Spoiler Warning for this particular review. It would be hard to talk about a season finale without them.
Well here we are, the season finale of “Bates Motel”. It sure has been an interesting ride.
So, how did the season finale stand up?
Pretty well, actually. It probably wasn’t as good as it could have been, but it did a fine job of ending the first season while setting up next season. Most of the episode obviously had to do with the impending meeting with Jake Abernathy, who we now know isn’t really named Jake Abernathy. I guess he has a lot of different names but that’s pretty irrelevant now considering the end of the episode. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Norman is going to a dance! With Emma, actually, and as friends. Emma has become a particular favorite character of mine. She offers a more complex understanding of the world than Bradley does, and she genuinely really likes Norman. This entire love triangle has been a fairly important part of the show, but I haven’t found it to be handled as well in recent episodes. Bradley is continuing to ignore Norman and flirt with Dylan. This still annoys me, mainly because Dylan seems too mature to really be interested in a girl as immature as Bradley has shown herself to be. The conversation between Bradley, Norman and Dylan was an awkward one, in the best way possible. This is pretty much the first time Norman has really realized what’s going on with Bradley and Dylan. I hope that Dylan picks up on Norman’s feelings the way that the audience surely did.
Anyways, once the dance actually happens it becomes a bit of stereotypical high school drama. The scene between Norman and Bradley’s boyfriend felt a little off. Though I did really like how Emma made her feelings known, and this was a good move forward for Emma and Norman’s relationship. I also enjoy that Norma actually likes Emma to some extent. It’s hard imagining Norma caring for anyone other than Norman, but she has definitely taken a liking to Emma aside from just pitying her, like she was at first.
I had been waiting for a solid older male character in this show and now I am hoping for Romero to be that character. When he first appeared on screen, I had mixed feelings toward his character. After this episode’s ending, I have a whole new fascination with his character.
Norma has until midnight to bring Jake the money, and she doesn’t have it. So she goes to Romero for help, and while he normally brushes her off, he actually does help her in this episode. This is where I am beginning to find a fascination with Romero. Obviously, this is HIS town and he knows a hell of a lot more then he lets on. For example, it didn’t seem like a major shock for him to find out what some of his town folk, and his own deputy were involved in.
What I really want to know is, what drives Sheriff Romero? He allows for huge pot fields in his town and he must have known a good amount about the sex trade operation. However, the end of this episode where he takes the money and goes to meet Abernathy, that kind of threw me for a loop.
With Norma hiding off to the side with a gun she received from Dylan, Romero ends up making the drop off to Abernathy. Just as predicted, Abernathy is disposed of. I was infinitely grateful they didn’t try to stretch his character to another season. Though I wasn’t really expecting Romero to shoot him, hell, he had me fooled with his whole “let’s make a new deal” proposition. Romero showed some of his justice side, though, and simply took down Abernathy without a second thought. Then he threw the money into the ocean, so I guess money doesn’t motivate him either. Any way you slice it, this episode really gave us some new insight into his character. It gives the impression that he is going to play a much bigger role in season 2.
Now, let’s talk about Norman’s ending. I must admit I wasn’t expecting that at the start of the episode. In fact, I thought it was going to go a completely opposite way and Norman would finally sleep with his teacher. Sadly, that was not the case and Norman took a much more sinister route. The whole ending scene was quite fantastic and gave us few nice nods to “Psycho”. We finally get to see Norman really going off the deep end talking to full on hallucinations of his mother. Truthfully, I don’t know how I feel about the teacher being killed off. I thought she was an interesting character that could have played a more prominent role in trying to put a rift between Norman and his mother. Alas, I guess we needed a good cliffhanger for the season finale, and “Bates Motel” really delivered an unexpected one.
Overall, this episode had a handful of great scenes sprinkled about a fairly standard episode. I will say that the show has really found its atmosphere and rhythm during these first ten episodes and, with such strong acting just boosting that atmosphere, “Bates Motel” has a massive level of potential. Let’s just hope they don’t blow it and go for story lines that are too generic.
Check back later this week for our full first season review, and the top five shocking moments from “Bates Motel”, season one!