The end is nigh, as they say. At least the end of Bates Motel’s second season is. Episode 9, appropriately titled “The Box” was filled with tension, fast pacing and, best of all, colliding story lines. This season, Zane has done nothing but cause problems. He’s the kind of character that just doesn’t have long term written anywhere on him. From his vicious mood swings, to his irrational decision making, Zane just isn’t going to make it much longer. Everyone in this episode is gunning for him, even his own sister, albeit through Dylan.
Picking up just hours after last week’s episode left off, Norman has been kidnapped by members of Nick Ford’s crew and confined to a small box somewhere in the woods. Nick’s basic plan is to black mail Dylan and Norma into helping him take out Zane, which honestly should have happened by now. With Zane being the big bad of the season, though, I imagine his death may come next week. Ford’s plan would have worked if Zane wasn’t so cautious. As reckless as Zane is about others, when it comes to his own well being he isn’t willing to gamble. He’s been in this game long enough and he knows people are after him.
Penultimate episodes tend to have the occasional twinge of feeling like a set up episode, but with Bates Motel’s fairly small 10-Episode seasons, the penultimate usually ends up being full of action. Of course, much has been set up for next week’s finale, but “The Box” has no shortage of interesting and engaging scenes. I like the way that all of the stories with Romero, Norma, Nick and Dylan are basically colliding around Norman’s kidnapping. As they race to try and find him, however, Norman is having some of his own revelations.
While confined to The Box Norman doesn’t seem to understand why he’s being held, and why would he? He’s not exactly aware of the details going on in his immediate surroundings with Dylan or his Mother being involved with such undeniably shady individuals. Norman has no idea why he’s there, but it provides him a unique opportunity to sit and ponder his faded memories. At the end of the episode, when he finally remembers what happened the night of Miss Watson’s murder, I felt both his pain and a sense of his release. The idea of not being able to remember things has been plaguing Norman for most of the show’s run, so I imagine once the knowledge settles in he will have a clearer understanding of what’s happening to him.
Bates Motel hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down in the past several weeks, and I would argue this season has addressed and corrected a lot of the issues from season one. Possibly my favorite thing is the overall coherence the show has been exhibiting lately. Thanks to some sharper writing and plotting, Bates Motel is heading into its season finale as strong as ever, and with season 3 already in place, the finale is sure to be one of the most exciting episodes of the show to date. I can’t wait for next week, I hope everyone else is as excited!
Grade = B+