am almost positive he is in it for the long haul.

After Norman is rescued and gets out of the hospital, he seems to have an epiphany about himself. He makes a list of things he has to take care of and tells Emma that has to get his things in order. He has already stolen his mother’s gun and it’s obvious that he is planning to take his own life. He takes care to ask Emma not to quit her job because Norma really needs her and lets her in on a family secret to make her feel included: he tells her who Dylan’s father is. Norman also takes time to spend the evening dancing with his mother and tells her that she is the best mother in the world.

When Norman actually sets out to kill himself in the woods across from the motel, it’s Norma who finds him and chases him down. Norman tells her that he has to do this because he’s bad. Norma persuades him to give up the gun and tells him the truth of about what happened the day his father died. She convinces Norman that he killed his father to protect her and tells him that they are always supposed to be together. This is a big moment. Norma actually kisses Norman full on the lips. The scene is at first awkward then she continues to comfort him as a mother. It’s as though something broke through for just a moment then she is instantly his mother again. Norman gives ups and tells her that she wins. You can see the defeat in Norman’s face at that moment. He can’t fight his mother. She continues to have this hold over him even with the secret of the blackouts revealed. This could be because he feels that she may be the only person in the world not to judge him for what he does and he knows that she will always defend and protect him. How can he fight that?

The last scene of the season finale is Norman taking the lie detector test that Romero has insisted on. When he’s asked the most important question of if he killed Miss Watson, you can see a change in his body; Norman has let go. He envisions his mother confessing to the crime to him and he is easily able to answer in the negative to the question. He has no more fight in him. It seems the “bad” has taken over.

In an episode so focused on the truth, I wonder how truthful Norma is being with her other son. She has two scenes with Dylan where she says that she loves him and wouldn’t give him up for anything, yet both scenes are Norman focused. Is Norma capable of relating to Dylan as his own person, as her son, without throwing Norman into the mix? It’s as though she only recognizes Dylan’s importance when he does something for Norman. Dylan’s relationship with his mother may not be as creepy as Norman’s is with Norma, but it’s certainly not ideal.

My favorite scene this episode was another that harkens back to the original movie. Norma is sitting in a rocking chair watching over Norman as he sleeps. This is eerily similar to how we first meet Norman’s mother in the original Psycho movie, also in a rocking chair “looking” out the window watching over Norman.

Overall, I’ve enjoyed this season of Bates Motel. I was wary of how the town’s drug problems would be integrated into a story about a mother with a too close relationship with her son, but the last few episodes really did a good job of melding the storylines. I’m very interested in seeing the relationship between Norma and Dylan explored more next season. There’s a lot to be mined from that I think. I don’t know if I’m ready for Norman to become the Norman Bates we all know and love just yet. He is still only in high school. I would hope that he has some more life experiences that shape his later personality, not just Norma doing a number on him.

[Photo via A&E]

Paul Tassi In addition to writing for TVOvermind, Paul has contributed to major publications such as Forbes. He's a video game expert as well as TV and Movie guy.
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