Bates Motel Season 1 Episode 10 Review and Recap (The Finale)
The season finale of “Bates Motel” opens up with a panicking Norma marching into the Sheriff’s office demanding to speak with Romero. She manages to get a meeting with him, and tells him about what happened last week with the creepy guy (he pointed a gun at her and demanded $150,000 or he would kill both Norma and her sons). The sheriff assures Norma that no harm would come to them, and he would take care of everything. Norma does not find his reassurance consoling.
Back at school, Emma is staring longingly at the school dance banner hanging up in the hallway. Norman approaches her, and facetiously pokes fun at her. Eventually, Norman asks Emma if she would like to go to the dance with him. Of course, Emma says yes.
Later on at the motel, Dylan gets himself some coffee and Norma tries to butter him up with some French toast. She asks him to get her a gun and teach her to shoot in light of all the craziness with the new antagonist (she calls him Abernathy, which is his false identity). Dylan doesn’t like the idea of Norma having a gun and he declines.
Meanwhile, in a brief scene, Sheriff Romero heads to a garage somewhere and digs out a duffle bag full of money.
In a scene that incites hilarity, Norma is walking down the street and almost runs into a fellow pedestrian. She says, “Excuse me.” The other man says, “I guess” in a smug-like manner. Norma flips out and screams and swears at the man (yet another moment marking the style of dark comedy that this show is making its calling card).
Norma goes to the psychiatrist’s office that she took Norman to last week (she flipped out on him, too). She goes there in search of a way to handle stress. After a little back-and-forth, we come to find out a bit about Norma’s past. Once she gets to the subject of her family, she begins to become nauseous and emotional. When things get too heavy, Norma high tails it out of the office.
In the next scene, Norman walks into his English teacher’s classroom as she is having a heated phone call with what I assume is her ex-boyfriend. Norman asks her if she is all right and she realizes that he heard the whole thing (or at least enough to be concerned). He then tells her that he doesn’t want his short story published and she understands. The near-tears teacher asks him not to tell anyone and he agrees that he won’t. She gets uncomfortably close with her student again and touches his face (it’s a ballsy move by “Bates Motel” to do these kinds of storylines. The cases of this happening across the U.S. are always controversial). She brings Norman in for a tight hug and realizes she is crossing the line. The teacher walks off with a perturbed look on her face.
The audience is introduced to the sister of Keith Summers in the next scene. It is found out the sheriff wasn’t involved in Shelby and Summers’ sex-slave ring. He informs Summers’ sister that he knew that she did the bookkeeping for them. Romero notices the marks on her face and asks her if Abernathy is the one who did it (the antagonist and third partner in Shelby and Summers’ business). At the end of their meeting, she asks Romero what will happen to her. Romero tells her that nothing will happen to her if she keeps her mouth shut.
Back at the motel, Norma calls the sheriff’s office to complain about her house not being patrolled. When she hangs up, Emma tells Norma about Norman taking her to the dance. Emma asks Norma to try the dress on for her to she can see what it looks like with heels. While Norma holding the dress over her clothes, Emma notices Norma’s large scar on her thigh. Norma conjures up a terrible lie about some hot chocolate spilling on her.
Dylan runs into Norma in the motel parking lot and hands her a brown bag. “I changed my mind. Don’t make me regret this,” Dylan said to his mother as he handed her a brown bag with a 38-special inside. He then takes her to the woods and gives her a shooting lesson in which he inadvertently calls her mom for the first time since the show has started.
While cleaning up the motel rooms, Maggie Summers (Keith Summers’ sister) creepily sneaks up on Norma. She warns her that if she has the money, then she should give it to Abernathy (the antagonist). Maggie tells Norma that she used to work with Abernathy and that he will kill her. This only furthers Norma’s anxiety.
At the house, Norman hears a ring of the doorbell. When he opens the door, he finds what he thinks to be a pleasant surprise as Bradley is standing there smiling. His world is shattered when he finds out that she is there to see Dylan and not him. Dylan brings Bradley her father’s things and they flirt with each other. Norman listens in the other room burning with jealousy.
Later on, Norman has a flip-out session about not having any black socks to wear for the dance. Norman yells at his mother over an obviously trivial problem. Dylan interrupts and offers to let his little brother borrow his black socks. The two brothers walk into another room and Dylan asks Norman to take it easy on Norma (talk about some role reversal! Ordinarily, it’s Norman asking Dylan to take it easy on her). When Dylan gives Norman the socks, they naturally argue about Bradley. Dylan tells Norman that he isn’t interested in her and that Norma should just relax about the whole thing. Norman does his best to pretend he is over Bradley, but he fails miserably and ends up sounding like a creep.
While Norma and Norman wait for Emma to pick Norman up, Norma decides this is the perfect time to tell him about her abusive past. Norma tells her son that she actually grew up in Akon, Ohio. She then tells her son that she had a brother who used to rape her when she was 13 years old.
When Emma arrives, it is incredibly awkward (and it becomes apparent that Norma is much better at putting on a mask than her son). It must’ve looked terribly strange to Emma, who got a half-greeting from Norman. Norman gets up and hugs his mother as if he will never hug her again. Emma stares in perplexity (from her perspective, Norman is simply saying goodbye and going to a dance).
Norma then gets a call from the Abernathy (the antagonist) to confirm their meeting later. Norma acknowledges Abernathy’s request.
What would a season finale be without a school dance? Bowtie-clad Norman and his date, Emma, head to the dance together with the song “Kill for Love” by Portland band, Chromatics, playing ominously (foreshadowing?). Immediately, Norman isn’t too coy as he shows what he truly cares about. He gives Bradley a creepy smile to get things started while virtually ignoring Emma. He continues staring at Bradley for the rest of the time he and Emma dance together. Emma eventually loses it and leaves Norman at the dance with no ride home. After she leaves, Bradley’s boyfriend asks to speak to Norman outside.
Norman and Bradley’s boyfriend step outside to speak (the pouring rain was a nice touch for the season finale). Bradley’s boyfriend tells Norman to stay away from her. Norman does his best to pretend nothing is going on (for someone who has committed murder, he has no guile). Bradley’s boyfriend hits him in the face and Norman falls like a ton of bricks.
Norman begins to walk home in the pouring rain when his inappropriately friendly English teacher sees him and offers him a ride. Norman gets in the car and she notices the cut on his face. She offers to take him to her place to clean it up (uh oh).
Sheriff Romero goes to the meeting with Abernathy in place of Norma. Romero offers the antagonist (who now is being called “Joe”) a partnership with him to continue running his sex-slave ring in White Pine Bay. After enticing Joe enough, he decides to go for it. When Joe goes to grab the bag full of money, the sheriff pulls out his gun and blows him away (and just like that, the antagonist is dead).
With ice-water going through his veins, the sheriff says, “You can go home now, Norma.” (showing Norma that there isn’t anything she knows that he doesn’t know).
While back at the English teacher’s house, she cleans up Norman’s cut with rubbing alcohol. The whole encounter between the two was inappropriate at best (there have been a multitude of teachers who have destroyed their career by doing things like this). Things get hot and heavy between the two of them and she goes to change (she also leaves the door open for Norman). Norman’s split personality comes back to life and he begins to have a hallucination of his mother again. The hallucinated version of his mother degrades his English teacher for what is transpiring and tells Norman, “You know what you have to do.”
Cut to the next scene with Norman sprinting home in the rain. He runs all the way back to the motel where he runs into Norma. They embrace and Norman doesn’t recall exactly what happened (he blacked out again). Norma and Norman walk hand-and-hand back to the motel.
“Bates Motel” wraps up its season with a final scene showing Norman’s English teacher dead on the floor with a sliced throat. Norman finally went off the deep end and murdered her.
So, there you have it. “Bates Motel’s” first season is now officially in the books. I have to admit that I am pleasantly surprised and overall impressed with this new show. It has gone to places that many cable-TV shows are afraid to visit. It’s edgy, dark, deep at times and exciting all the way through. Most of all, it adds a new complexion to an already-infamous American story. It’s a different kind of show that breaks the same old used up television show paradigm, and I’m sure it has a big future ahead. So, did “Bates Motel” live up to the hype? I say yes, and I'd bet Alfred Hitchcock would agree.